Self-study vs group study
Studying is not just reading the content of the book. It involves thorough understanding of the topic, which of course involves good concentration and involvement. This can be achieved either by studying alone or in groups. There are both advantages and disadvantages in both these ways. I would first like to outline some of these pros and cons before putting forth my choice of study.
Let me first consider group-study No two fingers of a hand are same. Similarly no two individuals can think the same way. This is the key factor in group-study It is both advantageous as well as disadvantageous. It is advantageous because difference in people’s thinking gives rise to many new solutions to the same issue. It is disadvantageous because all the members of the group cannot learn things at the same pace. Some members learn very fast and others learn very slow. So the fast learner may feel bored to repeat the same topic again and again. The slow learner may develop inferiority complex and feel embarrassed to ask for repetition everyday. The other disadvantage of group-study that I would like to point out is gossip. Even if one member of the group is not in the mood to study, the whole group will be spoiled. He/she will start commenting about a movie or a film star or some unrelated topic and will lead to a big, unwanted discussion consuming all the precious time. Group-study will lead to competition, i.e., each member of the group will try to excel other members. As long as this competition is healthy, it is good for everybody, otherwise it can lead to ego problems which is pretty bad. Punctuality is also another problem in group-study, ie., even if you arrive first, you cannot start studying. You have to wait for everybody else to arrive. While waiting, you and your one friend may start gossiping, and before you know it, that gossip will be the topic of discussion for that day.
Now let us consider self-study. The main advantage of self-study is that you can study in your own pace. You don’t have to wait for anybody else. You can start studying as and when you are ready. In a group study, you can just think in one angle because there are other members in the group who would give an other view. But that is not the case in self-study. Here you should only think in all different possible views regarding one topic, and in order to support that view you would have to read and refer a lot of different books. So self-study improves your thinking and researching ability. I think concentration is one thing which can be distracted even if you are not in a group. In a group-study gossiping may be one kind of distraction. This kind of distraction is not found in self-study. On the other hand, we can sometimes start day-dreaming and before we know it we would have spent a lot of time thinking and dreaming about some irrelevant topic. But I think the chances of distraction is more in group-study, than in self-study.
Now, for my opinion on the subject. I, personally, would prefer to read alone and not in a group. I believe in doing everything myself. So if I am told to address an issue, I like to think in various different angles, read a lot of books and then come to a conclusion. Another reason why I prefer to read alone is, I think group-study, by itself is not enough. Let me explain what I mean by this. Let us say, the topic of discussion is “Mahatma Gandhi’s murder”. Group-study involves discussion and exchange of ideas about this topic. But if I have to talk something about Gandhiji’s murder, first of all I myself should study about that topic and be thorough with what I have to discuss. So I think group-study is dependent on self-study. Well, the bottom-line is, if given a choice, I would prefer to study alone rather than in a group.
Should teenagers work while they are students?
In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. After thinking about it from several aspects, I do not believe it is a good idea. The reasons are presented below.
Part-time jobs may affect students’ academic studies. Working several hours a day consumes a lot of time and one might be too exhausted to study. The main purpose of school life for teenagers is to learn scientific knowledge and techniques in preparation for their future. It is generally suggested that in order to master what they have learned at school, students must spend at least 3 hours each day on their homework. It would be impossible for a student to work part-time while maintaining a high standard of academic learning. As a result, they may find it hard to adjust to what the school and society expects from them as well as what their employers expect them to perform on the job.
Another reason why I do not approve teenagers to work part-time is that working while studying will deprive their time of sleep and will do harm to their health. Teenagers are in the process of building up their body. They need time to do exercises and engage in other activities, and they also need plenty of rest. If they work, they may sacrifice their time for sleep, club activities, exercise, and recreation. Sometimes, teenagers have jobs that consume more strength than they can afford. This will be definitely harmful to their health.
Finally, working part-time and making extra money may contribute to their bad habits. Teenagers are not mature enough to spend money wisely. However with part-time jobs they make money that allow them to spend whatever way they like, such as playing electronic games, smoking, drinking, and even gambling.
Based on the above discussion, I do not think it is a good idea for teenagers to work while they are still students. Compared with their whole lifetime, school life is a short period. Teenagers should value their school life and make full use of the time. Only by working hard during school life can they find their proper jobs in their future life.
The word ‘leisure’ means time at one’s own disposal or free time which is not filled by work, whether it is by a paid job or by schoolwork or by housework. It is, in fact, ‘time on our hands’ when we can do exactly what we want to do. It is, therefore, one of the pleasures of life to have leisure and to be able to use it intelligently because, however old we are, or young, we have only one life, and time is most precious to all of us. It cannot be wasted.
If we are wise, therefore, we do not think of leisure as time to do absolutely nothing, because to do nothing is, for most intelligent people, the most boring thing of all. “Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit !” is a European saying not to be put into practice ! On the other hand, all of us sometimes, need to relax completely. “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare ?”
Leisure, then, is time to be filled in congenial ways which differ with each individual, but it is wise to fill leisure hours with activities which are different from our main occupation. Thus, we have a change. for the indoor worker, perhaps a bank-clerk or a copy-typist, to spend leisure hours poring over books or cryptic puzzles would constitute no change, whereas, for a gardener or a farmer to do something like this, would provide the contrast needed for relaxation. Indoor workers are better served by doing outside activities and vice-versa.
But again, how we use our leisure depends entirely on our own individual tastes and talents. Here, hobbies and leisure are closely connected. The game lover will spend every available fee hour playing the game at which he excels or of which he is fond. The book lover will spend hours poring over books and will be a frequent visitor to the local library. Many people, including Britain’s famous Winston Churchill, find relaxation in painting. He even found it in brick-laying ! A music lover will either play his favorite instrument or visit a concert. Television supplies the leisure needs of many.
The more varied the interests of each individual, the more varied, of course, will be his use of leisure. Wise people try to do many different things with their leisure hours, so that indoor and outdoor activities are included, as also are passive ones (like watching television) and active ones (like gardening or knitting). In this connection, it is wise for young people to try to develop many interests outside their regular work, some sedentary and some active, so that later on they will not be forced to lead too narrow a life. A criticism, and rightly so, of many universities in both the East and West is that students have to concentrate so had on their studies that they do not have time to develop interests and liking for subjects and activities outside their own. This is a pity and the lack of suitable interests for leisure is perhaps most of all felt when, men retire from the occupation which has filled their life-time. Then, at the age of sixty or sixty-five, they find themselves with the rest of life on their hands — all of it leisure. There is a vacuum indeed for the man who is unable to fill any of it with interest and occupation.
Nowadays, it is not only for the old, but for all of us that the problem of how to use leisure usefully and well arises. With increased automation, labor-saving devices and precooked food, the housewife has more leisure than ever before. With shorter working hours and holidays with pay, people all over the world have more free time. A hundred years ago, a man was lucky if he had one half day a week ‘off’. Today, t is a five-days working week for most people, with two or three weeks holiday with pay every year. This is right and proper, but there are pitfalls which a modern society must avoid. Boredom is one of them and this affects all age groups from the suburban housewife, to the old man who seems to fade out of life, because he does not know what to do with it. Teenage crime, juvenile delinquency, and the ‘antics’ of “Mods and Rockers” are attributed by many social workers to boredom which arises out of having nothing to do. ‘Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do !’
The most important point of all, therefore, is to be educated for leisure so that however much free time we may have, and at whatever age, we may always be able to fill it happily and well, thus developing our fullest possible personalities.