Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unfair is the Name of the Game

I can't believe it, but it is true. Even now that it has been done to me the fifth time, I can't help cribbing over it. It's the unfairness of the game which prompts those reactions each time. The game isn't life, but grades. Life has been an oscillating journey, mostly fair but this game has let me and my prestige down consistently for the past two and a half years.

The glass (of my college life) is now half-full (or half-empty whichever way to perceive). The grades were elevated this time- from 6.53 at the end of 4th semester to 6.634 now, still a little below my 3rd semester grade of 6.643. The SGPA (semester-grading) was a little better at 7.00. Facts apart, here I shall crib. Unfairness enters here. This time the game was played differently. Tactics were different, sincerity was different and the mission as well. The sad part- results almost the same. Bowing to the trend of electing fraud courses, convincing my brain about the extreme importance of grades (more than understanding and concepts) and working a lot harder- the seriousness levels were entirely different. This time, unlike others, there was a motivation to perform, and if once my heart questioned why I was doing it, my brain easily replied (and silenced it) by a simple answer- grades! So where did I fail?

6 courses, 1 lab- 25 credits. Out of these, only 2 Mathematics courses (termed as genuine) for which I invested efforts, multiple times any other course were the spots where I faltered at the final hurdle. After succumbing to a mosquito bite and being admitted for dengue, thus missing the minors, I had to adapt to the pressure of writing down too many re-minors within too short a duration, within too short periods of notification and just before the majors, and the submissions of assignments, projects et al.

I would concede, without lying, studying for them gave me an advantage going into the majors- already prepared despite the hell life became for me, full 3 weeks. However random scheduling, strange questions (or checking?) by Professors undid me to a good extent. For example, the environment reminor which the Professor suddenly schedueld the next day, getting sandwiched on the only day between my other 2 Maths reminors (naturally I didn't prepare for it). The Maths exams however went nicely, except that later the Professor would point out I misinterpreted the question of 4 marks (which would later mean a grade), despite almost everyone whom I asked to interpret it thought the same as me.

The new attendance policy- calling for a deduction in grade below 75% attendance in a course- demonstrated my lack of seriousness as I satisfied the criterion in each of the 6 courses (thankfully 3 of them didn't bother). The rest 3 apparently feasted on my continual pleads to show mercy (which they finally did- Phew!). With my awesome preparations into the Maths majors and expectations of 8 each, I had to content myself with two 6s. The environment course- seemingly easiest for a long time- gifted a 5, after being chucked out by the Professor unwilling to redeem for his faults in the paper, and rather handling me negatives (Yes, this exam had negative marking!).

The lazy electrical teacher- winner of many accolades in the past, unable to deliver even 0.1% of it- showed me hope and horror! Handling me 27.5 marks out of 30, and hopes of a maiden A (10), later he deducted 4 marks, left a spot of ambiguity about my reminor marks (which he never conducted but promised to adjust marks himself, never showing me the marks) as I was left to beat my head, when handed with a 8 surprisingly. Why when I complain here, didn't I complain to him? Because, he left to Australia that day! Random grading in the lab reiterated the unfairness, the repetition of tragedy of my stay at the haven which is a dream of millions of Indians- getting worse than analyzed worst case. Expecting ~ 8.3 the day the majors started, I had to contend with a 7.00- but that's the game, isn't it?

Modifying my rules, myself to compete like others in the game, I confess- I lost! I would crib however, to eternity about the senselessness of the grading system, the unfairness of the academic system. But I can crib and stay depressed or learn to live with it. So, I will have to contend myself with the latter.


Nyx said...

Is this a consequence of being in the math dep?
I do agree grades are the weirdest things. There are courses you actually have to work to flunk. And then there are these...
BTW, I've heard your life in IIT is defined by your CGPA. But haven't actually experienced that so far. Does it have any bearing on anything apart from placements and the exchange programs?

Siddharth Bhattacharya said...

Yes, to a good extent due to being in Maths Dep. There are more factors like a bad start, and an urge to do genuine and challenging courses. Flunking isn't that tough. You can not appear in the exam, end of story. But Maths Dep staff is crazy, unskilled, psychotic. Don't know why!

You haven't heard wrong. Life is defined by grades in IIT. Apart from placements, exchange it also makes a difference for internships (which can be damn exciting), higher studies applications etc. And with the new rules apparently it affects co-curricular life, as there are grade limits to holding a post, attendance rule, etc.

Apart from even that, it is a matter of prestige. People often define you by the CG bracket you are in. Since you asked "life is defined" the word define doesn't mean in your own eyes, but in people's eyes only.

PS. Thank you for agreeing, grades are the weirdest things. :)

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