Oh, these testing times!
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Oh, these testing times!

HT Horizons’ campus journalists spent an eventful week deciding what they wanted from life, blowing up their chances in CATE, taking innumerable rounds of DU to submit forms, falling in love with Mumbai and, most importantly, discovering their self-belief

education Updated: Jun 16, 2010 09:27 IST

Saumya Aggarwal Presentation Convent

As we graduate from school, we enter the new and exciting world of college. And for people like me who are still ‘weighing their options’, it’s time to stop, think and decide on a plan A instead of counting on a whole bunch of plan Bs. I am one of those people who like to engage in all sorts of activities – and this I believe has led to all the confusion. As a result, I have ended up applying everywhere, because of which I will have to appear for a dozen different entrances. And to have to give one or the other exam every week is frustrating. Especially when you’ve just given your boards. So, one day, after a lot of arguments with my parents, I sat down to introspect and I asked myself: ‘What do I want to do? How do I see myself in five years? Where does my heart tell me to go?’

Now, I've decided. So, I'm still fighting, cramming up as much as I can, learning everything I get hold of. I'm exactly two weeks away from my last entrance exam and I still have so much to do.

Choosing the correct road amidst tangled highways is tougher than coming up with something like the String Theory. I’m continuously confused by varied appeals of different courses and often feel unsure about whether I'll fit in the puzzle of whatever life plans for me. Once I’ve locked onto a course, which is a Herculean task in itself, I hope the choice of colleges will unravel to my satisfaction. Till then it is back to the grind for me…….

But as I said — Life is like a ladder. My job is to keep climbing.

Soham Shiva The Shri Ram School. Gurgaon

The purpose of the CATE was very impressively. It was meant to help us analyse the true potential for literature and not rote-learning ability.

Unfortunately, amongst all this glam of a revolutionary methodology, the very principles behind CATE-2010 were thrown in the bin, at least for a minority amongst the entire Army of CATE’eers. This minority is called — ISC.

We went in like a legion of proud warriors, banking on the fact that the syllabi for the test would be neutral for all boards and confident of our flair for the language. None of us anticipated the removal of “Combined” in the CATE, in every sense. Half the written section was picked straight off the CBSE textbooks, and the ‘unseen’ comprehension, a poem in this case, was ‘seen’ for everyone, but us. While the hundred odd ISC folks attempted it as a test of interpretation and aptitude of literature, the rest happily wrote pages after pages of pre-mugged answers. So much for equality and “true tests of skill”. I hope the paper-setters are feeling very good about themselves for having ruined a tiny percentage of 9,000 aspirations. Thanks.

Now that CATE has backfired, I’m thankful that there are still many colleges which don’t accept this test. The wait for the cut-offs is becoming painful and I’m impatiently and desperately hoping that the cut-off’s this year don’t exceed last year’s in excess of a percent. If they do, then ...as they say in the un-refined parts the language, “I’m s*****d!”

Kshitij Sharan Vasant Valley, Vasant Kunj

I have just climbed Mount Everest, battled a number of avalanches, and now I’m back at base camp. That is exactly how I felt when I was done with the DU admissions. That one week was undoubtedly the most tiring of my life. Never have I walked so much in 40 degrees, with the sun’s main objective being burning me till I melt. I have to say that the experience was exhausting yet exhilarating.

Talking about my experience; my laziness never allowed me to reach the uni before 11 and the offices were only open till 1. I had to visit the campus twice to buy all the forms and twice to submit them. The filling of forms is quite a complicated process. Therefore, concluding these points; I felt like killing myself.

The common form, I have to say, was a great relief. It is an amazing idea which has helped students tremendously. But for a person like me who was applying under ECA and sports I had to go to every college, stand in those godforsaken lines and buy the forms. On the first day of submitting the forms, I reached the campus at 11, ran like a maniac from one college to another. As the clock struck one, I had reached the gates of my last college — SRCC. But rules cannot be broken, the woman at the window shut the window on my face. Thus, I had to travel to this different world again just to submit this last form of mine. But it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Please Delhi University, let’s go green and just make the forms online. And to end I would like to say: kudos to DU for considering these millions of applications and adding the silver lining to the cloud of dreams.


