Slow down. Inhale. Exhale. It’s going to be okay.

I was in your place exactly 10 years ago. Even after a long decade, I remember that sweaty morning as if it were yesterday.

The night had gone by tossing and turning. As millions of questions invaded my head space, I feverishly prayed for all the hard work to pay off. Sleep barely stayed with me. I was getting sucked into this dark hole of uncertainty.

My heart sank when I opened my eyes. I blinked in staunch realisation; it was the big day.

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The moment would arrive any minute. As much as I feared the inevitable, I wanted to just get done with it. Unfortunately, CBSE results can come out anytime. So you never know when to expect the blow. I had to just wait and let it kill me.

The next 4 years of my life depended on this. Where I’d go, how I’d be, what I’d learn; everything was riding on it.

The worst bit was, “what if?”

What if something goes wrong? What if I miss my dream college cutoff by 1%? What if my life ends up sucking?

What if, what if, what if.

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Well, the thing is, I couldn’t control what was going to happen, and neither can you. The numbers have been written down. There’s no way of controlling destiny.

There’s a score for everyone. Some of you will do phenomenally well, A+ toppers with Ivy League aspirations. Some will score enough to get into desired universities, and some will be crushed with disappointment.

There’ll be relieved sighs and exasperated cries; emotions will peak, and how. We’ve all experience the same thing. Thousands of batches go through identical soul-crushing anxiety every year.

Stress gets the better of many of us. At such a vulnerable time, our morale is so easy to shatter. We lose hope to a couple of digits.

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By no means am I trivialising the gravity of a Class 12 board result. But what we forget is that it isn’t the end of the world.

There’ll be much, much more to look forward to. If you don’t get what you want now, something else will come your way later. Yes, this is about your immediate future. Competition is tough. Tension is totally building up.

So, let’s go back to ‘what if’. What if you’re meant for better? What if commerce really isn’t for you? What if you’re supposed to be in a crazy part of the world? What if you don’t even really know what you want yet?

Can a mark sheet really determine all your days ahead? Will it really decide your worth in the long run?

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Think about it, several top entrepreneurs todays are college dropouts. Not that this should encourage anyone to quit studies! I saw several friends heading in surprising directions. They’re doing tremendously well today.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll be in a mood to experiment, even if your grades are ideal. Risks pay off. Look at Mark Zuckerberg. He left Harvard without a degree and still owns the world. Sachin Tendulkar didn’t even finish school.

Life has a way of making things happen. That’s the beauty of the unknown. It doesn’t always have to be scary. We can’t let nightmares crush our dreams. Whether you ace a test or fail it, everything will eventually fall into place. It just has to.

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So, don’t let this sticky anticipation get to you. Don’t let anything take you down. Whether you hit rock bottom or make it to the top, there’ll always be more. Victory and defeat is a part of the big game.

Chill, won’t you? School might be a defining foundation, but it’s also just the beginning. The real test is your journey ahead. You’re yet to find passion for things beyond academics. There’s a hell lot of time to explore your full potential.

You’ll grow, evolve, and be an adult soon. You’ll start seeing the bigger picture. It’ll happen in time. For now, just breathe. Everything will be perfectly okay.