Probably “sucking” for a decade, I guess

If you start writing a blog, you should share your history with your readers. Well, this is not my history (believe me, it’d be boring). As it has been categorized, this really is an experience of mine. I’ll precise out most of the unnecessary childhood events. Because, this post wholly concentrates on the educational system by which I’ve been brought up for a decade. And, my history-of-education begins from my sixth grade, as I’ve forgotten most of my childhood activities. I’m sure this will be interesting to the outsiders. Just be comfortable with your seating, take some popcorn and enjoy the reading.

(Not that much interesting). At least, you can do a dirty skim, as you do to all my other posts. Truly speaking, with my average speed (which maybe the lowest), you can finish this off within 30 minutes…

Disclaimer: This might be my longest post ever… (took away my 6 precious hours)

Without knowledge of what’s happening around…

When we’re 5-years old, we’re taken to a school, where we meet our mates, start interacting with humans other than family or the neighborhood. Till we celebrate our 10th birthday, aal izz well. From then (6th grade), life is a highway. We start spending 8 hours each day (keeping aside, the holidays) for the next 6 long, hard school-years. In my school-life, I’ve been transferred to 4 schools. So, I have an idea how things would be elsewhere in my country. What I usually do in my school when I was in a child, which I assume – is what most children do (neglecting the unusually lucky kinds).

It’s all about attaining the pride, showing off as a gifted student in the class, ranking to the top list, (of course… it appears as if you can, while others can’t – because they’re clapping at you, showing their honor and respect), racing to the front while laughing at the competent while overtaking, anyway you wanna call it. (My 2nd school had a dumb mechanism that 1st, 2nd & 3rd ranks should wear a badge each of different color, publicize that they’re a “show-off” in the school – well, I wasn’t really lucky enough to get one of those). Roughly, this is what I did…

I took notes on whatever the teacher spewed on the board, without actually thinking how or why something should be like that. I play with my classmates. Then, I come home, I watch TV. Later, I start studying what I was taught the whole day. Mom clarifies most of the topics. As I have memory losses, I tell my mom, what I’ve studied. I give the notes to her and start saying the stuff inside it. Though I understood all of what I study, there’s a slight problem. Teachers expect the exact reproduction of the notes in the exams (maybe due to non-nativity of English or something). You change the way of writing, or leave something behind – and you’re gone..!!! You lose your pride..!!! Now, how could I allow that? Everyone are left with nothing, but one choice alone – ROTE to survive in the race…

Moreover, the homeworks, the assignments, probably everything here, everything is done by plagiarizing others’ hard work, or copying directly from the books (which is also plagiarism). How can someone find a way to develop skills? With this kind of attitude being encouraged here, anyone can be smartypants, just by copying from others (or let’s call it decently, sharing).

(Future of everyone…)

I remember an incident with a teacher when I argued her that “called as” and “known as” are exactly the same when used in the phrase, “Africa is also called as the Dark continent”…

This expectation grows with no limits…

As I’ve said, I understand all the sentences I study. I know all the clockworks behind something. But, no one can exactly reproduce his learning. He can, only if he memorizes. This wasn’t all that bad in those times, because why do you care about these things in your childhood? Why does something as brutal as this knock your mind, when you’ve got no idea of what’s goin’ on, especially when everyone around you does the same? And, you’re also unconscious and prevented from peeking into the truth?

In this way, I swallowed 4 years and finally, reached 10th grade, which people (here) usually phrase it as “the first step for a bright future“. Because, that’s the first time your paper is valued by someone somewhere else in the district (definitely not your own school). And, the marks you score determines how likely you’re a “fit” to the high-school. It’s not that easy. For example, my high school allowed me inside and also get the group I desired, because I scored around 88%. If that was low, good bye to the group and the school. It’s not so easy to get, if you weren’t rote memorizing…

Because, there’s a way for evaluating papers. The evaluators have a printed paper called the “key”, which has the answers for all the questions that has been asked in the exam. It’s needed, yeah. But, here comes the problem. In addition to the answers, in order to grease & ease these people, it also has a table of values assigned to specific words in the answers to a question. They snoop around, searching for that particular word, and if it’s present, put a “tick” on that spot and give the mark fated to that word.

