I like to leave things for surprises when I move to new places, and that’s why when I started my college at IIT Delhi, I had very little in my mind about the unique lifestyle changes ahead of me. Belonging to a village in Punjab, where people have a minimal idea about the colleges outside the state, I heard about IITs first after I passed class 10th. So, I moved to Patiala(a city nearby) for my coaching and thus began the journey. For the next two years, IIT was all I could think about, late at nights, in my sleep and then the first thing in the morning. I was off a rocky start as I got myself into the top batch there, and I was the only kid who has not been to coaching since class 7th or 8th, which meant that most topics were rushed off. But things started improving as I kept on pushing hard and here I landed at IIT Delhi. I always beheld IITs as being ‘the best’, and I did not want to settle for anything less; 4 years later, I cannot think of finding any better college.
I always had an inclination towards Mathematics, and when I got selected for Maths and Computing at IIT Delhi, I was super excited. As I started interacting with seniors more and more, I started painting a picture of my department being really challenging academically, with a limited faculty and professors giving students a tough time. Though I was all knuckled up for the challenges, a little scared too. At this time, after 4 years, I can say it was a lot less scary than I thought. I can’t put a number on how much I’ve learned during my time here. A plus point for the upcoming batches is that I have seen things improve much faster than expected.
Another prevalent perception which I observed to be untrue is that professors are assumed to be quite unapproachable here. I still remember my first lecture(PYL100). I was already really intimidated by the professors of my dream institute and for a person who was last in a class with only 10 people, seeing around 400 people in the same class did not make things any better. For a large part of my first year, my interaction with professors was limited. But, I got past that soon cause I liked interacting with professors. I was, in fact, the department convenor in my third year. There are a few funny stories too. During my third semester, it was minor 1 time, and I had two consecutive exams with a break of half an hour. As I went to check my messages in that break period, I saw a WhatsApp text from Prof. Amitabha Tripathi. I was really nervous already as it was my COL106 exam in a couple of minutes and I had never received texts from him before. What’s more surprising was that it was a ‘meme’, yes a meme, the funny kind. And I spent the next few minutes thinking about how to react coz I wasn’t even sure if it was sent for the purpose of some laughs. One time during my SURA project, just to show my friend that I occasionally use emojis to talk to my professor in WhatsApp chats, I accidentally sent the screenshot back to the professor itself. Luckily, I deleted it immediately. The bag is full of similar incidents, and I think it’s great that I didn’t restrict myself to talking to them inside the class only.
It won’t be right to talk about my college life without mentioning NSS. During my school days, I genuinely aspired to contribute some time of my life towards the social good. And I am proud that I did not let that opportunity just slide away. Plus, I made some of my closest friends in NSS. I can’t describe the countless ways in which NSS has cheered me and helped me grow. I even hope to work for some NGO in the future as well, right now I fancy the work of ‘Khalsa Aid’. I like to interact with people, so I try to hang out mostly in the common areas. One of the key reasons why I became a mentor as well was that I love to talk to the juniors. In fact, I have befriended most of the mentees of my friends as well. During my journey of four years at IITD, there have been some tough times, and I feel that talking to the right people at the right time might have made things simpler. So, I try to be there for my juniors, and that’s how I have made friends from all three junior years.
One of the things I love about my hostel is that people here are crazy about football. Late at night, the common room filled with people with their eyes dug deep into the TV screen really sets the atmosphere around. Watching a match every other day had become a routine for me. So, you see, when the Coronavirus transmission escalated in Europe and the matches started getting suspended, we were so bummed. We made all kinds of football jokes like how Liverpool got so close to winning after 3 decades. I was so pissed at how football is gonna be affected. A few weeks into the pandemic and the numbers started popping up, thousands were getting affected every day, and suddenly that wasn’t my worry anymore. The hell with football, people are fighting for their lives. Sometimes, I get panicked about how COVID-19 might change the course of our lives forever. I have actually started to see how scared the 3rd yearites are about their future jobs with their internships being called off. I have seen friends who got their job offers revoked because of it. And I keep thinking to myself, with all of us worried about how this is gonna affect our future, some people are still struggling with whether there will be a future or not for them.