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What do we learn from the JEE Main 2017 Topper?

An example of a slightly less predictable annual even than the definitely “fair” Oscars is the uproar that usually follows the announcement of the results of the highly coveted IPL – I mean – JEE results. This year’s results, or rather the JEE Main  2017 topper, definitely outdid the previous years by making history and also posing pertinent questions about our education system.

17-year-old Kalpit Veerval, the son of a male nurse and a school teacher in Udaipur, became the JEE Main 2017 topper and the first ever candidate to top the exams with hundred per cent marks. That’s right. The guy scored 360/360 in his JEE Main. Have fun trying excuses like negative marking and “outside syllabus portions” on your parents now.

The confirmation came Thursday morning with a call from CBSE chairperson R K Chaturvedi. The applause followed. “Kalpit is the first student to score a perfect 100% in the JEE Main competition. Rajasthan is proud of you,” posted Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje on her official Twitter account.

Kalpit, who appeared for the exam from the SC category, had topped across categories. But then, that was of no surprise to his parents. He had already topped the Indian Junior Science Olympiad in 2013 and the National Talent Search Examination a year later. Now, he was the JEE Main 2017 topper!

Of course just plain genius didn’t get him this far. Kalpit enrolled himself into a coaching class in 8th standard as he apparently “understood what it takes at an early age”. He reportedly spent 17 hours a day slogging away, brushing up every nook and cranny of the syllabus. He would wake up at 6 am every day and after finishing his school and coaching classes by 5 pm, would start studying again after a small break. Nonetheless, he always found time to listen to his favourite bands and play sports like cricket. Despite his amazing dedication, he decided to stay away from textbook-phile hotspots like Kota. He believed that staying at home and focussing on studies is what would get him through – and it did.

When asked whether he stayed away from smartphones and social media sites during his studies, he said: “I made smart use of smartphones and did not remain on social media sites but used the internet for gathering information related to studies”.

Yes, it’s all true, my fellow dreamers. The rumours hold up. The war between having a life as a teen and having one as an adult is very real and pertinent.

There are three key observations I would like to touch up on:

One, you don’t really need to subject yourself to Kota to ensure success. Don’t give me nonsense like “Kalpit was a rare breed of genius” and such. With enough effort and dedication, anyone can do anything. Ultra cliche, but true.

Two, you can actually score FULL MARKS without dropping a year. You do not have to plan ahead and drop a year to study for entrances. It is definitely not necessary unless you majorly screw up.

Latest: JEE Main Answer Key 2019 All Slots Released! 

Lastly, and most importantly, there is the issue of reservation. It may seem an unnecessary detail and one that shouldn’t ideally be talked about, but it is an issue that I feel is often overlooked. Kalpit was an SC candidate, and not from the wealthiest background. His feat raises the question of the relevance of reservation in our education and professional ecosystems in today’s world. Now that the “general stream” candidates have clearly been stumped, does the concept still make sense? Something to think about.

So there you have it, folks! IPL, I mean, JEE is full of awe inspiring surprises. It is our job to not get intimidated by such successes, but to celebrate and learn from them; and asking the occasional relevant social question once in a while never hurts!

Toppers often end up teaching us a lot about determination, willpower and the desire to succeed. Check out some of the habits to be learnt from toppers here!

For all you JEE Advanced aspirants out there – the JEE Advanced 2017 application form is out! Check out how to fill it up here!

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