The scenery was rushing from my sight and so were my thoughts. A gush of thoughts ran through my brain whenever I used to travel. These journeys through trains embody a connection between unseen places and space within me where I meet a more philosophical version of mine. - This was my life pretty much two years back when I started my preparation, while I was in my third year of graduation.
I was studying in KNIT Sultanpur, which was approximately 200km far from my hometown Lucknow - The City of Nawabs. My initial two years in B-Tech were more of exploring- college life, hostel life, roommates bonding, roommates to friends and then 3 am talks with them, participating in competitions and winning them. I made use of the best of what I could, explored new hobbies like photography and literature, and like the last grains of sand in the hourglass, my time was over.
During the third year, life was pretty serious, people were deciding their career options, I knew what I had to do but I did not know how to do it. Sultanpur was a placed with limited resources, and after a lot of brainstorming, I decided to join weekend classes in Lucknow for CAT preparation.
During my winter vacation, I talked about this with my parents, we went to the coaching centre, and I took the form and started filling it. The first question the receptionist asked me, “Will you be able to travel every weekend?” and without any second thoughts, I said, “YES!”.
So, every Friday, after my college lectures, I used to catch a train at 2:50 pm, reach Lucknow by 6:30 pm. Attend my classes and leave for Sultanpur on Sunday. Now, this was my schedule for the next one year. No matter what, I travelled; even if it was raining, even if I have to get up at 4:30 on a bone-chilling winter morning, when the whole hostel was asleep I was getting ready to catch the train, when it was all dark and you can’t find even a single person walking on the streets and if you are lucky enough, you might find a taxi! In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me, an invincible summer.
My friends used to ask me, “Don’t you get tired from all this?” I never had this question in my mind, as this was a part of something I wanted, I enjoyed every bit of my preparation.
Months passed by and it was time for campus placements and now, I was in a dilemma. Should I sit for placements? But as one should always have a plan-B so, I continued with my preparation for CAT and around 15-20 days before the recruitment process, I started with my academic studies and fortunately was among the 83 placed students. A moment of joy indeed!
But October was about to get over and the CAT exam date was announced; 4th December it was! And my semester exam was scheduled on 8th December. Can this get any better? I paused at that time, a constant thought process going inside my head. But then I thought, let’s go with the flow, I will see what happens. If it’s a risk, it’s a risk worth taking.
I continued with my preparation, gave all my exams- NMAT, IIFT and CAT. I came back to Sultanpur on 5th December and was done with my exams by 18th or 20th December.
New year, new beginning and results! Then a long wait for calls from colleges. I still remember, one of my IIM’s interview was scheduled just after the day of my mid-term, which was of one hour, I solved as much I was able to complete within those 20 minutes (still don’t know how the professor understood my handwriting), I handed over my paper to the invigilator and ran to the railway station and was just on time, the train was just about to leave!
The worst part of the b-school interview process was the waiting period when you can’t do anything but wait. Whenever you are alone, you keep thinking about the results, checking your emails and cell phones every now and then as you never know when your result might be out!
When my first result was out, I was on the waiting list, still was sceptical about my career, and the frustration was growing more and more in me. The only thing I had in my mind was my results.
One day I got up, checked my phone with one eye open with bits of sleep still there in my eyes and there I saw, “One new message” from IIM Shillong, there ‘The First Shock’, I was half awake now and as I was opening the message, my heartbeat was throbbing so loud that I could hear it clearly and then it Flashed!!!”CONGRATULATION!!!”, I don’t even remember that I even read the whole sentence or that, It was a long time that I waited to hear this word ‘Congratulations’ and I was jumping and waking up my roommates and shouting in the corridor, and then realized I was actually crying!!
There was a mix of emotions that ushered in me, a mix of happiness and achievement, the breakdown of months-long frustration, but I guess in the end “IT WAS WORTH IT!”
About the Author:
Sunidhi Raj Singh is a first-year student at the SJMSOM, IIT Bombay. She is a graduate of KNIT, Sultanpur. An avid reader and photographer.