As an example, I’ll get a definition from Wikipedia (assume this to be a question carrying 3 marks)…

The arrow of time, or time’s arrow, is a concept developed in 1927 by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington, involving the “one-way direction” or “asymmetry” of time.

Word / Phrase Marks
1927 1
Arthur Eddington 1
asymmetry 1

This is just an example, which can get a lot cruder at times. It’s just like that. You can write whatever you want, but those words should be there. If those words are there, you get 3. If you simply write “one-way direction” without mentioning “asymmetry” (we know that both have the same contextual meaning, but…), they don’t care. You’ll get 2. And, I didn’t have the chance to write “F*** you” somewhere inside, but I doubt the graders would barely notice it. Because, they have to value a threshold bulk of papers each day (50 or more, dunno the actual number) and they’re paid according to “how much they value” (and, most of them don’t know what the word actually means)…

Apart from this silly little mechanism of evaluation, the graders also expect very good great handwriting in the papers (where I suck again), which makes the situation more worse. I doubt this as evaluation. It looks like a war, where calm is expected. Extra marks for good handwriting… Meh…

And, it gets worse at higher grades…

I managed to escape without falling into the pit. My group was computer science (which is assigned for engineering students), and my high school was just an upgrade from the previous school (which I can blindly say, “my next school”) as the students here aren’t allowed to go there, etc., etc. quite stupid. So, that “key” scheme is followed for the upcoming two years (the remaining school life). Here comes the next disaster. 12th grade is simply declared as the future of a student by everyone. Because, people believe that we would die if we screwed up the exam somehow. And that’s because, the marks you obtain determines how likely you’d be a good “fit” to the next step – College…

It’s these two grades where we actually see all the weird stuff in the subjects for the first time. For example, math had calculus, matrices, conics, etc., chemistry sliced into organic, inorganic & physical chemistry (the question paper is also divided the same way). My dear “Physics” had astonishing topics like gravitation, waves, electrostatics, magnetism, etc. It’s also the first time when computer had boring Windows XP topics and wonderful C language. I can promise anyone that I didn’t enjoy the real beauty of anything (other than programming).

Well, the private schools all over the state followed one bitter rule. They complete the 11th grade within 6 months and start digging into 12th grade syllabus. And, these teaching masters find this “wonderful”. Because, this scheme can place you in whichever college you like. The annual exam will be conducted for 11th grade syllabus (in order to publicize that they’re following the rules), but you’ll be studying 12th grade that time. The most tasteful thing is that they don’t care about the results, as they’re concentrating on the “12th”. Does that mean they care about “which colleges the students are placed”? Nah..!!!

If their student gets a total mark higher than anyone in the district (or state), they can freely advertise their school in handouts, posters, newspapers that their school topped first in the district (or state). It’s all about making money…

Just how bad was my 11th grade?

It was really crazy. Our classes weren’t good. We had amazing teachers and sometimes boring ones, we had the all-time toppers (so did every other school). But, the common thing what most of our teachers do is compare the remaining people with the ranked and gifted ones, but they just don’t teach so that a non-ranker can understand. Toppers went on their way like a horse fitted with a nose chain, while the unlucky ones backed off.

Moreover, my 11th grade school was an useless leech. They sucked a lump of hard-earned money for extra classes telling us that they’re importing some good professors from the outside, said they’ll be taking classes after school for two hours (in the school itself). I thought these species would be good enough to compensate the morning bad ones. Nope..!!! They didn’t. All they did is, just sharpen the toppers. So, those extra two hours were just an additional period that you have to digest in the prison. You can not have another choice. At least, I was lucky that my school ran for 9 hours. We had schools in the neighborhood that ran from 6 to 8. 14 tough hours!!! Can you imagine that?

