Below is a compilation of 50 things we found were critical to the IIT experience. Inspired by the MIT Blog, this hopes to give people an idea of life at IIT, and things which they should look out for through their years here.
1) Friends change through the course of the 4/5 years. So do you.
2) IITians do not make up the entire world. Try to interact and know more people from outside college.
3) Don’t do things with the aim of improving your resume. You will end up hating the time you spent doing it.
4) Go abroad. There is a lot to learn from people who are very different from you and if you are staying alone, the introspection an alien world offers can be intellectually orgasmic.
5) Being a jack of all trades is not an achievement. The pursuit of excellence is far more rewarding even though it takes effort.
6) Appreciate the opportunity to understand the varied backgrounds of your batchmates. It will help you be humble and simultaneously help you find yourself.
7) Learn the ways of smart people around you. But don’t lose your own identity in the process.
8) The times you go to Maddu mess at 4 in the morning will be the times you will remember for a long time to come.
9) Seniors are smart. But dont let them define your college life. Some of them may end up living their dreams through you.
10) Make a few spontaneous decisions to understand the value of a good decision making process.
11) Attend and enjoy Mood Indigo, especially during the initial years. Meet people. Experience the showcase of events (and informals) with friends.
12) Interact with a professor on a personal level. It helps you view things from the other side of the brick wall. This will leave you surprised for sure.
13) Don’t stereotype yourself into the person other’s may stereotype you as. Don’t stereotype others and thereby lose the opportunity of knowing someone new.
14) Grades are not as important as people make them out to be.
15) Some experiences are over rated. But often you need to have had those experiences before you can say so.
16) Keep yourself fit. Make it a habit and surely it will stick with you even after passing out.
17) Do not fear losing control or doing something crazy. Its not always good to hinder yourself.
18) Acquire tastes for good music, movies and other artforms. This is the best time (and ample time at that too) to discover it.
19) Performing in front of an audience be it in a GC or at an institute event is thrilling. Try it !
20) Be a part of PAF. If not for going on stage or doing work offstage, for the sheer pleasure of getting to meet new and diverse people.
21) Go around Mumbai. Its an amazing city which has lots to offer from places to culture to food to nightlife.
22) Election process teach you a lot about yourself and the ways of others. It teaches you the true meaning of ‘politics’. Try to know this, either as a candidate or a supporter, through your years at IIT.
23) Take out time to stay in touch with your school friends. It keeps you grounded and stay connected in the longer run.
24) Do not follow the herd mentality. Evaluate options for yourself. Suno sabki, karo apni!
25) Social events (poker nights, dance nights, hostel nights), give you an option to interact with a diverse set of people in your hostel, especially when you are new to the hostel.
26) Appreciate the raw beauty of nature. Go around the campus as often as possible, and feel the beauty of the lake and the hills in what is otherwise a vibrant metropolis.
27) A ‘kuch bhi chalega, pass toh ho jaayenge’ attitude can really grow on you. Try to stay true to your values, discipline and work ethics.
28) Friendships often go through their ups and downs. Patch up with friends or peers whenever necessary. Take the first step and know that in the larger scheme of things, a lasting memory outweighs a petty quarrel.
29) Learn the art of leading a team of smart people. Appreciate the talent and competitiveness of others, either academically or in extra-curricular activities. However, know the importance of being a team member and learn to work well with another leading the team.
30) Don’t be afraid to pursue old hobbies or take up new ones. You never know where this interest of yours could be useful later on in life.
31) Take enough photographs of all important occasions, of pranks in the wing, etc. It will definitely come in handy later.
32) Play pranks on people. Learn to laugh at your own stupidity and that of others.
33) Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Overcome your weaknesses by observing and learning from others.
34) Mentor your juniors whenever you get a chance and wherever possible (even if in the wing) You’ll be surprised you came out learning something yourself.
35) Engage in debates and discussions with friends informally. Exchanging viewpoints will allow you to widen your own perspectives about the world.
36) Learn a new language (even if it is a regional one) during your stay. It helps to be able to communicate with someone without others around you understanding 😉
37) Engage in social service for sometime during your stay. Its one rare opportunity to connect with people completely different from those you have seen or been with.
38) Take up interesting courses (wherever you deem so) outside of the engineering curriculum, without peace grades being the sole motive. You will emerge having learnt a new novel subject
39) Whether your ultimate interest lies in or outside the technical sphere, make sure you learn technical stuff either in some of your courses or by working in a technical team. By sheer probability, you have a great aptitude for engineering and it would be a pity if you just shunned the subject in search for greener pastures.
40) Go on long trips on long weekends or even during the week long festival vacations or the winters, to places far off (Goa/Gokarna/Coorg/Himachal/Uttarakhand/NorthEast) Travelling is a great teacher. And not to forget, it will leave you with a life long of memories with friends.
41) Understand the opposite sex. Go out on a few dates, and be brave enough to ask someone you like out for a date. At worst, it will improve your communication skills 😉
42) Worship the LAN and DC++. Respect it by carrying a good chunk of your favorite movies, music, sitcoms and softwares on a hard disk.
43) Understand what you are cut out to be, or at least what you are not cut out to be. Develop a foresight for your future career in the later stages of your degree and tailor your resume accordingly. However, try not to be fixated on your career from when you begin your degree, since you may actually enjoy some other career more.
44) Try and accomplish something which you thought was impossible when you began it. These are the accomplishments which you will always cherish and take you through the rough times.
45) Take time off to introspect and understand yourself better. This will make your time here more meaningful.
46) Be open to learning at every opportunity you get. With friends over dinner, in a conversation with an auto driver, in a classroom when you are half asleep. Learn to become an active learner, so that you continue to learn even after you leave this place.
47) Know what it is like to work an all-nighter. Also realize the value of sleep to work optimally.
48) Try and attend each of the lectures of courses that truly interest you, be it because of the course content or even because of an extremely knowledgeable faculty. Surprisingly, you dont get too many of these occasions. So make sure you dont miss an opportunity.
49) Embrace failure whenever it comes and learn to look beyond. The real hardships you face will be the ones which will teach you the most.
50) Leave the institute with no regrets.
Poorna Chandra B (ex GS and a complete non-academician)
Seshadri G (PhD Candidate at Stanford and an academician)