IS THAT CUT-OFF LIST CUT­TING OFF YOUR SPIRIT?

It’s time all you anx­ious col­lege as­pi­rants stop giv­ing too much im­por­tance to it

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - HT City | Time Out - SONAL KALRA Sonal Kalra changed three col­leges in the first three months of tak­ing ad­mis­sion. It only means three dif­fer­ent What­sapp alumni groups! Mail her at sonal.kalra@hin­dus­tan­times.com, face­book.com/son­al­kalraof­fi­cial. Fol­low on Twitter @son­al­kalr

My dear list, I am not sure if I need to ask if you are do­ing well be­cause we all know how high you stay most of the time. I’ve al­ways wanted to ask you how it feels to have a name like ‘cut-off.’ Be­cause, in us hu­mans, we have names that tend to have pos­i­tive mean­ings, not ones that bring in vi­o­lent im­agery in the head. Though it may be in­ter­est­ing for some to be named such, like Ter­mi­na­tor Chad­dha, but let’s not take away your unique­ness. Am sure you are aware of, and en­joy be­ing in the news head­lines these days. Who doesn’t want their very men­tion to cre­ate rip­ples?

But do you know that most of us deeply dis­like you for the im­mense stress you have been giv­ing us over the years? You are the num­ber one stress point right now for lakhs of stu­dents who are spend­ing sleep­less nights fear­ing you’d come in the way of them get­ting ad­mis­sion into a col­lege. You won’t like it, but to­day, I’m go­ing to tell those stu­dents, and their equally anx­ious par­ents, to not give too much im­por­tance to you. I know your ego will be hurt but then you stay so high, you can man­age it! So here’s the deal.

1

There was life be­fore you, and there is life be­yond you: The par­ents who are to­day on the edge of their seats, while their chil­dren ride the roller coaster of col­lege ad­mis­sion process, would re­mem­ber that there used to be no dreaded cut-off lists dur­ing their time. But there was still fierce com­pe­ti­tion… the world was still called cut­throat… and that all of them still man­aged to do some­thing fairly good with their lives. Those par­ents to­day have the op­por­tu­nity to give the best gift ever to their chil­dren — the faith that no mat­ter how many ad­mis­sion lists don’t carry their name, some­thing good is ul­ti­mately writ­ten in their des­tiny. It’s just a lit­tle far for them to see it right now and feel re­as­sured. As I keep re­mind­ing, God has a plan for each one of us, and some­times that’s all we need to know.

2

Dis­ap­point­ments are tem­po­rary: All of them. I know of a cou­ple who was ap­par­ently very dis­ap­pointed when their son didn’t get ad­mis­sion in class nurs­ery in the school they thought was the best. ‘Ek baar yeh ho jaata toh life set thi,’ is what his dad told my fa­ther at that time. Any­how, the child got through in an­other school where he ex­celled in stud­ies all through and got 91% in class XII board ex­ams, 14 years later. ‘Bure nahi hain, but these days stu­dents are get­ting 95-96%’ is what his ev­i­dently dis­ap­pointed mom said, when the re­sult was an­nounced. The boy stud­ied like a ma­niac for en­gi­neer­ing en­trance but couldn’t clear the IIT exam. ‘Ek baar yeh ho jaata toh life set thi’, re­peated the dad, af­ter 15 years of ut­ter­ing the same sen­tence. Any­how, af­ter do­ing en­gi­neer­ing in a re­gional col­lege and a cou­ple of years of job hop­ping, the boy was re­cently hired by an IT gi­ant that of­fered him a record-high salary pack­age. ‘So, how is it go­ing?’ I asked his beam­ing dad the other day. ‘Ek­dum badiya. Life set hai,’ he replied. I wish he knew that life was set the day his son was born. Dis­ap­point­ments don’t stay for long. The way we feel about them to­day is not how we will feel about them a few years later. So, why let them bog us down?

3

Suc­cess is never about the col­lege… it’s about the per­son: It’s not re­ally needed for a re­search to say this but since some peo­ple be­lieve a state­ment only when ‘sci­en­tific stud­ies show’ pre­cedes it, let me in­form you that sci­en­tific stud­ies the world over have shown that there’s no cor­re­la­tion be­tween which col­lege a per­son stud­ied in and his/her ul­ti­mate suc­cess in the ca­reer. And right now, I’m stick­ing to suc­cess, not even say­ing happiness, be­cause there’s no cor­re­la­tion be­tween these two ei­ther.

When one reads about a stu­dent of IIT or AIIMS com­mit­ting sui­cide be­cause of de­pres­sion, or highly ‘suc­cess­ful’ CEOs dy­ing of stress in­duced car­diac ar­rests at the age of 40, you be­gin to won­der if we even know what we are aim­ing to achieve by be­ing in this mad race of com­pe­ti­tion. Suc­cess doesn’t come from the name of the col­lege writ­ten on your de­gree. Heck, if I’m not wrong, the col­lege’s name is not even men­tioned on the de­gree is­sued by a univer­sity. Suc­cess comes from how mean­ing­fully you are util­is­ing the knowl­edge gained from the classes you at­tended, no mat­ter in which­ever col­lege build­ing. At the end of the day, build­ings are all that col­leges are. Your suc­cess, and ul­ti­mately happiness, can only come from within you.

Com­ing back to you my dear dreaded list, the walls on which you are so vainly stuck may dif­fer from one col­lege build­ing to an­other, but the tem­po­rari­ness of your rel­e­vance re­mains un­changed. No mat­ter how many col­leges re­ject ad­mis­sion to a stu­dent be­cause of you, he would re­main the per­son that he was. You can make him anx­ious and take away his sleep for a night or two, but you can’t take away his des­tiny if he chooses to be suc­cess­ful and happy. That’s the per­ma­nence of our vic­tory over you. Now get off our backs, please!

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