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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Oral Trial

Something that harrowed me as a FE (for the non-engineers, FE stands for the students in the first year) was exams - what are not-so-lovingly called, the vivas. I am shy and often go tongue-tied for no reason. And it was quite probable that I would go silent when I had two examiners staring at me waiting for an answer.

The vivas were to start from the fourth semester - but I had already started getting nightmares (since Sem 1). In the fourth semester, what looked scarier than the theory exams themselves were the vivas. During a mock viva, Hetal Doshi ma'am asked me, "Aaditya, what are the types of modulation?" "Uhh..." "Aaditya..." "Frequency and amplitude..". "What is the difference between frequency and amplitude?" "Uhh..."

That's when I nearly shat in my pants (shit-- shat -- shat... present, past, past-participle) and knew that this was going to be helluva scary thing. I slogged, slogged - 'burned the midnight oil' (a more sober word... quite irrelevant in today's times...) and was ready to appear for my first viva.

"Can you solve this sum for me?", the examiner asked.
I was like.. wow.. I don't have to speak.. that's great. I started - went half-way - got caught up.... got the answer wrong.

"Ok, ok, never mind... tell me what an age buffer is...". I answered and was asked to go - the first viva was the most miserable one!!

That night, I went home and stared blankly at my journals. Uggh, I'm such a dumba$$! I kept turning pages and wondered why I wrote all those assignments on my own if I wasn't going to be able to speak. I actually went in front of a mirror and spoke. Spoke out all the answers in front of the mirror. Looked at myself in the eye.

... I felt slightly more confident now.

And I remember the last viva exam of that semester where the examiners were firing terribly difficult questions (Database systems was the subject, I remember.) I remember how I was short of breath when I had to go next and how I had the expression of a person who was robbed of his wallet.

But, I answered ALL the questions that were asked to me! They were the very difficult ones, actually. I looked back as I left the room. The examiner smiled at me...

... this was the first and the last time I looked back while leaving the viva room. There was no looking back after that!

(Why the hell is Aaditya writing something like this?! Because I just got done with my engineering vivas - no more engineering vivas for me now! Yuhoo!!... I've surely become slightly more bold when it comes to one-to-one speaking... though I still have a long long way to go!)

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