As one looks back to the long years that we spent at the school, during our childhood and adolescence, the examinations that we passed may not appear as the only milestones in our careers. We may proudly say that I did my SSC at 16, graduation at 20 and so on and so forth. But our fond memories are always attached to the most memorable vacations that we have spent during the long journey.
I, for one, cannot forget my journey of discovery of the North in the summer of 1954 and the magnificent tour of the Red Fort/India Gate/the Viceroy's Palace or the President's Abode, not to mention the towering Qutab Minar at Delhi. A year or two later, the zigzag track, the green descending valley and the blue rising hills of Matheran are still fresh in my memory. Also, the bathing ghats of Godavari at Nashik and the water canons at the Bhandardara dam are permanently etched in my memory of the vacations of the past.
Vacations thus are not a luxury but a vital part of our study-work-life balance. Our life at the planet as well as the very sustainability of all the flora and fauna is linked to the day and night and the weather cycle. It is this biorhythm that sustains our energy to last a lifetime. Any aberrations or violations of this biorhythm adversely affect our health and well-being. The jet lag of the air traveler or the psychosomatic disorders of night shift workers are some of the classic examples of such potential damage. Therefore, vacations and such breaks are critical for our health and well-being.
Therefore what we do after our vacations when we resume our school or jobs has to be well thought out and monitored for mutual benefit. The students come back charged with very many ideas and are therefore very eager to take up to learning. There is also a desire in their minds to make up for the lost time or opportunities of the past. Thus their perception of the year ahead of them is at its peak. This fountain of energy has to be channelised for generating momentum both in the academics and the co-curricular areas so that they will waltz their way to success at the school.
This is a dual responsibility both of the teachers and the school management on one hand, and the students and their parents on the other. The school has to ensure that both the hardware and software is deployed adequately on time to meet the students' enthusiasm and spirit. Imaginative induction has to be designed which will help them to quickly catch up with the past learnings' and allow them to launch headlong into the semester ahead. Sessions have to be balanced allowing debriefing of their experiences during and prior to vacations and the route that they have to take for the next six months.
The students on their part have to put their holiday kits aside and be ready to face a new year in the class. It is not merely a question of polishing the shoes and filing the pencils but they have to be ready to make the most of their first week at the school. Whether it is the equation with the peers or with the teachers, a good beginning will help them go up the ladder so that they can command a better view of the years ahead.
In conclusion, as stakeholders of the education system we all have to realize our responsibilities. If we forge a link between where they are and where they need to reach, they will strive hard to make the journey memorable and enjoyable. Moreover, their energies have to be captured by utilizing them for driving sports and other co-curricular programmes, which will benefit the students and the school. They are certainly not unmindful of the hard task that lies ahead of them but given the right momentum and direction they will lift off like the super charged Agni missile, which will take them past negative forces of gravitation scaling new heights to reach the promised land. Or like the soldiers of the ANZAC force who sang their way to glory burying the gloom of Gallipoli,
Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda.
Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda with me?
And their ghosts may be heard as they march by the billabong,
Who'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me?
Did you know?
"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's most widely known folk song, and one that has been popularly suggested as a potential national anthem. Famous poet and nationalist Banjo Paterson wrote the lyrics in 1895, but it was first published as sheet music in 1903. Extensive folklore surrounds the song and the process of its creation, to the extent that the song has its own museum, the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton, Queensland.
Prof. Vijay Page, Director General - MET Institute of Management has authored this article.