Debarati Ghosh may have achieved a remarkable third place in the ISC nationwide, but she says her mother had been fervently praying for her to simply pass the exams! “That’s because in a world where other students study 12 to 14 hours a day I would study no more than two,” says the student of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education.
“But then everyone has their own pace. If I understand something in two hours why spend the whole day on it?” says the girl who calls consistency the key. “Since I spent two hours a day round the year I needed to study no more than six hours before the exams.”
Debarati had expected 96 or 97 but 99.25 took her by surprise. She had tuition for all subjects except sociology but is now eyeing psychology at Loreto College. “I couldn’t believe my result when I saw it. My father was sleeping but I woke him and the rest of my neighbourhood in joy,” says the girl who lives in Beadon Street.
The family had cake that day but had no major celebration beyond that. “I want to stay grounded. My ISC total may have been good but where I stand 10 years from now will depend on my hard work from now on,” says the girl who, besides psychology, wants to try her hand at WBCS exams.
Debarati is now spending time painting and, in fact, never shied away from extra curriculars even in her final year. “I love painting and represented my school in a competition at a Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations meet for the east and north eastern level and then in the all India level last year. I won both,” says the girl who was proud to have been honoured now by the education department.
Tania Sanyal, also a student of Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education, has come fourth in the ISC exams nation-wide. “Our school has had students ranking before but this must be the first time we secure third, fourth and fifth ranks,” smiles Tanya, who has been in the same class and section as third ranking Debarati since nursery.
“All three of us are friends and we would share notes and help one another out in class,” says the girl who took tuition in English, psychology, history and Bengali. Throughout the year, she spent five to six hours studying a day and stretched it to 12 to 13 hours a month before the exams. “The only subject I was sure of getting 100 in was psychology. The others I thought I’d get 95-96 in. So 99 overall was unexpected.”
The family celebrated with Chinese food that night.
In her free time, Tania indulges in painting, cooking and reading detective stories, with Sherlock Holmes being a favourite. Currently, however, she is busy perusing college prospectuses. “I shall study psychology, and I’m looking at Gokhale Memorial Girls’ College,” says the girl who writes in AK Block’s puja souvenir sometimes. “Previously I would learn Odissi and perform at block functions too.”
Her advice to junior students is to understand concepts rather than go for rote learning. “Ask teachers repeatedly if you have to but clarify all doubts,” she says.
Ritisha Das is spending her time reading these days but not mysteries or Mills and Boons. “I’m reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography Becoming. She’s a lawyer and I want to know how she did it,” says Ritisha.
But the all India ISC fifth rank holder doesn’t want to become a lawyer like Michelle Obama. She wants to become a judge.
“No one in my family is remotely connected to the judiciary but my heart is bent towards it,” says the girl who has taken the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). “But I couldn’t give it my best shot as I also had to devote time to the Boards. If I don’t get a good score in CLAT this time I’ll reappear next year,” says the girl who enjoyed watching the US courtroom drama Suits. “It was a good show and Meghan Markle, who played a lawyer in it, is a good actress.”
Ritisha has studied in Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education throughout and frequently walked past the home of former chief justice of India Altamas Kabir a few plots away.
For her exams the girl took tuition only for psychology and spent five to six hours a day studying throughout. “But I’m most relieved that at least we could attend Class XII and give our exams offline. Our batch had been attending online sessions since Class X and it was awful. Classes would get cancelled due to rains, it was difficult to follow lectures and serious students couldn’t prove their potential in such a format,” she says.