“I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn’t be our style. Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory…lasts forever.”
A quote from the movie “The Replacements” (when Shane Falco is in the huddle with his his team on the football ground)
Okay so it is a cheesy line, but then glory does last forever !
I prepared for IIT JEE about 18 years ago. JEE at that time was all about how deep you understood concepts, and if you could apply all of them at once. Today, JEE is still about that, however what gets tested more is your retention of it, and of course your speed. No matter what the format of JEE is (or will be) one thing that doesn’t change is the Life offered to you inside an IIT (or any other top engineering college for that matter).
I grew up in a small town, grappling with the question of what I could become – a doctor or an engineer, both quite fashionable back then (still are). While in my early days in the 11th I was determined to be a doctor, but Biology as a subject slowly started to appear dranining, bit repititive and then much daunting and thus shifted my focus to JEE exam-prep. One year of that preparation and it paid off when I managed to secure a reasonable AIR to be admitted into IIT Roorkee (erstwhile University of Roorkee) in the Computer Science program.
At Roorkee, I recall the first thing that strikes you is the confidence that everyone of the senior inmates seem to exhibit when you meet. This to me was rare, almost like the JEE process knew exactly how to choose these confident men from the boys (Okay, so there were women as well in the institute, and as self-assured if not more !). But then I looked around myself in the class to see if that was the case with the rest of the freshers (or ‘fachchas’ as we were called). What I found around were a bunch of geeks who were as anxious and nervous as I was, about what the “wonderland” was to offer.
The next three-four years were spent discovering everything that a top college system offers. From a good academic system to a super-duper social support system of friends and cohorts you make, all the things learnt – academic or non-academic slowly start to get ingrained, and for sure. And the anxious lot including myself – I saw were all transformed into a much wholer set of individuals.
Academic Life: Excellent set of teachers, a good curriculum system offering choices (with respect to choice of courses & electives) and reasonably good labs & infrastructure making us that “world class engineer” that the industry needed and wanted. Plus made here were some real close contacts with some of the leading faculty in the country. All very good.
Hostel Life: A second home, “free-er” from the first where fraternities and brotherhoods and “wing-hoods” were created, associations and friendships that were to last one for life. Freedom un-tasted before, provided to you like the key to a new car. The most memorable days of our lives.
Co-curriculur: Plenty to do inside and outside campus. From clubs for every possible sport of that time one could join – including rowing & squash, a Himalayan explorer’s & rafter’s club – to clubs for every little hobby one could sport, the institute had a group of enthusiast-students to keep the activities coordinated and events going. That apart, there were special focused societies for those of the literary bend of mind, and then others that did dramatics & music – and all genres of that. Finally, there were student council elections every year – the mother of all events – that lead to the annual fest and celebrations to sort of conclude on the achievements of that year.
The IIT is a system of learning beyond traditional engineering, it is a system and bearer of social excellence. Over the past decade the original IITs have been joined by a set of other good institutions from the States with their own academic culture and rich heritage. This makes the IIT experience more rewarding than even before, and considerably more accessible to aspirants (who can now hopefully find one closer to their homes).