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Rat Race

I have my end sem exams all set to begin in under a week's time. Being a part of arguably the most competitive batch of students in all of final year, I know I need to get cracking at my books if I wish to keep my acceptable CGPA acceptable. But for some reason, I'm not really in the mood to get going yet. The fact that my laptop has been under repair for over ten days now hasn't helped.

I've been through this routine long enough but I feel like stopping and taking a good look at it from the outside.
Everyone studies from the perspective of equipping themselves to score good marks in the exams. While that is only a bare necessity, sadly, most students today see that as the end. Thus came into being the 'Rat Race'. When this is pointed out, the standard reply is to blame the system and say that there's no other choice. I think we've blamed the system for long enough. Its time we owned up and took responsibility.
I have seen people sleep for only a few hours during the entire exam week. I have seen people feel relieved the exams are over. I have even seen people celebrate the end of exams as though they had been forcefully chained and locked in a dark room before finally being let out. This attitude has to go. This is where the morals erode. Unless we like doing something we put so much time into, we are bound to dislike it. There is no in between.
Every child in India grows up watching neighbours and relatives respect those who obtain an Engineering 'degree' (yes they appreciate the degree and not the knowledge gain or the personality development) or in certain cases a medical 'degree'. So there is little room to even realise where his interest lies, let alone pursue it. The other emphasis is on marks (or grade as it may be now). Parents pressurize their children to such an extent to ensure the marks obtained are high that the child in question has little else going in his life. Creativity and originality is frowned upon from day one. 'Stick to the book, get good marks' has become the mantra that the middle-class parents constantly drill into their children. Well, even teachers of most schools do exactly this. Its no wonder that even while pursuing a professional and creative course like Engineering (branch irrespective), the students still follow the same mantra. I read somewhere (might even have been MTV Tickr!) that the Indian engineers are found to be far less creative than their western counterparts. I think what they meant was Indian engineers are too much of cowards to act on their creativity. Who can blame them? The cowardice has been drilled into them since their birth and the drilling never stops.
Stop thinking of exams as though its a disease that you have to bear with for a while before you get back to your normal self. Embrace it instead. Make it part of your learning process. Stop worrying about marks. Like Lord Krishna tells Arjuna in the Mahabharata, you prepare with interest and devotion and the marks will follow.
Stop blaming the system. The fault lies within us. Shed the cowardice. Take responsibility. Pursue what you truly like. Devote yourself to it. But, you still won't win the rat race, as it will no longer be a rat race. It will be a march towards enlightenment.

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