I am Pravesh Sharma, I have completed my B.E. Mechanical from a state government-aided autonomous college (MITS Gwalior) in Gwalior Madhya Pradesh.
In this post, I am writing my story of my ‘joining physics after small setbacks in academics’.
My Background Story
I always liked physics since my high school days. During my college years, I had an inclination towards learning the physics of the concepts covered in my engineering syllabus (which I realized later). Since the second year of my college, I thought of joining a company with a good salary or PSUs in mechanical engineering (because of peer pressure) but I didn’t study seriously before end semester exams, because of which I got backlogs over backlogs and my CGPA started decreasing.
At the end of the third year when my 6th-semester result came out, one devastating thing happened, I realized my CGPA was so low that it was near impossible for me to make it over first division at the end of the degree, which means even I clear GATE with good rank, PSUs won’t allow me to join them, I won’t be able to do M.Tech from IITs and on top of that, I was not eligible to take part in campus placements.
After this all I still decided to prepare for GATE Mechanical in hope of getting some career opportunity after getting a decent rank in it. I also attempted Indian Engineering Services Examinations in my final year but didn’t even qualify for prelims. Then another blunder happened I wasn’t able to reach my Gate (mechanical) Exam Centre (thanks to my casual behavior of not visiting the center one day before the exam and thanks to google map it showed me my center at a different location and which was very far away from my original center location). It felt very bad when my batchmates were getting placements and I wasn’t able to attend the interview. After this, last semester I had to clear my final semester exam as well as backlogs from past semesters. So in total, I had to clear nearly more subjects than what usually taught in two semesters. In my final semester, I failed in one subject and get my degree extended to 6 more months till December -2018.
Ultimately, I got my B.E. degree with 58.3% with seventeen backlogs. Just after may-2018 when my final semester exams ended I started preparing for some clerical government jobs with a heavy heart.
How & Why I choose Physics?
After all these failures, I got opportunities to think deeply about my passion for enjoying physics and scientific temper in Mechanical engineering, beyond money and jobs, and I realized apart from learning Mechanical Engineering I always wanted to do MSc Physics.
And one day I found this blog ‘Physics After Engineering’, which gave me hope of the possibility of pursuing physics after engineering (before which I thought It’s impossible after engineering), I started to prepare for Physics Entrances in July-2018 despite the doubts of getting into physics (doubts aroused due to eligibility of engineers into MSc after reading eligibility criteria of IITs and my past academic failures and self-doubts). I focused on IIT-JAM and because again I was not eligible for any institute under JEST and Gate-Physics (all institutes require above 60% in graduation which I didn’t have).
I prepared from standard books like electrodynamics by Griffith, Quantum Mechanics by H.C. Verma, Classical Mechanics by Kleppner, Mathematical Physics by H.K.Das.
In December 2018 I attempted TIFR-GS for integrated Ph.D., without any expectation of clearing it. But in January I got surprised to see the result I had cleared it and got a call for a written test from ICTS Bengaluru and TIFR Mumbai to be conducted in March. In February I attempted IIT-JAM, GATE(Physics), JEST.
On March 5th I went to ICTS written test and didn’t qualify (I was already expecting this before going there) then I thought of not going to TIFR Mumbai written test as I won’t be able to qualify that also, but some of my friends advised me to go there even if I fail at least I might learn something. I went for the TIFR Mumbai written test with a return train ticket of the same day (I was sure of not qualifying it). In the written test I made the mistake of not being able to solve a simple question based on the moment of inertia by which I confirmed my disqualification. In the evening when I was leaving the institute result came and I was surprised to know that I was one of the shortlisted candidates. The next day was the interview, they asked me about mathematical graphs of some functions, some problems on central force and angular momentum, gyroscope, etc. My interview didn’t go well, but I was happy as this was the first interview of my life.
After this, my JAM result came out and I got AIR-34. And few days after which my TIFR Result came I got selected for Integrated-PhD from NCRA-TIFR, Pune. After IIT-JAM counseling I got the opportunity to do MSc from IIT Bombay. I was very happy after this. These results removed self-doubts that aroused in me after consecutive failures in engineering and other competitive exams and most importantly gave me opportunities to learn physics.
In the end, I just want to conclude, if your past academic result is hindering you to go into physics or going in engineering for higher-level qualification or doing something that you love to do; don’t hinder yourself, don’t worry about the previous results you can improve at any moment of your life if you work consistently, low marks does not signify your intellectual ability if you cultivate sufficient skill or knowledge you will always find opportunities. At last, doing Physics after Engineering in any field also gives you sufficient knowledge and a different perspective in the understanding of natural phenomena.
Thank you for reading.