on 22 February, 2013

THE WAIT for Results at Mumbai University

It's been two months and four days since my Semester 7 papers ended. Sixty-four days have gone by and still no sign of our results. Sixty-four days of waiting anxiously for that one word to show up on the MU website - "PASSED". This time around, students are especially anxious because our first paper, Digital Signals and Image Processing, came straight out of Satan's wicked head and onto our desks for us to write. Students lost sleep then thinking over and over about what will happen, counting their marks like a hundred times just to see if it somehow crawled to a total of 32. They lost sleep then, and they're losing sleep now. Because we are STILL waiting for our results.

You know what is worse than an actual exam? It is the wait. The wait for the day to arrive, the wait for papers, or the wait for your roll number to be called for a viva. It is the waiting that kills our mind slowly because we over-think and over-analyze everything, and imagine only the worst that could happen. Our hearts pound, minds go blank. Some revise formulae in their head- I, for one, can never do that! And for some silly reason, we convince ourselves that we know nothing, and the exam is going to be an absolute nightmare. Yes, even after four years, seven semesters, forty subjects, countless assignments, we still do it. Because we are students. We are a bunch of really scared people. The results... the difference between scoring 32 and 31... it means a lot to us. It means employment over unemployment. Getting into a dream school over settling for something mediocre. It matters to us. And that is why we are scared. Not because we are under-prepared, but because it matters a lot to us.

Coming back to the point, what is Mumbai University doing? How on earth does it take TWO months to check our papers? As per the Maharashtra University Act, 1994, results have to be declared within 45 days of the last examination. Huh. That mark was gone a long time ago. Who questions MU on these matters? Or isn't MU answerable? Why is there no law dealing with this? How is that all the laws and the punishments for their breach are applicable only to the common man, and never the bureaucracy? SK Ukarande, Dean of faculty of Technology, MU, says, "There can be delays when some colleges fail to send details. Result will be out in a day or two." Wow. Thank you for saying that, Sir, we feel so much better now.

The later the results are out, the later students get to apply for a revaluation of the subjects they fail. And when are the results of the revaluation out? Oh, I don't know, when the university feels like it. It could be before the re-exam students have to give, or after it. Either way, nobody cares. The officials act on their whim, and the students suffer. I failed an exam in my third semester, and paid Rs. 435 as fee for the re-exam. Thankfully, my reval results were out long before the re-exam, and I had cleared the subject. So technically, I should get my Rs. 435 back, right? But I never did. Not to this day. I am shooed away by the officials whenever I ask about the money. And I am tired now. It is a small amount, yes, it's not about the size of the amount. It's about accountability. Rules are to be followed word-by-word for students, but completely overlooked for the authorities? Why this disparity?

One of my friends failed Physics-I in his first semester. The paper had been tough, sure, but he was smart enough to know that there was no way he could have failed. He put his paper under re-evaluation (Rs. 500 for rechecking, and Rs. 100 for a photocopy of the answer sheet- which would not cost more than Rs. 30 at any Xerox place in Mumbai), and waited for his results. They never came. He went for his re-exam, did well on it, and waited some more. And then his results did come. He had passed- which means he had wasted time studying it again, when he could have easily devoted it to some other subject. Hell, he could have used that time to play football. Anything. Point is, the university wasted his time, not to mention the mental trauma caused. And he is still running around in circles for his proper marksheets, because the University never notified the college about this. This isn't just one student, by the way.

Another friend was failed, and found out in her paper photocopy that more than half her paper was never checked. Who is to be held responsible for this? The University? Who is the University? For us, it is only a looming, controlling power figure we like to curse more than frequently. Nothing else.

I am tired. Really, really tired. It's my last semester now. I've fought my way through all the semesters, doing my best, maintaining a more-than-decent percentage to keep my perpetually worried parents happy. And in the end, that's all we can do. Follow the rules, do the work that's given to you, and shut up.

And you know what, it seems to me like we do one hell of a job at shutting up. 

Image Courtsey: Screenshot from the movie - Wake Up S!d

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