on 01 August, 2012
There is always a next exam
Sigh! The world around me seems to be in tatters. I am bound on a boulevard of broken dreams, shattered hopes, regrets abundant, emotions redundant and gloom beckoning! The sands of time pass and all I could do is watch, watch helplessly as I see the clock ticking and all I am left with is guilt ridden dreams and unrealistic hopes.
This ain’t no scene from a melodramatic movie. But it is the state of mind of every student a day or two before the commencement of exams. Of course, the fact that the life of every engineering student is one never ending, replete-with-diverse-emotions, box-office-cash registers-ringing-worthy movie, cannot be denied! And the phase of overwhelming emotions is best observed during exam time, the genre being drama cum action cum comedy cum tragedy cum screwing up (it seriously should be a genre, no kidding!), where every student is a superstar in his/her own right!
If technology continues to develop at the current rate, then the invention of a device that reads a person’s mind would not be a distant dream. In that scenario, ‘almost’ every student’s mind would say the same, “Damn it! I wish I had started earlier. I wouldn’t have been in such a mess then! There is so much to study! So many answers to learn, so many pages to turn. With little time left, of all joys I am bereft!” (Exam pressure tweaks your brain big time and in many cases, it does this, Unleashes the bard in you!) And then comes the solemn, unbreakable royal oath-“I will learn from my mistakes. I will not cry over spilled milk. Next semester, I will study from DAY ONE. ” Come vacations, followed by the next semester and the inevitable dream of ‘studying from day one’ is brutally nipped in the bud. I said ‘almost’ because there still exist two types of students. Type one being those who are, fortunately or unfortunately, still stuck in the school nerd mode of studying and type two are the ones who are too chilled out to bother about “passing”, “grace marks”, “aggregate” (and similar such terms which us, the mere mortals are worried about), the former type being an endangered species.
Of all the myriad idiosyncrasies that define an engineering student, this is one of the most prominent of all. During the so called preparation leave a.k.a mini vacation, this thought of “I wish I had studied earlier” pesters a student’s head at least once in a day or may be an hour or may be after every word he/she reads! Personal experience tells me, the process of fighting away this thought takes up more energy than the energy spent in actually studying! It’s not only the glorious thought but the subsequent wishful thinking and futuristic planning that happens, which is in its own sadistic way, humorous! For instance, you are so overcome by guilt and self pity that you actually put aside the current stuff that you are studying (which makes no sense so to speak, but then the human mind works in uncanny ways!) and start chalking out a plan of action for the next semester which includes a timetable categorically stating the distribution of the no. of hours and the time to be spent on each subject accordingly. One is so excited by this hypothetical prospect of actually studying that one fails to realize that all this imaginary doodling is actually wasting more time of his/her already wasted time. Aaaah, the vicious cycle!
Time is just one aspect. Another very vital element of the exam season is “Easy solutions”. These two “God-like” words are responsible for creating engineers since times immemorial. For a student who completes one year of engineering in one month, these words spell nectar. No denying that one has to compromise in terms of cramming your head with stuff that is remotely interested in teaching you the actual concepts and also requires you to endure the torture of its “impeccable” grammar (trust me! You don’t have to be a grammar nazi to say “R.I.P English” when you actually read the disastrous language that goes into such books). You end up not understanding most of the stuff, but it does augment your mugging up and time management skills by leaps and bounds. It is at this very moment that you realize the importance of reference books. So then you go, next semester..reference books..check! No points for guessing, even that becomes just another unfulfilled dream after the arrival of the “next semester.”
At the risk of sounding judgmental, I would say that when a student chooses engineering as his/her career path, he/she signs up for a tough life! With the hectic college timings, precious time lost in traveling (Mumbai specific), a truck load of assignments that drain up every ounce of energy, (let’s not be lopsided and conveniently forget laziness and the occasional chilling and hanging out with friends) it’s difficult to find time to adhere to regular studies and as a result all the inspiration that strikes one during exams and the mighty planning and scheduling that happens during that emotionally unstable phase takes a back seat when one actually gains senses of the pragmatic life.
As Yves Larock puts it, “your dream may be to fly, over the rainbow so high, cause you may like to fly, direction: sky” during exams. But poof! All you end up doing is “shake it well and feel the pain”.
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