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Stress: A tough nut for IITs

IIT JEE is known to be one of the toughest exams to crack. Youngsters come to the institute with stars in their eyes and within no time their dreams begin to turn into reality. 
Name an MNC and you know its target has to be an IITian. And what is the package they offer? Whatever one can fancy of. So what is the reason behind the mounting number of suicides and deaths in the IIT campus in the recent past? 
To say that three suicides in just three weeks is a mere twist of fate is nothing short of a blunt denial. 
Apart from a couple of incidents of suicides that happened at Roorkee, Kanpur and Mumbai, figures reveal that IIT Kharagpur averages a suicide or an attempt, every two years and IIT Mumbai is related with stories of suicide attempts at regular intervals. 
"Oh! Everybody is not so lucky to get the plum job at his/her doorstep. The offer varies from person to person, thus creating a gap,” says Rohit a first year student at IIT Delhi. 
But Meenal Nalwaya, from Udaipur, has something else to say. Meenal feels that students in the campus have mostly had a good academic record. They develop a habit of seeing themselves at the top anywhere and everywhere. But the platform in IIT is very different. “Everyone here is equally competent, which leads to unwanted tension,” adds Meenal, a first year student at IIT Delhi. 
    Whereas some blame the never-ending saga of hard work, which makes the schedule very traumatic, others blame the grading system, CGPA (Cumulative grading point average). 
     This 10-point grading system becomes a hallmark for their performance. “And if a student is not able to score ‘decent’ he is bound to face the music of peer pressure,” says Tarun Sachdeva. 
    Even Rekha Nagpal and Pratibha, pursuing M Tech from IIT, blame the scoring system. “Much needs to be done to cater to the need of the freshers, who find it difficult to overcome the academic anxiety.” 
    But Asha, a scholar of PhD, doesn’t agree with others. She believes that academic challenges and the grading points are same for one and all. “There are personal reasons due to which students take such extreme steps,” says Asha. 
   Identity crisis among the students is another reason given by some students. “I am a gold medallist and have figured in the top-student list throughout. But here I am just one in the campus crowd,” says Madhu, from first year. 
   Students coming from small towns and cities give a different angle – social pressure.

Professor Nirmal Kumar, from Muzaffarpur, is a faculty member in the civil engineering department. Nirmal believes that the core curriculum is relatively hard as compared to some of the foreign institutes. The other reason for this increasing number of suicides, he says, is the fact that freshers are in some kind of dilemma and are sensitively weak. 
       He suggests that to cope with such a charged competitive environment a rational outlook to life should be developed in such students. He thinks that reciting the Bible, Gita, Quran or Patanjali can inculcate this change of approach. 
       Alok and Gaurav Khanna, who are in the final year of IIT Delhi, say that the entrance pattern is to blame. The exam is mostly objective and anyone, who works hard enough can clear it. But life in the campus is not so easy. 
     “Sometimes we realise that even sharp students become slack in the campus and do not fare well in the exams leading to various mental problems.” “Even the brightest student becomes complacent and thus finds himself in a complicated position,” adds Alok. 
     “Coming to IIT is only winning half the battle,” says Lalit K Jiwani, a research scholar at IIT Delhi. “The societal and peer pressure surmounts in the campus life and it is not easy for one and all to realise their dreams. 
    But Somya and Uma, also from IIT Delhi, say that the outlook depends entirely on the individual. 
   All said and done, we are sure that all those, who come to the IITs are able enough to accept the challenges arising out of various reasons and know that all companies do not go for the CGPA tally. 
   One thing, which all must remember is that life is very much a success beyond the grades as well!...

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