On lessons Learnt and lessons left
Or How I learnt the importance of Rs.150 and ghar ka khana among other things!
A perspective article is meant to convey the writer’s thoughts and opinions from where they are standing, based on what they’ve gotten to see. So, here’s a few things a Freshman has noticed on campus after 12 weeks of stay away from home, in a new world; our world.
- BITS has a motivated atmosphere, thriving with students that love the sciences and are desperate to quench their thirst for the knowledge… Er, not completely true. As prestigious as the college may be, I was thoroughly disappointed by the number of students that are here just because their parents wanted them to do engineering. Don’t get me wrong there are those select few people who love technology, innovation and strive to endless lengths to complete projects out of their own interest but, for the most part, BITS is saturated with a sense of laziness and complacency.
A Senior’s response: Although, this might seem true in the beginning, allow me to play the senior card and tell you it really isn’t. Over my four years, I’ve seen people who have raised to the occasion and given their all to it, by giving it an honest shot. That’s the thing about BITS, if you ask me. It allows you some avenue to pursue whatever they want. This is exactly why we have seen participation in pure sciences, humanities, arts and finance. Of course, a proper avenue may not be found, because the Institute does not offer it as a major, but that was never it’s selling point. It still provides a fair platform for independent pursuing of anything that you might be interested in. With so much time and freedom, college gives an amazing opportunity to discover just this.
- Attending lectures = Good grades. I couldn’t have been more wrong about anything in my life. Thank god I came to BITS, because 0% attendance has made me realise that there are a plethora of ways to learn. For instance, I’d much rather spend an hour watching Walter HG Lewin (from the MIT OCW lectures) swing across class on his life size pendulum than sit in a class and listen to man flipping through his PPT (I’d actually much rather sleep in my room, but that’s besides the point). True, there are a few professors who really make those 50 minutes worth your while but if I feel that they don’t… the learning doesn’t need to stop there!
Senior’s response: Have you ever been to a lecture by a professor you admired? Damn, just standing in a 500 metre radius of my finance professor makes me more equipped to answer questions in exams. You need to find these good lecturers. They exist. And there are always those professors in courses you were never registered in but you want to go and attend their classes. Why? Simply because the wisdom of a teacher who has himself learnt the subject and who, more than anything else, cares about your learning can’t be replaced by the damned internet.But you can only learn when you want to.
- Rs.150 is NOT nothing. Back in the day (read: 3 months ago, before I lived on a budget), when a friend would borrow Rs.150, it was no biggie. But now, that’s turned into 3 mess meals you’re probably never going to get back. Living on a budget in college has really taught me the value of money and how to watch where my expenses are running away to.
Senior’s response: Wise words have been spoken!
- Studying all the time will get you nowhere (well maybe eventually to a grave full of regrets and unfulfilled dreams). – that escalated quickly. So I’m going to be honest here. Back in highschool, I used to study ALL THE TIME. I kid you not, studying English was my break from studying. That has clearly changed considering how little I study now. But I’ve come to realise that I’m going to be here for the next 4 years, so I might as well make the best of it. I’d rather live a little- empty my wallet at Viceroy, plan a trip to Goa with my friends maybe, participate in fests outside the city (or fests at college), learn to play a new sport or instrument, pick up a few technical skills. By no means do I mean don’t study at all. You’ve got time through the day to catch up on lectures, but don’t deny yourself a good time just to read a textbook.
Senior’s response: It’s great to see that you’ve come to this realization. But eating at Viceroy, going to Goa…these are cliched ways of living life! Let everyone have their own definition. You needn’t be at a rave party to have fun. Sometimes fun is watching lame videos on the internet dodging cyberoam and, other times, it’s doing a bit of social work. Be comfortable with your definition and respect the others’ too.
- Ghar ka khana is THE BEST KHANA. Remember all those days you’d complain to mummy that you’re bored of her food and want to eat outside for dinner? The mess food makes me see home cooked food as food from the gods. Amen to mumma’s khanna!
Senior’s response: *wipes away fake tears* “Maaa!”
- Apparently studying is ‘uncool’- or so everyone believes. Not so uncool when you graduate with a 5 point CG and no future. I’ve never understood why people say “I haven’t even started studying” when they spent all of last night cramming Physics, and ended up with just a few marks below CT. I’d rather pay no heed to these vicious creatures. If you feel like you need to study, I believe that you should do it regardless of what the rest say because at the end of the day, your marks only matter to you.
Senior’s response: I might be drawing a lot on my experiences with people I keep company with so it might not be true for everyone…but not everyone believes that studying a lot is uncool. Or maybe it becomes less uncool when you’re struggling to get internships and placements when those with a high CG are getting through. High CG is definitely not everything, but you gotta admit that it definitely doesn’t hurt.
- Embrace solitude. – At college, people are everywhere all the time. In the hostel, at the mess, in the library – there’s hardly any time for you to be alone. I often find myself craving to be alone, away from people for a while. College has made me realise that being alone isn’t always a bad thing.
Senior’s Response: It is initially pretty overwhelming to meet so many new people and to know a lot more people than you’re used to, it soon fades out. Large groups are seldom easy to maintain. Groups fragment away until sometimes people end up becoming mere acquaintances. I wouldn’t discourage you from having some alone time to yourself (I suggest going for a morning run while listening to classic rock. Ah, heavenly!) but make sure you exploit this time. Meet people from different parts of the country, people with different interests, with different attitudes and beliefs.
Remember that you don’t have to know everything, but make sure you know a lot of people who know a little bit of everything! It helps!
The paradigm shift for the freshman is different for every student. I see things in a whole new light and this fraction of my college experience has taught me far more than any textbook or teacher ever could. But of course, this is all based on the tiny fraction of things I’ve seen. As I move along the years, I’ll learn much more and lot of these notions might even get burnt to the brunt.
Senior’s response: And while you’re at it, feel free to talk to your seniors because you know…been there, done that!