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What is a milestone?
The dictionary says it’s a stone indicating a distance to a particular place. It also says a significant stage in the development of something.

The same word Milestone when used for a student indicates the journey of the student in achieving some landmark or something significant and a waypoint in the process of shaping a future.

In this journey of crafting a future, the world has built up and dug up many a milestone that need not only to be crossed but also be scaled with some pre-conceived standards to be called an achievement of a milestone.

Are these milestones encouraging or burdening the student no one bothers to ask? The thin line between the milestone to be a motivator or a burden seems to have gotten blurred.

The wall has become insurmountable. Neither the high jump nor the pole vault seems to help scale this artificial wall of false expectations.

Recently the class 12 board results were announced. Now that the dust has settled, I am writing about it in the excitement or rather anxiety of the results talking about this topic would have made many of us ignore it even while facing it head-on.

As my daughter awaited her results I saw the excitement level go up. She was excited and waiting to hear the judgment of her hard work. Well, I was happy that she is passing and moving ahead of another milestone that defines the path to her future, I never build a wall of expectations around that milestone in terms of numbers she HAS to achieve. I was very clear with her that she must aim and work hard to get maximum with her capabilities but never translated those capabilities into numerical and percentage values.

The biggest value that she or another student can achieve is only the human value. A student who has achieved that will one day be a successful one. Then perhaps why is there the stress to define the success around the scores and grades achieved?

Most of the phone calls received after the results were announced were bordering into being queries. If it was parents, they were asking ” AAPKE BACHHE KE KITTNE AAYE” and if it was a classmate his/ her query was ” TERRE KITTNE AAYE”.

I did not see most of the students enjoying the feeling that they have PASSED and crossed a milestone. A student passing a major milestone called School and stepping into a college is not an achievement anymore. What is important is how much have you scored.

Score, Score, Score, Score & Scare. Where is the fun gone?  Where are those Pappus who would celebrate by saying Pappu Paas ho Gaya? What has made the students live life on macro terms? Enjoy the micros.

The micro-moments of happiness, fun, and achievements will all translate into macro one day when you will become a fun-loving and enjoying human being. A person who would make the surroundings and atmosphere happier. A person who enjoys the success of self and others alike. A person for whom life is not achieving milestones defined by numbers but milestones as an indicator of the direction he or she is moving.

Movement is not to be judged by your numbers but by your sincere efforts and abilities to overcome odds. It is not comparative in which a person scoring certain percentages is better than the one who does not. It is inclusive. It is how much your knowledge has helped your peers to benefit and grow. It is how much of you who has benefited from others learning.

A milestone will not be defined by how much you scored at that milestone. It will fade away as you encounter another milestone. It will only reflect itself again if you have celebrated and enjoyed the given milestone and carried forward the learning so as to develop it as a base for future learning.

Dear children keep your focus on learning be it from books, experiences, surroundings, or people around you. Don’t chase the marks and percentages. Aim to pick up the pearls of wisdom and you will one day build a necklace of success with it. Most important is to cherish the small successes and give yourself a pat on the back for these small achievements. It will build up confidence and keep you boosted.

Develop yourself as a good human being. Value your small achievements. A good human being who enjoys small successes will always combine them and develop a success story one way or the other around these small yet significant milestones.


Author –

Wing Commander Pankaj Bajaj (Retired).

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