By Samira Bose
Edited by Namitha Sadanand, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist
Waves of elation (and despair) repeatedly wash social media sites in the months that surround college admissions. From the moment results come out, the super-moon seems to steer tides of statuses on Facebook. It is particularly amusing when students applying to colleges abroad literally make lists as they secure admission, and some even copy-paste their letters directly. A status that stood out recently was one wherein a boy stated two renowned institutes he had gained admission to for his Masters, asking which one he should choose. It appeared fair enough initially, until I read in the comments that he was just asking for people’s ‘opinions’ on the matter and had already decided. I was itching to like the comment which read ‘show-off!!’
When I see the numbers that flood and choke my home-page and the countless comments and congratulations that follow, I cannot help but think about the broader and ardent desire to put matters such as these up for the world to see. Parents will put up status’ congratulating their child on their result, stating ‘I am so proud of my darling baby’ etc. yet I have seen the very same adults pressurizing their child claiming that they are ‘useless without marks in this country.’ The child even thanks the parent (despite being in the same room at that point) saying it is ‘all for you Papa’ when this very child told me that he just could not wait to get away from his father. The hypocrisy is blatant but what stands out is this need to show the world something that affects the student very personally. What about those who do not end up doing as well as they desired, or those who do not get admission into their desired college? The pain that they must go through and the insecurity that must follow is completely detrimental as well as unnecessary.
It used to be about calls from random relatives who did not remember a single birthday but somehow remembered that I would be getting my results. I could taste the syrup on the phone, and smell how they were aching to hear that I had not done too well (not better than their own child, at least). Now, however, it’s about people asking on an extremely public forum. No status gets as many likes as one which states the institution a person is now associated with. The reason a person chooses an institution is a private choice, affects only the individual in question and is in no way the sole decisive factor for the child’s future.
It appears that I am passing judgment on this phenomenon, but I am basically trying to understand the broader implications for this increased ‘sharing’. Indeed, nowadays many personal details and photographs are put up for the world to see; I am very much part of a generation of voyeurs and as eager to put up hints of my activities and travels on Facebook. I suppose there is that pleasure in ‘partaking of one’s joy’, whatever the ulterior motives might be. However, in this case there seems to be an insistent association of a person to numbers and institutions and this is extolled via social media.
I understand that it is a choice, to share or not to share as such, yet there is no thought spared to the further pressure that a student feels when they realize that their ‘failures’ will be exposed. The absence of a status is apparently directly related to a student doing ‘badly’- my father got a pitying call from a distant friend when he did not see any status update after my results came out. Over here we are forming a web through the web where the burden that students feel in any case through this arbitrary education system intensifies steadily. A student feels exposed and the desire to tell others seems to take precedence over reveling in the pleasure that one might feel for their own ‘achievement’.
Some thought must be given to the possibly detrimental results of putting up results on social media and the duplicity involved as students are further submerged into a sea of educational pressure. They now have to seek ‘social admission’ along with all the other admissions that they are supposed to gain.
Samira Bose is a student of History and Mystery. She questions incessantly, revels in the rain and listens to the breeze. She yearns for clarity but at the same time seeks confusion and she wants her life to be analogous to the sea. She wants to become many people and wishes to be overwhelmed by experience. Most importantly, she hopes to become a story-teller. Tell her your thoughts and stories at email@example.com.