First of all let me congratulate each and everyone who were declared passed in the Matric examination by JKBOSE. Special mention goes to those who scored positions and passed the examination with excellent grades. I do convey to them to enjoy this moment and take your time before taking your next step. Same time, I don't want to let down or make those feel desolated and disappointed who were unable to secure good grades or failed to pass the examination, because, failure is a big opportunity in itself to work on your weak points and come back more stronger with lot of positive energy and do your best. As the saying goes on, sky's the limit for them.
Coming to my main point of discussion, do 10th grades really matter and if they, wherever in life/career? The answer is a surprising and dichotomous in nature. Some will say they do really matter and for some, they never. But how to come up with a more comprehensive answer to this ever unresolved academic mystery facing kashmiri kids who just start to blossom whenever the results are declared by the board. Let me reveal my personal experience with these board grades. It was a cold winter December evening and I was coming back to my home after offering Isha prayers. Speculations about 10th results were already there from past few days and there was no social media in Kashmir back then to get round the clock updates, the only source then being, Shaharbeen. That night results were finally declared, but as, I was still coming back from the Mosque, I was yet to know. As soon as I entered the premises of my courtyard, I was interrupted in the middle by my younger sister who shouted in happiness that I have passed and have scored 312 marks. I shouted back at her without taking my time that you are misled and I am sure I must have scored 412 instead of 312 as dictated to me verbally. I was again asked that this is the score and I have to accept it. I was continuously denying these numbers and asked them to let me confirm on gazette the next morning, because as already said, there was no public internet and mobile phone in everyone's pocket to confirm the 3rd person findings.
Not accepting it really, I hardly slept that night and woke up early in the next morning and started my journey accompanied by my friend towards the marketplace where the gazette was made available the next day results were declared. We were on our way, when two persons hurriedly came out of a maruti sensing that we may be looking for a gazetteer. As my eyes spotted a gazette. I was up in joy because I was confident that I must have scored more than what was already revealed to me and this is the time to get the good news. As soon as I asked them for my results, one of them immediately opened the gazette following the preface and instantly found my score and it was in no way surprising, as the stats remained the same, 312. I was left dejected, desolated and disappointed as well, because I have come prepared well and prepared to score a zonal position if not divisional, but I was left 2nd even in my own class that I have topped for quite some good time in the past. I was not coming to terms for some time only after I was admitted in one of premier senior secondary schools of my area Public Senior Secondary School Bijbehara.
I took up medical subjects, passed my senior secondary with improved grades but again could not appease my inner self by not securing my place in a Medical College. Cutting the long story short, I carried on, went ahead and yes, secured my admission in a Bachelor's degree programme in Biotechnology at Govt. Degree College Boys Anantnag based on my performance in the written test. I moved ahead with it and aspired to have my career in this advanced biology subject. Later on, I completed my graduation, then post graduation and went on to top the university level degree examination and qualified for Gold Medal of Excellence. I received the Government of India INSPIRE Doctoral Fellowship Award based on my performance at university level. I started my PhD career in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology at one of the premium research institutes in India CSIR-IIIM Jammu and completed my doctoral research studies from there. During my PhD years, I qualified many national level competitive examinations including CSIR-UGC NET JRF with an All India Rank of 68. I also twice qualified the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) in 2016 and 2017. During my PhD itself, I even received a Visiting Fellowship offer from a US based higher educational institution in 2019 and after completing my PhD, I received a trio of Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards from prestigious universities in the United States. Keeping aside these achievements, I must say here that I was an average student during my preschool, school, college and university days. Yet dispelling all myths, I worked hard and achieved something if not all during my entire academic career without scoring a distinction during the course of my academics.
Scoring good grades is a blessing in itself, but that should never be taken as a one in all achievement and people who have even scored positions during their entire academic career, have miserably failed when it really mattered. There are also enumerable examples of those who have scored average or even failed initially, but came back strong and positively with more grit, determination and energy and they are right now serving in different capacities, not only in Kashmir, but world over. Also, we have seen quite good number of toppers who have taken this achievement of theirs in a more monopolistical perspective and expected to come triumphant everytime without putting in extra efforts, but failed miserably later on. However, we have seen those with average grades doing miracles, whether it be in research, development, economics, medicine or else in engineering. You can realise it by looking at your own neighborhood and look for someone who has broken these age old rules that every topper is a lifetime topper, but the real topper is the one, who remains topper at the top hierarchy where it really matters. I recount these episodes not to discourage anyone during his/her happy times. But to realise them, that this is not the end. Rather, they have to come back more stronger and with more positive energy to keep themselves in hunt for achieving best in the business. I must compliment their hard work here, but the best I wish to convey to them is that sky's the limit.
For those who are disappointed, don't lose hope. You can do better than those who topped the examination. This is just a start and you all can go a long way in excelling in your chosen fields, but pursue your interest and not the one which the majority takes up. Everyone can't do their best in everything and all the time, it all depends on your interest and what is close to your heart and brain. There are strict rules and principles being followed by nature that act as natural checks. We should never get distracted by these high grades and get overjoyed and overconfident and expect every time that we only can do and achieve the best. But anyone can do miracles by his/her sheer determination and dedication.
P.S: I congratulate all of those who have been declared either passed or failed. Because, those who have passed can move ahead with a lot of confidence entering into senior secondary grades. However, those who have failed or are disappointed with their grades, can take it as a blessing in disguise and as a positive point. They can work more hard and come back with lot more energy and get over the line next time, because Allah (SWT) says in Al Quran, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief and every Muslim should always be patient in adversity and thankful in prosperity.
(Author holds a Doctorate in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology and is currently working as a Research Scientist at Virology Division, Department of Microbiology, Govt. Medical College Anantnag. Email:email@example.com)