Hustling through the narrow street which turned left from Govind Puri Metro station on the first day of college, to find a beautiful campus at the end of the road was pure joy. My undergraduate journey at IIIT Delhi has been wonderful, a little walk through my four years will sum up what makes IIITD an amazing “institute” and a lovely home.
While adapting to the comfort of the bunk beds was surely tough during my early hostel days – it was also one of the coolest experiences. From tackling a loudspeaker in my neighbourhood, sweeping the flooded hostel room floor at 4 AM, and dumping the waste into the cupboard to make the room look cleaner; to finding the most amazing bunch of people in the hostel, having long conversations with my roomies and running across the corridor to play pranks on my friends (you know it :P) – it was all exhilarating. And, like everyone else I would also like to appreciate and brag about the no-curfew blessing, thanks to our director.
Apart from the fun, IIITD never stopped making me want to do better, and to do more. The institute offered a wide range of interesting courses to choose from. In first year, while others were struggling with Engineering Drawing, I felt lucky to be making hands-on projects in Introduction to Engineering Design. It was fun to register for new courses and create a timetable for myself. I liked working on the course projects, they were effective in learning, and the hard work required to find alternate solutions for a given problem took me to the top of the world. (Also, it helped me discover my love for Github and YouTube :P).
At IIIT Delhi, during the semester, deadlines are on everyone’s minds. It felt victorious to have made a submission at 00:03 on backpack (Just saying!). Now, it is upsetting to realise that my backpack account will always say – “Woohoo! you have no deadlines. Enjoy it while it lasts.”
The next thing that I found rewarding was the community service initiative by the institute. I taught elementary class students Maths, Science, English and Geography. I admired the initiative so much that I still often visit the school to teach them basic computer skills. And they love it! I even received a Google scholarship to continue this support and service towards the community! One more thing – I don’t know how it works everywhere else but at IIITD, generous feedback and suggestions are important and valued. This is one of the many things I admire about this place.
IIIT Delhi has been very generous in terms of providing me with opportunities. The first one to be was the Innovation internship program hosted by the ECell or Entrepreneurship Cell of IIITD. It was a privilege to work with Professor Vinayak Naik on the MSleep project alongside Shuchita and Yash. It was my first internship, first project and the first product-pitch experience which boosted my confidence and helped me learn a lot of things.
I also got the amazing opportunity to work with Professor Ponnurangam Kumaraguru during my third summer. I extended this work for memes and took it up as a BTP. Taking a BTP was a fruitful experience for me, I associate a lot of emotions with it – one of them being surprise. I am happy to have taken up projects with professors at Stanford University which helped me find my interest. After that, I was driven to work with ICORE on research projects related to healthcare analytics. My will to pursue Data Science, Statistics and healthcare got me through the tough admission process last year. Without the support of the amazing professors at IIITD, the seniors and my friends, it would have been difficult to get an admit to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Although, there’s still a long way to go, I’m glad that IIITD was a part of it. I explored options other than research and became a teaching assistant, organised events like TEDx, mentored for the INOI Workshop, coordinated Foobar (the competitive programming club), became a member of the MadToes (IIITD’s dance society), and participated in various college activities. The institute has helped me create a journey that my younger self would be proud of.
At IIIT Delhi I found a second family, that helped me grow, made me laugh, understood my perspective and encouraged me to appreciate the journey which got me through these four years. I will miss this family – my friends, the faculty, the staff and the alumni who helped me learn and realise my potential.
I have loved my college life because of the things I learned, the people I met, the memories we created and the miles we travelled together. I am grateful to everyone who has been a part of this journey and will continue to hone the qualities they’ve helped me imbibe. It is our director’s vision to create an environment where we nurture our interests and find a path which leads us to our goal. IIIT Delhi has been the place where my friends became family and small moments became vital memories. I have learned so much over the past four years and I know that I am going to miss all of it. From the orientation day to the last batch photo day, I witnessed a lot with this place and it’s now time to say goodbye. Goodbye, not to the people who got me through the highs and lows or the memories that I made with them, but to the struggle that gave me all that I have today.
Thank you for everything. 😀
Class of 2017