It was incredibly confusing. There wasn’t even a fourth floor, and yet my slip said R446. Dodging suitcases, people carrying mattresses and unwilling-to-let-their-child-go parents armed with brooms, I made my way to the decrepit altitudes that housed my room. It was unsettling. Here I was, suddenly standing in the centre of a small place in the middle of nowhere. My family managed to find my room a good twenty minutes later, and after a lunch in the mess, bade me goodbye. And that was it. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I was without my family.

Or was I? While the pops/moms culture isn’t that pronounced in our campus, it’s like a dormant volcano: embers of the tradition still find their way into BITSians’ lives. For the uninitiated, there are basically three types of parents you can have:

(A) Your ID mom/pop: This isn’t as random as you might think. Just as you share genes with your parents, you share your nerdiness with your ID parents. Piece of news for the freshmen – the last three digits depend upon your BITSAT score. The higher your score, the lower your ID number.
While most people live their lives without knowing their ID parent, it does pay to go looking for them. Your ID parent could decide to give you books for free, help you out with courses and career, and become a source of support and one of your closest friends – 201xA1PS454H, for example. Even if you aren’t that close, the imaginary sense of kinship and pride you feel for an ID pop as they achieve great things is heartwarming. And of course, you could hit the lottery and get a beautiful ID mom. (Lannister, much?)
In any case, finding your parent, no matter how indifferent they are, beats being an orphan.

(B) Your Room pop/mom: You don’t need to go looking for them. They’ll find you. Oh, don’t worry they will. Might take a few days, weeks or a couple of months, but one day, late at night, you’ll hear a loud thumping on the other side of the door – the former master has returned. They’ll slide into your room and your safe haven – your greatest ally – will betray you.
Despite the initial trial by fire, and their dissatisfaction at their wonderful room having gone to someone as undeserving as you, there’s a chance they could turn into your mentors. Your guardian and protector. (Haha, who am I kidding. They’ll probably paint a target on your back and ask all their friends to visit.)
Good luck.

(C) Your Book parent: The only one you have a choice in. Unless you go full capitalist, and buy everything anew, or go full commie and live off Grandh’s offerings, you’ll have a bunch of book parents. Whether you find them online or meet them at a department orientation, book parents are definitely interesting.
Imagine you’re in the middle of a Biology lecture and you come across a few cryptic scribbles: What does R+L stand for? A teacher he hated? A crush she was staring at?  Most importantly, you can have a huge book family, unlike the other two. Hell, your parent might even be younger than you if you’re using the textbook for an elective.
Imagine the irony of that, though. A family tree built due to the chopping down of an actual tree.

All in all, college isn’t as desolate as it seems. These parents aren’t a substitute for your real ones, obviously, but it’s nice to have some that understand the trials of being a teenager, for a change.

-Kartik Reddy



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