Dropping a Year: A Trend That’s Catching Up Fast

Posted on June 24, 2010 in Education

Tarusha Mittal:

Taking a year off in order to prepare for one of the various competitive examinations is a trend which is fast picking up among the youth.

There are two sides to a coin and so as is the case, here too, there are pros and cons to both the situations and one should contemplate seriously whether taking a drop is the best way to go about one’s career.

There are scores of students who re-locate to Kota – the Mecca of coachings – in order to get through into one of the premier institutes of the country. It is more of a fad than anything else. There is a fair chance that after all the preparation one might make it but the probability of that happening is pretty low.

A student’s morale suffers a terrible blow when he fails to make it into a good institute, even after taking a year off after intermediate education. It’s embarrassing for them – later- to become juniors to their own peer group. Apart from that, taking a year off can be difficult to explain to potential employers.

There are several examples which transform into junior college legends and are passed down from one batch to another. The one at the top in my head is that of a girl who made it into all the high – ranking engineering institutes of the country and also got through the IIT- via the extended merit list but as she wanted the stamp of IIT- Delhi on her resume, she dropped a year and later, too, she didn’t make it into IIT- Delhi and I’m talking about a girl who was topper all through school and her intermediate results were the highest in the North India region.

This without a doubt cast a shadow over her personality, she was unhappy with herself and later was also disgruntled about being in the same batch as her juniors in school.

This trend of taking a year off in order to prepare for the various exams can also turn into an unhealthy obsession wherein the student wants a particular institute or rank and leads to years being wasted in preparation – it is a complete wasting away of human labour and creates unemployed, frustrated youth.

There are thousands who waste away their precious energetic years in order to prepare for the civil service exams, there are myriad examples of graduates who keep doling out money to various institutes who “guarantee” success in the upcoming examinations.

Taking a year off can also have another connotation, wherein a person takes a off-year in order to gain experience, volunteer or travel the world; become more worldly-so to say- before stepping into the college arena.

In both the scenarios, a student loses out on his peer group and also, loses momentum in academics, though in the latter one gains a lot, whereas that isn’t the case in the former.

Taking a year off should be a very well thought out decision. Only go for it when one is more than sure about raking high because the stakes are too high.

Career counsellors’ take on it is worth a shot. If one does intend on taking a drop, simultaneously gain experience by working part time or volunteering, which might seem counter-productive at face value but all work and no play makes for pasty, disgruntled students and that is uncalled for.

image: Pune, India — School Boys in Classroom — Image by © Amanda Koster/Corbis