What I would tell a young 18 year old joining an engineering college in India

I remember my first day of college. I had joined an Engineering college with little clue of what the college could offer me, and even more little clue about the course I had gotten into. After the chaos of board exams, CET, counseling, I found that the months leading to my first day of college was a complete blur. Before I could gather my bearings, I was walking into a massive college with thousands of students, with a huge sense of uncertainty. Looking back, if there were only 5 things I could tell that flustered 18 year old me, it would be:

a) Engineering is not boring:

As much as the memes on Engineering makes you laugh, as much as people love to hate on the course itself, Engineering as a discipline is far from boring. Almost everything you see around that is man made, Engineering has had a role in building it. Engineering is a beautiful mix of creativity and practicality. It has the ability to excite both the artist and the mechanic in you. Give it a chance.

b) Participate, participate, Participate:

Yes Yes, I know you have never danced on stage before. We understand, your limbs do not necessarily move in real life, like how they move in your head. We understand, that you were not part of the quiz club, debate club, basketball team, Fest squad etc etc in school/second PUC. But that is the past. You can change all that in your new college. Every time someone is looking for volunteers or registrations for something in college, put your name on that sheet (pun?). Participate.

c) Make Tons of Friends:

Some of the friends you make during your engineering days, will definitely be friends for a lifetime. You will most probably run into folks of your age from different backgrounds, different states, with a different upbringing, with different opinions of life, with different experiences in life – and they will all add up to making your 4 years memorable! So the next time you are sitting next a new face in college, smile and wave!

d) Everyone is weird, express yourself:

On my first day of college, I noticed a tall boy stand out in the crowd. Why? Because, he had decided to come to college in a 3 piece suit all decked up with a suitcase and an umbrella. I thought he was weird. Fast forward, 4 years, he was one of the most loved personalities in college. Sport that hairstyle, wear that dress, recite that poem on stage, write that article for the college magazine. Do not be afraid of looking weird. Do not be afraid of standing out in a crowd. Express yourself.

e) Wander, do not withdraw:

Explore different things in life, but do not take your eye off the ball. At the end of the day, make sure you learn. Ensure that you have the aggregate to get yourself an interview in that dream company of yours. Ensure that you have the attendance percentage that keeps you out of trouble. Ensure that you are submitting that assignment on time. Do not withdraw into the worn out definitions of ‘coolness’. Make things simpler for yourself.


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