“When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.”
This is the quote that helped me throughout my CAT journey. During my 3rd year of engineering, I decided to pursue an MBA but under one condition: it should only be from the top 10 B-Schools of India. As I started my journey, it started getting tougher and tougher by the day. Though I attended coaching, I didn’t really understand things. My friends were getting good scores in mocks, whereas I kept struggling with Verbal which always used to be my strength. I started reading lots of answers on Quora about the strategy to be followed for acing the exam and other success stories to keep myself motivated. I would think and tell myself, “If he/she can do this, then why can’t I?” But I reached a time when Quora got so overwhelming that I ended up deleting the app. I lost my confidence and just a day before CAT, I started suffering from high fever. The D-Day was a disaster. I was on high-power medication so it affected my performance. I could barely read passages and somehow managed the other sections. My friends did great. I scored a mere 64.76 percentile. Nobody except my parents knew about my real score and I decided to take another attempt. Meanwhile, I also got placed in one of the top IT companies of India.
Second attempt at CAT was an eye-opener. My methods became better and there were rules that I followed like analysis of previous mock to be a prerequisite before attempting a new one. I was giving equal attention to all the sections. I joined several preparation groups, crash courses and started asking for advice from people who had actually done it. My desperateness to score this time was visible in my efforts towards preparation.
But I did one mistake; I started copying other’s strategy rather than making one for myself. I bought recommended readings, tried discovering new methods, and motivated myself by listening to songs. It is often said, “Too much of anything is not good!” and the same thing happened with me. Even after a strong preparation, I put myself under so much mental pressure that during my final exam, all I could think of were the “What ifs?” My results were declared when I was on my training and I scored 84.64 percentile.
Even though I failed to fulfil my ultimate goal, I was glad that if I was able to score 84%. I told to myself, “I will definitely get better the next time.” My parents told me that probably I was pressurising myself more than required. I was even told by some people, “This is not your cup of tea Dipshika”.
Even after a two-time failure and my unwillingness to continue with the IT job, I didn’t stop believing in myself. I knew that the third time would either mean everything or nothing. I started my preparations with full force from April and adhered to my timeline as much as possible. My daily routine was waking up at 7, leaving at 8:45 and studying on the way to office. I would read newspaper articles in office and would use my lunchtime to study in the library. While my friends would use the one hour break to chill and actually take a break, I didn’t show my face and headed straight to the library. Sometimes, when my manager wasn’t there, I would use that time to solve questions. I must say, my teammates were really supportive. Having a mentor in your life is so important. I was blessed to have friends and mentors who helped me during tough times and believed in me even if I doubted myself. I used to leave office by 8 pm and reach home at 9:15 pm. After returning home, I would study till 1 or 2. This was my routine for the entire seven months.
On weekends, I dedicated my time to mocks which I started from June. Initially, my mock scores were very low. I would make a graph of all the mock scores - sectionals and total. I also kept noting my strong and weak areas in every mock and applied a different strategy every time till I found the one in which I was the most comfortable in. I followed books for Quants and relied on mock questions for LRDI and VA-RC practice.
Sometimes, I would ask myself, “What if I unable to do it this time?” Even though I was never able to score more than 85 percentile in my mocks, I never gave up. I guess my job was the propeller behind my hard work. But as luck would have it, I fainted just a week before the exam and got 3 stitches on my knee. All I wished was to be able to sit in the chair and perform well. The D-Day went well.
The day before the results, I resigned because I was afraid that if my results were not up to the mark, I would never be able to resign. I had no back-up plans. The results day arrived and I scored 98.49%ile. I could not stop crying. My happiness knew no bounds. I had always dreamt of this day. Even if I achieve a lot of things in future, that day will always remind me of what my potential is, that dreams do come true if you throw yourself all into it. I had calls from all almost top B-Schools. This will be the biggest achievement in my entire life because this is what restored my self-confidence.
As I completed my first year in MDI, I went to the ground and looked up to the sky cherishing each and every moment that made me stronger. I couldn’t have asked for more. During this roller-coaster ride of success and failures, I would think that maybe one day when I achieve my goal, my failures would help as learning for people. I hope my story inspires people to not give up on anything just yet. May the space between where you are and where you want to be, inspire you, always!
If you liked this story, you may also be interested in the following:
- My Journey To XLRI Jamshedpur Ft. Shashwat Dharmadhikari | Against All Odds
- From 19 Percentile In VA-RC To 95 Percentile - Against All Odds
- 10 Inspirational Stories To Motivate You | Ft. IIM A, IIM K, XLRI Jamshedpur
- Inspirational Stories Of Aspirants Who Belled CAT In Their 2nd, 3rd and 4th Attempt
Write-up Credits: Dipshika Damani, PGPM (2019-21), MDI Gurgaon
About the Author
Dipshika Damani is a second-year PGPM student at MDI Gurgaon. With a dash of flexibility and a bout of unwavering morale, Dipshika is also described as super fun-loving by her friends. An avid reader and traveller by heart, her dream is to try every adventurous sport possible.