Today, the number one issue of our youth is getting into top colleges for pursuing their dream courses so that they can get a high paying job when they graduate. When we talk about India, two main fields of interest that are widely popular are engineering and medical. Almost about half the students in India want to pursue engineering or medical-related courses after completing their 12th standard. I am from engineering background pursuing computer engineering myself, so I have a bit of knowledge and experience to share. IITs are the colleges that every engineering aspirant desires for. It’s a dream for everyone, myself included, but things don’t really go your way every time. The craze and temptation for getting only into IITs are so much that many students take a drop year for preparing for the exam. But before taking any step, you should always weigh the pros and cons of taking a drop year, and if you all allow, I would like to make the process easier for you.
A little backstory and how I didn’t weigh in the pros and cons of taking a drop year.
You can skip this part if you aren’t interested in knowing somebody’s blabbering over what they did and what they did wrong, but you might relate to me at specific points here. I would describe myself as a diligent and hard-working student when I was in school. I studied well and got a good CGPA in tenth standard (I got 10 :)). I took up science more specifically mathematics. I wanted to be a software engineer for a quite a while then and knew what I had to do and what I didn’t. What I didn’t do was my research. I didn’t know anything about competitive exams like JEE, and IITs until the very end of the eleventh standard. Looking back, I think I was a bit too naïve. Anyways I knew a bit about JEE by the end of my school life. I didn’t really study for the exam but gave it anyway. Surprisingly I got just enough to pass the exam.
My confidence sky-rocketed; maybe it was just overconfidence. I thought if I can pass the paper without studying, why not take a drop year and then no-one can stop me from getting into IIT. Naïve! That’s where I made a mistake. I didn’t consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year and just went on to do it based on my over-confident hunch.
Things that went wrong due to not weighing the pros and cons of taking a drop year.
For every average student, I believe there are three phases that if you complete successfully would land you in a reputable college. But, that’s the most challenging part. You are crossing all the odds, losing will and hope and still working to pursue your dream. Most of the students today only prepare for these colleges like IIT due to sheer peer pressure from family and society. This pressure makes it even harder to complete the path, which makes considering the pros and cons of taking a drop year even more important.
The three phases that you go through if you didn’t consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year are-
The first phase, or the phase where you are oozing with positivity and energy to do the best, beat everyone behind, get into an IIT and live a comfortable life. This is the phase that lets you jump into this hole without considering the pros and cons of taking a drop year. The first few weeks, you are so determined that you study all the time without wasting a moment, do all your homework and task and study diligently. The good and pleasant phase
The second phase is when you are in for a month or two now. Your will and determination start to waver, and your goal becomes hazy. You begin to lose interest in studying and completing your homework. The test starts to haunt you and god forbid if you get a low score in the tests, you can kiss your dream goodbye if you don’t handle the pressure well. This phase is incredibly hard because, at this time, most of your classmates that didn’t take a drop year are getting on with their college life. You get behind from your schoolmates; you don’t talk the same anymore as your topics are entirely different than your friends. Seeing your friend’s pictures on social media does no good for your self-esteem and determination. Now you start wasting your time, sleep more than you should, get way too comfortable, feel guilty and then repeat it all over again.
The third phase is when the exams are getting closer and closer, and anxiety starts to build up. You have wasted too much time; there is a lot of course and syllabus to cover and the exams are still approaching nearer each day. The building anxiety and stress doesn’t help either and keep your focus wavered during your preparation. After that begins the guilt cycle of how you could have done better and how you shouldn’t have wasted your time.
Don’t worry too much!
While this is the case for many students who don’t consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year, this isn’t true for all. Many students recover themselves when they are hitting the second phase, but this post isn’t for those students. It is for students and aspirants who are weak at heart, they are still a child at heart and find it hard to recover from unfavourable situations; this is for students like me who didn’t consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year and suffered a year of torment and sadness.
