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Who says engineering is a man’s domain? Toppers of Apeejay School, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai are breaking the STEMM stereotype



Harshita Chandrashekhar Patil, the topper of the school with 98.8%, said she is least worried about the increasing competition for admissions to IITs. “I am ready to give my best and raise my level. I am not fazed by competition. My parents and teachers are there to back me to the hilt. I have full belief in myself.”

Asked how she managed to perform well in board exams, Patil cautioned students against excessive use of smartphones.“It was challenging to adjust to online learning and avoiding the temptation of social media. You are always surrounded by gadgets and it’s tempting to unlock your smartphone and start browsing through social media apps. I fixed the daily time limit on my phone usage and most importantly, I stuck to that limit.”

For Patil, who got 100 in Social Science, 99 in Hindi and Science, maintaining a daily routine is sacrosanct. “It’s important to maintain a daily routine. I had a fixed time of getting up and going to bed. It’s vital to finish your syllabus early so you get time to attempt a lot of sample papers. Also, study NCERT books thoroughly before going for reference books.” 

Sreejita Chatterjee, who came in a close second with 98.6 %, said there are still fewer girls in IITs as many females opt out due to social constraints and lack of support from their parents, especially in the hinterland.  “In backward areas girls should be encouraged to take up technical education. The   government is also taking the necessary steps. As you know, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) has reserved a fifth of their seats — 20 per cent — for women students. As far as I am concerned, engineering has always fascinated me. I believe it gives a new dimension to life. You start to grasp things in a different way.”

Chatterjee said time management is the key to success. “I used to plan my day in advance, so that when I sit to study I don’t waste time in deciding where to begin. Secondly, although I made NCERT my Bible, I also studied reference books and notes shared by my teachers. One should also solve a lot of sample question papers. I gave 33 mock tests just for Maths.”

Chatterjee believes it’s important to jot down your doubts in a notebook. “I had a separate notebook for my doubts. It had sections for every chapter. I used to write my doubts in it followed by answers to those doubts. I referred to this notebook religiously when the exams were approaching and it really helped me.”

Chatterjee scored 100 in Maths and 99 in Hindi and Science. She said emphasis should also be given to make your answer sheet presentable in board exams. “There are many students who have the potential to score full marks, but lose out on presentation. Write your answers in legible writing and try to maintain the same throughout the paper and avoid scribbling as it makes your answer sheet look messy and untidy.”

When asked about how she avoided social media distractions, Chatterjee said when you are focused and determined to achieve a goal, things become a lot easier.

Vibha Kurup, who wants to become a doctor, stood third in the school with 98.4%. “Being in the medical profession allows you to make a difference in the lives of people. I was inspired by a lot of women who are doing well in the STEMM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math and Medicine) field. I was clear from the beginning that I will either go for engineering or medical.

Sharing her success mantra, Kurup said, “I used to set up daily goals and was particular about attaining them. I used to get up by 5:30 am and before my online classes began I would have already studied for 2 hours. Students should also limit their gadgets use. Totally abstaining from gadgets is not practical, but you can allocate fixed time to gadgets.”

Kurup also asked her peers to make the most of the Coronavirus lockdown. “You have to utilise the pandemic time to the fullest. Do indulge in your hobbies, but also take time out for studies.”

‘Soaring High is Our Nature, now and forever’. Once again students of Apeejay School, Kharghar have proved their mettle, that nothing could deter them from creating a glorious record in the history of our school. They have definitely raised the bar for the upcoming batches. This victory has been achieved by determination, meticulous planning and relentless efforts in the right direction. I take this opportunity to applaud our dedicated teachers who geared themselves up during these unprecedented times, and mentored our students for this stellar performance.

Tejaswini S. Katdare, Principal, Apeejay School, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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