As secondary and higher secondary examination results pour in, students and their families are celebrating their marks and the beginning of a new life in education. However, not every student is filled with joy and relief — some have secured low marks, perhaps even in streams they may wish to pursue, while others have been unable to pass their exams.
Students are often told that failure is not the end of the world. Yet, failing an exam can drive students into deep despair. It’s not surprising that results-time is usually accompanied by concerns about student suicides — in unfortunate circumstance, the concerns are also realised.
Vaibhav Jha is all too familiar with failure. In a recent Facebook post, the 26-year-old recalled the time when he flunked his class 12 board exams.
The Delhi resident says that having expected him to go the engineering route, his family almost abandoned him after the results. His experiences with parents and neighbours draw attention to the stigma that surrounds academic failure in India. In hindsight, however, Vaibhav doesn’t blame them. He says, “My family didn’t like me. Or so I thought. In reality, they didn’t understand me.”
Between tuition teachers and subjects he loathed, Vaibhav went through a difficult time. When a racketeer offered to give him CBSE question papers for ₹25,000, he even considered selling his kidney to secure the money.
Today, as the founder of a design/advertising setup, Vaibhav has come a long way. He says that even three-time failures can make six-figure salaries doing what they love.
“Don’t get sad. Especially if what you are studying simply doesn’t appeal to you. It is OKAY to not like what you study. It’s OKAY that you hate graphs and eco makes you react to gluten. It’s OKAY. It is just a passing phase. Don’t kill yourself over it. Don’t harm yourself over it.
Living a content life, Vaibhav hopes to tell the world that failure is really just a temporary setback in life.
Note: A previous version of this post had reported the name of the person as Vaibhav Shah. The error is regretted.