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Open Letter to 17 years old who ruined his/her class 12th exam, and might fail IIT-JEE, NEET or UPSC

IIT-JEE, Class 12th Board, UPSC, CA - there are many exams in India that are termed ‘life-defining’.

It takes years of persistence, effort, anxiety, and sleepless nights to prepare for these exams. And when the outcome isn’t aligned with the efforts, many succumb to a condition called the ‘losers effect’.

It is when you start doubting yourself, and you start doubting every decision of your life after your first failure. The low confidence is then reflected in anything that you do in life.

But the fact of the matter is - that 99% of you will fail such exams.

You fail not because you are not talented, smart, or diligent. You fail because there are too many people competing for minuscule opportunities in India.

Sadly, most youngsters do not embrace failure.

This should change!

People who have experienced heart-crushing failures and bounced back will be the ones who will be respected the most.

Your 20s are supposed to be messy - where you panic, overreact, under-react, and fail often.

But how can you bounce back after failing your ‘ life-defining exams?

1. Create your own quality network: One major reason why people at IITs, and Ivy League thrive is because of the networks they build in those institutes. They are always on edge, terrified, and inspired by their peer group.

They learn more outside the classroom than in the classroom. Building your own diverse peer group is of paramount importance. And you can do this beyond college classrooms.

Reach out to new people, and write to people whom you admire. Learn the art of cold emailing. Most people you’d reach out to will be kind and help you.

2. Take advantage of global opportunities: We are living in a unique moment in global history where the best courses are available for free or at a minuscule cost. You don't have to drop out of college to upskill or pivot or learn from the top leaders of your desired industry.

And not only this - in the age of working from home, you immediately have access to global employers. Failed to get into IIT? Don’t worry - there are a plethora of free Harvard and MIT courses available on YouTube.

Focus on upskilling, rather than lamenting over failing an exam. If you have mastered your skillsets - many employers will be keen to take a bet on you.

3. Don’t be scared of failure: This is one thing my parents always told me. And this is the first thing I tell our fellows when they join the Global Governance Initiative community.

Your greatest learnings will happen when you are not in your comfort zone when you are asking ‘dumb’ questions, when you are making mistakes, and when you are over-committing.

And lastly, Travel. It will BLOW your mind! I have said this before and will say this again.

If you are struggling with money, I will be happy to host you at least in the places where I’m based! Write to me ❤️

If you are interested in learning about GGI's MBA Scholar program, you can learn here.


Author- Naman Shrivastava, Cofounder Global Governance Initiative, Ex- United Nations, Former Government of India Advisor

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