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Thinking Outside The Box

By Siddiq Islam, Work Experience student at Now

At school, we are told how to think and what to think and where to focus our thinking.

Tasks we’re given in class are often formulaic or tedious, simply because we are given a set way of carrying them out. Whether we’re instructed to solve a particular quadratic equation by completing the square, or whether we are advised to always write stories in the 3rd person and the past tense, we are constantly being pushed to solve problems or write essays in a certain way, just to match the mark scheme. We stick to what we know.

I am not here to criticise the education system; just to recommend that in a world where being schooled encourages us to think only along a certain path, it is increasingly important to hold onto creativity so that we can tackle problems in novel ways.

One thing I’ve experienced in GCSEs – and I’m sure that it continues throughout A-levels, university and carries through into our entire careers – is that finding a solution to a task that is unlike everyone else is pure and genius. If you can solve an equation differently to your neighbour, if you can write an essay with an utterly new outtake on a historical event, if you can design an experiment which tackles an investigation from the opposite direction, you are not only proving yourself to be a unique individual, but inspiring others to think differently too.

As I see it, not only does thinking outside the box help us to solve tricky problems which we struggle to complete using the conventional methods, but it helps us stand out to teachers or employers (or anyone!) and we can implement that in any aspect of our lives.