By Rajat Panigrahi:
“Could not fair well enough in the JEE exams? Koi bat nai beta (No problem, son). Look at Mishraji’s son. He, too, didn’t score well in the entrance exams and failed to make it to IITs and NITs. Studied at some college and today he is working at one of the top consultancy services in the country. Even, Sharmaji’s son is studying over there and he told me that the college has succeeded in getting above 95 percent students placed this year.”
This has been the household story of many an Indian family and few of you must have been a product of this narrative. And when the father heard of the attractive 100 percent placement scheme from the neighbour, little did he know about how even it added to that figure. And by the time you get know of the ground reality of that 100 percent, you are already half way down on a wrong road (even though that’s the most traveled one) and you don’t have a choice but to continue on the journey. The journey of forty to fifty odd subjects, 8 semesters along with a few ‘good-for-nothing’ exams.
And then with due course, you would realise that even though you failed to do what you loved (something other than engineering) but tried to love what you are doing (engineering), that never happened.
Why? Because the deteriorated college environment never allowed you to do so. You would feel like being in a garden of thorns where, every now and then, you have to take well-gauged steps with the fear being pricked upon. And every time you try planting a flower in that garden and make a life of your own, your freedom would be chained. The presence of a lot of egocentric teachers around you doesn’t help. They come over to class with notes copied from books and recite the same just like how the priest chants some mantras from a Veda in the name of teaching.
But what’s worse is that as long you are within those four walls, you have to pay attention to the one standing in front you or at least you have to pretend to be attentive because, if you don’t do so, you would be deemed as an ‘uncultured’ student who is being disrespectful towards his teachers. Sadly we are living in a society where being mindful, immersed and interested in the class lecture along with carrying well-maintained notes are the yard sticks to measure how well-mannered a student is.
What happens this way is the supply of respect fails to satisfy the growing demands of it, making the student- teacher relationship a total chaos. But thanks to those very few teachers out there who understand student psychology better than their compatriots, survival becomes a bit easier for the students. So, the teaching methodologies need to be ‘knowledge imparting’ rather than being ‘GPA-oriented’ along with an examination scheme which would focus on mapping the understanding capabilities rather than the retention powers.
Then comes the much awaited 7th semester – the placement period. The regular classes gets halved and PowerPoint presentation classes are doubled. Every student out there gets diseased by the TCS fever. Of course the college holds cultural nights and the science and tech expo every year but when it comes to the much celebrated festivals, nothing can come any closer to the hype and hues the TCS placement period brings with it.
But what TCS does is, it murders the long aspiring dreams of CAT, GATE or or any other plans that the candidates had weaved some day to make it big in their life. Every bit of focus boils down to TCS. The desperation to get placed outplace the strong resolutions of bigger achievements. But if you peep deeper, then you would realise that it’s not TCS that transforms the perception of the students. Rather, it’s the way the placement authorities and faculty members portray TCS.
You would often listen to statements like, “Now at least, get serious. TCS is coming,” “If you behave this way then TCS is never going to hire you” and many more. To be precise, everything starts and ends with TCS and everything in the middle becomes irrelevant. Authorities and faculties eat, drink and breathe TCS. They would defend this proposition of theirs by saying that they are creating a sense of seriousness among students.
But little do they realise that by doing so, they are pushing the students into extreme pressure zones where the students start feeling that TCS is the first and last bus out there and if they miss it then they can never get over the line. This pressure keeps piling for a period of time, gets converted to stress and the fear of being rejected starts haunting the students. Then authorities keep forcing students to get into any of the companies coming and this is not because they are really bothered about a student not getting placed but because this would help them improve the placement percentage. Moreover, they can cash in on the first month salary of the students. Is this ridiculous? No, this isn’t. Because there is some sort of business going over there. It’s like, I pay you this much and you hire these many.
But my dear students, what exactly you need in life is to be sincere rather being serious. Sincere to yourself, to your dreams and to your aspirations. You need to realise that TCS is just a part of life not the whole life. So, don’t take it as life and death. It’s just like any other exam with a different name. If you get selected, then well and good and if you don’t, then something even better is awaiting you in the future.
To all those who get rejected, believe me, some day you would look back and realise that this was one of the best things that has ever happened to you. You just need to take the positives from it rather than weeping over the negatives. What’s important is to focus on the process rather than getting carried away by the moment. Nourish your aptitude skills, furnish your technical skills, work on your English, develop your soft skills (not for TCS but for a better tomorrow for yourself). It’s all about improving from how good you were day before.
Life is too short to brood over a TCS placement and there is a lot more to life than that. It’s okay if you don’t have a job which comes at the expense of your 1st salary. After all, you don’t need any one’s favor to earn a packet of bread for yourself. Just spend some time on Google and you would get the idea that there are a lot of better career options available on the other side.
Juniors, today you have the most important thing in your hand. That’s called time. So don’t get afraid of the uncertainties. Take a bit of risk because some day, you would desperately want to do something better but time won’t be on your side. Don’t let your originality fade away. Remember, ten years down the line, you would have a son or a daughter who would look up to you as a role model and might follow your foot steps. So make sure you leave your foot prints at the right place.