Why are people so jealous or irritated with the IIT tag? Is it justified?

A2A. Jealousy is something that bothers almost every living being in this world, including animals. So, I am not going to comment on that because IIT students are also jealous, so it is not exclusive to other people.

As far as why people are irritated, it is because of our attitude. We think that we have achieved something very great and therefore we are superior to everybody else on the planet. But, if you look at it objectively, it is not that great an achievement. To clear a 6 hour exam after preparing for 10 hours a day for 2 years is not that great an achievement. We need to dial down our own imagination of how great we are. We are not that great. There are more than 1,00,000 alumni of all the IITs, so even in that sense, we are not that great so we should just calm down. We should act like normal people. Then, people will not be irritated.

I was asked to answer this question yesterday, so was thinking about the best way of answering this question. And about an hour ago, one of my colleagues from Computer Science narrated an incident to me which makes it quite obvious why people are irritated by the attitude of IIT students.

He was showing answer scripts of his exam today. One question in his exam was deliberately tough, because he wanted to challenge the students to think outside the box. Hence, he was very lenient in grading that question, giving full marks to people who did not have the complete answer but were thinking in the right direction. One student while seeing her answer sheet became very irate that she was given zero and other people received full marks in the question even though people had wrong answers in her opinion. The teacher saw her answer script and found that she had not attempted the question. So, what did she expect in that question? In any case, she threw the answer script on the table in front of the teacher and stormed out of the room. The teacher was quite surprised at her reaction, but he handled it very well.

After 10 minutes, she comes back into the room and snatches her paper from the teaching assistant (TA) who was helping the professor and starts writing on her answer script how she was not satisfied. The TAs were requesting her not to do that but she kept on going, intermittently showing her anger towards the professor.

In this case, my colleague was completely fair in his grading, but even if he was wrong such behavior from a student is completely unacceptable. What gives her the right to talk to her professor like this? Just because you got into IIT gives you the right to trample over other people.

After coming to IIT, some of us think that we are the kings of the world and don't learn human values like how to respectfully to others, let alone our teachers. I think our education system is failing because we are creating proud and arrogant people rather than humble and kind people.

PS: Please do not take it personally.  I write these things so that I can improve myself and hopefully some of my students will learn something good and can improve themselves. The incident narrated above does not happen everyday. Actually, I have been in IIT system for about 5 years and first time heard of such an incident. I just told it because it was pretty relevant to this question.

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I like to blog about various topics ranging from education in IITs to social issues in India and US. All opinions and views presented here are my own and not of my employer.

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