The magic, the charm of passing out of IIT is that (apart from being treated like a royal in the job market) you are inspired.
Inspired by the host of alumni who have passed out ahead of you and have made a mark in whatever they have done.
You step in, and realize that all these super successful people, were once in your shoes, doing the things you are doing now, and that there is the inspiration to think big.
And, that for me is the magic of IIT, to read about the exploits of its alumni, to see how they have given back to the institute, as hostel wings or labs or awards, is the confidence booster that I too can one day make it big. If they could, so can I.
I have to write about my second day in the campus. It will be one of the memories that will be instantly recalled when I think back. 27th July, the day after the Mumbai deluge. 1m of rain (yes 1 meter) had fallen the previous day. The whole of mumbai was under water. My room was too. Having hardly slept the previous night, we wake up the next day, and see some students heading in the general direction of the academic block. I (and my friends), newcomers as we were, had assumed that surely, it will be a holiday. Seeing people wading through towards the academic area, we call up the department and ask if classes are on. The reply: Why should they be not. That day, some classes were conducted in ankle deep water!
A lot is written in IIT discussion forums about the classes being boring, the professors not being good etc. In my opinion, teaching and learning cannot be separated. Your teacher cannot do much, if you are not in a mood to learn. IMO, that is one of the biggest problems in the IIT (and many other colleges too). Students, without interest or flair in engineering are pushed into it by parents/society, and they come to class, with the intention of just finishing the course. And this is a major demotivation for the teachers. The lure of IIT, is the awesome jobs. Student’s dont take much time to find out that High CPI does not correspond to a great job. The emphasis that ‘hot’ companies( meaning the the jobs that every student on campus covets) put on extra currics
(especially in IIT, as most of them take clearing JEE as equivalent exemplary academic qualifications). It does not help that the ‘hot’ jobs are consulting and finance, who don’t care if you know your VLSI or mass transer, so students attend this class with PAF or MoodI in their mind.
Personally, I found all the courses that I took in IIT to be extraordinary. The professors are awesome, the courses are cutting edge, and if you want to ‘learn’, no place else can come close.
Previously, I had written about wholesome development, and that whole article can smugly fit in here. The freedom to do what you want, is something that every student in IIT will cherish and miss once she moves on. And it is this freedom, which lets you explore yourself in things that you feel you are good in. Luckily, from what I have seen, meritocracy is also respected in IIT.
If you are good in something, you are valued. (I just can’t finish without writing from the placement angle! Companies love people who have their feet in more than one boat, and that is incentive enough to discover new talents in you)
I am quite academically inclined, and hence, for me, the greatest reward from IIT was the ‘respect’ that my professors gave me. This is a feeling, that I am much unable to put into words, but the fact that my professors believe that I will do great, not only in my PhD but also as a future researcher (if I take an active R&D job) is flattering. Sometimes, I feel that I don’t deserve the high pedestal that I am in, but that is the charm of the whole thing!
My involvement with Campus recruitment, started in RVCE, when a small talk by an alumi, Mr. Gautam Kini, motivated a few of us to take things in our hands. The everlasting memory of that is when a friend got placed, and the first person he hugged was your’s truly, and attributed his success to my efforts. I can still feel the sweetness of that moment.
At IIT, everything was much magnified, but to me, the big prize of being in the placement team was when the company and the student, thank us! And testimony to our efforts was the fact that some 400 juniors assembled in the LT to listen to us, give placement funda. An evening that I will always remember.
I am passing out an inspired man, and hope that some day, I also inspire a student walking in…