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“State should give credit to unacknowledged meritorious students”

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Tete-e-tete with CJM ICSE Topper, Taanvi Arora

By SIMRAN KKAPOOR 

You’ve scored 99%, how does it feel like? How is your family celebrating it?

Being very honest, I would not say that it was completely unexpected, for, somewhere down the line my hopes were high, but to see your aspirations turn into reality is a completely different thing. It felt surreal. The moment I saw my result, I experienced a farrago of emotions and so did my parents. Both my parents were in tears. We were all overwhelmed. As for the celebrations, they haven’t stopped. Being a Punjabi, the ultimate source of happiness for me is food and, trust me, I have gained an enormous number of calories in the past three days.

How did you prepare for your ICSE board exams?

My preparation entirely revolved around self-study. I did not take tuitions. I certainly did join coaching in the beginning of the year, but for the rest of the year, I studied myself. My school teachers were really very warm and helped me with all my queries. Also, I practiced no form of smart work and made sure that I study everything thoroughly. As they say, there’s no substitute to hard work.

Whom would you like to give credit for your success?

No matter how old fashioned I might sound, I do believe in destiny. My result reflects that my fortune was quite kind, for which, first and foremost, I would thank the Almighty. As far as the credit is concerned, my lovely parents and teachers have it undisputed. My parents never found it tiring to deliver motivating speeches in the middle of the night, whenever I got up with a panic attack, which happened quite often. And my teachers at Convent of Jesus and Mary, I cannot just thank them enough. Not only were they great with their subjects, but also were always keen at encouraging me to give my peak performance.

Apart from academic excellence, how has your participation been in extracurricular activities?

I’ve always been very active in extracurricular activity (apart from sports). From being eager to play the witch in the story-telling competition in the second grade to being the narrator of events at school, I have done it all. However, in the beginning of the year, I was a bit reluctant due to my academic preferences, only to realise later that the extracurricular is one of the most important components of the education system. In 10th standard, I was largely into debating and narration, apart from other regular school activities.

The post-covid world would demand a different education system. Do you think online education would fulfil the holistic development of the students?

To a certain extent, I think it will. By the ‘extent’, I mean it would only be able to cover the academic aspect of education and the extracurricular would take the back seat, which would reflect as a major loss to a pupil’s overall personality outside of school. It is just that the initiative that earlier schools used to take would now become the individual responsibility of the students.

What suggestions would you want to give the state on students’ welfare?

Being from a middle class family, accessing educational resources becomes difficult for me at most times. The state offers extremely selective scholarships, which too are confined to subjects like science and math. Also, the differences in the pattern of education in different boards create difficulty, particularly in competitive exams. The education standards should be uniform across the country. Lastly, it would be great if the state would give recognition to thousands of meritorious students who go unidentified.

What kept you inspired throughout the process?

My inspiration largely came from the faith that my parents, my teachers, my relatives and all my well-wishers had in me. Their expectations had a very positive impact on me. Not to mention that I am very ambitious and was totally driven to achieve what I did.

What suggestions would you want to give the students preparing for exams during the lockdown?

The biggest suggestion I could possibly give anybody, including my 15 year old self, would be to not look for inspiration to a level that you give up on everything and are only searching for motivational YouTube videos all the time. I say this from personal experience and, trust me, giving up on that habit turned out to be evolutionary for me. Considering the lockdown, in particular, take it as an opportunity to work on your own selves. Enjoy, it is abnormal to study all the time or worry about it every second. I’ve done it all, it was useless. There’s no point ending up as a bookworm. Personality matters.

What are your future plans?

Call it the beaten path if you wish to, but I love Computers and would want to pursue Computer Science engineering. Apart from career centric goals, my only plan is to enjoy my life to the fullest. I wish to travel, meet people from civilisations across the world, be happy and do everything I can to make others happy.