(by Aditi Dixit, Class X)
"No matter what the circumstances steal from us, we must not, ever, give up on our happiness."
Every year, millions of students study hard to define their future and pour out their knowledge on a piece of paper. We should call India, 'the country of exams'. The youth of India is brought up with dreams and expectations to be the best. And what defines the best? The number of A's on our report cards. Engineering and Medicine are made for these kinds of students. They are different from the rest of the group, for they have a special name to them. They are called 'the toppers'.
I have been giving tests since I was in grade 1. A six-year-old child in me used to wait with anticipation, not for my result, but for the reaction of my parents upon witnessing my result.
My relatives who visited me last week had a set of questions ready with them. Indian aunties, always do. Among their questions made to judge every bit of my character, one was, "So, what are your plans for the future?" It's absurd, isn't it? I am one of those confused souls that loves to go with the flow. I have never been among the 90 percenters, but I somehow managed to rise above the average.
I replied, "For now, I aim to pass 10th with good scores."
Now, the 10th is the beginning of this race to set our future. Imagine it as the beginner level in a video game. But what if someone finds this so-called 'beginner level' hard? It has been for most of us. I know, this might be funny or difficult to relate to for some people, but let me explain.
Let us take my case as an example. My parents enrolled me on tuition for the first time in my life. I wondered for a second whether I was not good enough... but with a lot of rebellion and protest, I let it pass. At the beginning of the year, it was manageable. I had time to go out and socialise with my friends. The pressure started after the summer break. My life completely changed. The exams started, the tuition started, not for one hour but for four hours, I have to attend school and do homework and tuition tests and tuition homework and complete my syllabus and whatnot. Scary, right?
I looked around me, and I found everyone's situation the same. Just because everyone does it doesn't mean that it’s not hard.
This is affecting every one of us.
Anxiety is threatening the mental health of the youth today. The kids in the back of the class are always sleeping. That 6-hour sleep is like candy to us now, like a luxury, a dream. I try to eat less, for I know that I won't be able to digest it all. My legs swell up with fat and insecurity and constant advice from our loved ones to become better, physically and mentally makes things sever. We wish someone can come up to us and say, it’s okay not to be okay; it’s okay to change.
These are the struggles behind the limelight of those report cards. And every student preparing for any exam has to face it.
My dear readers, if you are still reading the 'dukh, dard, samasya of an average aspirant', I want to give you all some small advice. Be kind. Be kind to yourselves when you crack the test but feel like a disappointment just because your parents didn't smile enough. Be kind to yourselves when you are unable to crack the test and soothe your heart with perseverance. Remember, only when you start seeing your life differently will it actually feel different. Kindness will bloom your souls with positivity and happiness. Learn to wake up excited for tomorrow. Learn to smile, defeating the sorrow.