TODAY -

Undeterred: Rising above adversity in pursuit of excellence

Yenning *



Displaced Students in Releif Camps preparing for Board Exams 2024

Sl No District/Sub-Division Class X Class XII Total
1. Imphal West 103 285 388
2. Imphal East 156 34 190
3. Bishnupur 171 121 292
4. Thoubal 18 8 26
5. Kakching 50 36 86
6. Wangoi 0 0 0
7. Jiribam 1 3 4
8. Kamjong 13 7 20
9. Tengnoupal 14 22 36
10. Ukhrul 15 9 24
11. Churachandpur 348 192 540
12. Kangpokpi 240 0 240
Grand Total 1129 717 1434

Source: Directorate of Education(S), Government of Manipur, 2024

As you face the looming mountains of your board exams (classes X & XII), the air crackles with anticipation. Anxiety whispers, fuelled by expectations and doubts, threatening to dim the true purpose of these pivotal tests: a celebration of learning and personal growth. But you, like hundreds of students in Manipur, carry an even more profound significance in your hearts.

Since May 3, 2023, violence has reshaped your world. Nearly one lakh people have been displaced, including students. Out of 1434 students preparing for the board examinations, 78.73 per cent and 50.00 per cent are in Std. X and Std. XII, respectively (see Table). Imagine exchanging the familiar rhythm of homes and classrooms for the uncertainty of relief camps. Routines are disrupted, study spaces are scarce, and the emotional toll weighs heavily. However, amidst these challenges, your determination shines like a beacon, a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

Look to Thounaojam Loyangamba Meitei, an inspiration who defied limitations. Balancing construction work to support his family, he secured an impressive 4th position in his secondary board exams (Manipur, 2017) without private tuition. He even tutored younger students to help him afford his education. Meitei's journey isn't just about academic excellence; it's an ideal of perseverance, reminding us that success often blooms from unexpected seeds.

MASTERING THE BASICS: A JOURNEY OF EMPOWERMENT

Board exams loom like mountains, testing your knowledge, resilience, and resolve. But remember, as Albus Dumbledore wisely said, "It is our choices, Harry Potter, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities". Each hurdle you overcome becomes an opportunity to showcase your strength and resourcefulness. This section equips you with the tools to transform this challenging period into an empowering journey.

Let's delve into practical methods to help you chart your course to success, conquer your weak spots, and engage actively with the material. Knowledge is power. These strategies are your weapons in this crucial battle.

Charting Your Course to Success

o Set realistic goals. Break down your larger goal into smaller, achievable milestones, creating a roadmap.
o Schedule strategically: Designate dedicated study periods aligned with your focus and energy levels, maximising productivity.
o Identify your weak spots. Hone in on topics requiring extra attention. Don't shy away; targeted practice turns weaknesses into strengths.

Engaging Actively with the Material

o Boost long-term retention: Craft memory joggers like flashcards, mind maps, or mnemonic devices to solidify key concepts and revisit them at progressively spaced intervals using spaced repetition techniques. This combined approach reinforces understanding and optimises knowledge retention.
o Dive into practice questions: Test your understanding and identify areas for improvement through simulated exams or past papers.
o Teach to learn: Explaining concepts to others clarifies your own understanding and reinforces your knowledge.

Cultivating Focus and Motivation

o Create a study haven. Find a well-lit, quiet space that minimises distractions, fostering concentration.
o Tame the distractions: Silence notifications, limit social media, and inform others of your study time to create focused blocks.
o Harness the power of positivity: Visualise success, celebrate achievements, and remind yourself of your potential. A positive mindset fuels motivation.
o Prioritise your well-being: Sleep soundly, nourish your body with healthy foods, manage stress with relaxation techniques, and seek support when needed.

Remember, effective preparation is a journey, not a destination. By incorporating these core strategies, you'll be well on your way to mastering the basics and achieving your academic goals.

RISING ABOVE ADVERSITY: STRATEGIES FOR DISPLACED CHAMPIONS

Unlike Everest, your mountain of board exams won't be climbed alone. As a displaced student, you face unique challenges - disrupted routines, limited resources, and even emotional hurdles. Nevertheless, these adversities are not a measure of your potential but a testament to your unwavering spirit. With strength and resilience within you, you can conquer not just these exams but also any obstacle life throws your way.

