Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Tunnel Before the Light?

The place has to be called a Hall. Nothing else can describe its size. A huge hall with the capacity of seating more than 500-600. Its not a hall where people gather to socialize or to watch a movie. Silence shrouds the place. Silence so thick that it rings in your ears. There are windows. But only in a distant corner of the hall. They aren't the kind one would notice unless one went searching for them deliberately. The view outside the windows isn't comforting either. Huge leaves from the trees outside cover the glass... like a sinister curtain. The hall has been called "the panic room" or the "room of terror". It is no ordinary hall...

At the very front of the hall, stands a lady. She looks across the hall. In front of her are hundreds of kids. Their ages range from 18-23 or more. All sit in silence, bent over the little desk placed in front of each one of their seats. She smiles to herself. She can't lie. She loves to be in the hall. The reason would soon become apparent.

She takes a deep breath and walks to the very first row. She picks an aisle and walks down the aisle with kids on either side of her frantically reading the piece of paper placed in front of them. She always gets to see such a variety of reactions from them. Thats the best part of being in the hall. Thats what keeps her coming back...

She knows... the exam hall can be a students best friend or their worst enemy. Experience tells her that the cases in between the 2 extremes were very rare...

Unfortunately, today wasn't the ideal exam. Exams with multiple choice questions were only half as fun as the exams with essay questions. Stopping by at a random student's desk to peek in and see what was written highly amused her... But not today. All she could see was the bubble sheet in every desk with markings on them. She sure set the question paper... but she didn't remember the correct options by-heart to stop by and see if the student was writing crap or not...

More than the smart students, the type who knew all the answers and could write the entire exam without breaking into a sweat, she enjoyed observing those who were struggling with her question paper. Today the catch was good. More than half the hall capacity had burst into a sweat. Some giving shifty glances, some almost in tears, some looking at the question paper with an expression that suggested that they were hoping for a miracle and for the answers to magically pop up out of nowhere. She smiles and says to herself...

"Mission Accomplished"

Hi there folks! I am back after a long time! And yeah... I guess you could say from the crap above that my exams didn't go as planned. Not done too great. Don't get me wrong here! I don't believe that professors are these cruel people who come to the exam hall just to derive pleasure from seeing students cry over a killer paper that they set. Nor do I believe they set such papers just to torture us. Sometimes its hard to stand by what I believe but having lived with a professor (my dad!) all my life, I can safely say: no, professors are not out to get us poor students and exams are not as evil as we think they are (now THAT part is hard to believe!)

As I was sitting in the exam hall during my last exam, I felt miserable. Seriously. My other exam hadn't gone as well as I had expected the previous day and the exam I was trying to write wasn't going too well either. I didn't know most of the answers. There goes my grades along with dreams that someday I might actually be able to get a First class honours then graduate and get into a first class university to do my Ph.D. I guess 3rd class honours is still ok *resigned look*

As I was sitting there feeling miserable and frustrated, a few thoughts crossed my mind. How the hell am I going to become a Molecular Biologist if a stupid basic level molecular biology course exam was almost making me cry?! I didn't know most of the answers to the exam paper. Then how am I supposed to find the answers for research problems that I know will come my way? Another thought: did those whom we consider "great" scientists also go through these exam nightmares where they couldn't answer the questions on the question paper but went on to do brilliant research and answer many questions in the very same field? And no, I am not talking about people like Edison, Einstein and the other drop outs. I am talking about the present day "great" scientists. (I put "great" within quotes coz its a relative term right? Atleast I think it is). Was my horrible performance in my molecular biology course a sign that I won't make a good molecular biologist or was it supposed to be a source of inspiration which will drive me to work harder and find the answers to the questions? Coz right now, I don't feel very inspired. I feel discouraged. I am very seriously considering a future in Biochemistry instead. Really I am.

I was labelling all my posts the other day and I found something interesting. I have written loads of posts where I have pondered over where I am headed and whats the pupose of all this. About who I wanted to become, who I am going to become and that sorta stuff. I guess this is one of those posts where I ponder where I am headed...

Should I really let just one course (molecular biology) discourage me or should I consider it a sign and just play my strength (biochemistry)?

3 comments:

Clueless said...

Hee! I was wondering where you were going with the whole 'hall of terror' thing - I sorta kept picturing Srividya every time you mentioned the lady walking the aisles! :P

And ugh, I'm in the same predicament as you. Except my choices range from Biomedical Science to MCB to just plain ol' Biology to completely out of the LS field to completely out of academics at all. Yeesh, I hate this not knowing, but I guess till we get our jobs and settle down, it'll be something we won't be able to predict!

Confused Soul said...

Don't worry.. All of us are facing the same problem.. and it's the worst feeling when you've studied everything and still you don't know the answers to the questions!! :(
I guess that's how university education is different from school..

Don't let one module demoralize you.. You do your part.. study hard, understand what you learn, leave the result to God.. he has a plan for you.. you just have to do your duty and then.. wait and watch :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

as someone further down this path, let me say that no, bad performance in one module really is not an indication of your capabilities or aptitude. In the same breath, a perfect score in Biochem also need not ensure that you will be the most successful biochemist. Pick what you truly enjoy- and (as far as succeeding in grad school) you learn what you need to as you go. But it is important to be motivated enough to learn.
Sorry for the long lecture. Good luck, and do strengthen your basics in both mol bio and biochem in any case, the two are quite inter-related and you will need both in whichever line you choose. :-) But really, performance in exams is not the best metric, so dont' let it influence your decisions.

big help, eh? ;)