Saturday, September 22, 2012

How does it start at 15?

Memories have to roll back 10 years to get this at one place. Do things change drastically once you start preparing for the much coveted IITs? What gets the motivation going? What changes take place in your thinking? Think it would be different for everyone so will pen down here my experience. Please do not feel its generic because its not. So lets begin. I was one simple unimportant boy who kept mostly to himself and to close ones around him. Remember watching other people and friends doing well in Quizzes ( remember one friend getting to BQC), someone doing nice things in Astronomy, Olympiads, MBD talent search etc etc and standing in the crowd watching people winning in those sports meet, sitting in audience watching debates. Always wondered when would my turn come to receive one of those awards, how does it feel to hear your name announced etc etc. It was very kiddish and very childish but nonetheless it was an obsession at that time. Had to find something where you were the best. Watching the show all the time was saddening. And although I was consistently among top 5 in my class in those school exams neither there was any sense of achievement nor did I respect myself for cramming stuff up and getting good results. Something more satisfactory was needed to pacify the feeling of underachievement and commonness. IIT was a tough nut to crack, maybe the toughest we all considered. It could be that thing. As was common after X boards I and my friends joined one of those coaching classes for JEE. It was too fast for me and for one month I really could not catch up and understand anything. Changed the coaching but the confidence was down. Then came the X board results. Was shocked and devastated to see that all my friends had done better than me. I felt cheated and felt a lot of hardwork had been wasted. That acted as the trigger. Deep down I knew the board results are erratic and true quality and hardwork would be fairly rewarded in the competitive exams. I was very confident about my IQ and maths but never confident about my motivation and hardwork. Deep inside I never felt anything great about scoring marks in exams. But this was a different challenge. It got you respect in society. It tested your brain and perseverance. So still remember my father telling me if you have to get to IIT it would take 2 years of dedicated effort. "Tapasya" was the word. Now all this sounds big but somebody who is going through that age and who wants to know about my experience it was exactly like that. Like one simple foolish boy feeling too bad about those maybe "not so important things". You mature and grow and most people including myself would laugh now but this was how it was. Those 2-3 months really left me hungry and motivated. I felt sad and had to vindicate myself. The moment was 2 years ahead of me but I wasn't prepared to let anything come between me and my success. I was very sincere, focused and determined for the next 2 years. Yes tough times, ups and downs were there but the fire to get there was much more. I am sure for all those looking at JEE would definitely find their set of stories and reasons to get them fired up. One thing that hasn't changed in my mind over these 10 years is the belief that you never go the distance until you are prepared and desperate to slog it out. So find your reasons, maybe better ones than I had but do give your best. Nobody but you will feel nice about it later.
(Thanks to Shreyasi for suggesting the topic, hope it helps)   

Thursday, September 6, 2012

What to do at IIT

Well let me not make you read this if you are looking for a magic formula if you are looking for one. There isn't any. Many people think better grades will get them there, others rely on too much extra-curricular activities to make it etc etc. There are many viewpoints but there's no single thing that you can point out that people did at IIT that took them where there are at lives. But I am not here to say there aren't better choices that people make. Infact I write down this post to pen my viewpoint based on my experiences and post analysis looking back what could have been done better and who were the people that were doing better as its much clear and easier to explain things in hindsight. Intellect is one thing as an IITian which you need to develop while you are there. IIT gives you loads of opportunities and even most IITians may disagree when they are in IIT there is a lot of time at disposal. Explore would be my advice. You have the best facilities be it sports, books, labs, professors, LAN, exceptional people around etc etc. Look at them very seriously and as opportunities which you may not find easily post IIT life. Do what you are most interested in but never lie down around doing nothing. Don't waste time talking around on petty issues (yes ie ba**hodi). There you build a network of people which can use to learn and grow as a person all your life. Also if are basically somebody who does not love mingling with people this is the time to learn it. The world is quite big outside IIT but the things you can pick up in IIT life will empower you to excel in your future life. Also its very important that you read a lot, watch a lot of documentaries and explore the world in this life. As IITians let me tell you nobody is going to doubt your technical skills and IQ but most successful IITians also focus on their interpersonal skills to make a mark. Its very important in these times where businesses and societies have got so integrated that the soft skills that you carry with you are as important if not more important sometimes to gain recognition and grab opportunities. The easiest part is in college its too easy to naturally enjoy all these things and develop simultaneously. The point of this post is to stress the importance of not losing focus and get distracted when you get to IIT. I am not really talking about the ones who will work on the next best technology in the world but its more applicable to IITians who look to enter the job market sooner or later or maybe thinking about their own firms. How you add on to yourself as a person is going to be very important determiner of your success in future. From what I see many who developed themselves, utilized time and maybe enjoyed also more than others are reaping benefits. So key take away understand the JEE exam is over, realize the outstanding facilities and exposure you have access to, make full use of them to excel and stretch yourself but this time in a holistic way. The focus on all round development and breadthwise expansion may be the key for 4 years stay there.