This guide equips you with battle-tested strategies to transform obstacles into stepping stones on your journey to success. From adapting your routine to conquering resource limitations, we'll delve into practical steps that empower you to thrive in challenging circumstances. Remember, you are not alone in this fight. Let's join forces, draw strength from knowledge and determination, and unleash the unwavering spirit that defines displaced champions like you.

Adapting Your Routine

o Transform your camp into a classroom: Pitch your tent strategically, find quiet corners in community halls or abandoned classrooms or even utilise the shade of a tree for focused study. Adapt to camp schedules, carving out dedicated study periods no matter the circumstance.
o Seek wisdom where it thrives: Seek guidance from available teachers, elders or counsellors, even if they're in makeshift shelters. Leverage the power of peers - form study groups, share notes, and learn from each other's strengths. Remember, you're not just classmates; you're a support system.
o Think outside the textbook: Limited resources? Unleash your creativity! Borrow books, improvise study materials using everyday items, and explore online resources available at free Wi-Fi zones. Remember, knowledge is everywhere, waiting to be unlocked.

Conquering Resource Limitations

o Collaboration is your superpower. Share notes, explain concepts to peers, and learn together. Not only will you deepen your understanding, but you'll also build a supportive community that thrives on shared knowledge and encouragement.
o Quality over quantity: Focus on mastering core concepts rather than memorising mountains of text. Utilise limited materials efficiently, prioritising quality over quantity. Remember, proper understanding trumps rote memorisation any day.
o Get creative with the ordinary: Newspapers, magazines, leaves, and stones can become your learning tools. Use them for practice questions and simulations to spark your imagination. Remember, limitations can breed innovation.

Coping with Emotional Challenges

o Acknowledge your feelings. Stress and anxiety are natural companions to displacement and violence. Please don't shy away from them; talk to counsellors, friends, or family. Sharing your emotions eases their burden and helps you find clarity.
o Build resilience like a warrior. Practice mindfulness techniques like meditation or deep breathing to find calm amidst the chaos. Remember, a quiet mind is focused and ready to conquer any challenge.
o Connect with your folks: Seek support from online communities specifically for displaced students. Share experiences, find encouragement, and build virtual support networks that remind you that you're not alone. Remember, a shared struggle is a lighter burden to bear.

Staying Motivated and Hopeful

o Celebrate every victory, big or small. Every step forward, even if it feels insignificant, is a victory. Acknowledge your progress, reward yourself for your achievements, and let them fuel your motivation. Remember, small wins pave the way for significant triumphs.
o Set achievable goals, one step at a time. Break down your larger goal into smaller, attainable steps. Focus on conquering them one by one, building momentum and confidence with each success. Remember, even Everest is climbed one step at a time.
o Find inspiration in your peers. Draw strength from real-life stories of displaced students like Khumanthem Angelika, who excelled in the NEET exams. Their journeys are testaments to the power of determination and hope. Remember, if they could do it, so can you.

Remember, your circumstances do not define students like you, but your unwavering spirit and the fire that burns within. With these strategies as your weapons and hope as your armour, you can overcome any obstacle and conquer your exams. Believe in yourself, champion your potential, and claim your victory!

Call for Action

Remember, champion, the mountains may be high, but your spirit soars even higher. Go forth and conquer! But before you do, let us take a moment to remember Khumanthem Angelika, a name etched in the annals of resilience.

Displaced by Kuki's violence from Moreh and forced to shelter in an Imphal relief camp, her dream of becoming a doctor seemed distant. However, with unwavering determination and the strategies you now carry, she conquered her doubts and the NEET exam, securing an impressive 91st rank (all-Manipur).

Angelika's story is more than just an individual triumph. It is a beacon of hope, a testament to the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity. It echoes the message woven throughout this essay: the seeds of strength, resourcefulness, and unwavering determination lie within your struggles.

You, too, stand poised to etch your own story of resilience. With knowledge, grit, and the strategies within these pages, you can turn your challenges into springboards towards achieving your dreams. Remember, limitations are mere illusions, and your potential is boundless.

So, go forth, champions, not just to conquer exams but the world. Let your stories become illustrations of hope, inspiring generations to rise above adversity and passionately pursue their dreams.


* Yenning wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 20 February 2024

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