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Got 80 percent in your Class XII exams?
Lucky you!

By Vijay K. Thadani*

I can't help thinking about the time-my time, actually-when one got a bone rattling pat on the back and a treat at a favorite restaurant when the higher secondary result was in the 75 plus range. An 80 percent meant one was virtually a genius, a winner all the way, deserving of an extravagant treat-an "all-paid" for holiday in Mussoorie! Of course, as far as the parents were concerned, the congratulatory phone calls just wouldn't stop, the phone just wouldn't stop ringing!

Get an 80 percent today and you're done for. Your family will head to the hills in shame and misery. You won't get as far as Faridabad and no college worth its salt and snob value will even give you a second glance. In fact, you are sure to miss even the lowly third "cut off" list, if there is one. Traditionalists are sure to tell you that life has ended or at least will be very lonely at 80 percent!

Vijay K Thadani
Vijay K Thadani

Thankfully, that's not how I feel, or how it can actually be. To my mind, getting an 80 percent in Class XII heralds the start of a new life and the opening of doors you never even imagined existed. Unlike the 90 percent plus student who makes it past the hallowed IIT Delhi portal and has absolutely no choice but to tread the path set out for him/her, the 80 percent person is "free" in a manner of speaking.

If you are that lucky person, you can expand your horizon to as far as the mind's eye can see. You can explore new possibilities. You can do almost anything you want, even pick an offbeat career such as music or art that gives you personal gratification and hopefully employment!

To me, you're in a far better position than a contemporary who got thrown into the Science stream owing to an unfortunately high percentage in Class X exams! This hapless person was plunged (perhaps against his/her wishes) into the fashionable, yet dry world of Physics, Chemistry and Biology to fulfill the family's academic obligations and reiterate its commitment to the magic words-status and success!

Clearly, you, at 80-percent do not have to uphold such great expectations or lofty family values! Insulated from performance pressures, you can coolly and rationally decide on your road ahead. Of course, society is likely to tell you that as an 80-percenter you are a failure. Take no heed of it. Don't believe such idle assessments or let them undermine the way you feel about yourself.

At 80 percent you have done far better than almost 90 percent of the country's student population that took the Class XII exam! Remember, if you were in any part of the world except India, you would have found a place in any one of the reputed institutions of higher learning! In fact, I am sure if you did a quick survey of the country's top CEOs and checked on their final year school results, not many would be in the 80 percent plus range. Therefore, keep that chin up and let the "feel good" factor sweep over you. You're in good company!

Meanwhile, what you can certainly do is look at how to add that extra punch to your resume. Find the time to see how you can package and make yourself more marketable while pursuing your graduation (or any other program) at a second tier college.

Here's where I would make a strong case for computer learning, which is becoming an imperative in today's world and an important prerequisite for any job. While the university experience will build your foundation, the IT program will arm you with crucial functional skills that will add to you employment potential. Try not to get distracted by the "pursue an MBA" brigade. An MBA program can never be a corrective and can never redress what happened to your Class XII report card.

In a sense there is no going back, so don't defer the decision to become a professional. Don't wait for graduation to be over to get started. The good thing about college life is that it's easy and gives you time for other things. Computer learning will not only set the future course of your life, it will even help you in your existing program.

To my mind, education is not just a knockout tournament. It's now got the flavor of a League game. Therefore, if you lost your first match, your first battle, you're definitely not out of the picture. You can win the bigger war. IT skills can give you a major edge in life, making you industry- and job-ready even as you complete three years of graduation. Now tell me this doesn't make you better than your friend from the swanky college who's worrying about getting into the IIMs and then settling down to a juicy MNC job? Let me tell you, that dream may never materialize.

Therefore, the time is now. Take matters in your hands and make sensible choices regarding your career. Believe me, there's life after 80 percent!

*Vijay K. Thadani is the CEO of NIIT