To Give Up or Not to Give Up

Students are not being heard at school. This is the problem we choose to tackle in our two-week DFC project with the two Akanksha schools. It was not my first choice of issues to tackle; I was terrified by its complexity. The number of factors that can cause students to feel not heard and be unable to speak up in class is incredibly large as we have discovered on our first day in the field. When visiting classes and talking to teachers we could identify problems with gender, the family background of students, their previous school culture, social structure of the school, and sitting arrangements in the classroom. All gigantic problems that I thought would be impossible to completely understand, let alone solve in just 2 weeks. I was scared and terrified about these issues, and I was thinking about trying to decrease the goal; I was wandering what if we would have chosen a different topic. How much easier that would be, I told myself. However, as I was thinking about it overnight, I remembered the quote “increase the effort, don’t decrease the goal” that we heard about last week in Ahmedabad.. Suddenly I had to realize that I cannot try to back out of the project just because it is hard. Being hard does not necessarily mean that the problem does not need to be solved. If I do not put everything I have into this project and do my best, I will not only fail my teammates but also fail to live up to the needs of the community. However hard it is to solve, not being heard at school is a real and existing problem and we eventually have to find a solution to it. That does not mean that we have to solve it in just 2 weeks of course, but that should be our end goal. Even though it is a gigantic goal, we should be taking small steps in the right direction, and hopefully these 2 weeks will be the first stones in the road towards of a healthier school community.

I often behave similarly in a multitude of scenarios. Even though it is rather trivial, I experience this most often when I go to the gym. I usually enter the room with the intention to do a certain amount of work, but as I start getting tired I realize how hard it is to do the exercises and I end up falling short of my initial goal. In this case I only disappoint myself rather than other people counting on my effort, but it is still just as poisonous. I still have to learn that when it is hard I have to keep pushing instead of readjusting my aim. Of course there are situations when abandoning certain goals is necessary, for instance the time when I wanted to do a 50 minute run despite the fact that I had not done any running in the previous 2 months. It seems to me that there is a fine line between being crazy and shooting for something unattainable, and being strong and fighting for a reasonable goal. The above quote helped me so far in the DFC project, and I hope it will similarly be able to help me in the future by making me push my limits and try the impossible before giving up.