It has been a while since the last day at IIIT Delhi. A long while since we last sat down to remember our Alma mater and how our lives were carefully shaped. Everyone is so caught up in the rat-race, trying to get to the top that these little pleasures are forgotten. Just like everyone else on this planet, I kept procrastinating something as enjoyable as penning down experiences for many months, completely caught up in the hustle-bustle of everyday life.
As a member of the first batch, my batch mates and I have seen how much it took to build the institute… in the literal sense too. There is maddening competition now to get through IIIT Delhi. But back in 2008, each one of us was apprehensive. We even had the guts to question Dr. Jalote during the orientation if our futures were safe. Our apprehensions were put to rest with time by Dr. Jalote’s confidence and perseverance. From awfully early morning and late evening classes with NSIT’s borrowed professors to our own little space in the NSIT campus… From the foundation-laying ceremony by Sheila Dikshit to the start of full-fledged operations on campus… From explaining to every employer that the existence of ‘Indraprastha’ in the institute’s name has nothing to do with IP University to IIIT Delhi becoming a sought-after premier institute… It has been one hell of a journey and we have come a long way! And everyone riding along has benefited. The 12 AM deadlines prepared me to control sleep – a necessary skill needed when something goes wrong during release. I got my BFFs while staying in the hostel. Preparing for cultural performances taught me teamwork. The heated discussions during student council meetings trained me to stand up for something you truly believe in, and to let go of that wretched ego when those ideas are thwarted like a housefly subject to a fly swatter. The Disciplinary Action Committee meetings educated me on how to weigh pros and cons to strike a suitable balance during decision-making. I picked up organizational skills from experiences and mistakes while organizing events under the cultural club. I learned how to market a product while trying to get more ACM members on board. Losing ESYA elections taught me how to deal with failure (that seems very big at that moment). That scary B.Tech. Project Panel Presentation trained me on how to handle stressful situations without going insane. The open-book take-home assignments forced creativity and ingenuity. The humongous workload and assignments conditioned me to prioritize. Every minute of involvement in something new leaves an imprint that stays forever. These learnings are larger than what the world thinks you are meant to learn in an institute. Bigger than CGPA. Greater than awards. The freedom IIIT Delhi provides to its students to learn what they like is what makes it unique. And the top-notch faculty pumps life with every heartbeat into this growing baby.
Sharing my experience has been a homecoming for me. That extraordinary feeling of nostalgic joy experienced around familiar surroundings and people. Hoping you will find some takeaways in it!