Yes, it is very saddening and disheartening seeing your batch mates progress ahead with their life while you are still preparing and processing your direction in life. At some point in my drop year, I had a very haunting thought- I thought, why did I actually take a drop year? Why do I want to do engineering only after taking a drop? I had passed the test the previous year and could have been an engineer anywhere if my passion and desire was true. This thought was so haunting; I never recovered from it! Now that I had taken a drop year without considering the pros and cons of it, the pressure was real. Now I had to make sure that I get into a top college, precisely IIT and had to do it any cost. After all, I was giving up one year of my life. Did I get in? Sadly no. Even though it sounds simple, it’s not- it aches whenever I think of the year I lost and how I am actually one year behind my batchmates.
Pros and Cons of taking a drop year for JEE
If my story isn’t enough for you to understand how important it is to consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year, then I don’t know what is! While I don’t condemn taking a drop year, I am merely asking you to carefully understand the pros and cons of taking a drop year and making a decision wisely. I accept that I am weak at heart, I get wavered too quickly, my determination doesn’t last long, and I know I am not the only one of my kind! Every person deep down knows what his calibre is and how much they can hustle to get something. If you think you are strong enough to bear all the pains and speed breakers on your path, then please do go ahead and I wish you the best in life so you can pursue your dream. But if you have doubts, then take a breath, think about the pros and cons of taking a drop year, think if you are strong enough to handle all the adversities and then make a decision. I was fool enough not to consider the external factors involved and took a miscalculated step. I don’t want anyone to go through that again.
Things to consider before taking a drop year
I will stick to engineering, and that takes me to talk about JEE. The entrance exam for admissions in premium engineering colleges like IITs, NITs or IIITs is JEE mains. If you qualify it, you can consider sitting for JEE Advance that opens the doors for all IITs. Now, the essential things to consider that pose a strong point in the pros and cons of taking a drop year is the competition. Every year about 12 lakh students sit for JEE Mains. That number is huge! And what’s even more shocking is that only about 2.5 lakh student make it to the second round of JEE, that is, JEE Advance. From the next lot of 2.5 lakh students, only about 25 thousand students make it. But here’s the catch, there are only 13,376 seats in IITs, and from them, only about 5000 seats are there for the top priority courses. I do not mean to scare anyone but merely want to have you a look at reality. The competition is stiff and cut-throat, and even though you take a drop year, it doesn’t guarantee any real possibility of success. Trust me, people, I know!
Pros of taking a drop year
- The pros of taking a drop year are undeniable if I might say. You get another shot at proving yourself and pursuing your dream.
- You go ahead and start with new positivity and determination that if continued, can lead you to your ideal destination.
- You do get a lot of time think and study and can make the most out of it by preparing well, and it’s highly possible that you get into the college of your dreams if you prepare well.
- You do get more mature and patient while preparing for the exam. You can focus on your weaknesses and work to improve them.
- You can devote your time solely to the preparation of the exam when you usually would have to manage school with it.
Cons of taking a drop year
- One wrong and unexpected speed breaker in your journey and you are bound to lose another year if you don’t overcome it.
- There is no guarantee of your success even though you take a drop year. No-one can guarantee your admission to an IIT even though you take a drop year.
- The pressure of the drop year is genuine. When you take a drop year, you are expected to work hard and get the top result by everyone, yourself included.
- You really feel lonely and left behind when you know all your friends are progressing with their college life and you are still preparing to get in one.
- God forbid, if you don’t get in a good college even after drop year, it can leave you scarred for a really long time and takes a toll on your self-esteem.
I took a step; I did not consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year early on and realised it later when I had already taken the step. I hope nobody takes this miscalculated step without seriously considering the pros and cons of taking a drop year. For the people who took it and failed to get in even after that shouldn’t be disheartened. You can be whatever you want wherever you want if you have the will and passion for pursuing. I didn’t get in and I completely fine! You will be fine too.
For people who haven’t taken the step yet, remember always to consider the pros and cons of taking a drop year and do think it over again.