To be a freshman is to be in possession of a wonderful thing: time. There is time to figure out what you want to do with your life, time to figure out what classes you want to take, what books you want to read. There is time to make friends. You could do poorly in a class and know you had time to improve. You could mess up in your relationship and have time to make things better. With four promising years ahead of you, time sat around like huge clumps of clay, waiting for you to shape them in whatever way you pleased.
~ Malik Wilson
Here’s how things go for a typical kid in India. So, a baby steps into this world. He goes through his nursery school, then pre-primary school, primary school, high school, junior college and finally he enters a college. Somewhere in between, the kids get divided. A few artistic ones choose to pursue their hobbies and not focus too much on the academic part of life, they are the painters, musicians, professional gamers, athletes, sportspersons. Some choose commerce, law and other such streams. And then there are the doctors and the engineers. I belong to the latter class. I study in V.N.I.T. (Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology), Nagpur.
There was a whole lot of life behind me before I stepped into this premiere institute. My school, Somalwar High School, Nikalas Branch, my junior college, Shri Shivaji Science junior college, and the coaching institution I had joined during my junior college: IIT – Home. A lot of memories are associated with these places and maybe will write about them later.
Speaking about V.N.I.T., it is one of the government engineering colleges in India, and the NITs are considered to be institutions of national repute, along with BITS and the IITs. The first year began on 20/07/2010. I belong to Nagpur, so I had seen this college before, as it is located very near to my home, and also, my elder brother was in this college before me.
Today, as I write this, the first year in college is over, but this was one of the fastest years of my life. Never even knew how fast it just “whooshed” past…
Engineering is not, as was the general image earlier (which is now changing, due to the books and films about/by engineers), only about academics. You have this whole different life in college. Studies are mostly restricted to the last night before exam, and various other activities demand your attention throughout the year. What matters, in the end, is how you manage your time, and what morals you live up to. Because, college life, as everyone who has graduated from one, knows, can pretty much decide the direction your life takes.
On my 18th birthday, my brother gave me two very significant birthday gifts. One was a shaving kit, and the other was a Calvin and Hobbes collection book. It remains, till date, one of the best birthday gifts ever. Coincidentally, my turning 18 represented a sort of “coming of” age. Here’s an interesting piece of article I came across, while surfing on the web:
“I always identified with Calvin as a child (I suppose you could say I still do), and this strip pretty much sums up what being a kid like Calvin is like. Constantly feeling out of sync with the rest of the world, and thus retreating to the world you create for yourself in your mind. If you think about it, Calvin was really quite an anomaly in popular entertainment — not just in comics, but in anything, be it movies, TV, etc. He has no friends, and no extracurricular activities; the only people he ever sees are his parents, who he has a strained relationship with, and Moe, Susie, Rosalyn, and Miss Wormwood, all of whom he detests and all of whom detest him. The only person he ever has any real interaction with exists only in his head. He is, for all intents and purposes, completely alone. And he’s fine with that. The kind of kid most people would entirely ignore all through school is not generally the kind you make the star of your show, and yet the strip became hugely successful.
I know that people of all ages enjoyed Calvin and Hobbes, but I have to think that it meant even more to those of us who grew up with him. Going to school every day and seeing all the ways we didn’t fit in, it was nice to see someone like us, who was intelligent and independent, and didn’t need to be a smile-plastered Mouseketeer to enjoy life. Though numerous motivational posters and guidance councelors and after-school specials had said it again and again, it was Calvin who managed to truly express the idea—without being preachy, without being sappy, perhaps even without trying—that it was okay to be different.
Getting back to the topic, here are just a few tips and points to remember for myself and anyone else interested:
- In college life, it is really easy to lose focus of what you want to be, and get involved with what the ‘majority’ of people are doing. Don’t let that happen to you. Always keep in the back of your mind, a clear goal, of what you want to be, and what you can achieve from this place. And never lose sight of that goal. Whatever steps you take, must take you forward in that direction.
- Make friends. School friends are great to reminisce old memories with. It’s your college friends who are going to be the ones, with whom you can share ABSOLUTELY everything. And it’s very important that you make good friends. It’s better to be alone than to be in a bad company. Because the kind of friends you make will define mostly the kind of things that you do in your college life.
- Attend classes. Don’t let the teacher have any reason to have any grudges against you. In a tussle between the college authorities and you, whoever might be right, it’s you who is going to suffer. So, no matter what happens, don’t let your grades suffer. It’s not like grades are everything, but they do matter a lot. That is what will be prominently visible on your CV, and not the reason why you scored such low grades. In short, no excuses for poor pointers. Try to stay as above the average level as you can.
- Follow the above point, but don’t get into academics so much as to become a geek/nerd. There’s life outside of books, and you need to balance accordingly. Watch GOOD movies, TV series that make you laugh, make you think, make you change yourself for the better. Try to absorb as much as you can, only the virtues, needless to say, into you. And inculcate these things into your life.
- Your parents expect only the best from you. So do try to fulfill their expectations. It is disappointing for them when their son/daughter doesn’t get the kind of results he/she is supposed to get. And it is frustrating for you to see the disappointment writ so clearly on their faces. So don’t just sit there, doing nothing about it. Give your best, and make it count.
- No matter what others say, have your own opinions. Sometimes, it might be easy to conform to others, but it is more rewarding to stick to one’s own set of rules and it shows in your personality. Don’t give in to peer pressure. At the same time, take ‘interactions’ with your seniors in the right spirit. After all, it is the only way for them to get to know their juniors. And respect your seniors. They have, after all, seen more of the world, than you. Whether they are wrong or right, never be prejudiced against them. Because everyone has their own story to tell. And you never know when someone you detest may turn into someone you adore.
- And last, and definitely, the MOST important point, never lose hope. Nothing is so broken that it cannot be repaired or replaced. Always remember, everyone’s a hero. Everyone’s a champion. This is all for today.
Take a look at this motivating video. (One of my favourites.)
“I am a champion!”
Follow for regular updates.
Facebook page: SVJ’s Blog