I gave up my hope. Till that time, I’ve being rote memorizing the sentences, but at least I was able to understand what each phrase meant. Now, I can’t even do that. I’m (being unwealthy and stupid), didn’t have enough resources, nor the idea (Internet) to research on what those silly little things really meant. Now, I have to memorize the subject mercilessly. I can’t do that…

I’ll give you an example. Say you’re learning matrices. This is all what the teachers say. “In a matrix, you put the numbers inside the parenthesis in rows and columns. In case of a determinant, you just replace the parenthesis with a pair of vertical bars“. Along the way, they explain how to do the arithmetic, inverses and all that stuff with matrices. They give the homework and move on. We don’t know what that kind of weird representation means, what’s the use of it (having countless number of applications in the sciences). This maybe enough for a 6-year old (if he wishes to know what you’re doing). How would it be enough for you, if you’ve been taught with these vertical bars?

The correspondent was a busy man. None had the opportunity to speak with him directly. When I got the chance (luckily), I expressed it out of my mind (but, politely) that the rule followed there is difficult for me to follow. I can still remember his shocking response words that interrupted my speech halfway,    “If you don’t like this scheme, just get your transfer certificate and disappear outta this school..!!!”

So, I did. I disappeared…

Last year for a high-schooler…

Previously, I said that this marks you earn in your 12th grade is what determines your college. And, there’s one more thing that needs to be introduced. It’s called the “Cut-off” (dunno why such a ridiculous terminology is given). It’s a stupid scheme of filtering students (once they’ve graduated from their high school) based on the marks they obtain in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. It’s not an average. It has a difference, that math would be given half of the credit, while the other two would be given only quarters each. The reason I mentioned “stupid” is because its grading system is still based on the “key”.

Now, based on this cut-off (or) what I call put-an-end to the unlucky, we can take our undergraduate courses in the top colleges of the state.

After disappearing from the private school, I came to a government-funded high school and continued my 12th  grade. Here, I made a change. I backed up myself by joining a tuition, because the “teaching” provided by these schools is totally ridiculous, that you can’t withstand in the hot & fury grounds. In this way, I attained my previous state. Understand the sentences, then simply rote…

Finally, I got out of the high school with flying colors (stunning 99.625% cut-off). Now that I’m free, I don’t have to be memorizing anymore (I thought). I can hopefully take my next course with the lords of the state. People usually speak out, “you should be lucky to get into one of those”. sigh… So, unlucky. (you’ll understand why, soon)

“Lords” of the state

We have four government institutions rocking in the state that provide all the engineering (UG/PG) courses, under which most of the private colleges are affiliated. These four are designed for the toppers of the state. Those who have a cut-off of more than 97.25% can easily get in there. But, it’s still risky because, what I said is just an average. In case of courses like ECE, the seats get filled up at 99% itself. Anyways, the point is this. It’s a rough value, which can change based on the incoming flow rate of toppers of the state. What’s so special with the lords?

Popular companies come looking for people in these colleges (believing that we’re gifted with creativity), the education fee is very less (only 4000 per semester – comparison). They also provide scholarships for students, like for the first graduates in the family (well, I’m one). A rumor goes allover the state that anyone can get a dream job if they get over with the lords (which isn’t really true). I doubt everyone could hardly get a job…

Now, we’ll get back to the actual happening. When the results are published, the date-of-counseling is announced everywhere (TV, newspapers, magazines). The first day is for the those who’ve earned more than 99%, and it goes on by decreasing cut-off (for 10 days or so). Each day, you can see bright faces (lucky enough to get on with their dreamed course) and dull faces (not so lucky). Since the counseling takes place in the main university, all the students who’ve planned to attend the counseling have one lucky chance of getting into the lords’ castle.

So unlucky with the lord…

I was always fond of “flying”. That explains my choice of selection of engineering – Aeronautics. My ambition was to become an astronaut. But, as I was forced by nature to hook up with something along the way, my ambition shifted from engineer to physicist. I’m really lucky that something as good as that happened in my life.

