13th August, 2012 – As the numbers flashed on the screen, my pulse rate started increasing with each passing moment. Here I was, sitting in one of the most prestigious universities in the country, waiting to secure admission in their flagship Bachelor of Engineering program. When the no. of seats vacant in Mechatronics (my preferred specialisation) showed ‘1’ and my name was called out, my joy knew no bounds. I ran to the stage and was asked to confirm my admission; I looked back at my parents and my dad gave a double thumbs-up sign. And so, began my journey at Thapar University, Patiala, one that had its fair share of ups and downs but also the one that made me into the person I am today.
Settling In (1st Year) – Just completed my 12th, living at home till now, no prior hostel experience and all of a sudden, sharing a room with two other people – it does take some time to get adjusted to the “rigours” of hostel life, the biggest rigour being food. Thankfully, the food was decent… and the people, better. Having classes from 8 am to 5pm, and sometimes even 7 pm (and you thought only MBA life is tough), the 1 km walk from the hostel to the academic area (the lows of having a huge campus) and then, the ‘How to kill time and keep everyone awake till the wee hours of the morning’ activities, this used to be our daily routine. In between, we had our quizzes and exams, and since I am of the studious type, it didn’t take long to figure out how to go about academics.
Explore (2nd Year) – Since 1st year was more about familiarizing yourself, 2nd year was about trying out new avenues (so that no contempt is bred :P). I joined a few societies in college, the closest to my heart being the admissions society, also known as Frosh Week. Coming back to college a week before the college reopens, sleeping on sofas for that entire duration, answering the queries of the parents and the students (and here we had experience talking), helping the seniors in organizing a fortnight of events for the freshers – all of it was a blur. Some of the best friendships were formed during this period, a few good places (read pubs) had opened up in Patiala and exams were now just a flash in the pan.
Half Play, Half Work (3rd Year) – The onus fell on us this year to conduct Frosh and that’s when I realized it ain’t a cakewalk to organize things from end to end. The bouquets and the brickbats, all were there, but having a great team ensured that we pulled off the event successfully. Then started the interviews for the 6th semester internship and I was elated to have landed one in a manufacturing firm. There were 6 of us in the company, assisting our mentors on critical projects and meanwhile, I also joined coaching for MBA in the weekends. This semester was hectic as I was constantly shuttling between Ambala, Chandigarh and Patiala and then, came one of the biggest shocks of my life.
The Year that Was (4th Year) – To say that this year was a roller coaster would be an understatement. A very close friend of mine died in a car accident, I was awarded a scholarship for securing the 2nd highest CGPA in the third year of Mechatronics engineering, many of my batchmates left college as they had their internships in the 8th semester, leaving behind a big void and finally, I got admission in one of the premier b-schools in the country. Truly, the final year was unlike anything I had imagined it to be, equal parts blur and equal parts clarity, with a little bit of travelling thrown in for good measure.
9th November, 2016 – Convocation – The one thing that I was really looking forward to since the past few months. My parents were elated that I would be getting the gold medal for being the branch topper (probably that explains why they came all the way from home just to see me on stage for a few seconds) and I was happy with the thought of meeting all my college friends, in an all too familiar environment. The convocation was eventful to say the least and I had a lump in my throat while going back. For me, college was more about the people than the place, but now when I look back, I feel that I have left a part of me there, in the ‘Heavenly’ hostel rooms, in the ‘Hi-tech’ classrooms and in the streets of Patiala.
Thapar University – I will be indebted to you for life!