Getting into college has never been easy. Though my rendezvous with institutes of higher education happened more than two decades ago, the anxiety and trouble kids and parents undergo these days seem so familiar. In fact, all this fuss brings back memories of my very own ordeal.
Having passed out of higher secondary with good marks (according to the benchmarking then), I was so sure of landing that B.A. English Literature – that I had always wanted to study – at a prestigious women’s college. And the fact that I was the English topper in my school (across all groups) in the plus two public exam, with Advanced English as one of my elective papers further led me to the delusion that if I did not get that seat – who would! Applying for the course in other colleges never occurred to me – and here I was with all my eggs in one basket and about to learn one of life’s most important lessons!
The entrance exam was a cakewalk (or so I thought)! But at the interview, I was met with cold stares instead of the welcoming arms I had so expected. My entrance exam marks were not revealed (I wonder why) but I was told that since a majority of the seats were ‘kind of booked’ for a section of society, my chances of getting into these august portals were rather slim. My desperate attempts to muster courage and ask what my entrance exam marks were, was met with further contempt. My marks weren’t anything to rave about, I was told. And I was asked to look elsewhere – this when all colleges had stopped giving out application!
Now, anyone who has ever been through this can imagine (in picturesque detail) the scenes at home. The next few days were spent in running between colleges, hunting for left-over application forms and last-minute recommendations as there weren’t so many institutes/avenues of learning those days. The only other option for me was to cool my heels at home for a whole year, with hourly reminders of my own stupidity and “didn’t I tell you” lectures from all and sundry.
On the day when the admission list was to be released, my anxiety reached an all time high, as it was suggested that if I did not get in here, I may have to take up a technical course at the Polytechnic for a year. I had always wanted to major in English Literature and get into writing as a profession and wanting me to get a technical education was like cajoling a cat to have a bath!
There was light at the end of the tunnel, at last, as I found my name on the Admission List – and that too among the top 20! It made me wonder what all the fuss was about – but now I know. I guess putting applicants on an emotional roller coaster works like therapy for the college management. And it only gets bigger and better every year. So buckle up and enjoy the ride, no matter which part of the thrill machine you are!