Saturday, May 24, 2008

Barely passed

I am an IIT student and I just finished my first year. In my last semester in IITD, I had this course called CHL 110 (Transport phenomena). This course was taken by a prof. who made his subject as boring as he could. Although he wasn't a strict prof., but he had what they call an "uncanny knack" to bore students to death. After 2 semesters in IIT, I've realized that 90% of how interesting the course is, depends on the professor who's taking that course. So in the first three classes, I had realized that this was going to be one hell of a boring course. And I think when he taught this course the last time, hardly any students were turning up for the classes. So this time, he had made a rule that in the final evaluation, there would be 5 marks out of 100 for the attendance - a student having 100% attendance will get 5 marks and a student having 75% will get 0 (and one having 87.5% will get 2.5 and so on...), and if you have less than 75%, sorry dude, you'll have to repeat the course.

Well initially I made my efforts to attend as many classes as I could, but then they started getting torturous. And moreover the class was from 4-5 pm. There were also 2 lectures from 2-3 pm and 3-4 pm of Mathematics and Physics respectively. Now I had missed a couple of these 2-3 and 3-4 lectures so I wasn't following anything in them. So eventually I started missing these classes, getting my attendance signed by someone else (I have taught so many people to sign my name that it scares me). And this time was a great one for an afternoon nap. The problem was that although I slept at 2 and planned to get up by 3.45, these plans never worked. I always got up after 4. In the CHL class, there was no scope for proxy as the prof. called out every student's name and by the end of 2 weeks, he knew almost every student by name and whether he/she was present or not. So till the 2nd minor, I had missed 11 classes (we could only miss 14 in total) and hence could only miss 3 in the rest of semester. But I made a huge effort to get my lazy ass to the class after minor 2 and by the end of classes, I had missed 12 classes out of 14, just one after minor 2. I got 0.77 marks out of 5 for attendance. Also, in the marking scheme, the prof. had put aside 10 marks out of 100 for assignments, which at the end of the semester I realized that he hadn't given any. When I asked him about these assignments, it turned out that these 10 marks were for participation in the tutorial class. Participation?? What was this, 6th class English period or what? I hadn't given a hoot about participating in the tutorial as I didn't know anything. He had once even remarked to me - "What's the point of coming to a tutorial if you are not interested in doing anything?". I would have liked to ask him the point of keeping marks for attendance but I didn't. This is the thing about Indian education system - 13 years in school teach you to shut up in front of your teacher even if he/she's talking crap because they can make your life hell after that. So anyways, I got 1 out of 10 in the "assignments" (I had once done a question on board in the tutorial, and that was the only time I had participated) and my PMT (Pre-major total) was 13.94 out of 65, which meant that I needed atleast 16.5 out of 35 in the major for passing (30%).

The day of the major came. I didn't sleep all night except for just 30 minutes. Not like the students who have studied everything and are anxious whether they'll do well and hence can't get any sleep, but like the students who have hardly studied anything before this and one night before the exam, their ass is on fire as it's do or die for them. If it wasn't for that fire I wouldn't have studied anything for the major like I didn't for the minors. So I did study. This was the last major. I had studied a bit before the start of the majors and worked really hard the last night. I didn't even get time to eat breakfast. The major was from 8-10 am. It was of 30 marks. Fighting hunger and sleep, I started to read the questions. There were four questions. I needed to attempt atleast 20 marks to be on the safe side. For the first half hour, I wasn't able to do anything. Then I went out to have some water and take a break. I came back after 2 minutes and started doing the paper. It was going well and in the end I finally felt that I had done a decent amount. Decent enough to pass (or so I thought).

The results came. I had already failed in the Physics and Maths courses (the ones in which were coinciding with my afternoon nap). And incidentally, I was 75 % sure that I would pass in Maths. I was desperate to pass in CHL. One of my friends was in the insti at the time when the papers were being shown and he went for seeing the papers. He called me and told me that I had scored 14 out of 30. Now since the PMT+major was of 95, I scaled them to 100 and guess what? My total turned out to be 29.4. I felt really bad. Failed in 3 courses out of 6. But suddenly I realized that there was still a hope. I scaled my major marks which were out of 30 to 35 and added that to my PMT. The total came out to be 30.27. Now I wasn't sure how he would scale the marks. I told my friend to ask him and he said that he would scale the major marks to 35 and add that to the PMT. I was thrilled. I hadn't been so happy since a very long time. I went around the hostel shouting, "Main pass ho gaya, Main pass ho gaya". Even though I would have to repeat the other 2 courses, I was really happy that I didn't have to repeat this one, and attend the torturous lectures once again. Even after scoring 1/10 in assignments and 0.77/5 in assignments I had passed. I didn't have any guilt for not studying this course properly because it just sucked so much. I was just plain and simple happy that I had passed.

8 comments:

Harsh said...

Hey ani, well written. The best thing in your writing is you never exaggerate or distort the realities. You present yourself as you are. Really the course was a bucket of boredom, it feels so relieved after passing through this course. I too got 0.77 out of 5 for attendance ;)

Mohit said...

well dude it is very real bt the system the classes the courses i could identify with it (although i hv never been in such a situation)...
nicely put i must say....

Shantanu said...

Nicely written post. And I liked it because of its simplicity and no-exaggerations approach. I could feel the desperation and excitement when you described these emotions. Keep it up, dude.

sid said...

Barney inspired?

Apoorv said...

whats the point of writing a blog?

Twins said...

U kno it just reminded me of Chetan Bhagat,is there somethin in the air of IIT-D? Frankly, its a gr8 article, very truthful and at the same time, a bit scary..lol..
u can actually think of writing as a career andy.. think abt it!

Shirshendu said...

a thrilling tale...

-the friend in insti

Ashish said...

man that was thrilling. nicely written, very from the heart :)

the compulsary attendance really scares my pants off, that too 75%(SEVENTY FIVE FUCKING PERCENT!!!!) here at iit kanpur the courses and professors are as boring as ever, but atleast they dont force you to come, they also earmark 5% for the attendance but you can get a 0 in that (many people do, including yours truly :P)

i know exactly what you're saying about how fraud the teaching is and how it can extinguish any natural spark of interest you may have. the whole situation's pretty sad :( do crosswords in class, always helps :D