Crossing the HSC hurdle!
"No way! Is it time already?"
"Yes, man! Today is the 7th. Don't you even look at the newspapers? It was there in huge prints!"
"Oh my God, I feel queasy! What do I do? Where do I go?"
What do you think these two are talking about? Bomb blasts? Extortion threats? Or is it an impending wedding day? No, the above is supposed to be the dialogues exchanged between two students who have taken their HSC exams this year. 7th September was the day when their results were to be published. As anyone who has ever taken an exam would know, results day is a huge day, at some phases of life next only to the Day of Judgment. Even the best students with an impeccable track record cannot help but be nervous on this day.
Of course, these people are usually more nervous about not scoring record marks in some subject, instead of worrying about even making the cut like the rest of us. I once saw this examinee depressed about not having secured more than 95% mark in any of his subjects! Haven't met him in a while, so I'm guessing he has gone off to NASA or some other such place where there are more people like him.
Jokes aside, the HSC results were published last Thursday, 7 September. The percentage of students passing this time was the highest in last six years.
Whether that is a good record or not-so-good-record is a matter of debate maybe, something we will not want to start here and now. What matters more is that this time, like every other time, thousands of students from all over the country waited anxiously for their grades, the outcome of the second biggest exam of their lives and what to them must seem like the end of an era.
With these grades in their hand, they will finally move onto the stage of life they have been dreaming of for who knows what length of time: University life. Of course, within one year of university drill it may no longer seem a colourful thing, but again, let's not go into that today. Today is the day they get the piece of paper that in effect expedites the transition from a college student with dreams to a university student with the resources to actually try and fulfill those dreams. Soon, these students will be applying to universities at home and abroad, trying to get the best education they can and making the most of their inherent talent. Some of them will go into medical school, some into engineering schools, others will try to make a name for themselves in law or business or physics or micro-biology and so on, while yet others may dream of ending up as a teacher, and do for the students what their teacher did towards their own success.
However, it is also important that these students, many of whom might be our siblings, cousins, or even nieces and nephews, understand the responsibility that they are about to undertake. In a country where primary education is still a privilege, these students have just completed 12 years of formal education and are about to enter academic institutions of the grandest scale. Now is the time to get their priorities straight, sort their dreams into order and know what it is that they want to do in life. This is not to say that they must have their whole life planned out. Far from it, really. The biggest achievements in life are made not by careful planning but by experimentation. What I am trying to say is that they must be ready to take the challenges and shoulder the responsibilities that come with being a university student. Even more importantly, they must learn the value of hard work. They must understand that it is better to have toiled at a problem for three hours and getting it partially right, than to spare 30 minutes and just copy it off someone else.
The University is primarily a place for learning more about one's own discipline. However, it should also be the place to learn about other disciplines. This is the place where students should learn the importance of punctuality, of hard work and above all of academic honesty. One must not expect to do well in exams by not being attentive to the lectures. At the same time, studying on one's own, even with average grades, can be a life-changing experience. Here's hoping our HSC examinees, with their freshly earned accolades, can go a long way towards that end. Good luck, fellows!
(R) thedailystar.net 2006