Before college started…

Choose life, choose a top tier college, choose your friends, choose a girlfriend, choose clothes and footwear, choose a mess, a mattress, sports shoes… Choose your courses, choose coding, morning PT, HSS and of course, fresher activities for that impeccable first semester. Choose binge gaming, choose social interactions, choose to avoid getting ragged, choose to ponder about completing about your dual degree course in 5 years, choose a 9-point GPA and extra curriculars to fill your résumé. Choose internships or placements or colleges in the United States. Choose your future. Choose life… But why would I want to do a thing like that?

These are some of the elaborate thoughts that are wandering around in the minds of us curious freshers. Paraphrasing Trainspotting here was signifies my expectation of the 5 years that I have in store for me to be roller coaster wild, if not more. We’re dazed, we’re confused, we’re clueless. Most of us have little idea of how to manage things on our own.

Yet, we shall walk into IIIT, with certain expectations, certain premonitions. The seniors have been warning us – ‘Don’t come here with any preconceived notions, come with an open mind.’ The former isn’t a possibility; having premonitions is a survival instinct, let alone the idle brain’s favorite task. The latter bit, however, is a piece of advice I’ll make sure to swear by.

The last two or three years we’ve spent more into preparing for college, than into enjoying the passing moment, and we look forward to a fun filled ride. I have been observing this past month with bated breath, waiting for college.. and for the ride to begin. We all have our apprehensions – ragging, morning PT (especially rolling, which I stall can’t fathom the logic behind), HSS and ragging.

Then there are other things that we just cannot wait for! The freedom. The supposedly superhuman faculty. The intellectual seniors and batchmates. The world of programming. Computer Science, and on the whole, IIIT-H.

Ah, the excitement..

I have been interacting with some seniors and the to-be batchmates over Facebook for the past couple of weeks. I had applied for the CHD course, and hence got a chance to interact with some of the faculty too during my interview. All these interactions have inevitably led to a list of premonitions..

I hope that we can do an ‘Expectation vs Reality’ cover on this article in the next edition of Ping, but for now, let’s start with the expectations. Here goes :

The Institute and its People: IIIT-H is arguably the best CS institute in India. Even though it lacks brand value, as Sharma aunty asked me, ‘Didn’t you get into an IIT or BITS?’ the curriculum, the qualifications of the faculty and the achievements of the students, have had me entirely sold. I am looking forward to studying under the faculty who are, apparently, on the top of their game. So an exuberant feeling about this one, it sure is!

The Activities: Morning PT. HSS. Duh. These are two weird, out of place aspects I have come across trying to find out about the place. Both seem to have their upsides and downsides. While there would be a chance to pursue a sport through morning PT, rolling on the hard ground and yoga certainly don’t seem to be my cup of tea. Not to forget, waking up at 6 in the morning. Similarly, with HSS, we would get a chance to professionally learn a performing art, but being graded for it gives me the chills. Mixed feelings here.On the other hand, the induction schedule seems to be completely awesome! Informals, UG1 carnival, freshers’ party… can hardly wait!
Ragging: …Indifferent. I can barely understand its implications. I ain’t even kidding.
The Independence: The schedule does seem rather hectic, what with morning PT, 6 days a week classes, et al. Add to it that you’ve gotta wake up by yourself, do your laundry, your bed, all your stuff. It’s something most of us have never done before, and I’m certain it takes some getting used to. But total freedom is all exciting! It’s total responsibility, but at the same time, total power! Yes, Spiderman never realized that the converse is also true.
Seniors: They have been guiding us so far, and they’re the ones who are going to lead us through. My initial expectation of being cold shouldered by seniors, has turned topsy turvy in the past couple of weeks. The seniors have been amicable and supportive, even bearing with our mindless queries and endless row of stupid questions. I truly don’t feel apprehensive about the “interactions” any more. Probably just a coming out experience.
Computer Science, Coding, Research: The reasons why we chose IIIT-H, why we are all here. And the expectation meter here is the highest. I fantasize about complicated courses, hours of programming, creating loads of new programs, all done like cakewalk.

I’m certain the excitement can be understood now. This is just a bogey; my train of thought goes on and on…And I hope I will be just like the seniors… the life, the college, the friends, the girlfriend(s), the mess, the bed, morning PT and HSS, fresher activities, binge gaming, social interactions, complete dual degree in 5 years, being a 9-pointer, with a résumé filled with extracurriculars, getting internships, placements, top US universities, the future.

Or maybe, for now, I’ll just choose life.

Neelesh Agrawal

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