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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

How it is like to be a Science student.

   As I have talked about this in my previous posts, being a Science student is definitely not a piece of cake, especially when it comes to hard work. Science is considered to be one of the toughest streams and I, as a Science student, can guarantee that it is a hundred percent true. Being a Science student is fun but it sucks a lot of times. Here are some things that an average Science student goes through:

1. The Syllabus: After being trained for so little in the tenth grade, the eleventh grade seems like a gigantic elephant in comparison to it. The horde of books for the eleventh and twelfth grade could dwarf the armies in the Lord of the Rings. There are only four main subject in the science stream which are Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology but the information encompassed in those books is insane! I feel that the makers of the textbooks think they are creating them for freaking NASA scientists as about half of the information in those books are never going to be used in our life.

2. Schedules: Science students have one of the most crammed daily  schedules ever. Especially in grade twelve. Lots of students go to tuitions in addition to college and that makes it even worse. Tuitions give homework to the students and so does the college and it burdens us. We are either in college or in tuitions or doing homework or eating or sleeping. We are completely drained as we finish our college-tuition routine and don't even feel like studying at the end of the day.

3. Practicals: Practicals can be some of the better part of the life of an average Science student. Well, almost. The practicals are usually the highlight of the college lectures. It is quite interesting to experience science taking shape in front of you. Plus it is also a good time to make friends as well! "Could you lend me your journal for one day?", "Can you explain that to me again?", "Hey, please help take the readings of this instrument here that I have no idea how to use.","Can I borrow your pencil for now?", "Damn, I don't even understand what this old lady is teaching us.", "I'm going home as soon as this practical ends, who the hell sits for the lectures?" And of course, who can forget the little side quests that we take after finishing the practicals? It usually requires courage to mix two unknown chemicals and reagents without the teacher knowing what we are up to and without knowing the actual outcomes of the reactions. And that is what makes a science student feel like a science student. An additional advantage is: people think we are really smart when we walk around in a lab coat!

4. Board exams: This is basically a taboo word. Merely uttering this word makes whatever tiny happy world we have built around us come crashing down. The word "Exams" ring a giant alarm bell in our minds. Along with it comes a flood of remainders: Practicals start next week, journal submission tomorrow, EVS seminar on Monday,English oral examinations on Tuesday and theory exams starts two weeks later.

And then the panic starts.

And there is the whole affair of people scaring you. All the relatives collectively feel that you really need their 'valuable' advice and warnings."This year is extremely important for you. At least in the career point of view. So work as hard as possible in order to achieve most marks. Don't waste a single moment. If you just finish your twelfth, life would be so easy for you and you would enjoy it!" Yeah we heard the exact same words during our tenth grade, uncle. And we still hear it everywhere.
Usually the people who give this advice was once a very mediocre student.
And the result is that you get even more panicked than before. 

5. The "Aura": Many a times you must have seen Science students boasting about taking Science in front of students of other streams. You are bound to be irritated. But you know what? Just let them boast. Because that is all they have. 
A typical Science student, no matter what his/her percent is, likes to boast that he/she is in a slightly more difficult stream than the others in order to make himself feel a bit 'superior'. Even though he/she fails the exams consistently. I call this the 'Golden Aura of Science'. Because whenever a student mentions that he or she is in the science stream people look at them with this weird expression filled with awe and respect as if they are soldiers fighting against a demon for a noble cause. Like how Dobby looks at Harry Potter.  
Okay, I might be exaggerating this a bit.
But it does feel like that, you know. It feels good. It feels like we've actually accomplished something major. Even though all we have done was to choose the Science stream and later moan about why the hell we chose it over Arts and Commerce.
I am sure everyone could relate to this. If not, you are still in denial.

6. Entrance Exams: Oh, you know what is gonna come ahead, don't you?

Entrance exams are a student's worst nightmares coming to life. In India, we have three major types of entrance examinations for the students in the Science stream. They are: the NEET exams for aspiring medical students, the JEE exams for aspiring engineers and CET exam for both separately. The NEET and JEE both contain negative markings as they are All India level but the CETs do not have that since it provides only state level admission. So lots of students just blindly place their hopes on CETs and do limited studies. 
If you were following the news, there was this whole fiasco of the medical CETs being cancelled and the NEETs replacing it in Maharashtra this year. That messed up many students's life. When it was declared that NEET would be the main exam, students didn't take CET seriously. Later they declared that the results of this year will be based on CET scores and NEET results will be applied from next academic year, well that made lots of students lose their minds. 
Well done, education department. 

7. Competition: With India being the second most populous country in the world and with a population of about 1.2 billion people, the competition is pretty tough for most of the time. No matter how good you are, there is always someone better than you. Always. Being on Science is the worst because there are a LOT of students and VERY less good colleges. Aaand there is the whole caste reservation system that puts students in the general category at a disadvantage. According to the recent news, the cut-off at Delhi University was apparently 99.25%. Well our future looks promising!

But being in Science is not all thorns though. There are occasional roses here and there. We get to learn the reason behind simple things that we observe daily but never give much thought to it (eg: Why is the surface of water in a test tube concave? How does a refrigerator work? Which solution is used in dry cleaning? What exactly is light? How are polymers made? How does life originate? etc.) These small questions and their perfect answers makes us realise the complexity of the world and helps us to appreciate it better.

Hope you liked this post! A big thank you to all the people who participated in my survey: Irene, Prachi, Aishwarya, Swati, Shivani, Shubhada and Harshada. Love you all!

Feel free to comment about your opinions about this topic or share this post to your friends if this is relatable! Thanks for reading!

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