This article was submitted by a reader who chooses to remain anonymous. The opinions are solely of the reader.
Where the corridors smell of excellence. Where lineage isn’t just another word thrown around in speeches. Where we are taught that if a dream, no matter what or how big, is worth dreaming, its worth every drop of sweat and blood that is spent to achieve it. Where free thought and free speech is a way of life. Where we enter as juvenile teenagers and leave as well rounded, young adults ready to take on the world.
Bull Shit. BULL SHIT.
The people who leave these halls are exactly the same, only way more cynical. The only thing you’ll ever smell in those corridors is sweat from a classroom full of first years studying without electricity in the summer or the occasional dysfunctional bathroom or the more significant smell of failure from people roaming around campus, ashamed and frustrated cause they too once dreamed of a fulfilling college experience but were robbed of it from this sad excuse for an institution. They’re tired. Tired of being 21 years old. Tired of trying to keep up.
When you’re 16 – young and foolish, with big dreams and loud voices – excelling in the board exams and getting into some place good (obviously subject to the wishes of your parents and the judgment of our peers) seems like the only aim in life. You’re confused, aimless, yet always hopeful. Names like LSR, St. Stephens, Hindu, SRCC, Hansraj spark a fire in our eyes. Stories of your aunt’s brother’s wife’s nephew – a SRCC + IIM graduate is all you can ever think about and all you can ever dream to become.
You love political science but you settle for physics. You read Shakespeare and Hemingway as bed time novels but you settle for Philosophy. You’ve never answered a calculus sum right in your life but you choose Economics. Your parents swore to never use wrong means to get anywhere in life but they pay to get you into a college. ‘An investment for the future’. Your character certificate from school has the words ‘courageous’ and ‘honest’ in it. But it only takes you a minute to get fake signatures and fake medical certificates. You’re not living. You’re settling. You’re not being educated. You’re being taught to be another gear in the machine. You’re trying to become the ideal commodity which some hedge fund somewhere would like to buy. You’re being sold. Yes, this place has shaped you. Shaped you into becoming a person that you never thought you would.
It’s not you. It’s not your upbringing. Rather the lessons you learned in school and at home are probably the only ones preventing you from completely giving your morals away. It’s this place. This temple of learning. This educational institution that teaches you that you’ll always be second best. That you either turn into a front desk nerd for whom the next 3 years will be spent just like the last 3 or you don’t exist at all. A place that reminds you, every day of your life that mediocrity is acceptable. So what if the best companies conveniently skip your college while taking placement interviews? You should have thought of that before. So what if you’re being offered a measly income package after 3 years of hard work? Take it anyway. So what if you excel in theatre, debating, music or sports? You’ll still be detained for not attending classes. So what if you think what you’re doing is not what you enjoy? You’ve got the money, now you’ll have all the toys necessary to fill up the holes in your life. What if you think you’re not good enough to get into an Ivy League school? You’re probably right. You’re not good enough.
Last year the establishment changed the examination system from annual to semester not counting in the sheer lack of faculty members or infrastructure. This year the newly instated semester students procured 80s and 90s in subjects that people hardly ever got 60s in. No, the kids didn’t get smarter. The University got dumber. What does this mean?
That all batches prior to that ‘gifted’ batch will be competing with them in entrance exams, applications abroad and job interviews with a mere 60% which didn’t look so mere just a year ago. And that’s the thing – how in the world do you explain this travesty to external contenders? That an entire university managed to shoot up its average scores by more than 20% in less than a year? This year they plan to convert the three year under graduation system into a four year one. Are we ready for such a quick transition? No idea. Even simple things like course material, conversations in class, methods of teaching, expectations from students, structure of examination papers, atmosphere on campus – all point towards the sham that we have been forced into and will always be a part of owing to the stamp on our transcripts. We know it’s all incorrect. But we still slap on that hollow smile and pretend everything is alright.
I know this write up will leave many angry, many disappointed and many in denial. Call me a soulless critic or an ungrateful whiner. I don’t know how many politicians, bankers, writers or professors this institution has created. But what I do know is that it took more from me than it ever gave back. I don’t know if things are improving or going down. I see around me withering faces and blank eyes peering through the haze of cigarette smoke and alcohol vapour, trying to blur out the reality they can’t accept. These are disappointed lives who cannot figure out what is wrong. This is an apathetic system that has long since ceased to care. I don’t know if the low fee and promise of a decent education is acceptable by most. What I do know is that I deserved better. I don’t know whose fault it is or who needs to change. But what I do know is that this country needs a revolution. And it needs to start here.
Image Courtesy: http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/2012/03/safedelhi/