This was something I wrote while feeling particularly dramatic and emotional (so around March but only got the courage to post it now) but it's all true. If you've ever written boards you're probably gonna relate and if you don't then congrats, you escaped the trauma of the Indian Education System...
BOARDS SUCK. Or more like the aftermath of boards is even worse. You see everyone says its fine, look forward to the end of boards. You’ll be free you won’t be stressed, etc, etc, etc.
The reality is a bit less glamorous. Yes you are free of boards and yes you’re not stressed. BUT, what they don’t tell you is that boards and 10th screws up your mentality to the point that your entire identity becomes associated with how well you do in exams and how much you study.
So therefore, when boards did end, yeah I enjoyed the first few days and then I realized I felt like shit. I didn’t really know what to do now that I wasn’t studying. It’s like I had all this free time and instead of relaxing, I felt guilty as hell. I know none of this makes sense but honestly it felt like a part of me was missing now that my entire day wasn’t consumed with thoughts of studying, what to study, when to study, how I couldn’t take breaks and well you get the point. Who was I without the countless hours of studying, the sleepless nights and the never-ending stress. Being forced to study the entire year ended with me feeling like my entire personality started and ended with boards.
So, in a nutshell I was having a mid-life crisis at the age of 15, almost 16. Ain’t that fun!
Now I do know this sounds beyond dramatic, even for me but I there’s no other way to describe the way I felt post boards.
My friend described it in this way:
“CBSE put us through hell for boards and now heaven feels like a scam”.
And she was right in a way. The so called “heaven” I was promised ended up being one of the weirdest and worst weeks of my life.
The aimlessness I felt and the way I felt like an unproductive piece of shit made me miserable to the point where I was actually crying almost every day.
I had earned every bit of relaxation after having studied the entire year for boards along with the 2 months of intense studying that honestly drained everything out of me, BUT I COULDN’T BRING MYSELF TO RELAX WITHOUT BUCKET LOADS OF GUILT ACCOMPANYING IT.
Everything in my academic life from the time I was in the 1st grade was geared towards boards. 10 years of my life all I ever heard was the importance of “BOARDS”. Now that it was over, why did I feel so horrible. The amount of sheer exhaustion I felt made me realize how much I’d been holding back because I couldn’t afford to get distracted.
Honestly, this is just a testament to the absolute bullshit that is the Indian education system. I was repressing normal human emotions so that I could focus on an EXAM. Does anybody realize how insane that is? The amount of pressure put on kids is enough to make anyone curl up sobbing, but we’re just supposed to somehow deal with it?!
All the adults say that they’ve been through it too, but that doesn’t make it any better or even remotely okay.
I stopped being excited for my BIRTHDAY which was almost immediately after boards because I couldn’t shake the horrible feeling of despair that had clung to me since boards ended. I hadn’t felt this sort of low since lock-down originally started back in 2020.
I had worked for so long towards a purpose and had such determination and motivation and now it was all gone. I didn’t have a new purpose and that just made me beyond frustrated.
I’m honestly crying just writing this and damn that makes me realize how traumatic the experience really was. Honestly, I don’t know if anyone can understand the way my batch of 10th felt because we were the first batch since COVID struck that actually wrote full portion offline boards.
I’m just tired right now and yeah I wish everyone who writes boards the best of luck because well you’re gonna need it. The aftermath is in some ways even worse than the actual event and that’s kind of heart-breaking because when did it become so bad that even taking a break became a source of stress.
© 2023, Anika Agarwal. All rights reserved.