Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ten things I wish I had done (a few of which I actually ended up doing!)

College is the best phase of one’s life or so everyone says. In my pre-final year of the four year Electrical Engineering degree program, I took some time to introspect on the stuff I had done or hadn’t. I was in the College of Engineering, Guindy (okay, the tense is wrong I AM still there) – a name that boasts of a rich tradition and a legacy which the illustrious alumni have left behind. A 200 odd year old institution, a Red building that inspires awe replete with a sun dial and a clock tower, a sprawling campus and a sea of opportunities – that is CEG for you. This post is a sample of what can be done here. It isn't exhaustive. And, it is a very subjective list based on my interests and preferences and limited exposure. So here it goes:

1. An integral part of an engineering graduate’s life is projects. All the theory taught in class can go to walls but the real fun begins only when you see your own hand wired bot trace a line shabbily or an ingeniously built Van de Graff generator that generates voltage in the order of mere millivolts. But whatever be it, there is nothing, I repeat, nothing that can replace this kick!

2. What are holidays for? Fun, relaxation and rejuvenation. Yes all of this and one more – internships. Not many may warm up to the idea of having to spend summer pursuing a project or working. More so in a college where 66.67% call hostel home. But picture this – you are given a phone, a monitor and a desk all to yourself. You also have the autonomy of choosing your work hours. And it gets better – the stories you write are published in a leading national daily’s supplement with your “name”. Now if that is what an internship offers, I am game.

3. CEG has enough of clubs and more. From the oldest club on campus Computer Society of Anna University (CSAU) to the Robotics Club to the newer Lit Club for English enthusiasts there is something on board for everyone. The campus newspaper The Guindy times fills the Journo Quotient. So, with all this it would be an understatement to say that you are flooded with opportunities.

4. Do what you want. Unrestrained and free, this kind of environment lets you do whatever you want. So, take the plunge and do it. You might experience a bout where you don’t get enough of movies, watch them like there’s no tomorrow. You feel like sleeping in class, well no one is stopping you. You wanna play or party, feel free to help yourself NOW. Roam around the city and explore. Chennai is one big basket of contradiction. From Zara’s and Pasha to Theosophical society and the AOL Centre, wander and explore.

5. Discover your passion and nurture it. It could be sketching, calligraphy, dance, writing, music, sport, quizzing or anything at all. You might have had a fledgling interest in quizzes in school. Just walk into Vivek Audi during a quiz (enough of it happen often) and you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. You’ll find a tribe of avid quizzers drawn to it like flies to a oily sheet. Be a fly! You’ll make new friends and end up loving the experience.

6. Don’t wait anymore to do stuff that you've always wanted to. There’s always a paucity of time and things will only get more hectic to say the least. Now is the time. You wanna try your hand at salsa or learn yoga, do it now. This is the time to stop making “to do” lists and start living it.

7. Interact with seniors. Seize every single opportunity to bug them. As far as I can recall, they will be more than willing to talk to you. Life is too short to make the same mistakes. Make new mistakes of your own but never what your peers did. Learn from it and add your own new lessons to it.

8. Kurukshetra – this is one mighty opportunity available. Jump at it. I walked into CTF by sheer accident. But such accidents don’t always happen. So, take the step, participate or organise but make sure you don’t let it pass.

9. Once in a while step out of your skin. Do something that’ll wake you from your sleep. Do what you fear most. For example, some people possess an unnatural fear of the stage. I had the fortune of meeting a senior who literally threw me out of my comfort zone. Not everyone has that luck. So when life gets too monotonous, make it a point to challenge yourself. It could be something as simple as solving a Metro Plus crossword or the more demanding Rubik’s Cube. But the confidence gained at the end of the exercise is a worthy prize.

10. The last one is obviously the most important too. All your life you’ll get one thing always unasked for and free. That is advice. It’s hard to resist giving and even harder to listen to it without straining a facial muscle. Listen to all of it but mentally know what to value and treasure and what to trash. And you can sharpen that skill starting with this post.

Four years here is an opportunity to learn, mould, hone, change, transform, adapt, evolve, rewrite records, create history, touch the sky and travel beyond. A friend of mine majoring in economics once said, “ So, what is it you engineers do? Everything but engineering!” Quite true. So, at the end of the day, follow your heart and do what you are naturally propelled to do. For engineering is not about induction motors and rectifier controlled drives. It’s about finding the drive to engineer our lives! 


  1. Thinking about it... I guess those are 10 things we all wish we'd done.... :)

  2. Nice post!! Guidelines to a CEGian ;)

  3. @ Maria: Most of the stuff here derives inspiration from you. :)
    @ Vijitha : he he! yaam peraadha enbam pruga future CEGians! :P

  4. came upon your blog.....really nice post....lotsa sense in it