The exams season is on and hundreds of students who wrote them and their anxious parents will be evaluating the results with mixed emotions, some elated and some disappointed. Exams are a stepping stone to a potential career, but they do not completely decide your life. #MoreThanMarks is a campaign by The Logical Indian to bring out real-life stories of ordinary people who became successful despite their marks and to stress on the fact that you can be successful and lead a happy life even if you are/were not an academic topper.
It’s a common understanding that standard career opportunities usually slip away from students who are average scorers. More often than not, students with average marks get consumed by severe low esteem and sometimes even take drastic steps and end their lives. It obviously does not fix anything. My story is for all the students who have a modest or unsatisfactory academic record and feels that all hopes of a bright future are lost.
My name is Upendra Awasthi and I was born in Pahadpur, a village that comes under Shivgardh block in Raibareily district, Uttar Pradesh. My village Pahadpur is 4 km away from Shivgardh. In that small village, my father, who was a farmer, struggled to make the ends meet. Therefore, my story is interspersed with incidents of backbreaking poverty.
I was an average student from the beginning itself. Due to limited educational resources in my village, I only began studying English as a subject from Class 6th. At the time, I was only taught basic alphabets. I continued to study in my village till class 12th. I did not receive any special facility for studies in general. Not only that, I never got a chance to experience a class test or school exam of any kind before taking 100 marks board exam paper directly in High School. This evidently shows in my scorecard. I got just 49% in High school (10th), 51% intermediate (12th), 51% in B.Sc and 60% in M.Sc. With this scorecard, most students would get discouraged and stop dreaming to achieve anything big.
It was my father’s dream that I get a good education. He often said that he can spend all his life in a single set of clothes, but would never let poverty affect my studies. I, on the other hand, was always interested in studies, but it was difficult to find someone who would teach me lessons and subjects that I found difficult. Dealing with it was my second most difficult struggle, after financial constraints.
It wasn’t just these impediments, I was also an average student at large, yet, today I humbly stand tall as a successful person and hope to motivate other students who are struggling to believe in themselves.
One must understand that scorecards are not the conclusion. They never decide how big an accomplishment one is actually capable of pulling off. Despite facing all adversities, including and not limited to the lack of proper education, I not only did my PhD from IIT but availed a fellowship and went on to study in Europe.
I did not take any special coaching to prepare for Mphil entrance exam. I prepared for the exam on my own and secured 1st rank. I even took admission in Kanpur University, but the same year I also qualified GATE, so I instead took admission in IIT Guwahati for PhD in Physics. Currently, I am doing a ‘Post Doctorate Research Fellowship (PDRF)’ at a South Korean Research Centre in Bengaluru.
I owe it to “Anand Chakravarty Sir” and “Professor Girish Setul” because of whom I have been able to reach where I am today.
In the year 2015, I got a fellowship through Erasmus Programme (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) and I went to study at Vilnus University, Lithuania, Europe, for one year. Later I was conferred with the ‘Young Researcher’ award at the ‘International Conference on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology’ organized at the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT).
After completing PhD, I have now joined IKST.
I owe all my success to my visionary parents who helped me attain higher education. I am thankful to them because they thought about my future from a place and at a time where there was not enough money. Many other parents in the village did not want their children to study beyond the 8th standard, given the lack of facility in the village.
Through “The Logical Indian”, I would like to give a message to all students and readers that History can be created by all. Some are born with a silver spoon, while some work hard, year after year, to achieve the zenith of success. Do not lose heart, if you don’t find yourself successful immediately.
You can share these real-life stories of people who are eventually successful despite academic failures and struggles with anyone you know may get motivated learning about it.
Went back memory lane? Want to share your story, write to us at [email protected], remember to hashtag #MoreThanMarks.