During my engineering, I was the
class batch topper. In fact, I think I used to get highest ever scores in the history of that course. I completed my engineering on a scholarship and swept all possible awards at the convocation. Well, generally I am not that immodest. But this post required this introduction, I believe.
Every time, semester exams neared, the demand for my class notes increased exponentially. My notes were xeroxed multiple times. My close friends would photocopy my original notes and give them back to me, so that I can also prepare for my exams. And then copies were made from these copies and distributed further. I have heard stories that xerox copies of my notes and project work were kept at the photocopier's shop itself (near Gate No. 3 of our university) and people just used to go there and get a copy for themselves. As if this was not enough, the enterprising shopkeeper used to save a copy of my main projects, to reproduce and distribute next year for my juniors, of course at a price. I came to know about this, when after many years of completion of my engineering, I went to that shop for getting xerox of some documents. That fellow not only recognized me, but also showed me copies of my projects, I had done years ago.
What I used to find amusing was that the people who attended regular classes or those who missed few, will also get my complete notes xeroxed. For all the subjects. They used to spend more money, on getting photocopies of my notes, than buying actual books and studying properly. In fact I didn't use to study my own notes that much before exams, because I never took down complete notes. I only wrote those things which I found important. My writing was not that great. For newbies, it wasn't that legible too. I used to write in corners or margins, and not at all in a linear fashion. There were lots of doodles and arrows in my notes. I don't know how did my classmates study from it. I would not have topped the class, by studying my own notes. So, what were they trying to achieve. I followed three key mantras, which always helped me in studies.
1. I was highly attentive in class. The objective was to study as less as possible, post classes or during exams, so that I can watch all the movies I want to, in my free time and also party with all my friends anytime. So, I used to ask lot of questions in the class and get all my concepts cleared there and then. So during exams, I studied only for few hours late in the night or early in the morning.
2. I used to read from books rather than only notes during exams. During the semester also, if something is unclear, I would refer books.
3. I never used to refer to anyone else's notes. 😼
During third year of my engineering, I participated in lot of debating and speaking competitions, so I used to travel to other universities across India. At that time, I missed few classes. So I decided to get someone else's notes xeroxed. I came to know, that when I used to miss classes, people used to get MT's notes xeroxed. So I borrowed her notes for the missed classes. Her handwriting was beautiful. She used to write everything, that professors spoke or wrote on the board. In fact she had learnt basic shorthand, to ensure that she doesn't miss even a single nuance. I used to wonder why she was lower on the pecking order than me, when it came to getting class notes xeroxed. The answers were pretty obvious. People were lazy. My notes could be read faster. They were able to complete the syllabus on time. If they wrote only the important points that I used to note down, in their exams, they tended to score higher. This is my interpretation. Thankfully, most of these engineers, never practiced and went on to do an MBA or Sales. Otherwise, my xeroxed notes, would have been held responsible for the collapsing bridges.