I received the following message today on the Lounge:
Hi, I heard that you'd be happy if most of us don't write JEE. May I know why?
To answer his question, I was motivated to write up what follows:
What bothers me is the unhealthy attachment to it. Many people in the +2 levels think that the only way they could prove that they are any good is to crack one of the families of exams.
Here is a bunch of incidents on the top of my head:
- Alice, from our very own moderator's panel, once suggested that I should better be an IIT X aspirant because they provide an Y LPA package.
- People have stopped trying to understand Physics because it is fun. They just care about it because they need to crack XYZ exam. I have seen ninth standard students trying to grasp physics through a series of Multiple Choice Questions. Bob literally asked me what the surface tension of a pendulum is.
- Carol once said that he does not care about the proofs in Physics, because they are never asked in JEE. When I used to talk to him about some random field of physics/mathematics/CS that I found interesting, all he could tell me is that does not come under JEE and hence has no value for me, right now.
- David wanted to study Philosophy. With the little idea of Philosophy that I have, it seemed to me that he'd make a good philosopher. He is now being forced to study Engineering.
- Ashley Shamidha realized that she wanted to do mathematics much later. As is clear from her note, it is all because she was overshadowed with JEE.
- People have asked themselves the question, Is JEE the end of life? Fortunately, Sandeep has been kind enough to address the issue in the comment section.
- Oscar, on Brilliant, had been heavily affiliated with JEE. Going through his problems, I could realize how restricted his mathematical creativity was before he joined Brilliant. I am glad that he did join us and I'd certainly say that his wisdom has been enriched.
- Eve is studying Physics. But as it is, she is not quite happy about it; she wants to study medicine. And no, she is not doing so because she is passionate about it, she has been brain-washed to think that the later is superior.
- Frank, from the former moderator's panel, who was truly interested in Number Theory, a few years ago has devoted his entire time into NEET preparation. He had once been frustrated and asked me, What use is Number Theory to an apprentice doctor?
- Peggy wanted to take Computer Science instead of Biology in her +2's. However, her family compelled him to take Biology, so that she has enough doors open if she does not get into engineering.
- Grace is taking a drop for a year and is currently a NEET aspirant. She now evaluates the worth of her own self as the ability to do well in it. I am gravely concerned about her. My roommate also has a friend, Heidi, who is in a similar situation.
(Names have been replaced to protect privacy. However, these are actual experiences involving my close friends, my significant other and several people I know.)
Of course, this is an endless gold mine for several entrepreneurs who are profiting out of it. I once remember meeting employees from a reputed software company who had been bragging about their preparation app but couldn't open a PDF without my help. And indeed, I do not see the rationale behind their existence: Why not try to teach students science, instead of training them to crack exams?
If the right things did not click for me at the right times, I probably would be doing something equally depressing, right now. And maybe, I even wouldn't be here to post this note. I have been warned that doing mathematics is not a very good idea, I'd grow gray hairs before I get a job. (And no, you do not need to remind me that I'm not smart enough to be doing mathematics, or good enough to survive engineering. Thanks.)