One way I praise my college. It provides superb laboratory facilities, lecture halls, library, tidiness in the campus, communication classes, etc. Did I miss something? Oh, yeah… And, the “amazing” syllabi & professors we’ve got. Now, let me give an ironic description of what I mean by “amazing” here.

As we all know, each semester has a different syllabus. In our first semester, we were separated into 10 batches, each having a rough number of people from all the departments (so that we get to know different species in the college). Precisely, mix up everyone and divide the mixture into 10 roughly equal proportions. And as per our system, we have to cover the basic engineering subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Engineering Graphics, Programming, English and Workshop regardless of the course they’ve taken. The rattling in my mind started in the first week of college with the question, “What’s the point of IT people studying Engineering Graphics?

The first week was totally fun (inauguration), because we were told with the reason “interaction”. Like, if your department mates aren’t there when you need them, you can go with your batch mates (didn’t understand the exact reason). Anyways, back to the story…

We have three assessment exams, that account for the internals before we get to the end semester. I thought that I don’t have to rote again, that I can get the intuitive idea of things. But, it looked like I have to do it again. From the day the portions started, all the professors concentrated on the formulas, names of books that you have to refer, topics that are more likely to be asked in the assessments & semester exams. Hopefully, I didn’t believe that I have to memorize things again.

I just went on with my studies and assignments. One or two months later, a professor slipped out a word from his mouth that the grading scheme is based on “the key“. I’m soooo dead. That thing struck me so hard, that I can’t get up. And, whenever I come late, or made professors unhappy in some way, the words shot at me were, “Did you ask your seniors how many of them got U-grade on the subject? I can help you get it. Think of it for a while”. This phrase can be daunting for anyone. How is it that the professors are linked to one another in reproducing the exact words against the students? Hmm… But, that’s a nice immature way to take control over the entire class…

So, I got clear that I have to rote for one last time. This time, memorize only the formulas, not the sentences (somewhat convincing). In this way, the first semester passed away, being drowsy & sleepy. I felt happy that I got rid of basic engineering stuff. At least, now I can get into my flying subjects. This time, my question was, “What’s the point of IT people studying Quantum Physics?” Didn’t get the answer just like last time.

Anyways, my second semester included Mechanics, Materials, Workshop, Marketing, English & Math. For the first few days, I was happy with mechanics. A time came when the professor said, “Memorize the formulas”. Well, not directly. The actual phrase was, “Do your problems often and you’ll get used to the formulas therein”. More or less, both mean the same thing. Broken again and fell down. This time, a lot of “why” questions arose. “Why memorizing is being a part of education?, Why is it a necessity to clutter the formulas in your mind, especially when you don’t want to?, Why an aeronautical engineer should know about marketing?, Why I have to study what the professors have spewed using a bunch of homemade powerpoint presentation? Why is it that I’m discouraged from writing what I’ve understood about the concept so far?…”

Looks like I can’t answer the above questions. It’s a state where one can not win..!!! I felt like being thrown into a prison again, which made me bunk classes, get an U-grade in the semester, by which I looked like an idiot in the crowd, etc.

It’s wrong to be like yourselves….

A lot of events happened in the class with “me” as the comic subject. But, this is what I’ve observed so far in my humble college. Professors expect you to listen their class. They expect you to take notes. If you’re violating the above, don’t be perceived as violating the above. If they spot you, it’s a problem. If you want to keep up with the racing lesser mortals, you have to memorize. If you can’t, you’re gonna suck probably, throughout your whole UG graduation. It’s better to admit and accept that you’re a sucker. Don’t talk about anything related to the lord, “loudly”. If you do, you’ll have to regret it later.

