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My JEE Story that taught me Life

It was May 2015. I'd come out of school and finished what looked like the final hurdle to life at that time - the Board Examinations! Now it was time to rock the world & achieve everything that I used to dream of as a kid. Time to think what's next. I was always ambitious and understood the close link between struggle and success, and I was ready to take trouble for it. There was just one problem though, I didn't know what field to struggle in.
So after many advices and discussions, I found out about a tag called 'IIT' and how it can differentiate a person from any other normal engineer. Great, I'll be an IITian, I exclaimed! So what do I need to do to get into IIT? You need to give an exam called the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). "So that's what I'm going to do."

I must say that today, when I look back, I feel extremely grateful for not being forced down a profession which my parents thought was better for me. I've seen plenty of ruined passions because of this.
I have friends who have found their passions, but lost themselves 
Anyway, with my free will and free choice, I started my new career with full focus, and the enthusiasm was amazing! I used to love what I learnt. Here's how my daily routine would go in my initial months:
I would enjoy classes in the morning, solve brain-teasing problems, making me think more and more. I would go back to my home, do some assignments, and about twice or thrice in a week, go to play with my friends. Mind you, it was not even a month since I had finished my Board exams, so it was still vacation time for most of my friends. Everything was great, I didn't think that whether whatever I'm studying now is enough for the final exam that I'd be giving 2 years later. I just studied because it felt great to understand stuff.

As time passed, the balance became a little tougher to maintain. I was all in for my ambition though, and I could sacrifice anything for it. My classes kept motivating us, saying that IIT is your one true goal. I would say, I got a little over-motivated(sorry for making up words). I got ready to study more, and yes, sacrifice everything. I thought if I could study everyday, and every moment, I could be the top ranker of the exam! Fair enough, that's what logic dictates.
So that's what I did. I shut myself out from the world, minimized playing, or almost stopped it. Didn't meet friends, didn't attend family functions. And this went on for the entire remaining part of the two years.
I just told everyone one thing: "I'm giving the JEE". And they never asked me to join another time. You know why? Because all of them knew how tough this was. Everyone had seen their peers/relatives study the whole year, and still not clearing the examination. It seemed logical for every person that I should skip some gatherings, get-togethers, and parties for an exam.
Here's what happened in the next months.

I stopped all my entertainment. I was just studying. Studying when I was in the mood to learn, studying when I was not. Studying when I was in the mood for gossip, studying when I was in the mood for playing. Suppressing everything, just moving towards that aim. Eventually, my productivity was lost. All those things that rejuvenated me were shut down because a new set of rules were introduced into my life. By? Me! I was bored, by almost everything. The very same guy who would run towards his goals like a mad ruthless soldier in a war, was now too tired to even walk. The fuel for my journey, which at one point seemed infinite, was now over.
Do you see what happened?
I realize now that all the things that I labelled "entertainment" and "waste-of-time" were what made me. I am the guy who loves talking and spending time with friends. I am the guy who loves family get-togethers. I am the guy who likes to play soccer and cricket. And I gave up that guy for my ambition, not realizing that the happiness and cheerfulness of this guy is the fuel to the journey of the ambitious man. And how can I run for my ambitions if I cut the very source of nutrition for my leaps.
I realize now, that in life, everything comes to you when you're happy. Just be happy, don't be conditionally happy. And to be happy, be everything that you are!

I'm not saying that if I would not have cut off everything else from my life, I would have achieved the rank of an IITian, no. Maybe then the distractions would have been so much that I wouldn't even have had a decent rank to get my current college(which is IIIT, by the way). We have no idea what could have happened.
I just know that my two years were of utmost struggle. Not with the books, but with my mind, and my interests. And just like I'd said earlier, after your struggle, you do find the corresponding success, and here's what I consider an achievement to realise:
Too much of ambition, just like too much of distraction, is dangerous
In my early teenage years, I did receive a life lesson in too much of distraction. This time, it was the other extreme. And just like that, life taught me what it really was: Balance. The JEE taught me the one thing that actually mattered in life, and that was balance of ambition and entertainment, balance of friends and family, balance of career and the secondary life.
It's one thing to know something, and one thing to realize it. The latter is what experience does, and I'm glad I had that.
Originally, I was going to name this "What my JEE Failure taught me", or "What I wish I had known before giving JEE". But then I realized, this, was never a regret. I'm glad that I could understand this part of life at this age. I'm glad I could fail at this age. Yes, I'm not an IITian, and maybe I might not be as successful as a high profile IITian would be. And just maybe I might not achieve greatness because of this, but I know how to live now.

Balance everything in your life. And no, nothing will ever be perfectly balanced. And that is the amazing reason you are alive.


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