Published: 24th August 2019
Canteen Fundas: Here are a few things that they do not teach you in class
Is college all about classroom learning? Definitely not! Here, the author tells you a few things that you probably wouldn't know
Hi Rinku,’ said Rahul. ‘First day at college. What do we do?’
‘Enjoy the freedom,,’ said Rinku.
‘But is there a way to get the best out of it — learn and also have fun?’ asked Rahul.
‘Of course, there is,’ said Rakesh, Rinku’s older brother, their senior. ‘But you won’t learn these valuable tips in class. You’ll learn them in our ‘Dreams Unlimited’ Canteen. Hang out there and you’ll learn some practical stuff. You can come with me if you wish.’
Rakesh led them to the canteen. Students lounged about chatting, cracking jokes and having fun. Rakesh seemed popular — he greeted everyone and ordered coffee.
‘To learn and to have fun here, revisit Socrates,’ he said.
‘What?’ said Rahul.
‘Remember what Socrates famously said — All I know is that I don’t know anything?’ he responded.
‘But,’ said Rahul. ‘People will laugh. I want to be smart.’
‘Let them laugh. You will have the last laugh. This is how it works. You know a little. Even in what you know, you are not very sure about it. So instead of saying ‘I know, I know’ and fooling yourself, say ‘I don’t know’. Then you can learn what you don’t know. Makes sense?’
‘But can’t we act like we know and learn later?’ asked Rahul. ‘We won’t look so foolish then.’
‘What’s really foolish is acting like you know when you don’t,’ said Rakesh. ‘The really smart ones learn from everyone by saying ‘I don’t know’. All your growth comes from asking questions. In fact, this conversation began because you asked this question – how can we make college fun and learning?’
‘Now, are you ready for our canteen initiation ritual? Say, ‘I don’t know’ as loudly as you can.’
Both Rahul and Rinku said in unison - ‘I don’t know’. Everyone around them clapped. Rinku and Rahul looked around sheepishly.
‘It feels funny,’ said Rinku. ‘But it is elevating. I feel more honest and open now.’
‘Wow!’ said Rinku. ‘Thanks bhaiyya. You rid us of the burden of ‘knowing.’
‘But where’s the fun part?’ asked Rahul.
‘Imagine how many people you can interact with and ask questions,’ said Rakesh. ‘You can make many friends and learn.’
‘Hmm,’ said Rahul. ‘You are right. I can approach anyone with questions.’
Pro Tip: Get comfortable with saying ‘I don’t know’. Empty your vessel. Probe, engage, discuss and you are on the way.