…Do you have an elder sibling who went off to college before you, leaving you alone at home, to fend for yourself during the barrage of entrance exams and prep during those crucial two years? Do you wonder what it would have been like to have an elder sibling who’s been through everything you’re about to go through now? What advice would you have gotten? What would they have said say to soothe your nerves as you prepare for the next phase in your life?
This is what one of our third years has to say, to us.
Letter From A Half Engineer
Same day, same time, two years back, I was standing at the gate with my stuff when I waved Mom, Dad, and you a goodbye. Yeah, you were trying to be melodramatic and sentimental, but I know, you were secretly making a mental check-list of what you’d change in the bedroom now that your elder sister’s out.
That’s alright.I won’t nag you for a change. Instead I’ll say, I am really proud of you to have worked so hard for two years and have gotten into one of the best colleges in the country. Remember what mom always used to say, “Study hard for two years, uske baad life set hai”…both of us knew that it wasn’t the truth. But we had to make you believe it because we thought that was the only way you would study. So, this isn’t the end, kid. It is just the beginning.
Okay fine. I also won’t be mean. I promise.
Since we are talking about surprises, I shall share how entering BITS, after studying for 14 years in the convent of our tiny little town, set me completely off-guard. Things seemed very different indeed. There were so many new people that I often found it hard to correlate names with faces; everyone was talking in their own tongue, and I could only stand far away, dumbfounded, looking at their faces. When I saw a group of seniors sitting at the edge of the road, I would take a U-turn and briskly walk towards the other side. I spoke to a total of 3 or 4 people and that was the extent of my social life for half the semester. I still remember a bunch of seniors explaining to us the various clubs in college. And we, the starry eyed kids were making mental maps of all the clubs that we wanted to be in. I suddenly started to remember how I had always wanted to learn the guitar as a kid and that I wanted to continue with dance. And college was what I was then looking at to break my dry spell of no extra-curricular activities. The guitar and dance thing may not have happened, but I have indeed seen myself grow in numerous spheres in the last two years.
Sam, I know that butterflies in your tummy are doing the tango in there; mine waltzed around for the entire first semester. It is perfectly normal, don’t worry about it. The amount of drama per day, for the last two years – which has been more than that in the last 18 years, combined, teaches you ways to handle it. It will make life less monotonous. And in the backdrop somewhere you might even find yourself stronger than ever. College will not teach you how to not-fail, but it’ll definitely make you learn how to rise even after miserable failures. Get ready for a dozen pit falls, kid. But whenever you do, remember you’re just a teen. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll face betrayals, and none of them will mean the end of the world.
But hey, college is really brilliant. Enjoy all freedom, learn everything you can. Do not ever restrict your avenues. Go out. Explore everything. Make amazing friends, participate in every competition you can, read a lot of stuff, go out to chill in new places, search for your passions and follow them whole-heartedly. There is no right or wrong in this world. It is either happiness or regret. I regret slacking off on academics in my second semester, I regret to have turned down opportunities, I regret wasting time in the middle of things. But what makes me smile, even in the worst of situations is that gigantic pool of memories I have made in these two years. Even with the supposedly hard times I have had, I can look back at them and still feel pleasant. This is where, I think, the major difference lies in college and the real ‘big, bad world’.
You might have had gotten the customary family gyan by now: keep good company, don’t do drugs, work hard for exams, obey your teachers…but I think there is a most basic thing that you must understand first. Please, for heaven’s sake, take a bath regularly. I will be annoyed, very annoyed, if you don’t.
In the end, I will just say that this is a half engineer talking to you. What you are about to enter and experience, I have been through most of it already. So, whenever in doubt, you can shed your ego a bit and give me a call. I shall try giving you nice advice.
Have fun. Yay. College is really, really exciting. Toodles.