I don’t think there is any point in merely going through all the textbooks and material in hand. The calendar says its 24th June, 2014 today and in the blink of an eye, it will be screaming February already. Some math later, I figure that less than 8 months of preparation remain. Now, I am required to master the concepts laid out in the oldest branch of engineering within this time. My under graduate degree says that I have spent five years of my life doing the same thing. In my heart, I really doubt it.
I doubt it when my eyes meet virgin words in textbooks. I doubt it when fellow competitors seem like Greek scholars philosophising in terms that I am sure I have heard somewhere. I doubt it when the teachers skip derivations arguing that the students would be able to do it themselves; while try as much, I cannot think of the next step in the mile-long derivation, even if it promised me salvation. I doubt it when the previous exam papers give me that wily smirk, like they have already won the battle.
So, l have eight months in hand. I have the amount of self-doubt that would drown me in a puddle of competition. I have textbooks that could stack up to the moon. I have the added pressure of being two years behind my batch mates in school. None of these really help in boosting my confidence.
I have two options now. Option one is I give up. This seems easy. All I have to do is stop going nuts thinking about my future, look for a decent job somewhere and start filling my bank account. I could then hope that one day, gradually I would be able to settle down in life, albeit going through everyday struggles and fighting battles of loan repayment.
Option two is rebellious. I could burn every joule of energy in my body and prepare for the exam in all fullness. I could be as ready as a hungry lion ready to trample down a fleshy wildebeest. I could prepare in a manner that would kill all doubts in myself and help me taste sweet success. My life would be as wonderful as I had imagined. I would be able to live my dreams. All I have to do is study – study like there is no tomorrow.
Let us put both options on the table now. One says get a life now and start a struggle later in life. The other says kill yourself and be reborn a king, a year from now. One says I should be okay with a normal life – that is what everyone does. The other says I should follow my dreams – dreams that I have held on to, for all my life. One says stop worrying right now and keep it for the years to come. The other says it doesn’t matter if you cut yourself into pieces right now, because only by doing so can you get all that you want in life – you won’t worry about price tags and shit, ever!
Tough call? Not at all. I would rather die trying hard, than opt for a life of misery. If I have an option of getting success, why not go for it? The barriers and obstacles in front of me could be mighty. They may look to crush me, but I will make myself strong. I’ll mould myself into a wrecking ball. I will crush everything that comes in my way. No barriers will be strong enough to withhold my momentum. I will show no mercy to the fellow athletes, who are in the race with me. I will destroy everything that tries to stop me – even if that means destroying a little part of myself. I will come out of the battle victorious, and everyone shall see. Those who doubted me shall look in awe and wonder at my achievements. Those who believed in me shall have their faiths restored.
But somehow, just strong words won’t help my cause. I need something more definite and tangible. I need a plan – a plan for the next eight months, and then a will to stick to the plan come what may.
Where should I start? How should I move forward?
I have in hand all resources and materials I need, with a little more than seven months of preparation to exhaust them. I know, that there are 100 marks in all, and 65 questions in the exam. One sure thing is that there will be 15 marks of aptitude and verbal ability, and 15 more marks of engineering mathematics. That is 30 marks out of 100 accounted for. The rest of the 70 marks can be divided among the other technical subjects. A perfect hundred score would be unrealistic. The topper usually comes within touching distance of 75. So, an aim of 80 would be good.
Considering an efficiency factor of 0.75 when giving exams, I have to make sure I know each and everything before the exam. This is pretty possible, but it won’t leave me with time to revise the subjects, as well as to practice giving mock tests. Without revision, even with course completion, I may only remember 60-70% of what I studied. Add to that, an efficiency factor of 75%, and my goal of scoring 80 would be a joke. I may only be able to score 40-50 out of 100.
Instead, if I complete 85-90% of my course and avoid the 10-15% that would take up a lot of time, then I would be able to focus on revision and practice. I could improve my efficiency to 85% or even, 90%. This means I score around 76-82, out of 100. This is good. This is what I want.
If I dedicate two hours to aptitude and maths everyday, I can be sure of the 30 marks out of 100. Those are sure-fire marks I should not lose out on. For the technical portion, I need to score 50 out of 70 marks, to achieve my target. That calls for a score of around 70% in the technical area. So, our initial idea would work well i.e. completing a major part of the course, concentrate on revising that and keep practising the tests.
2 hours a day for maths and aptitude, plus 12 hours a day for technical subjects – and I can be sure of coming somewhere near 75 out of 100. The more hours I’ll be able to put in, the more will be my chances of ruling out factors like poor luck, tough paper, exam fear, nervousness etc.
The more I study, the better my chances of being the best. On the contrary, every hour of study I lose, I go back one rank. Every day, I have a chance of moving forward by around 10 ranks or going behind by the same number. What do I want?
I can work hard and I can get what I like, or I could just while away time and be forced to like what I get. I have never wanted to lead a mediocre life. I have huge ambitions and dreams of a grand lifestyle. I don’t want to settle for anything less than what I have dreamt of. If there is anything I want, I still have the time, the resources and the ability to get it. I AM GOING TO MOULD MY LIFE THE WAY I WANT IT TO BE, and there is only one way to do that – HARD WORK!!! That is all I’m going to do. I’m prepared to finish off every last bit of strength in me to get success in the measure that I want.
The words from The Pursuit Of Happyness, seem very apt to end this train of thought.
“Don’t ever let somebody tell you… You can’t do something. Not even me. All right? You got a dream.. You protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves.. They wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, GO GET IT. Period.”