Many a student gets stuck at the thought of not being able to make it to a college of their choosing. When you see the cutoff list of your dream college and realise that there’s nothing you can possibly to do now to make it there – it’s a moment that breaks your heart into a million little pieces. You had so many fantasies of being in one of the classrooms, of meeting your new friends there, of having engaging conversations with your professors – but none of that can happen anymore. And this can really be a lot for you to take! You feel unaccomplished and alone, as though you have nothing of any value.
For better or for worse, however, you’re not alone in this. There are innumerable people across the country who do not get to study in a college of their choosing. Today, it is inevitable that this should happen, considering the unrealistically high cutoffs that most colleges end up deciding on. The plague of these cutoffs has been affecting students for several years now; in one go these cutoffs expose the neglect that is inherent within the system – and the kind of neglect that students feel when they have to live up to these otherworldly expectations.
Fortunately, there is a way to rise above these cutoffs! But the hard truth is that, unfortunately, it’s not easy at all. No wonder this is going to be a trying time for you, but you have to remember that this is simply the result of what you’ve heard in your childhood – that it’s important to get into a good college, that you should do so and so course, or what have you. The reality, however, is remarkably different.
You don’t need the stamp of an elite college to achieve anything in life. This is not only true for the millionaires that we all know about, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, both of whom dropped out of Harvard. This is also true for a lot of Indian entrepreneurs as well! The Indians who made it big without a degree from a reputed college include Trishneet Arora, CEO and founder of TAC Security, and Ritesh Agrawal, the founder of Oyo Rooms! These guys didn’t even finish a degree – so once you finish yours, what’s to say you won’t be able to achieve what they did?
Another important thing to keep in mind is the fact that what you study will always count for more than where you study it. A lot of students, in the rush to find a college which is instantly recognizable, will not consider the opportunity of going to a college which has a course better suited to their requirements. The lure to have a “braggable” college is extremely high – but it’s a short-lived phenomenon. Five years after you have finished your college degree, there will be no one to even ask you where you got your degree from – all that will matter is what sort of work you do, and how good you are at doing it!
All you really require is the drive to succeed! Remember this fact when you don’t make it into a college of your choosing, so that you can tell yourself: this is only a minor setback, and there is a lot I still have to do!
Once you get into a college though, you’ll realise that it’s more than just its name (which isn’t as popular). Every college has its own ecosystem of societies, activities, and hangout spots! The first couple of days (or weeks – depending on how introverted you are) might be quite hard. But once the ice has been broken with your classmates, you will soon figure out a group of people with whom you can spend your time. And what’s interesting is that they might be in the same boat as you!
So you can bond about the great injustices of life and how you could’ve both ended up in much better colleges! And you can discover new places with your new friends too! Visit that park where people are smoking and drinking – it might strike you as terrifying first up, or, if you’re already comfortable with it, you’ll find it to be familiar. You can try out new restaurants which serve cuisines you’ve never tried as well, and although this might leave you broke for some time, you will be glad that you had these experiences!
Once you have found a community that you can call your own, you can start taking steps to evolve as a person. In school, we’re all used to doing what we have to – it’s all compulsory – but in college we can do what we want! The great thing about this is that it gives us an opportunity to grow! Audition for that society that you think you don’t have the slightest chance of getting in. And once you get into that, try to do even more by joining yet another society! You’ll never know what you can do unless you try, right?
College is the time to go crazy – you can make as many mistakes as you want, and learn at your own pace. Just don’t make this one fundamental mistake: of believing that your college is more important than the course you’re doing, or that not getting into your dream college means that your life is over. It certainly is not. Your life is only at the starting line right now, and how you deal with your disappointments from here on out will determine who you end up becoming as a person. So try your hardest to be that person who believes in themselves against all odds, who believes that there is more to life than a measly degree from a college, and who knows that no matter what happens, there’s always a way forward!