Last night, more than three-and-a-half lakh students, fresh from their Class 12 board exam results, couldn’t wait for Delhi University to announce the first cut-off list of marks for admissions to its various under-graduate courses.
I, too, was in the rat race, apprehensive yet hopeful. I had worked hard to score 97.25% in the exam, topped the Bhubaneswar region in Humanities, outsmarting students from five other states. Without doubt, my decision to travel all the way to Delhi from Odisha always looked like one of the best decisions of my life.
My dream college was just a step away, or so I thought. With such good marks, I was sure to make it to Lady Shri Ram College in the first list itself. I had to. Everything I had planned for myself, my future, centred around getting into the college of my choice. It was what motivated me, pushed me to work harder as the nights became longer during the board exams. My parents were right there with me. They were dreaming too.
When it was time in the night to log-on and download the cut-offs, the exercise looked nothing more than a formality I couldn’t avoid.
And then it hit me: The list released by the university was a cruel joke on my confidence. My hopes were crumbling, and I could see all the pieces of the puzzle I had put together for my future lying shattered as I stared at the laptop screen in disbelief. What hurt even more was the expression on my parents’ face. They looked worried.
The DU cut-offs felt really absurd to me. Is it really sane to expect students to score such high marks? Isn’t it unfair to deny admission to a student just because she missed the cut-offs by a mere 0.5 or 1%? It isn’t just about admissions. It is about taking away the student’s right to dream just because she didn’t score a cent percent.
The question is not “Have we done enough?” The question is “How much is enough?” Somewhere something is wrong in the system.
I am now waiting for the second list to be announced, but my confidence has taken a beating. I don’t know how to mask my despair. I am left hanging with no idea where I am headed anymore. The dilemma is multi-dimensional. Should I go for a higher-ranking college or should I opt for a subject I want? What if I don’t get my chosen subject in any of the colleges I wanted to go to? What is my future plan then?
In this chaos (should I say circus?), I have a very strong feeling that I am going to lose my aim in life, my focus and, more importantly, myself.
Who says “Delhi is not too far”!
(Bidisha Mahaptra passed Class 12 Humanities from DPS Kalinga, Bhubaneswar)