Engineering Exams. The mere mention strikes fear in the hearts of students. Actually fear is a small word, the correct word for engineering exams are monsters, striking terror and horror in the students. I completed my engineering from a college which was affiliated to the Mumbai University but was situated 400 kms from the mega city itself. I had never lived away from my parents, I had no clue what hostel life is all about. Then there was the small case of dealing with living in the constant fear of the upcoming semester exams. In the previous batch only 1, yes ONLY 1 student had managed to clear all exams in the first attempt. Fear was a constant as the exam dates were announced and those fat reference books were still gathering dust on our study tables.
With just a month remaining for the first semester exams to begin, most of the students were already burning the mid-night oil. I knew I had to do something as I was completely blank and had not started my preparations yet. My room mates were in the same situation. I was beginning to wonder if I had made the right decision by selecting engineering as my career option. I had never failed in my life, ever. But engineering exams were scaring me, mocking me as day after day passed without me making any significant breakthrough through my course.
With 20 odd days remaining, I made a call. I made a timetable - a to do list for myself. This was the thing I had done for all my 12 years in school. There were 5 subjects in total and I gave each subject 4 days, it looked impossible to cram so much in so few a days but a start had to be made.
With steely determination and a bit of apprehension I was ready to go. The first few days were difficult as I hardly took my eyes off my books. I managed to take an evening walk daily after my dinner to get some fresh air even with my break-my-back schedule. Nights were hell as it was cold but I did not want to fail, how would I say to my parents that the son in whom they had trusted so much had failed. I slept for only a couple of hours for each of those 20 odd days. I was beginning to feel a bit confident by the time the exams started but I knew that it would be touch and go.
I still remember when I sat down for the first engineering exam, the moment I saw that question paper, a chill ran down my spine, I could feel a bead of sweat form on the back of my neck. The paper was tough beyond my wildest imaginations. But I could not give up at so late a moment. I started writing down whatever I knew, I wrote half answers, drew diagrams as much as I knew. The rest of the exams were no different, I realized by the end of my exams that no one can say with confidence that he or she is fully prepared for these monstrous engineering exams.
The results would be declared after about a month and now there was nothing I could do but wait for those results to be announced on the college notice board. The day finally arrived, the news of the results being displayed spread like wild fire in our hostel. While I made my way towards the college slowly dragging my feet with a silent prayer on my lips, I saw some students returning with a frown on their faces. No words were exchanged as the results were writ large on their faces.
I reached there and glanced through the results, I witnessed a miracle. I had passed all the 5 subjects. Yes, I had not topped any of them but I had not failed. There was a time when I would be disappointed after scoring a 90 during my school days, on that day I had scored 42 and had a big smile on my face. I lingered around the notice board for a long time, most of the students had returned to their rooms long back. Only a few students remained, they had all passed all the subjects in the first attempt like me. We were only 9 who had done that, I remember us all hugging each other like we had scaled the Mt. Everest - actually we had if the circumstances were taken into the account.
The engineering exams always struck fear through the remaining 4 years, but I was more confident about taking them head on, I had pledged to be better prepared from the next time and the moment of triumph came when I scored a distinction in my final year, the joy on my face was priceless.
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