A Victim of the Herd Mentality — Shared by Kartik
We discussed about Heard Mentality in Graduates from India – High in Quantity but Low in Quality which lead to heated discussion.
Right from my school days, I’ve always gone with the flow. What the majority do. Or at least what my group of friends do.
After my 10th (2004), took CSE branch ( Math, Phy, Chem, CS ) just because IT was still booming then and I loved computers ( gaming and internet that is, not coding or programming).
After 12th, went for a B.E. in CS again without really thinking seriously about it. Joined college, pulled thru the 4 years without ever being really excited or even interested in what I was studying. Thankfully I emerged unscathed ( read no arrears ) after 4 years and even more fortunately got placed in the IT firm I’m currently working for.
During college, 3 of my (school) friends ( we were at different colleges) suggested we do something to add some value to our ‘profile’. Since not one of us had the slightest inclination to present papers and stuff, they decided on doing some certification which might help us getting placed.
So we ended up with an SCJP ( Sun Certified Java Programmer ) and all of us got jobs ( different firms but all IT majors ). Let me add that all 3 of them graduated with Distinction and I could only manage an FC.
I never liked thinking ahead, planning further studies. Still, I had decided that among GATE, CAT and GRE my most realistic chances were with GRE and so if I did decide to pursue higher study then it had to be via GRE.
I have another school friend with whom I used to go to tuition in 12th. He did his college in a different city so would come to meet me whenever he came here. Always talked about how important one’s profile is.
He has presented quite a papers too and was forever advising me to do the same. I just dismissed it thinking college is the time to just enjoy and be merry. It could come back to hit me now. Btw he’s now at the reputed Johns Hopkins univ.
Path Towards GRE
Another thing for me was whether MS would be affordable ( middle-class family ). Was uncertain whether to take GRE or not. Also the new pattern was set to come into effect from Aug so last chance to take it in old pattern would go forever after July. So decided to take it at least to have tried it in old form once and registered in Feb for a date in July. Needless to say didn’t bother studying right upto a month before the test.
Started with the wordlists and kept noting (on sheets of paper) the words which were completely new to me. Fortunately I was aware of most of the words and was done with the lists in 4-5 iterations.
The math part was challenging but not difficult although making silly mistakes has been in my blood right from school. I’d solve a sum correctly right till the end where I’ll substitute wrong values in the last equation to arrive at the (wrong) final answer. ‘Careless’ is a comment often seen in my answer sheets.
Finished the math in Barrons. I was also flipping thru Kaplans at my office library. Their verbal strategies are good. Having come to a position to take mock tests, started with the Barrons book tests then took the ones on their CD ( don’t remember the scores although I do remember they were quite lower than what I got eventually).
Finally took the first of the powerprep tests 2 days before d-day ( had taken 3 days fake sick leave 😉 ). Felt good with a 1390 but realised, right from the book tests, that I was falling woefully short of time in Math section. Decided not to waste too much time on a question that had me stumped.
Took the second powerprep test the next day and felt even better with a 1410. Still hadn’t finished the math section in time though, having to wildly mark the last 5-6 questions. Should’ve worked on the timing better.
For the writing section, I’d just gone thru the sample scored essays in powerprep and got an idea as to what fetches a 6 and 5 and 4. Didn’t give it too much importance.
Then came d-day. A lady from prometric there said we could choose 4 univs to send our scores to after the exam. This came as a complete surprise to me so I asked her if we can choose to skip it and use that option later. She said she didn’t know 😐 Turned out I can’t and so have lost $80. I’m amazed none of the ppl I was in touch with regd my GRE ever mentioned it to me. Didn’t even come across it in the many articles I had read here.
Went in and started with the test. Thankfully no unspecified experimental section presented itself but I did get a specified one which gave me a chance to win some $ too if I took it so I did, mostly due to the disappointment in missing out on the free score reporting. Turned out be some new writing section.
Before clicking on view scores I kept telling myself to not bother with it much if it is low, as I’d just taken it so that I would not regret having missed the chance in old pattern. As it turned out, Powerprep has zeroed in on my score already back home.
Scored 650V and 750Q for a total of 1400.
Walked out, trying not to be too pleased with myself. Found out later in score report that I’d got a 4 in writing.
Fall or Spring
Now looking up univs. Had initially thought of making the Spring 2013 batch but the fact that not all univs offer CS(again!) in Spring coupled with the myth
Financial aid is even harder to come by in Spring meant that I can only aim for Fall 2013.
Having decided to work for at least 2 years
- to save up some money and
- hope that the work xp might make up somewhat for the lack of extra curriculars in my ‘profile’.
Gyan from HSB as to whether I still do stand a chance despite having made no presentations of any kind, is welcome. No actually it is solicited ! I know you’ve already warned of going to the US simply for the sake of it rather than having genuine interest to do it.
Yes I do come under the category of ‘ just want to do it to make money’. =| My intention is to spend another 9k (after GRE) for TOEFL and later for all the further application stuff only if I’m confident that I do stand realistic chances of admission into half-decent schools.
Of course, a big thank you to HSB for the continual help 🙂
Myth – Financial aid is even harder to come by in Spring meant that I can only aim for Fall 2013.
I don’t how many times I have to write a post comparing Fall vs Spring. It total BS to hear some rumor and decide your life without doing some background research.
- Fall vs Spring Semester in USA – Which is Better?
Working to Save Money : How much money do you think you are going to save by working for 2 years in India? Your first semester fees will be $6,000 to $10,000
With Entry level salary, cost of living in India, I doubt you can save a lot. Lets say you happen to save Rs 5,000 per month. Working for 2 years will get you $2,400. Not even half of first semester fees.
Work Experience : If you are MBA your work experience is MUST. [ Review – Beyond the MBA Hype ]
For MS, it hardly matters. 2 Years work experience will not have much impact in your admission process.