This article has been submitted by Shruthi Anand for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.
For many children, March is only the end of one year of school, and the beginning of the next. For us students of standard 12 however, the month of March signifies the twilight of our school year, and with it the end of our school lives. For us, it is a month which holds significance as one of the last few times we will be called ‘school children’.
How do we feel about school life coming to a close? For most of us, there are mixed feelings. We feel both happy, but at the same time, nostalgic. I’ll deal only with the ‘happy’ aspect here because that’s the dominant feeling I find among my peers, attributable to the many, many exams that we have had.
For 12 years, we’ve woken up and gotten ready for school in a semi-conscious state, sleepy, yet awake- not understanding the point of making the arduous journey to this temple of learning. Even in the classroom, we usually caught up on our lost sleep of the night before; the teacher’s voice echoing like a soft lullaby in the background. Only three sounds really excited us- the snacks, the lunch and the evening bell. The last one, especially, saw us scrambling to get a glimpse of the gate and be the first ones to reach it; like pilgrims who see the object of their pilgrimage for the first time. Then there would be home work. Something most of us did in class the next day, taking ‘help’ from one or two really sincere souls who would have done it and would distribute the benefit of their learning. And then there are those of us who used what one of my teachers calls Murphy’s Law. If we were asked for a maths assignment, it would have been the only one that was left at home (but the way we would emphatically state that we had done the homework and couldn’t be accused of not doing it would make the teacher feel guilty for even doubting us in the first place). If we were asked to give an answer to a question that was a part of the homework- lo and behold! – that would have been the only question in the entire exercise that we wouldn’t have known the answer to. This is probably the only law that we learnt and actually put to practical use in our lives.
Last, but not the least, there were those diabolical monsters- the exams. Their one aim was to ruin our lives; some sadistic pleasure in watching us cringe with fear when they came close. The day before the exam saw all of us becoming nocturnal, staying awake the whole night drinking cups and cups of coffee (and other things which I do not wish to elaborate on) in order to keep awake. We memorized that last formula or lesson just as the sun broke through the clouds, and entered school hoping against hope that the room in which the question papers were kept ‘accidentally’ caught fire and all the question papers were ‘tragically’ burnt. When that didn’t happen, resigned ourselves to our fate and wrote the exam, all the while cursing the time we spent on the phone or watching TV before the exam and making lofty promises to ourselves of studying seriously for the next exam; promises which, invariably, were forgotten somewhere in between the two said exams.
The results were followed by tears, anger, and then finally consolation at the thought that we were made for better things in life than to do well in exams. After all, didn’t people like Steve Jobs (God bless his soul) and Abraham Lincoln do badly in school? And since they were our role models, it followed logically that we needn’t study for exams to do well in life.
So yes, many of us are relieved at never having to go through all those things again after March. We’re happy that those experiences will not come knocking on our doors hereafter. We’re overjoyed that there will not be early morning alarms (which we sleep through anyway), and late night studying before the day of the exam. We’re glad that there will be no torturous waits for exam results and no home work that will sit over our heads for the entire year. School life, with its myriad phases, colours, chapters, scenes and facets will finally be over, and we’re already celebrating.
There are two sides to any coin, and school life is no exception. There are things that we will all sorely miss about these years.