Tough times

Entrance examination is the sieve into which every medical and engineering aspirant is poured. There are hundreds of entrance examinations, conducted both by government and private medical colleges, each testing memory and skill, not aptitude. The more you practice, the more are your chances to win.
Higher secondary course is a physiological laboratory that tests what material a student is made of. Only an A+ holder with more than 90% marks stands the chance of grabbing a medical seat. Each entrance question is a life or death matter. You answer one question right, and your rank shoots up to 500s, if you lose it, it falls to 1000s. This Olympic competitiveness makes it sure that only the fittest, the most single minded, would survive(Darwin had said it right). The sort of laid back, uncompetitive person who wants to ‘live the moment’ will drop out of entrance coaching, I’m sure.
Last month, I visited an entrance coaching centre. I met a junior student from my school, who was making last minute revisions for the model exam. As soon as he recognized me, he came to me with the big bound volume of an MCQ book in Mathematics. As he was talking, I noticed the sparkle in his eyes. (I distinguish entrance aspirants from others by their hollow eyes that resembles long, dark tunnels). Smart guy, I guessed.
He wanted the solution for some difficult math problem. I had forgotten more than half of the formulae I had learned, so I sat down and started writing down the basics, right from the beginning. He watched me silently for some time. After about two minutes, he said ” I know all this stuff. I thought you’d know a shortcut method for answering this question.”
“Why do you want a shortcut?”, I asked.
“See, I need to finish the problem within one minute, so I need to be really fast. I can’t waste too much time on one problem”.
He said it right. And he said it professionally. I guess he’ll crack the IIT entrance.
The changes I notice in an entrance aspirant are not too welcoming. Nowadays, I hear that they don’t even share their notes. That they don’t talk with the fellow competitors. That they wish more for their friends’ failure than their own success. The end result of this training process is students who are addicted to work as patients to morphine.
All through my training process, I didn’t forget to remain human. I gave my life the first priority, even when I went through all the agony of entrance preparation.

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32 thoughts on “Tough times

  1. It's a good observation that you made about the increasing competition and greed among the students,I too went through it,but I think we all imbibed qualities like determination and commitment to the cause along our journey.That really counts and of course more importantly, we got admission to the college of our choice.

  2. True .. Today the spirit of competing has removed the beautiful feeling called friendship..What students forget is that they compete not with 10 odd students in their coaching class but with thousand other students and they cant do anything to prevent those thousands of students from reading the notes…

  3. The other day I was reading Ajitha's autobiography… our educational institutes are churning out more and more cruel and clueless workforce out… Everyone are self centered and doesnt bother about helping others….

  4. Competition and selfishness need not necessarily go hand in hand. Even if your aim is to get BTech CS at IIT Bombay, there are definitely more than 10 people who could become your batchmates. So I guess it is just about how insecure you are – If you are confident of getting in, you don't mind helping out your friend on a question. And if you are afraid that the other guy might get ahead of you because of that one question, God save you. I have personally found that both asking others for help and clearing others' doubts help a lot. There is, more often than not, one follow up question that the other guy asks that could really come handy.And I mostly used to do math problems even during JEE without shortcuts. Is it that difficult to do things the usual way in short time?

  5. Really thoughtful post..!!!ppl hav forgot the benefits of grp studying and given too much dedication to entrances. I used to be a lot carefree n still, i am an IITian. selfishness can only give momentary satisfaction. but Sharing and enjoying will give long lasting happiness. TRUE EVERYEHERE!!!

  6. @ Vaisakh,Thanks for the comment.True that we imbibed certain qualities, but don't you think that these qualities could be acuired in much gentler ways? For example, students who don't prepare for entrances also determined, right? So I think,competition that gives stress to the students should be avoided. A better alternative, where the aptitude of the candidates is tested should be introduced.

  7. @ Raziman,Thanks for visiting my blog. Thanks for the comment too..You have said it right, one can be competitive even without being selfish. But sadly, what I see today is kids being selfish for the silliest of the things, their notes for instance. We need to bring back the 'win-win' attitude urgently.I didn't use any shortcut methods for the entrance,and so I used to finish the problems later than the other guys.There are guys who don't even know the actual method, who just mug up the shortcuts and work out the problems really fast.Shortcuts might not be useful in your case, it all depends on the caliber and attitude of the person.

  8. @ Jon,Yeah, I agree with you. Most people have become self centered these days, not only the entrance aspirants.I haven't read Ajita's autobiography, is it an interesting book?

  9. @ Ajith sir,Thanks for the comment, Ajith sir. Expecting to read more of your poems( You won't disappoint me, I firmly believe).Reality could be worse or better, I don't know. I just have put down my observations about the entrance coaching industry.Thanks a lot for your encouragement.

  10. Hey Neha i guess your views resemble to those of mine…..I am going through this and the last two years while preparing for IIT-JEE i encountered this in every guy.. Friends becomes foes and the atmosphere is too negative…. I Hope this changes and students aspiring for greater success become modest human beings first and winners later…

  11. A nice thought provoking observation. Thanks for presenting it here.Actually today’s competition is to be blamed for such self centered feelings and selfish attitudes among young ones. Such feelings are being nurtured among the students from a very young age. The pressure of succeeding is bringing such undesired effects in the society. Competition is good if it is in the right way but these days a healthy competition is rare to find. I’m very much impressed with the points made by Mr.Raziman. Everything he mentioned is so true. When we try to explain a solution to someone, we tend to think about the problem in various angles which in fact helps us a lot. I have always believed that we can learn a lot by explaining it to others. Moreover these days students in the process of learning and mugging the shortcuts, are neglecting the actual methods and the purpose of doing.Felt happy to know that you are the kind of person who follows heart feelings. :)Keep it up !

  12. @Asif,Thanks a lot for the comment, I am elated.."Competition is good if it is in the right way but these days a healthy competition is rare to find." This was the point I was trying to illustrate in my writing.Competition has given way to selfishness.It is high time that we change this system.

  13. @Tanvi,Thanks for the comment. I, like you have gone through the agony of entrance preparation, so I know very well what you are going through.Yes,we need to be human beings first before being winners..Keep blogging..

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