It’s all very hazy now. I remember only bits and pieces. Pacing up and down my room etching line after line into my memory. Long hours, early mornings and late nights. I remember concoction after concoction of attempts at staying awake. I remember aching muscles and a turbulent mind. Looking back at the year I took my boards, all I remember is stress - the stress of one set of examinations being ‘it’.
Fragments of recollection, but I still remember the fear. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. It was as though my entire life was just preparation for these exams, and nothing was ever good enough. I always told myself to work longer, harder and faster. Over-worked and completely exhausted, when the time had come to finally take the Boards, I had burnt out.
Today, I sit here thousands of miles away from home, realizing that all those tears and all of that stress may have been in vain. The Boards, unlike what you’re told over and over, do not determine everything. I could have recited my books backwards to you in 2013, but today, I don’t remember an iota of what I learnt. I had to come to college and re-learn. Re-learn education, how to learn and most importantly, how to live.
It is after The Boards that life hits you. You enter college and you’re given five minutes to grow up. Five minutes to figure out how to do your laundry; learn at least three different dishes to cook so you don’t have to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner. Five minutes to transform into an adult. The guideline to none of which you will find in CBSE textbooks.
When you’re passing out in a club after having too much to drink for the first time (not that I recommend it), or are struggling to nurse yourself back to health from a high fever, you’re putting the pieces together of who you truly are. It’s not the Boards that determine your destiny, but all that comes after. The minute the bubble of school bursts, the reality of life ahead sinks in.
At the time, the Boards feel like the end of the world, but it’s only just the beginning. They do, possibly, play some role in determining where you end up after the boards – sometimes in a different city, country or continent; but it’s your experiences after that which mould you into a well-rounded adult and not the other way around.
The Boards are important, but as I’ve come to realize, they’re not important enough…