— By Ritika
Last year I got admitted to one of the best colleges in our country, ranked according to all kinds of government and private agencies. The college believes only in meritocracy. To get admission, all you need are high percentages and approximately 20 thousand as admission fees and just a little luck to be on time for the admission before all seats quickly get filled. And then when you actually start experiencing college life from inside, some ugly truths start revealing themselves. This is specific to someone who comes from a lower socio-economic background, mostly from a lower-middle class or poor family. The first few weeks in college seriously takes you to journey back to your school and force you to ask, what exactly did you do in school, what a farce it really was? Your classmates are so ahead of you in everything and you find it so difficult to actually fit in.
Students need holistic development right from the start of their academic life. Because of their different socioeconomic backgrounds, some may prosper in augment of their knowledge, skills and experience that they receive from their families and networks, but others may lack those Classrooms are always diverse, students with different backgrounds bring different talents and skill sets with them. Unfortunately, most of our schools don’t have avenues to nourish these talents and skillsets.
For example, students must experience fear of the stage and should brainstorm for ideas but due to schools’ narrow focus on only educational attainment based on rote learning, students never understand their own self-confidence and self-esteem while in school. Once they enter the ‘real world’, they suffer tremendously because they are not prepared. They experience multiple difficult situations like not getting internship opportunities because their resume only displays their only their education qualifications. On the other hand, students with a well-off socioeconomic background who studied with all smart class facilities and had done extracurricular activities and experienced different exposures, get internship easily based on “fare” logic.
Sitting in a classroom, seeing your teacher and other classmates conversing fluently in English whereas you are struggling to form a sentence is immensely humiliating. The whole time you keep wondering where exactly you went wrong to be not as smart as the majority of your classmates. You feel dejected, humiliated, unwanted and worse undeserving all at the same time.
The college experience has a great deal of importance for the friendship and comradeship you form. But that also gets hampered for someone not sharing the same privilege as most of their elite classmates in one of the prominent educational institutions following the principle of meritocracy. Talking about all these experiences and openly discussing the factors run behind student’s background with due respect and acceptance is the least we could do for the situation.
About the Author
Ritika is an alumnus of Mahamaya Balika Intercollege and is an active member of the Delek Education Foundation Community Library. She is pursuing Journalism at Lady Sri Ram College for Women.