Well, since you don’t get the last phrase, I’ll speak out. But, keep this hush-hush. We get an average of 2-3 suicides each year. We can neglect those people as fools, because they can’t use the suddenly rose up courage-to-commit-suicide (which lasts only a second, or so) in their life. But, here’s what matters. As far as I know, every single report pointed out to more or less the same thing, “I didn’t get the job I desired”, “These portions are tough. I can’t study anymore”, “I don’t like this college”, etc. But, the staff members of the lords think that these suicides are the effect of seniors’ ragging. The result of this – they’ve banned the interaction between seniors & juniors. I don’t know how many of us are really enjoying the system. What I do know is that we personally feel lonely…

Back to the topic, the assignments & homeworks given to you, the observations you make in the lab should be plagiarized from books. What would you do, when you’ve got no idea what the concept is (and, no other choice left)? Just copy. In addition to these, it’s speech, where the most ridiculous thing happens. You can’t speak whatever you like about the subject. They’ll give you the topic, and will tell you what to speak. What’s the point? They can speak by themselves instead…

Once, I had a chance to give a review (speak about a book). Well… First, I selected “Revolution 2020” (It’s a nice book really). The response from my teacher was, “We don’t encourage books of these kind”. The next week, I came in front with my book selection “A Brief History of Time“. And this time, the response was, “We don’t allow any books other than the ones at library”. I’d have said, “We’re missing a hell-lot of good books in the library”. I maintained silence (which is a way much better)…

You can ask me now, “Well, you have the Internet, library, enough resources for explaining the concepts and formulas”. Yep, I do. There are two reasons now. The most important thing is that, you aren’t allowed to write what you’ve learned. You’re only allowed to write what you should study. And, here’s an analogy. Imagine the concept to be an infinite plane with a circle of finite radii inside, which is what the teachers expect. Now, the internet covers different circles (well, you can draw a lot of ’em, provided an infinite plane). Some circles intersect the expected circle, while some don’t. You’re asked to reproduce the exact circle. Here’s a misconception. You might argue, “the circles maybe answers for different questions. You’re asked to answer according to the scope of the question (i.e) those specific circles”.

I know. But, the world is a lot bigger. I mean, there are more stuff that can be included in the same concept itself (which the question addresses), other than what the professors have spewed on the board. Answers would look good or bad, depending on how someone’s involved in valuating…

With this grade-based intelligence-evaluation system conquering the entire college, I don’t understand why the staff members are expecting creative thinking in students’ minds. Because, each time a meeting is held, they point the same thing,  “Nowadays, we don’t get enough companies, as they’re expecting more from students. But, they lack creativity”. Of course, we do. What they didn’t realize is that they’re one of the reasons for this. They tell us to bring out the creativity. But, they didn’t tell us “How“, nor they provided the environment for those who have…

The second reason is that my “interest” shifted from calculating numbers based on a given set of formulas (engineering) to studying about nature (physicist). And, I’m pursuing that successfully…

Well, this is me – Proud being “one” in 3k…

Why is it that everything comes bugging your mind, when no one around you don’t even care about such a dull environment? My college has a whole variety of students who care something about their academics. But, why am I like this? So, this is me.

Disbelieving in this scheme of evaluation, I don’t care about anything happening in the classes unless I feel it would be useful to me, that I get attracted to it. Does this mean that I waste time by going to classes? Nope. If I don’t like the class, I just take my favorite book and start reading from the last-bookmarked. Else, I imagine. And, I can’t bunk all (I don’t like to bunk these days) classes. There’s one more constraint. You have to maintain your attendance in classes (at least 75% in each subject). Else, you won’t be allowed for your end semester. Walls everywhere…

Like I’ve said, I have felt being “lonely” most of the times, longing for a good companion. You’ll be left alone when everyone can interact with each other, because they depend on each other, whereas you don’t. Being an idiot, they don’t need you. Soon, you’ll come to a point where you’ll realize that you have nothing to lose in such an environment. Nowadays, I blame myself for everything. I just satisfy myself saying, “Professors & students here are good. It’s you who can’t cope with them”. Solved…