DPS, Mathura Road

I can’t be Aristotle or Plato but the week gone by with all the self realisation is worth sharing. I learnt to accept things the way they are and not as I want them to be. I learnt to accept where I am. At 84. A decent performance at CATE, a not-so-high morale or confidence level, a situation which I wanted to be easier than what it is, school mates doing extremely well somewhere or the other.

I was not able to see beyond a cloudy sky, unless I realised one more thing:

‘The brick walls and obstacles will be there not to stop me but just to let me know how truly I want something’.

Who does not want good education or a good college? But here’s the catch — What do I do now when everything is almost done? Do I over depend on God? Should I try the Secret? or should I stop caring at all?

Mom and Dad. Relax. I intend to do none of the above.

This Thursday I am going to take an exam with something I'd lost four months ago — my self-belief. And I blame neither the system nor myself for that.

Without caring about the results, all I am going to do is let the pen do the talking. I will finally start enjoying what I do. From trials to entrances to criticism to those early morning jogging sessions with dad. Because finally something that was missing is back. Something that no one else can bring for anybody. The passion, the vigour and most importantly the willingness to accept and enjoy every moment. Someone rightly commented on the irony of human attitude: ‘We live as if we’ll never die and die as if we never lived.’

I finally am going to bask in living today.

Arushi Kaath DPS, Gurgaon, Sector 45

Through the past month when it came to deciding where I wanted to pursue my graduate studies, I was quite certain that The University of Delhi was my calling. One trip to the city of Mumbai, however, has changed my opinion.

My parents are ardent advocates of having at least a list of options for college and Mumbai University has been one of them. I was so keen on studying at DU that I just could not think of shifting to a city that has been alien to me. But I somehow managed to convince myself that I should at least get a feel of the kind of education and life the city and the university have to offer. And was I glad I did!

Stepping into the lively city, I was taken over by thrill and anticipation to find out all that the city has to offer to an 18-year-old. I had had pre-conceived notions about Mumbai as a city, especially notions that made the city seem jam-packed, crowded, unkempt and unwelcoming. But having witnessed all aspects of the city for myself, all of these notions were renewed. The cleanliness and maintenance of the city was a pleasant surprise, considering it is one of the most populous in the country. The people of the city are genuine and helpful. For my parents like any others', safety and security are paramount factors, and once again the city has fared well in that sphere. The city and it’s modes of transportation, particularly, are safe and secure even in the wee hours of the night.

However, my main concern was the education and the institutions that Mumbai has been praised for for so long. Walking through the corridors of colleges such as St. Xavier’s, Jai Hind and Sophia, I understood exactly why they’re so popular. I would indeed consider myself fortunate to make it to either one of them.

So for those of you, who think just like I did that there isn’t much beyond DU, well let me assure you that there is. Mumbai is a great option. I’ve learnt that there is no harm in keeping your options open. Who knows, you might just find something even better!

Gauri Saxena Gyan Bharati School

The world lies out there, and opportunities with it too, all you need to do is grab them. Like we’ve been sent to earth to compete with the human race for survival and to prove to one another that we’re better than each other. That’s the reality the world outside one’s school – cutthroat competition even when you’ve done the best you could. Well, this is an arena where even doing the best is not good enough. I want to carve a niche, we all say, want to be the best, but have we ever thought how many of us say that? Then best would be another category altogether, which of course would not be elitist or extraordinary because it would be inclusive of everyone. What is that drives us then? To be like everyone else, being included in the rat race, and fighting for marks just like everyone else, or be somebody who we really want to be, do something we would really like to do?

I find this journey rather overwhelming, too fast paced, too quick a succession into this new sphere, where no one’s your own and there’s no one to reach out to sometimes. But something drives me to motivation and then inspires, it’s perhaps all the expectations I have on my shoulders to take care of, most importantly, expectations that I’ve put upon myself, some core thrusts I think I need to achieve. And again, I talk like a rat in the race, something I never thought I'd be.

First Published: Jun 15, 2010 12:50 IST