Rathika Ravindran class 10 score of 99.27 per cent did not come at the cost of the rest of her life.
An SSC topper this year, Ravindran is a state level archer and also a fencer.
If this is not enough the movie-lover is also a trained classical dancer.
Today’s high scorers are not only about their marks. The bookworm, asocial stereotype attributed to their kind is slowly changing.
Toppers are no longer just students who spend the entire year studying and praying to beat the rest.
They are well-rounded individual with hobbies, friends and, more importantly, the usual teenage tantrums.
“Nowadays, parents and schools are more conscious the importance of all-round development of students. Academic success has been redefined to go beyond books and include a host of extracurricular activities,” said Avnita Bir, principal, R.N Podar School in Santacruz.
“Even various boards have changed their outlook and are emphasising on holistic development of a student.”
For example, the CBSE board has a life skills component in its syllabus.
The University of Mumbai is introducing a credit system that allows credits for extracurricular activities. The SSC and HSC board has personality development as a graded subject.
For Aakanksha Sarda, who has been a topper at every exam she took since was 15 years old from the class 10 ICSE exam to the female IIT-JEE topper, it is all about time management.
“For the last few years everyone around me spent all their time studying, and I would watch two movies in a theatre every week and a movie at
home every day,” said the 18-year-old, who is now preparing for the International Physics Olympiad.
“With me it is more about time management and focus. When I study I only study and nothing else distracts me,” she said.
Even Janvi Thosani, the national ICSE topper with 98.8 per cent, followed her timetable religiously.
“All these perceptions are changing. For example, high scorers don't necessarily need to so science anymore,” said 15-year-old Thosani, who is very passionate about painting.
Niharika Sareen, the class 12 CBSE commerce topper that too without any coaching classes, said that the stereotyping is more a case of sour grapes.
“It is just an easy way to explain students who do well and then label them as nerds,” she said.