I started my journey at IIT in 2016, January almost 5 years. I applied for their fast-tracked CS foundation program. And luckily, I got selected for the January intake batch through interviews and examinations. Also, thankfully, my O/L marks sufficed to apply, phew! At that time, I really didn't know what I was doing. It was entirely a new learning experience with new people.

In my foundation batch, there were almost 40 students who followed this program. So, we kick-started our studies in January, and our modules are split into two semesters. Everything went well in the first semester. I got to know my best buds, and I really loved all the modules we have done so far. Then, I stepped into semester two. Things started to get a bit fuzzy, and some of the modules taught were really hard. And by the end of the semester, I got to know that I had failed one module. I was down by 2 marks. I didn't expect it at all. I had to re-take the module entirely, and because of this, I was the person who got the lowest marks from my foundation's best buddies. And unfortunately, I've missed entering the 1st year of studies for the bachelor's in the 2016 September trimester with my friends. My buddies moved on. I had to wait 1 semester to do the re-take. Sad times indeed, but I never gave up and in fact, giving up was never an option. I've studied, studied, and studied. After many sleepless nights, finally, in December 2016, I got the re-take result, and if I recall correctly, I scored 91 for the module. I was thrilled, and I received a letter from the university to enter the bachelor's degree affiliated with the University of Westminster (UoW).

I was terrified of the failures in the foundation year, and it really haunted me to this date. Making small mistakes is really easy and quick in life, but correcting them will cost you a long lifetime. By the end of the 1st year of my degree, I have gotten marks 60-77 range for all my modules. And for the second-year modules, it's all 72-88. The third-year is the sandwich year which we are required to find an internship and complete it for exactly 1 year. Luckily, I got into a great company and, hands down, got the best exposure as a junior software engineer. Before starting my 4th year, I knew I wanted to improvise my learning strategy. I remember I said to myself, "I want to be ahead of time on everything that I'm going to learn this year." So, even before my semesters start, I'd collect old lecture slides, tutorials, coursework, and past papers from seniors for selected modules. I've done it in the second year, but it wasn't consistent enough then. So I've set the goal for practice, practice, and practice. Then, stepped into the final year, and everything is ranged between 81-98. I was able to increment my marks gradually over time. It's crazy to think, in 2019 November, I even created a calculator to constantly evaluate all the worst-case scenarios of my marks and to see how it affects my overall classification. Lol, indeed.

And here I am today; I got the finalized marks for the entire B.Eng. Software Engineering degree. It was the final call from the examination board of UoW. Everything is finalized, and we got to know our degree classification. To be honest, I was excited for this moment early on. Because we only got our provisional markings. But today was the day, and I logged into the student portal, clicked on the link, and voila! It's a first-class honor! Even though I knew my final mark early on, I wanted to see this become a reality. And it happened. Overall, I got an 81.64 average, and it is 4 marks less than the batch topper. And frankly, it was the highest out of all the folks from the 2016 foundation level. I am delighted with what I've achieved so far. It's more than I've ever wanted. My final year project (fyp) got 81 marks, and it landed on the list of best fyp projects for 2020. My average took me to the best 5% of the class of 2020. Looking back at the time and seeing what I've accomplished is almost seems magical.

I pat myself on the back for the consistent dedication, and frankly, my mom was the pillar of my success. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't even be here today. So thanks, අම්මා! And I'm thankful for my best friends Devon, Kusal, Aathif, and Pathum for always teaching me and uplifting me when I'm down. Last but not least, I am grateful for all my batch mates and every person who has helped me in my journey.

Well, now what?

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