It was like an epidemic. It swept over the entire class in the blink of an eye. Its progress was slow at first; only a handful of students were affected. But when it came into its own, its malignancy couldn't be overstated. Students who, only a month ago, were talking about having fun, cherishing college life and "These 4 years won't ever come back" stuff were now as busy as MDs, going through break-ups and talked as if they had had an epiphany in their sleep and had now awakened to their responsibilities. The reason? These were aspirants for CAT, GATE, SSC, GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, SAT; basically any exam that gets you somewhere better than where an undergraduate degree of B.Tech or B.E. would get you. Perhaps they had awakened to their responsibilities, and that's what scared those who weren't affected by this epidemic.
I am one of those scared. It's a strange reason to be scared. I see no road ahead. When I was still in school and was doubtful about taking up engineering, the only advice people could give me was "It'll secure your future." So I thought, "Okay. They're more experienced, surely they must be knowing better." When I started college, I was very happy. "My future will be secured. I will finally have a job after 4 years. I will earn my own money!" But turns out my future isn't any more secure than it was when I was in school. The advice people give me now is "You should get a post graduate degree. There's no value of a B.Tech these days." Great! From "a secure future" to "a degree that holds no value" in just 2 years. This is how it seems to me: you have to waste 4 years of your life to get something of no value in order to spend the next 2 years which has value today but might not be valuable when you get it. Well, if a B.Tech. degree can lose its value in 2 years, why can't M. Tech.?
But that is not the reason why I'm not an aspirant of the aforementioned exams. I'm simply not interested in them. Maybe this is why only a selected few get to the top. Either you lose interest along the way because the prospect does not look as appealing as it did when you started preparing for it, or your zeal just dies when you realise how tough the competition is. This is actually what happened to me when I was a JEE aspirant and I'm afraid it'll happen again if I reluctantly join the epidemic group.
So here I am. I while my time away while my mates think about their future. I still watch TV shows, play games, sleep whenever I feel like it, don't pay attention in class, doodle when I'm blue and I still tug myself away from any thoughts about the future. I still try to get away from conversations about career and I still reply "I'm not sure" whenever I do get into one. And I don't even feel guilty about it! Because it's the truth. Truthful people are not supposed to feel guilty, are they?
The truth scares me.
Why does everyone have to do something just because everyone else is doing it? I wouldn't have felt as scared if no one was doing this, carving out their own path. But they are, and I'm not. That is the gist of it.
I've even tried exploring the realm of excuses to justify my situation to myself, but to no avail. Every excuse seems implausible and is rejected by my conscience. The inferiority that is going to haunt me when my mates sprint ahead of me has already begun forming roots inside of me. I don't think it's going to be very long before I become a moving tree of misery, although I try very hard everyday to stay as far away from that feeling as possible. This attempt of mine at eluding misery is, I hate to say this, dependent on others. Others being my friends. Maybe even too dependent. It's almost as if our existence has coalesced and formed this one big mass only to be broken in due time.
When such negative thoughts attack me, I force myself to think, "Maybe not everything is as bad as it seems. There are still plenty of good stuff going on with me. I've learned new things, had some memorable experiences and the most important improvement of all, I am less of an introvert now than I was two years ago!" I think along these lines and things start looking upbeat again. But then, as a fly in an aesthetically impeccable tomato soup, another thought strikes me:
"How long do you think you're gonna be able to rely on those puny achievements to stay afloat?"