The tenth grade

I have wondered if I was pushing them…

Were they in pursuit of what they intended? Was this something they were prepared for, set out to do?

I look at the young in architecture, the beginning students, the applicants for internship and the young architects. I have tried to look beyond their earnestness and their sincerity. I wished I knew if their hearts were into this.

I find the idea of labour, working towards a goal set by others and forced by circumstances saddening. I hope someday we could emancipate people from this. I wish labour could have only one motive, work that involves one’s heart. Passion fueled by love.

One Sunday morning I posed a few questions to some of my young friends, as I was curious about the beginnings of the journey that leads one to their destiny in career. What does a student in high school understand? How does he/she deal with the competitively aggressive society as they step out? How affected are they by the agony of the coaching and the brutality of the machinery we manufacture success with, today.

These are a few of my questions.

When you look back at tenth grade,

  1. Was China* inevitable as the next step?

  2. What was your career vision then?

  3. Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant today?

  4. What did you want in life?

  5. How has that changed today?

  6. What are your regrets about the decisions that were taken then, if any?

  7. What is your advice to a tenth grader?

* those coaching institute factories


please find some of the answers in the comments to this blog. These are contributed by:

Rajesh, senior associate architect (Kendriya Vidyalaya High School, Secunderabad)

Tusharika, junior architect (South Indian Cultural Association School, Indore)

Madhusudhan, junior architect (Bhashyam Public School, Guntur)

Ashwin, junior architect (DRS International School, Hyderabad)

Manuja, interior designer (Delhi Public School, Hyderabad)

Swetha, architectural intern (Sloka the Hyderabad Waldorf School)

Neha, architecture student (Nasr high school, Hyderabad)

by Samarendra M. Ramachandra

                                                                                               Featured image: The Wall, Pink Floyd





  1. Is China (those factory type coaching institutes) inevitable as the next step?

    no, in my experience i did not have the need to go for such an institute as the next step

    What was your career vision then?
    To join the army or become a pilot and also become a musician.

    Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant now ?

    Most of them are.

    What did you want in life?

    I was an athlete and a musician, i wanted to represent india in the World Speed skating championship. Also wanted to start my own band, write songs and perform gigs which i did at a school level. This was all that i was focused upon.

    How has that changed today?

    Music has become a much greater priority than fitness and sport. Even though im actively involved in a sport i am not keen on accomplishing much. But music on the other hand is something i am very particular about

    What are your regrets about the decisions that were taken then, if any?

    No regrets.

    What would you advice a tenth grader?

    do what you love doing.


  2. Is China (those factory type coaching institutes) inevitable as the next step?

    No, I personally had all the freedom to choose what and where I wanted to study.
    My parents have understood that those coaching institutions were of no good which
    explains why they have never forced me to join into one. I truly believe that China or
    institutions of such kind will vanish if parents become more aware about the fact that no
    real education is given to the students. So it being inevitable or not solely lies in parents’ call.

    What was your career vision then?

    I tend to easily get inspired by many people who I look up-to. I knew where my interest lies but was just not sure which one to step into. I’d say that my career vision was not so predominant back in my 10th grade.

    Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant now ?

    No, my aspirations were different in 10th as compared to now. So, I’d say it’s not relevant now. But somewhere deep down, I want those aspirations to be relevant now.

    What did you want in life?

    During my 10th I wanted to be in multiple fields, which at the time seemed possible. I wanted
    to dedicate more time with my tennis practice and was envisioning an active AITA player in me.I was also a lot inclined towards music. One thing was clear in my mind that I knew I’d be happy doing what I love.

    How has that changed today?

    I see myself not holding a racket once a month at-least and not being able to practice my instruments regularly. I slowly understood my priorities in life and have accepted the fact that time is limited in a day.

    What would you advice a tenth grader?

    I would advice a tenth grader to first understand his or her interests and purely go with what makes him or her happy. Dream big and just go for it. But before that you’ll want to do your bit of ground work, instead of jumping right into the field. Do everything your heart says and forget about people judging you.


  3. Is China (those factory type coaching institutes) inevitable as the next step?
    For those kids who have a passion to crack entrance exams, who want to beat the cut throat competition, professional guidance is necessary which should be provided by schools rather than coaching centres.
    But education of that sort is just about knowing facts and solving equations so I don’t think its good for everyone. I have seen extremely low percentage of people adapting to coachings in my school but I can’t give exact feedback on coaching since I never attended any.

    Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant now ?

    How has that changed today?
    A lot has changed since with time and growth, we also realise certain priorities in life and since I didn’t make an effort to achieve what I truly wanted, life is entirely different from what I pictured back then.

    What are your regrets about the decisions that were taken then, if any?
    It was the last paper of my tenth board exams, me and my friends thought, ‘finally, we can breathe’ but as soon as I came home, parents started ‘the talk’. The pressure was 10 times more than entire 10th grade. It was already decided that I’ll opt for PCM, join coaching and prepare for JEE. The only question asked was ‘Do you want to go to Kota?’
    Though thankfully I didn’t take admission in coaching, I regret not fighting for my dreams.

    What would you advice a tenth grader?

    To relax. 10th marks cannot decide your future. Take a short break after exams. Deeply analyze yourself. Know your capabilities and make an effort to develop your talent. Follow your dreams, don’t blindly follow the crowd. Ask yourself what truly makes you happy and go after that with full preparation. Take charge of your life. And even if you’re a topper, don’t let some numbers define your intelligence.


  4. Is China (those factory type coaching institutes) inevitable as the next step?
    -For me , because I had already decided not to pursue architecture but interior design , the choice was clear . I had avoided the factory type institutes

    What was your career vision then?
    -being brought up around the design field I had always wished to become a designer & be able to give something to the industry , leave a mark & evolve out of the mediocrity !

    Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant now ?
    -Very much. However difficult & cruel the path gets the destination remains the same .

    What did you want in life?
    -Not much at all. all I ever wished is to make every moment count & to be able to leave behind something good and productive and maybe be able to create a better world .

    How has that changed today?
    -It has not changed much. I’m working towards the aspirations , the path gets trickier day by day . New challenges in terms of balance , vision come by daily and end up giving new experiences and teaching new lessons .

    What are your regrets about the decisions that were taken then, if any?
    -I am living a life with no regrets but many lessons.

    What would you advice a tenth grader?
    -A tenth grader needs to know that the next two years of his/her life are going to be really really crucial and defining . The decisions he/she would make at this point of time can either make you or break you .
    A tenth grader needs to understand the power of his/her vibes and energy , his/her decision must be morally correct .


  5. 1. Is China (those factory type coaching intitutes) inevitable as the next step?
    A. Not necessarily. China dosen’t really need to be a next step. It totally depends on the student or sometimes the decision is influenced by parents. There is a misconception in everyones mind that the competitive exams can be excelled with the coaching provided at these institutions, but I deny the fact, as I’m one of the victims of Chaitanya Institutions. Everyone feels that these institutions provide us good coaching, but the ground reality is that they just grind us.
    The way these institutions treat the students is totally wrong. There is a lot of difference shown between the students who have the ability to grasp and learn faster to those who take a little more time. They are divided into sections based on the ability to learn. This biased environment is not good for a student, as this demotivates the student.
    The cream crowd are trained to get good scores and the others are not given the same training. These students who get good scores are kept in the spot light and are used to market their institutions. This is what happens every year to attract more students promising a better future in comparison to other institutions. This is not what every student deserves, they deserve better. What a student deserves and a right place for it entirely depends on the choice the student makes while choosing a institute. They shouldn’t be carried away with the marketing strategies of these institutions and make a wrong choice which might have an impact on the future.
    The way a student should study, the type of understanding that goes into studying is just lost somewhere when a student joins these institutions. They are just taught the method of memorizing, the subject, which is totally wrong, as the knowledge that is gained like this dosen’t stay forever. The strong foundation that has to be formed with knowledge at this age is somewhere weakened.
    A student should make a decision wisely at this stage, it might be about the subjects they choose at this point of their academic life or the institution they choose. As the institution plays a major role in grooming a student and showing a right path for their future.

