Getting into an IIT is a dream for many intermediate students in India. There are just two opportunities to appear for JEE (Advanced). It is natural for people to fail. No wonder I didn’t fare well in my first attempt. Now, I am a junior undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering at IIT (BHU). Here is my story for those who are still in a dilemma whether to take one year drop to get into an IIT.
“Don’t let someone else’s opinion dampen your own inner spirit. You are not a mere AVERAGE guy.” My journey from AIR 10257 in JEE (Advanced)-2013 to AIR 2571 in JEE (Advanced)-2014 taught me this.
It may sound absurd that I was not aware of IITs until the end of class X. Giving a plausible explanation to this; I am from a small town Balasore, Odisha and back in 2010-11, less than 100 students from Odisha used to get into IITs. No wonder, there was neither coaching centres for JEE in my town nor was I aware of any digital platforms like HashLearn dedicated to exam preparations. Hence, I joined schooling and coaching at Bhubaneswar. The competition was tough, but what was worse was the hostel life and peer pressure. I performed really well in both coaching and school exams securing a rank among the top 10 students almost regularly for the first 5-6 months. I was on track.
I would describe the circumstance under which I failed to get into an IIT in my first attempt. I was swayed away from my target by the newly garnered fascination to city glamour leading to engendering a lot of dilatory habits. My friend circle was immature and I was often bullied verbally. I would not shy away to mention about my infatuation and desperate efforts in befriending a girl, leading to a lot of time wastage. Apart from that, the coaching was not of national repute like FIITJEE or Resonance, which conduct All India test series that helps you gauge the depth of your preparation from time to time. Once there was a situation in which 5 Physics teachers came to teach ‘Electrostatics’. One of the worst demotivating factors was when the head of my coaching institute called me an ‘AVERAGE student’ when my father asked me about my performance. All this happened altogether in a short span and I began losing my confidence. I became a regular back-bencher. My rank in coaching slipped down to below 40 and from 90.8% in class XI finals, my percentage in half-yearly of class XII slipped down to 77.8%. I also faced difficulty in getting my last minute doubts cleared.
In May 2014, I decided to drop a year for preparations. I joined FIITJEE (South Delhi) and stayed in a single seated room. Earlier I used to stay in a room of four. Now, there was hardly a class when I didn’t sit in the first row. The teaching was spot on and a lot of importance was given on solving the last 35 years paper. Even the silliest of the doubts were entertained, unlike the previous coaching. I made just a handful of friends at Delhi. I was soon one of the top performers in the droppers’ batch. I appeared JEE (Advanced) sleep deprived although I shouldn’t cite this as an excuse for an average rank in the JEE (Advanced). But to be honest, there is a hell lot of pressure day before the exam despite your best preparation, especially in the second attempt. I never felt that in my first attempt. I had dropped despite my father’s denial because of the expenses to be incurred. The thought of the consequences of not clearing JEE in the second attempt did take a toll on the performance. But anyways, I am an IITian now. My success in the second attempt just taught me to feel confident about myself and I realised that there is always a way to get back on track if you try.
I believe, “It’s better to be a dropper than being a quitter.”
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