10 May 2024

The Failures

Failures are the ultimate teachers, and I've had my fair share of them. My story begins in 2014, when I was in 12th grade, preparing for some of the most crucial exams of my life. I'm talking about the JEE Mains and Advanced, BITSAT, and other engineering entrance exams in India. Yeah, you guessed it - I bombed them all.

To make matters worse, I didn't exactly ace my 12th boards either, scoring a mediocre 68%. In India, failing an exam is like committing a crime, and I felt like I was on trial. But I decided to take a deep breath, regroup, and try again. I took a year off to prepare for JEE, moved to Kota (the coaching capital of India), and even repeated my 12th boards.

Here's a confession: I have a hard time motivating myself to work on things that bore me. Physics and chemistry put me to sleep, but math was my jam. Unfortunately, my lack of enthusiasm caught up with me, and I failed JEE again - this time, with an even lower score. On the bright side, I did better in my 12th boards the second time around.

Those two years, 2014 and 2015, were tough. I couldn't qualify for JEE Mains, and my BITSAT scores were nothing to write home about. I felt like a total loser, stuck in a rut, and unsure of what to do next. Should I settle for a local college or pursue a B.Sc degree?

That's when I stumbled upon Shiv Nadar University, a relatively new institution with a decent placement record. I took a chance, applied, and aced their entrance exam (which was like a SAT test). I scored well, got an admission offer for major in Computer Science and Engineering, and even snagged a scholarship worth INR 10 Lacs on my tuition fee, thanks to my 12th scores.

I got into Computer Science and Engineering, my top choice, despite having zero programming experience. Let's be real, it was the highest paying major, and I wasn't exactly driven by passion. Fast forward to my first semester, and I was struggling to keep up. My lack of enthusiasm was back to haunt me.

To be honest, I didn't care about computer science at first. My grades showed it - a mediocre "C" in Introduction to Computer Programming (C programming language) and a dismal "C-" in Data Structures and Algorithm. I'm not gonna sugarcoat it, the professor and curriculum didn't exactly inspire me either. Programming felt like a chore, not magic. It was all about writing programs to print patterns or whatever, with no practical use in sight. Not exactly thrilling.

But that's not the end of the story. In the next chapter, I'll share how I transformed from a struggling student to a programming whiz and landed my first job offer at a leading banking corporation. Stay tuned!

© 2024, Priyansh Rastogi.

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