Wednesday, November 26, 2014

9th Grade – Changing Paths and Catching Up

My turmoil with the preparatory institute continued in the ninth. After a two week break at the end of the eighth grade, I started my preparations for an entrance exam I was going to give four years later again. It was the first semester of the ninth grade and I knew I was in trouble.

I followed the same pattern of failing tests and rote-learning notes for the first semester of the ninth grade. Depression was a natural side – effect of this environment.

Stand up for yourself Abhishek!

One day, I decided I had enough. It struck me that I was not passionate about engineering and did not want to become an engineer. Why in the world was I putting myself through this? Stand up for yourself Abhishek!

The professors and teachers were good and they were putting in a genuine effort to teach the subject well to the students. The problem was with me.

I decided to speak to my parents about it. They told me to work harder. I told them I really tried and that I just could not do this anymore.

My Parents Understood

Finally, after I failed another school test in the ninth grade, my parents were convinced and decided to withdraw me from the program.

They told me they would shift me to a normal class after the 1st semester. So I had to survive three more weeks and another hard exam. I knew I could pull through, but the fact that I was completing the program, was a good enough reason to somehow get through this ordeal. At this point, I did not even care if I did well or not in class.

At the end of the first semester, after one and a half year of preparatory school, my turmoil came to an end. During the summer break I withdrew my name from the program and enrolled in a normal class. I felt liberated. After one year, I could finally learn and work on something I was passionate about.

I was finally not one of the smart kids. I was finally a normal student. Ah!

The Normal Class

Now I was joining a new class in the second semester of the ninth grade. Most of the students had gotten to know each other really well. I was new, so it would take me some time to adjust. But I had a few friends from the junior school whom I knew well. I soon settled down in the class and got to know some of my other classmates well.

Sports had taken a backseat in the 8th Grade, because there were too many tests and exams to prepare for. My free time had reduced now. This was limited to the weekends. The curriculum had gotten much harder in the ninth grade. I managed to do reasonably well in tests and spend some of my weekends completing notes and studying the course content I had missed out on.

The second semester in the ninth grade, was mostly about completing notes, extra coaching classes and learning my subjects from scratch. The competition in my class was still the same, though it was a little less than my previous entrance exam class.

The Joy of Being Normal

One month later I managed to catch up and was performing reasonably well in class. I now finally had some time off in the evenings. I thought I could spend on other after school activities. Unfortunately the ground next to my home, had been converted into a building. I grew up playing cricket at this ground with my neighborhood friends. This was not possible anymore. 

I had to find other ways to entertain myself. This was real hard work for a ninth grader, who had just gone through, a complete year of depression and low self esteem. But I had some ideas. I knew it would be fun. I at least had the freedom to choose what I wanted to do with my time now. 

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