This article has been submitted by Nishtha Tripathi for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think it’s a good read, ‘Like’ the article (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘Comments’ section below.
CISCE Board results were declared last week. As was expected, most of the students scored exemplary marks while some obtained near perfect scores. Next day, the newspapers were rife with percentages between 97 and 99. In fact, scores in this range have become so common in the past few years that the students whose scores range from 90-95 fail to garner any appreciation and their hard work seems bleak in front of the light of this perfection. What is shocking is that these kids fail to appreciate their own performance. While some may regard this type of behavior as ungrateful, I feel that this might not be as unwarranted as it seems in the present scenario. As you will understand (by the time you finish reading this article), situations arise that force students to think in this manner.
For the sake of simplifying things, suppose there are three types of students appearing for the exams. The first are, for the lack of a better term, geeks. The ones that have devoted their lives to cramming up their chapters, word for work and cover to cover. The second are those who thought above (or below?) mortal things as education and percentages. The ones who scarcely deigned to bless the pages of their school textbooks, until a few days before the finals. Now, stuck between these two extremes were the ones who put in efforts that could be called mediocre. The ones who thought of books as their best friends, but were not averse to the idea of having fun every once in a while. The direct consequence of their average efforts was ending up getting marks that were not viewed as average but have, unfortunately, become the run-of-the-mill. This implies that 94% as well as 95% are excellent percentages, but look around and you find yourself amidst a sea of perfection of 98% and 99%. Thus creeps in doubt, insecurity and a feeling of insufficiency. Have I really scored good enough marks? Did I not work diligently enough? Where did my efforts lack? The moment these questions sneak into your conscience, happiness and peace of mind slither out of your life. On top of that, you cannot draw up a satisfactory explanation for the sudden gloom that takes hold of you. After all, the geeks and the carefree are happy with their lives. Then, why is it that you seem to be the only one who is inadequate? To add to the depression, some parents are constantly dissatisfied with their child’s performance and compare it to that of others—so much so that disapproval is an omnipresent feature on their visages. Lest we forget giving due credit to our nosey relatives and neighbors. Don’t you just want to disappear into thin air at every mention of ‘Sharma ji ka beta’?
So, what now? Where do you go from here? Well, if you manage to land up in a good college and graduate with good marks, no one would bother with your school percentages. But if this time life serves you something average, like it has done all very often in the past, then, my friend, welcome “the uncertainty, the lack of self-confidence and the self-doubt” – your constant companions in the times to come. Brace yourselves for the moments where you will most likely wallow in self-pity. Gear up for some Devdas-like lamenting. I am not trying to dishearten you but it is always better to come to terms with reality than to live in denial. After all, your poor selves may not be able to handle the shattering of this illusion, too.
You could always open your eyes and realize that however bad it may seem, you are not actually a mediocre. You couldn’t get marks as high as someone else. What’s the big deal? It happens to everyone in life. When the one who got 99% says that he or she wasn’t ‘expecting at all to top the exams’, don’t underplay the hard work you put in and regard it as zilch. These things don’t happen serendipitously. Because, you know that they were able to achieve the extraordinary feat because they did something that you did not. But this hardly means that you lack the potential to achieve the same. NO. You need to recognize that your marks are not, in any way, poor or even mediocre. But there is certainly a lot of room for improvement if you want to be as happy with your life as others.
To those laughing away after reading my article, I would presume you don’t connect with several other souls like me. We already have enough people pitying us. We don’t need you to laugh upon our misery too. Shoo shoo!!