I gave an entrance exam earlier this year and the result came in today. At my scores, there are no chances left for me to ever make it into one of the most prestigious institutes in India. It ended today, but it started more than 9 years ago.
14 years old me wanted to be a software engineer, do coding for a living and hopefully make it big. When you see such a dream in India, the obvious next step is to try to get into IITs to improve your chances of getting somewhat near to it. I wanted it bad and there was no reason for anyone to advise me otherwise. In 2012, I moved to Kota — 700kms from my home, alone, to prep for JEE. What were those 2 years like is a different thing on its own, but in short I couldn’t make it then. 2 years of efforts boiled down to 6hrs of exam and I failed to give my best performance.
I thought of giving another shot which meant taking a year off to re-prepare for the exam, but the fear of losing again was too much to handle. I and my family realized it’s in our best interest emotionally and economically to not waste another year and take whichever better option was available for me then. Luckily, I ended up getting into the best college of architecture in India, something that many others would’ve dreamt of, but not me. I spent the next few years convincing myself that it’s not a big deal that I couldn’t make it into IIT for SPA is good enough. But the fact was, a part of me cried every time I heard of someone I knew studying in IIT knowing I could’ve been there if I would’ve given better performance in those 6 hours.
It took me almost 5 years to get over that dream and admit that I was never meant to be an IITian. At that time, I graduated, got a job and moved on with my life. I had some batchmates preparing for the Master's program but I was least interested. I casually mentioned this to my parents (big mistake) who started convincing me to apply as well. With all that pressure from home and from my peers, I did agree to write down the exam. I just wanted to clear the exam to prove that I’m capable. I sat with almost no preparation and somehow managed to score a decent rank. Decent enough to believe I had a chance in the best colleges in the country. Suddenly, all those days of hard work, efforts, failures and turmoil came live as flashbacks and the inner desire to get into my dream institution started seeing a promise. Not just my dream, but also for my parents. I was willing to give up whatever it takes to get myself a tag of an IITian. Then came the 2020 pandemic.
Luck had it that all odds of making big started to vanish. Suddenly all institutes changed their selection process. Some decided to conduct interviews, some didn’t. Few chose to look at portfolios and others simply denied. In all, after dragging 4 months into the process and getting very close to my dream, I ultimately failed, again. All those inner voices saying you don’t deserve to be an IITian became louder and I was on verge of giving up, completely. But one good thing about 2020 was that every failure in it deserved a second chance. Maybe it wasn’t me after all, maybe it was 2020. With that hope, I decided to re-appear for the exam.
This time I took time and prepared well. My only motive was to beat my previous score and reach a step closer to succeeding than a year before. Today the results came in and my score is much worse instead. If I had some chance last year, this year there’s none. With that, my 9 years hustle comes to an end. Around this time 9 years ago I was preparing an entrance exam for a coaching institute that would help me get into IITs. Now, this is about time I call it quits and move on. Maybe there are better things to do than crying about a shattered dream.