A Freshman’s Tale

Once upon a time in my freshers’ year……

Hi there! In the past few weeks several people have urged me to write something inspiring about my branch change, how I studied, and blah, blah…. I am in no mood now, to make my reader sleep with a lecture, and so I just decided to share my whole first year with you, and let you choose what would seem the most relevant to you.

“Good morning bro! Let’s go on a walk…” I nodded. After all, I wasn’t a castaway at IIT Guwahati. I had a few friends here, from my school and coaching, and so I didn’t have to begin like… “I walk a lonely road….” But, like everyone else, I looked forward to making new ones.

My first proper exposure to the campus life however, was on the day of the Institute Level Orientation. I made a few friends here and there, and I had this instinct in me that I had to behave smarter than usual. After the orientation, I was picked up by a few guys for the ‘fresher’s interview’. Believe me or not, a guy came up to me and began, “How many girls have you spoken to so far in the campus?” I didn’t know how to answer that (#awkward moment), I casually said “Quite a few, maybe!”. Of course, I needed more confidence to survive here!

A flashback

After JEE results were available, I had two major choices, the first one IIT KGP Chemical and IITG Mechanical. I had planned for the former, and then a branch change to EE or CSE. Deep inside I knew Chemical had less scope, but a branch change at IITKGP had almost none. So, I landed up here, a happy guy, purely without any intentions of another branch change.

Semester 1

Initially I was fascinated by my branch. For instance, we had the robotics, aeronautics, material sciences and other labs. I looked forward to doing great projects on my own. I pictured myself flying a drone as in the movie 3 idiots. Altogether, I was beginning to feel settled.

On my very first tutorial class, I solved a problem on the board and it was a great feeling, but somewhere in me I had this thought that, one didn’t need to study anymore after having worked so much for JEE. And this developed a ‘let go’ attitude towards studies, in me! But then things started to happen!

I had my tutorials with ECE branch, and it had two really inspiring figures for me namely Sourav Goel and Vedika Kulkarni(now in MnC and CSE respectively). The determination they put in studying was really praiseworthy, and I felt like getting into a competition, initially, because I was from a foreign branch and was studying relatively well. So, I felt like doing a ME vs ECE thing (I was still kind of a kid), and in the process, I put all I had in me for studying. I showed some sincerity and began improving slowly. Later we all became good friends.

A classmate of mine committed suicide, just after Techniche, and I was perhaps the saddest person in the campus. It was the first ever death I had experienced, and it left a deep mark on my mind. Immediately afterwards, all ME guys were assigned a mentor, and mine was Sparsh Dutta, who became my guiding angel for the rest of the first year. After my first set of quizzes, I scored really good, and my interest in Mathematics was increasing (I had underestimated MA 101 though), I had my first thought for a try at MnC, but the requirement was a CPI above 9.2 and I couldn’t say anything for sure, at that time.

Gradually, I started to work on my long-lost hobbies, poetry and singing. I was beginning to develop interests in both and they would have a deep impact on semester 2. After midsems scores were released, my mentor and many others encouraged me to aim for a branch change. I wasn’t sure yet, but I had the instinct that ‘if I could, I should!’

After the second set of quizzes that I gave, I was in, my mind made up. I started working on my weak areas and attempt at a CPI of at least 9. Endsems, then much awaited results. I ended up getting 9.45. It’s true that we had 10 pointers in the campus, but I was happy with my performance.

Around this time, having been pampered a bit my performance and feeling quite confident, I decided to approach my crush. I had intentionally avoided relationships and stuff, so that I didn’t get distracted, but now I relaxed that rule. Though we gradually developed a good chemistry, it was always awkward, mostly because we had entirely different tastes, choices and preferences, so we just ended up being friends, to my disappointment!

Hey you! Stop laughing at that, shit happens!

Semester 2

My semester 2 kicked start and things were going well. I had become more popular in the campus, and made a lot of friends. However, on the first quiz I reached late and spoiled the paper, the demotivation it gave me, had effects on other subjects as well. Manthan, the inter-hostel cultural meet didn’t let me sleep for nearly 2 weeks, we practiced all day, and I slept mostly during lectures. I ended up performing terribly in midsems, this time.

My morale was shattered. Everyone has their bad times. I started to give up on everything, studied less, and mostly stayed depressed. At times, I’d curse my getting admission in IIT, strange thoughts came to me, dropping out, and what not. But then, there is a lamp ready to be lit even in the darkest of nights. It was a friend from MnC, Kartikeya Singh, who motivated me not to give up, for I had an entire half semester to recover. I gathered all the courage I had, and worked day and night. I nailed the next set of quizzes, and waited for endsems. I did really well, but I knew I couldn’t undo the wreck I had done in midsems. And when the results were out I had got 9.21 SPI and a CPI of 9.33.

Weeks were spent in speculation. I had a chance of getting into Mathematics, my dream branch, again, I had my doubts. Then one fine evening, I woke up from sleep, to see my WhatsApp over-flooded with ‘congratulation’ texts. I breathed a prayer and to my surprise I had made it to MnC. It was party time!

A special note those particularly interested in ‘branch change’ — It’s not going to be a cakewalk, but again if you are consistent, you’ll make it. More than that, you’ll have your ups and your downs, it’s for you to keep a balance between things, and never to lose hope. Remember, “Where there is a will there is a way”, and you need to find that way on your own.

To sum up in a line,

“Had lots of fun… Looking forward for more!”

Upcoming SWE Intern @Oracle'21 | MLSA | MLH Fellow | Developer | Competitive Programmer | Mathematics and Computing student at IIT Guwahati

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