First day in School

By school I mean Stockholm School of Economics or Handels, as it is locally called. I remember being very unsure on the first day. A little nervous but I also did not know what to expect. What if I didn’t like the courses, for example. I had tried to do some suggested reading over the summer but did not really like everything too much. I fell asleep too often to even finish reading all the books. The first ‘real’ class was the discussion of of this book we were supposed to read over summer called “Think Sociologically”. I had not read it at all. I had half read a summary of the book.

My strategy

So my strategy was clear. Make up stuff to sound like I had read it. I also did not expect so many people in the class to have read it. So the discussions started and I found myself feeling more and more uncertain and lost. Though I had done some thinking on the topics that were being discussed I had no idea of what was in the book. I said a couple of things in class, and till date do not know if it made any sense. haha. But I felt was trying to compete, trying to show that I had read it, to act prove that I was ‘smart’. But on hindsight this strategy of mine was the stupidest thing I could have done.

Competitive environments

My program, my class and Sweden so far is not much about competition. Of course, this is not universal. However let show where my thoughts come from. I was born and brought up in one the most competitive environments in the world. When it comes to education. I studied only to come in the top 10%ile in class. The whole concept of doing your best regardless of people around you was alien to me. Sweden is not very competitive, it is more supportive and collaborative.

ompetitive yet supportive.

This has been a recurring theme in and out of my group, class, program, and school. I found my first football practice competitive yet supportive. A novice could go and practice (most players play really well btw) and not come back ‘ashamed’. The environment was very friendly, more like they understood that my lack of skills in football may not be because of my lack of talent or desire, but maybe because of lack of opportunities. This I believe, or have felt is one of the cornerstones of life in Sweden. Many people I meet often tell me that they want everyone to have equal opportunities, what people do with those opportunities is up to them, but not having them is “unfair”.

We have had a month of very intensive group work. But again the groups weren’t always competing against each other. I often felt very comfortable asking other groups for help, for example. It quite cool actually. When I think about classes and reading and group work and stuff, I feel I have enjoyed myself here. Which is strange cuz who likes studying? No not even me. haha.

The whole idea of learning for things more than just grades is very stimulating and motivating. Having no one to compete against and no grades to run after means I have to look for reasons as to why I want to study Accounting, look for ways that motivate myself, maybe a higher purpose. There is a lot of emphasis on this in our course structure as well. And also on experimentation and reflection. These seem to be very good ways of learning and ways by which the learning stays with you longer.

Haha. The post is no longer too much about my first day in School. but that’s point of blogging isnt it? To meander. Cause, as JRR Tolkien put it “Not all who wander are lost.”


Written by Raghuraman

19 Oct 2014