Challenges in High School with a Khan Academy Triumph
By Temitayo J on May 17, 2023
My high school journey was tedious and routine, yet also memorable and often awkward. I’m from Nigeria where secondary school is divided into junior high school (grades 7-9) and senior high school (grades 10-12) Senior high school was the time I found independence, bravado, challenging physics classes, euphoric mathematics classes, maturity, and lived experiences. All of these mattered, and would matter two years on! In this article, I will tell you my story and insights:
Failing to Rise
After a seemingly chaotic first school term, it dawned on me that if I didn't take initiative, I likely wouldn't learn anymore. Class was static; the absence of teachers and school half-days spent making noise, gossiping, and moping. My end-of-term results were a stark reality, I had failed badly. However, the light at the end of the tunnel was that it was a stepping stone for me. I learned entire syllabi from Physics to Chemistry independently, not quite, to be honest, with just a phone and tons of Khan Academy videos. The significance, of course, was that I bridged the gap of asymmetric access to education, learning at my own pace, beyond the classroom, and charting new paths.
Perhaps you might find classes or courses difficult or not taught in ways best suited for you. In that case, I hope you take advantage of resources by yourself; you might surprise yourself and find enjoyment and independence. I found that difficult topics could often be simplified into shades of colors on chalkboard with a reliable, soothing voice (like Sal Khan’s).
You will learn best when there is no pressure, upcoming tests, or high expectations.
Teach others, especially your classmates. The best part of an ecstatic, rewarding hour-long study session is when you remember specific topics, say acid-base reactions, for example, because you all decided to teach each other. You will learn more from your diverse classmates: Haruna - a defender of Niels Bohr, or Ella - an organic chemistry lover. All of these moments matter.
Find Your Passions
What is a passion? How do you know when you have one? Passions are essentially opportunities forgone. You forget the raging sun up in the sky, heavy rainfall or storms, the ever present procrastination, social media notifications, and jadedness. You become completely devoted to your passions. You can apply this to your academics. For me, it was self-studying Biology for hours every day. This kept me going; discovering interesting concepts or facts was exciting. But most notably, this drive led me to study more.
Thank you Sharon V for editing this article!