Updated: Jun 29
When I started writing this blog, I created only three categories - CAT preparation, IIM Interviews and Life at an IIM. Slowly, I also started blogging about Jobs and Internships in general. But, I felt this was imperative to also add another category called 'Inspiring Stories' because sometimes, all we need is to know that someone else also went through a tough time and got over it.
Today, I'm going to share with you all one of the darkest times of my life. I've already written about it on Quora, so some of you might be aware of it. But, the intention is to make you realize that no one is born perfect. We all go through our ups and downs. What defines us is how we behave when life hits us hard.
This image up there was a result of a journey that I cannot call easy by any means. The first time I thought of doing an MBA, I had no one from whom I could seek advice. I was not only the first one from my family to think of doing an MBA but also the only one who was living out of town to pursue my dreams.
I had missed out on my dream college - Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) by three marks in 12th boards. It’d be very foolish to say that it was a heartbreak - so many of us miss out on our goals, I was no different. The only concern was that I had lost confidence in myself after that failure (I shouldn’t call it a failure).
One of the biggest challenges for me during the CAT preparation journey was the fear of failing again. “What if I don’t make it in the first go?” All the jobs offered at my college were in accounts function, and I wanted to work in marketing.
To add to the worries, I was considering the coaching fees of CAT as a liability for my parents. I was fortunate that they could afford it, but I was worried it'd go in vain if I’m unable to clear the exam.
I was also weak at Quantitative Aptitude. I was a non-engineer; I didn't know how to compete with the students out there who were good at mathematics. I had been making silly mistakes all my life in maths. So, preparing for QA was another grave concern for me.
My coaching centre was just 10–15 minutes away from my college. I used to attend it after college hours. You know what made me feel miserable - every day while going to my coaching centre, I passed-by SRCC, the college that I had missed by three marks. Every single day!
The routine I followed was one that made me engrossed in the preparation. I knew I had to give it my all to clear it in the first go. But, that fear was consistently there. The mocks were going fine, but I had to push the score up by improving different areas that I figured were weak during the analysis.
Finally, when the D-day came, I just went in with all the hope that it’d go well. Even though I made silly mistakes in QA in the final exam, the result was in favour - so much so in favour that I got 99.09 percentile in CAT 2017.
A couple of days later, I received all the IIM shortlists; FMS shortlist as well. The journey from shortlists to converts has been a little less rigorous. But, that feeling you get after knowing that you’ve finally made it, that feeling is worth all the pain!
Do you know the best part? While passing-by that college every single day, I could never muster the courage to glance up and look at it. But, when my IIM-Ahmedabad final result got announced and I got a call from my coaching centre to visit, that day I looked at the college, smiled and wiped my tears off :)
To be honest, I won’t say my journey has been the most difficult one. I had batch mates at IIM-A who had gone through way tougher times to get admission to the institute of their choice. But, my journey hasn’t been easy for me.
When you miss out on a goal in life, it is common to feel disappointed. But, sometimes, that disappointment clings to you for too long, it makes you feel weak, it shatters your confidence level.
To anyone out there who has faced disappointment in life - I’d say the best comeback for a failure is a bigger achievement. If you’ve lost something, you’re lucky. Because you know the pain it causes and you’d do everything possible to not let that happen again. Use your failure as a reminder for you to work harder.
Never beat yourself up for losing out on something. Get back up with double the strength and prepare for an even bigger battle. It is difficult but worth it!