Failure – the sweetness behind success
Yes, I believe that success tastes sweeter after the bitter taste of failure. It sounds more like looking at the glass half full. But it is a fact.
I made it through IIT-JEE and into IIT Madras in my second attempt at it. Of course, not getting through in the first attempt is no big deal in IIT because most people make it in their second attempt. But here in Visakhapatnam, it does make up to a little news among friends and family, especially for a girl.
When I failed in my first attempt I had a few options open in front of me. I could join in a good engineering college in Visakhapatnam as is obvious from the comfortable rank I obtained in EAMCET; or I could put up a year’s effort, which is often referred to as ‘long term’. But there were complications for me. I had an older sister who was then entering here 3rd year in IIT Madras. I guess my choice was pretty much decided.
When I opted to put an extra year of effort I did face resistance from well-wishers who saw it as a risk. Yes, they wished me well. They did not want to see me struggle for another year with no guarantee for a seat in IIT when I had acquired a comfortable rank in EAMCET.
I agree, there is a considerable amount of risk factor involved here. Lets take a closer look at the possible result after long term…
• I might land up with a good rank and a good seat in one of the IITs (which eventually happened)
• I might land up with a rank but not satisfying, yet it does get me a seat.
• I might land up with a rank but not a seat in IIT
• I might not get a rank in JEE, but fair well in AIEEE and land up in an NIT.
• I might not manage to get into the IITs or the NITs, but manage a comfortable rank in EAMCET and join in a good college here, but as a junior to all my friends.
• I might screw up my JEE, AIEEE and EAMCET and land up somewhere known as nowhere.
Well… in my opinion, the last option had the least probability cause I already managed to get a reasonably good rank in EAMCET and one year of extra effort can only increase your chances but not decrease. Risk it is, but I decided to put my full efforts into it and focus only on the first option, yet brave enough to face the worst. I found support in my parents, my sister and my lecturers in my coaching center. They did not take sides, but supported me in my decision. The year went by and I managed to get a good rank and landed up in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in IIT Madras.
Now when people ask me questions like “who told you to take up long term?” or “how many hours per day did you study?” or “did you study all the year or did you work harder in the last months?” or “was a lot of hard work required?” a little smile plays on my lips. I don’t have answers for them. I just studied as much as I could without wasting time. I read the newspaper in the mornings and watched TV while I ate and that was enough for recreation. I wasn’t pushed into long term; I took it up myself. I never worked hard; I just worked and I enjoyed it. It was never “hard” when I enjoyed it. The main factor remains to be determination, determination to achieve, and to prove myself. You might want to call it identity crisis of an adolescent or ego problem that my sister is an IITian, but it helped. There were times when I failed to excel in my weekly tests and my parents were worried if I made the right choice. There were times when I ran into people I happen to know who sneered at me for my apparently foolish decision. There were times when I felt lonely and all support failed me. But I never lost faith. I had more faith in my determination than in myself. And it had never let me down.
Now, when people ask me about my success, that single word pricks my ears. Success! It was not just about getting into IIT after trampling over failure. It was also about being an inspiration to girls after me who aspire to make it to IIT in this male-dominated society. Success! The vision of my first attempt, the day when I checked my result and realized I failed passes in my mind’s eye. Yes, Success sure is sweeter after the bitter taste of failure.