Expectations...

I recently read Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020 and was instantly reminded of my 11th-12th days. I had opted for non-medical(engineering) in 11th standard. Like most of my classmates, I joined a coaching institute  to prepare for engineering entrance exams. Since academically I was an above-average student, my teachers had high expectations from me. Though I wanted to get into a good engineering college, I never had any strong desire to be an IITian. However, my teachers were quite confident that I would crack IIT-JEE. In the coaching tests, my scores used to fluctuate. At times I would see my name at the top of the list, at times in the middle, and sometimes even near the bottom(never at the last though). Those two years of preparation had too many ups and downs. Balancing the performance in school as well as coaching institute, completing endless assignments, innumerable tests at school and institute, appreciation as well as humiliation, the burden of living up to teachers' expectations, hope to rise and fear to fall, it had all. 

It was 8th April 2007. JEE was the first of our entrance exams and that day I was scared like hell. After two years of tremendous hard work, I didn't want to screw it. For me, living up to my teachers' expectations was far more important than getting into IIT and therefore I wanted to crack JEE. Alas!!! I screwed up the physics section and disappointed my physics teacher. I scored well in maths and chemistry. However, since the overall score was less, getting a good rank was completely out of question. That day I realized what fear can do. Well, frankly speaking I always knew that IIT was not my cup of tea and therefore I shouldn't have felt so bad about screwing up JEE. Despite that the physics section haunted me for days. After JEE, I had AIEEE, IP University and DCE entrance exams. During these three exams, I was absolutely fearless. My parents were pretty cool. They never really pressurized me to get into a top engineering college. My teachers had less expectations from me, which kind of relieved my burden. I somehow developed a "Bring it on" kind of an attitude after screwing up JEE. Since I had screwed up the most important of all exams, I wasn't scared about screwing up others and strangely, I did pretty well in rest of them!! I got good ranks in AIEEE, IPU and DCE and even managed a rank in JEE, not so good though. At last I managed to get into a reputed engineering college, making my parents and teachers proud.

When I look back, I see just one reason for my fear - the burden of expectations. We cannot and we do not have to live up to people's expectations all the time. The more we try to do so, the more we fear, and the less we achieve...  

10 comments:

  1. Expectations are the root cause for most of the thing going wrong...If we go about keeping everyone happy, then we end up making our own life miserable..

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    1. True.. moreover, expectations have no end.. if we are good, people expect better.. if we are better, people expect best.. and if we are best, people expect better than the best!!

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  2. Radhika, I so agree with you that the burden of expectation comes as a huge block! You graduated from DCE speaks volumes of your tenacity, so the learnings from life are far more important:)

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    1. Thanks a lot Mr. Rahul.. I also feel it's one of the many conflicts between heart and the mind.. our mind is well aware of our capabilities and understands that we need not please everyone.. it's the heart that fears..

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  3. hey nicely written radhika ...
    i feel expect nothing and appreciate everything ... It's a best way to live life ..

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  4. Your post reminded me of my days when I was preparing for engineering entrance exams....though I never got through them :)
    You are a DCEite which itself proves your mettle :)

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    1. Thanks Nibedita..
      Well frankly speaking during 11th-12th, most of the students are not clear about their goals and kind of go with the crowd... Look at me... I opted for science because most of the "academically above-average" students did so...

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  5. Radhika, you have captured the situation of most engineering aspirants with beautiful words. I read and re-read your post.
    I believe that there is nothing wrong with the expectations, but it becomes a problem when we expect our kids to go and win the long marathon of life, running it like a 100 meter sprint. I wrote a post on it some time back:
    http://bbepositive.blogspot.in/2013/10/live-life-as-marathon-not-as-sprint.html

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    1. Just read your post Sir.. It was quite interesting to read from a parent's point of view and I really respect your thoughts.. i wish other parents could think like that and understand their kids..

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