    1. What was your career vision then?
    A. A career vision is never constant. We might have dreamt of choosing a different career option when we were young, but it always changes with time.
    Mine was the same story. When I was a kid I wanted to become a lawyer because I wanted to follow my father’s footsteps but it changed with time when I saw myself more interested in architecture.
    When I was in 9th grade, I got very inspired from my uncle who was an architect, ever since then I always had an ambition of perusing architecture as my career. Since then I was stubborn with my choice.
    My father had also tested my interest in architecture, as he didn’t want me to make a choice which I might regret later. That time when I had to make a choice about which under grad coarse I would join, my father tried to give me a glance into other career options and benefits of choosing one among them. He saw that I was firm onto my choice of career and knew I would do it really well and let me choose it.
    My family was very supportive so it was easier for me to follow my dreams. It’s not the case with everyone. Sometimes the parents push their dreams on to the children and don’t leave them a choice but to follow the path that they show. Then one may not be able to succeed because it’s not a choice one makes for themselves but are following a decision made for them. Everyone should be able to pursue what they want to, which will not make them regret later as they were unable to stand for themselves at the right time.

    2. Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant now?
    A. Yes, my aspirations of 10th grade are relevant now. They make more sense now because I have followed my dreams.
    I’m glad that I followed my aspirations as now I know that any other choice I would make for my undergrad course would make me regret throughout my life.
    When one chooses their career of their choice they work for it whole heartedly, that’s most important for one to stay happy and self satisfied in their career life.

    3.  What did you want in life?
    A. I always wanted to become a good architect.

    4.  How has that changed today?
    A. I’m happy today because I’m perusing what I aspired to. It makes more sense of a decision I have made them.

    5.  What are your regrets about the decisions that were taken then, if any?
    A. One regret that I have is going to Chaitanya institution. The methodology never suited me.

    6. What would you advice a tenth grader?
    A. I would advise a 10th grader to just follow their heart and not to get pressurised or influenced by anyone or anything.


  6. Firstly, I wanted to be a doctor in my childhood. if you really want to know the reason you can continue reading or you can skip to next paragraph. throughout my childhood, i used to watch this Sunday special movies which were highly melancholic and noticed that the goons were after every honest people of any profession like a lawyer, policeman or an engineer who wants to build a flawless bridge. But one person whom i noticed even the goons would plead to, was a doctor. so i decided to be a doctor who can be safe and yet be honest. now i dont know when this honesty bee sting me.

    so i focused more biology and used to ignore time wasting (atleast to me) subjects like history and sanskrit. The pivotal moment was when i was in my 7th grade when a math teacher changed my perception towards math and physics. i was discovering my intellectual possessions. at about the same period my another game changer, my art teacher introduced me to the realm of art. Since then i was in pursuit of creative & scientific interests. dint really realise when my dream of being a doctor ended.

    the end of my 10th class was the zenith of all my miseries. My father in a hapless situation, approached an astrologer to help him choose a good career for me. where was i? i dont know. the astrologer foreseen that i will be doing terrible in my education in future. so he advised my dad not to invest anything on my studies and that BCOM would be great for me. Though my dad dint dare to invest greatly on bigger colleges he left it to me to choose MPC, May be because he himself was not comfortable tagging me with BCOM. During this period is when i came across this walk of life called architecture.

    the astrologer’s prediction came true and i fared terrible in my eamcet. so i had a slim chance of getting a into Barch that i have to score below 2nd rank in aptitude test to secure a free seat. i was a 2nd ranker surpassing many great sketching friends. was that a miracle? i dont know!

    Did my father trust me and allowed me to pursue my interests or i stood against him?.. i dont know. but i think i would have become a science research student if not for my miseries

    i dont even know if this story is of any relevance to you but now i will try to answer your questions.

    Is China (those factory type coaching institutes) inevitable as the next step?
    it cant be decided at the stage of entrance. this is decided by the type of schooling they have done or the type of student they are turned into. these schools turn stereotypes to more stereotypes. these will not be multifaceted but can excel in their own fields…just that they will be experiencing less in life as they cant understand the rest.

    What was your career vision then?
    i am sure you would not want to read the story again.. 😀

    Are your aspirations of the tenth grade relevant now ?
    oh yeah.. very much.. thanks for the nostalgia!

    What did you want in life?
    discovering , being innovative yet a honest practice (yes it still holds good)

    How has that changed today?
    discovering never ends…

    What are your regrets about the decisions that were taken then, if any?
    None.. or i dont know yet!

    What would you advice a tenth grader?
    i believe that our education system is little too fast. i wonder if everybody is given that insight of future at the age of 15 with in 3 months of a bridging period.. they should be introduced to various walks of life much earlier and pursue their interests while keeping their set of circumstances balanced. but never ever choose a career primarily for money, power or fame, the three social hazards.


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