Exploring the unknown
Nervousness crawled over me as I entered the gates of a place I had never been to, a place I had always wanted to go to, a place where I always wanted to see and explore. I entered the gates of the huge campus with amazing architecture and lush green lawns. "What a life if I get into this university," I thought to myself as the driver parked our car and I got out with my mom. I walked up the stairs where I was going to be interviewed and was going to give a test I had never given before.
FLAME University, located a few kilometers away from my house. A completely residential university where I wanted to study for the next four years of my life. I was going to receive a BBA and a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts. The university offered a variety of subjects, all ones that interested me. From world history to finance and geography to mathematics, I could choose whichever subjects I wanted to. I could study what I wanted to. I wouldn't be forced to take up subjects which I didn't want to take and I wouldn't have to scratch my head doing things which made absolutely no sense to me. I would be allowed to do what I wanted to do, completely my decision. The university not only offered academics, but also compulsory sports which included horse riding and swimming. I would get to learn an instrument like the guitar or piano. I would get a fully equipped gymnasium and other fun facilities. The university was exactly the place where I wanted to be. But liking the university wasn't enough. I had to pass a selection process in which they would decide if I really deserved to be there. And for the first time, my marks or my mathematics weren't the only fields that they were going to check. They were going to check how I was as a person, they were going to check not only my bookish knowledge, but also my intellect and how I could express myself.
There were three rounds. The first was group discussion, where a number of students given a topic had to sit together and talk and debate. We were given about 15 minutes to talk and express ourselves while they judged us. That round was my favorite part, as I spoke a lot and the judges seemed quite positive about me.
The second round was the personal interview. The first two kids who went in came out saying that the interview went really badly, the judges were really strict and they were asking impossible questions. I got really nervous and all the confidence I'd gained during the group discussion came down to zero. I thought I was going to be scratched out from their list and I wouldn't get selected. I went when they called out my name. I sat in front of them as they put forward each question and I tried to answer each question without the intention of impressing them, but rather letting them know what I really wanted. I didn't become what they wanted me to be, but I was myself. I told them about what I wanted and what I expected and they seemed quite happy with that. Of course, it wasn't all rainbows. They did ask me questions which were really tough to answer and I stumbled, but I realized that if I gave up on my confidence I would reach nowhere. So, I gathered all the bits of confidence and answered all that I could. Not a pretty sight but I knew I did all that I could.
The third and final round was the Flame Entrance Aptitude Test (FEAT). We were judged on four categories: Verbal Ability (grammar skills), Reasoning (logical and analytic), Quantitative Ability and Personality Profiling. It was a two and half hour test that we gave on the computer. I was so proud of myself when I gave the test and stepped outside the exam hall. I was happy with what I had done and I left the campus with a positive feeling.
We were told that our results would be put up on the Internet within 10 days. Oh! The 10 days, the excitement and the nervousness. I really wanted to get into the university because I had not applied anywhere else.
10 days later I got a mail from them saying that my result was put up. I crossed my fingers and clicked on the site. I entered the necessary details and then waited as the page loaded. I was nervous but I did know, somewhere deep down that there was a chance that I would be selected. And bingo, I got selected. They had seen the potential that I had in me. They saw that I was an able student and I could fulfill all that they expected from a student. I was so happy! But getting into Flame University meant that I would have to stay away from my family and that I wouldn't be able to meet them all the time. I would get to meet my family and friends only once or twice a month. I got a lump in my throat, but just then I thought about my aims, my passion and what I wanted to become. Then I knew that wherever I was, with them or without them, I would be fine because this is exactly what I want to do and where I want to be. I know that I wouldn't get all the luxury that I was getting right now, but there will always be some things that I would have to give up.
I also applied to Symbiosis Institute of Liberal Arts, which was in my city. If I get selected there, I wouldn't have to leave my family and live somewhere else with completely unknown people. I will be giving their entrance test in a few days. But this time, I won't be nervous. I know what to expect, I won't be exploring the unknown.