" We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough" - Helen Keller
There are so many of us out there who've had a mediocre or to put it simply- an uneventful life in terms of success and feats in life. We all are so eager to upgrade, to accelerate and launch our careers with venom and sheer pace.
I too dreamt big, no different than every CAT aspirant around. It was in undergrad college that I made up my mind to get into the world of business and strive for an illustrious future thereon. I put all my efforts and gave NMAT & CAT(2017) in my final year of graduation - It was a total mess in CAT (69 percentile) and NMAT was close yet so far (202).
At that point of time, I even did not have an on-campus job at hand which made these results more unbearable. I rallied and eventually managed to land a job in a reputed MNC - TCS Ltd and promised myself that I would leave no stones unturned in my pursuit of management - be it the immediate year 2018 or a year later 2019.
I made a bold decision - a calculated one, to move out of the home comforts and work in a new city in Hyderabad. I did believe that when I prepare on my terms with minimum distractions and affections -I would come out shining.
Some of my seniors had suggested that work-ex does has a little bit of weightage when you're appearing for a top college or a job and so I had set sights on 2019 to be my judgement year.
I also gave CAT in 2018 just to maintain my flow and habit of being competitive at the national scale. I scored 87 percentile this time and really had a great VARC (96) and LRDI(93) section.
I could see I lagged behind by a mile. I had to score at least more than 95% to have a shot at one of the top 30 B schools in the country.When I'm investing lakhs in building a foundation for a bright future, you need to go the distance and not settle for anything ordinary.
I started my CAT preparation in Jan 2019 with an online course from Iquanta. The whole course structure and pedagogy suited me as I had classes every day from 10-12 at night.
Because of the nature of my job and the fact that I had to be self-reliant in daily life, it was not easy to move ahead. I used to work at 6.30 am -3.30 pm shifts(& night shifts every 2 months) and my office cabs woke me at 4.30 am every day. I had 4-5 quality hours in the evening each day to devote to studying and probably slept for only 4-5 hours every day. Things were sailing, I was gaining confidence in my weak areas and clinical in my strengths.
Come May, I also suffered a health setback when I was diagnosed with Hypokaelamia leading to partial paralysis of my limbs and arms. It was pathetic to be moved around in a wheelchair but that's what destiny had in plan.
I lived in fear of falling down on my knees whenever my feet felt sore that day onwards and couple it with the tension of low mock scores, life turned miserable by August-September. I had to analyze and pick myself up after each bad mock and focus on what needs to be improved further. I sacrificed all my job prospects and opportunities in my pursuit of a good college.
I was pretty well prepared, confident and had taken around 60 mocks by November and applied for CAT, IIFT and SNAP targeting the creme-la-creme colleges.
It was - D Day- 24th November 2019 and I was nervous - as would all other aspirants be. I had dealt with high -pressure situations in the past and thought I would breeze through.
However, the VARC section had gripped me and make me sweat a lot in the first 20 mins. With time, I feared more and more and marked answers out of fear of fewer attempts than accuracy and I realized that I had hit my nadir.
I carried on my anxiety and self-hurt to DILR & QA section well knowing that you have to treat every section on its merit.
I had blown away my greatest chance.
It was probably the lowest point in my entire life.
I shed tears and spent some time with close ones.
I looked up and saw IIFT at a distance of 7 days and SNAP within 21 days and I started again to focus and believe and let go of the disastrous CAT experience. It was probably the best thing one can do at such times. LET GO!
I gave an awesome IIFT and great SNAP exam and relaxed and let go of my worries- because I did not have the confidence to take on XAT.
Results followed soon, CAT -89%, IIFT- 95.6 % , SNAP - 96.5 %
At the end of it all, for all my adventure I had a solitary IIFT call that too with a borderline percentile.
I soaked my next two months with all my blood and sweat and prepared for my IIFT GDPI scheduled in Feb. All thanks to my amazing mentors, I had an inch-perfect GDPI and I hoped. I had done my end of things- I only had the option to wait.
Post the Corona crisis and a long 4 months later - IIFT results were out and I did not feature in any of the two campus merit lists.
I broke a little more.
I questioned my methodology, my decision of moving out, my decision to sacrifice my TCS career, my sleep.
Well as destiny would have it, Perseverance never fails to reward - however long it makes you wait.
I did 'wait' in the Waitlist for IIFT Kolkata.
A month later, in July I finally made it to IIFT Kolkata.
All that sacrifice and no-sleep days had borne fruit-eventually.
My idea of writing such a long and detailed story - is to boost the morale of those who are fighting for their dreams on multiple fronts, who are making sacrifices today for a great tomorrow, to call out fellow students to believe in hard work and not short cuts.
To everyone who tries so hard till they break, eventually you'll rise and Shine.
All the best to all Hustlers.
See you soon on the other side of an illustrious career.
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