The Privileged Life

Sometimes, a little perspective can go a long way

Around+the+world+schooling+is+very+different+to+what+we+perceive+as+a+normal+school+routine.+

Sushmita Rajan

Around the world schooling is very different to what we perceive as a normal school routine.

It is easy to forget how lucky our lives are here at NAI. All the students in the school have laptops, and we are fortunate enough to have a teacher that is educated in the subject taught. Yet, still, we hear complaints about our teachers and how our laptops are not “good enough.”

Even out of school, we have very blessed lives. When we go home, many of us have food on our plates, A.C., and a T.V. 

Around the world, children’s lives are nowhere near how fortunate ours are.  In 2017, UNESCO reported that 274 million kids do not go to school. In places where the majority of kids do go to school, many teachers strike because they are not paid well, or they do not know enough to teach the subject themselves. 

If they did not go to school, they would be stuck at home helping their parents with cooking, farming, and labor. But, as our society becomes more technologically advanced, the younger generations must have some level of education to understand the world around them.

Last year, I volunteered to go on a trip to an underprivileged village in India to teach children. An organization called Aim for Seva funds these rural Indian kids and allows them to stay nearby the school as they may live far, and their house conditions would not have enough resources for them to study and do homework. 

Before the trip, I was nervous that I would not be capable enough of teaching. I was terrified of what the students would think of me. I thought they would be furious that I had a very privileged life. Instead, the students were very accepting and used every moment to gain information from me. They were thirsty for knowledge and did not mention one word on how unlucky they were.

Every day I would come into the classroom, and the students would show the utmost respect- stopped talking and stood up. They accepted new challenges and tried very hard on all writing, math, and English assignments. 

When visiting their homes, it became aware to me how much we have that they do not. Most of the homes were very small, with one hall that split into the kitchen, and two bedrooms. Three houses had to share a communal bathroom that was outside. Yet, when the kids showed us their homes, they had big smiles on their faces, grateful enough to have a place to sleep and go to the bathroom.

I have been inspired to be grateful for what I have and to work hard so I can give back to the kids who have inspired me. But most importantly, I will never look at school the same way. I learned that school is no longer an obligation but a privilege.”

The trip has changed me and stimulated a lot of personal growth. From seeing the eagerness in a child’s eye to seeing a house with one hall, the trip gave me the gift of inspiration. I have been inspired to be grateful for what I have and to work hard so I can give back to the kids who have inspired me. But most importantly, I will never look at school the same way. I learned that school is no longer an obligation but a privilege. The exchange between our cultures and experiences lead to growth for the kids and me.  

Looking back, I never expected how much of an impact the trip would have made on my life. It has reminded me of what is essential in life and the purpose of school. Last year at this time, I was very annoyed by the fact that I had to go to school. At the slightest bit of sickness, I wanted to stay home. This all changed after the trip. I understood that school was a place to learn and gain knowledge rather than a place that grades you based on your intelligence.

Although school may be stressful at times, it is crucial to remember how lucky we are to be in school. We should start appreciating more and more how blessed we are to go to school and how privileged we are.

Rushil Suresh