Again, this is me, totally happy than anyone in the whole college (having around 3000 students). It does feel proud when you’re unique in this way than any others. Now, I’m waiting for this 4-year jail period to end, so that I can go with Physics (hoping other countries don’t maintain prisons for education)…

__________________________________________________________________________

Last but not the least…

  • There are good professors, “1 or 2” sprinkled over each department. They’re different from others in their teaching, interaction with students, involvement in the field, way of grading, etc. But, they don’t count as they’re diffuse. Assume that I neglected those people by approximation
  • Keeping the lords aside, we have Gods too. These are the national institutes, where students are let in, based on the scores they obtain in an entrance exam (well, it’s a lot better than this cut-off). It’s maintained by the central government (which might be the reason it’s still not infected by the neighborhood). Anyways, Manish (a friend at one of these institutes) wrote an answer on Quora about his experience. I’m unlucky here, because I didn’t know these institutes even existed in the country. All I can say now is, “If I’d have known…”
  • It’s not just the professors, it’s also the students who lack seriousness. I mean, the professors are talented (a fool doesn’t get a place inside lord’s castle). But, they just aren’t trying to be good. The students are also the same. They aren’t serious. Instead of teasing the guys who do something good (not just academics, it can be anything – say, dancing), they can take him as their opponent and try to learn the dirty tricks from him (at least). Always remember…

“You can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent” – Fundamentals of Chess

A footnote: No matter how many people come and rant (like me), no matter how many “3 Idiots” are shown, this amazing “scheme” (at least, as far as I know) and the lack of seriousness will last forever…

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6 thoughts on “Probably “sucking” for a decade, I guess

  1. Kaamesh SIngam September 23, 2013 at 4:58 PM Reply

    Wow! Especially the “F*** you” part and “The lords of the state” part 😀

  2. Akilesh September 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM Reply

    Buddy!! This is cool and your experience (till now) is so far like every individual who finds TN (Anna Univ.) curriculum the worse. There are even worse curriculum I’ve viewed around and a better(not comparing with worse) curriculum what you stated at last (not the lords, but the GODS). Many people who want an innovative and a redesigned carrier think like this and some being helpless,go with this what you said amazing curriculum (finally end up in campus placement). I really appreciate your guts and even me too had the same way of the curriculum-criticizing thinking. As for you post, you time-consuming experience of yours is good. Hope you redesign you path and be innovative loading more stuff in your brain.

  3. Jerrel Gabriel September 29, 2013 at 4:01 PM Reply

    Gud work dude…worth spendin our tym in tis rather in those dull n borin lectures wat we do evryday n watever supposd to.. 😦
    I too hav felt down for the same thing at tyms… Really njoyd reading at the beginnin… but felt bad as i slided by…And the worst part of tis s dat…
    coz of the IT sector offers which most of the high grade holders are conferred with, by the end of their course, dey bcum stangant in their knowledge, stop learnin more n get complacent by tis scheme, making tis to proceed forvevr… life is all bout learning til our last breath… dey hav forgottn dat n also make others to follow d same…

    Really an eye-opening post (infact, a touching one for me) to make many kno wat’s really goin on…
    worthy work… hope to share a much more thing in person…:-)

  4. partha sarathy December 31, 2013 at 10:24 PM Reply

    i think so wat u expect is didnt get from others like proffesors,students.
    proffesors did wat they known to them like pressurizing students wat inside book u should be memorized like copy from book and paste as it as in their exams.so,we cant expect wat we needed from them.our friends they think colg is only for making fun and bunking their classes.and some are we can study al last moments and get arrear as proud mark.
    so,dont expect life is boring, there is much more.dont think that im saying philosphies

  5. Varinderjit Mann May 14, 2015 at 1:37 AM Reply

    Dude , this blog. It’s very equivalent to me! I Just don’t understand!
    And great to see my future ahead indeed, just as bleak as it is now. How dire! Here’s comes another impending doom. Fuck this life.

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