College, As It Is - A Sneek Peek Into A Fresher's Life At VNIT
A sneak peek into a fresher's life at VNIT, Nagpur
Perhaps life is just a series of phases. A few are special, and the rest
average. You might go and ask someone which ones were which, and you'd
get a host of different answers, depending on who you're asking. If you
were to ask me, however, I'd say that college has been my 'special' phase.
It's where I got my first taste of life, where I began to live as a person
instead of as a puppet. I made friendships that will last a lifetime, and
mistakes that taught me more than any classroom.
Through my childhood and early teenage years, I was a normal kid. My life,
much like many others, revolved around excelling at studies, nurturing a
hobby or two, and trying to make sense of life. As I grew older, academics
became my highest priority, and I began to prepare for the JEE, the
the entrance exam for engineering colleges in India.
Two years. Two years of drudgery, of monotony, of endless practice papers
and mock exams. Two years of work to write one exam, that ended up
taking me to Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology. I remember the
first week - I was uncertain, anxious. A mama's boy, I had rarely left the
home apart from the odd summer camp, and here I was now. A thousand
miles from home, from friends, family, and familiarity. The road ahead was
unclear, the best I could do then was to soak up everything the college had
to offer, meet some new people, and carry on.
And then college began in earnest. The world changed, or perhaps I did. My
older self was fading, being replaced by a me who was strong, fearless. I
was surrounded by people from every walk of life, carrying their culture
and experiences. I drank in their stories, saw the world through new eyes,
and slowly felt my own perspectives shift.
Alongside me, I saw my batchmates struggling as I did. Everyone trying to
carve out a little space, a niche of their own. People looking for a sense of
belonging. College was a happier place, filled with nice people. As we tried
to embrace it, so did it embrace us.
On the very first day, mentors were assigned to us. Like a wise older sibling,
they walked us through the little details of the college. They introduced us
to each other - strangers from different cities, different states, different
countries. A joke here, a laugh there, and soon we started to become a
In spite of the name (Institute of Technology), not everything was about
studies. The clubs! Ah, the clubs. One for everything, from science to
culture to dramatics to art to sports and all the fun little things in between.
I met people with boundless creativity, who made art that left me
awestruck. I met people with the voice of an angel, to sing songs and play
music to strike a chord within the hardest of hearts. I met people who saw
the stage as a second home, who would tell the stories that few others
would. I met people who talked to robots and computers just as easily as
they would to a human. I met all of them, and many more besides. The
clubs came to us, recruiting, and off we went. It was in the clubs that many
a friend was made and the community formed.
In all this chaos I tried to find myself. I danced, played, debated, did some
groundwork for the college fests, joined the entrepreneurship club, the
robotics club and, almost everything I could get my hands on. Some things I
aced, others left me humbled. It was the first time I had juggled so many
things. Sure, I made mistakes, but I learned to manage my time. Everyone
was going through the same, and we all worked together. The late-night
cram sessions, running to class after sleeping in and forming bonds that
would only deepen with time.
Unlike school, every day of college was different. New. The days at classes,
evening in the canteen, nights in the hostel, they all brought new memories
and we took in all of it. As first years, we tried to fit in. Not everything went
as expected, but that was only part of the fun. Really, it was the love and
laughter in the air that made everything special. Birthdays at midnight,
bunking classes to watch a movie, consoling friends after they get their
hearts broken, late-night karaoke - all of it had become part of life. We
were becoming a part of this crazy world.
Naturally, it wasn't all smiles and good times. I've had my share of bad
experiences, of pain, of hurting others, of making bad decisions and paying
the price. My flaws were thrust in front of me, and I had to embrace them. I
was tempted by many of a terrible influence. There were often times that I
lost all motivation, and my confidence dropped as I watched the people
around me soar higher than I dared believe possible. I learned that the key
was to support each other - push each other up, and pull up the people
who were getting left behind. We were never perfect- how could we be?
Failure was a bitter pill, but it had to be swallowed. The most succesful of
us were the ones that dared to fail more often than the weak would even
make an attempt.
Now, when I'm asked to write an article. I try to look for a special story that
I can recreate on paper. This time, I couldn't find one. College is a huge
tree - so many fruits, so many memories. Each with a unique taste. College
is a rollercoaster, cascading ups and downs that teach you to live and grow
beyond your furthest dreams and expectations. I've got three more years to
go, and I look forward to making more memories and mistakes. Perhaps
I'll even find a little space in the chaos.
- Submitted by Snehal Patil, via CollegeTime