Next on the Through the Goggles of a Graduate series, we have our very own Anvitha Reddy. Writer extraordinaire, Anvitha has been a part of T5E since the very beginning (she even helped us out with some doodle after graduating!). She graduated in 2019, but not before being Sharav’s LitSoc MVP, and one of the kindest souls you could meet. So here’s Anvitha talking about her time in insti!
I am not sure what I am doing, writing here. But then I wasn’t sure what I was doing for the last four years either. And if I’ve managed to get a degree out of that, I reckon I should be able to write something about it that would hopefully be of some use.
Disclaimer: There is no glitter of brilliance, academic or otherwise here. It is most certainly not helpful in the way other articles in this series are. But read on if you are just, well, stuck like I used to be.
Excuse Me, But I Lost My Passion Somewhere on the Way to Class, Do You Happen to Find it?/ What I Want Said Before Anything Else
There is something about being honest about your failures: it makes you feel you are partly absolved of your mistakes even when you are sometimes not. So here I am seeking that comfort.
I slacked. I had come to insti assured of the existence of my talent in Physics and mathematics and at the first hint of trouble, I had failed to rise to the challenge.
I didn’t put in my hours of study. I seldom attended tech events because I was insecure over my painful lack of knowledge of ‘cool intellectual stuff’. I rarely participated in the class because I was too lazy or too disinterested to read up. I didn’t get myself to apply for an internship I might be interested in because I couldn’t be bothered to. I didn’t app or sit for placements because I was convinced I don’t have any skill set that I could put to use. In summary, for all the things I should actually be doing, I had no energy mustered. And I regret it; it is awful to look back upon four years- the ones with tremendous potential to change your life-spent in dreamy sleepyheading.
If being a lump is contagious I am sorry to whomsoever I must have spread it to on insti. If you are a lump right now, please oh please buckle up! Do everything that you might have the faintest idea of being interested in and don’t let the stagnant waters get to you. I might sound preachy but at least it isn’t like I have done the right things, I am only
offering the view from the other side of the door that is graduation. If all my time here can be saturated to a single piece of learning, it is work and play hard at everything you can and never catch yourself cooped up in your room doing things you can do anywhere else in the world.
My Time Writing and Goofing Around
I am grateful to be able to say that not every moment of my college life was spent staring at the ceiling. I huffed to the finish line in 100m Schroeter races a full minute after everyone has crossed. I emceed EML lectures half terrified and half thrilled at the high drama that comes with a filled hall. I put together amateur scripts and performed them in LitSoc mono-acting to an audience of near-empty classrooms. I managed to find an interest in writing and invested many an evening writing for T5E, LitSoc and anything else I could get my hands on. ( I use this opportunity to say something that needs to be said through and through: Go Sharav!)
It is through The Fifth Estate I found precious friends and guides who instilled in me besides a lot of grammar, discipline, the joy, pride and inevitable drama of working on a student news body.
If by now I haven’t made for horrible readability of this article, allow me to do so by sharing brief musings on some facets of insti life.
Friendships: Sometimes I think of how things would have turned out if I hadn’t met each friend I made in insti. And the idea is downright terrifying. The biggest contrast I can draw from the start to now is the whole lot of friends that I gained in the processwingmates, projectmates, LitSoc mates, benchmates, clubmates, unplanned-tea-at-midnight mates, department fest mates etc. Fortunate will be grossly understating it. But there are always bound to be long moments in your time here when you will feel left out, lonely. Times like those, I treaded insti roads late in the night reflecting (unnecessarily) long and (unnecessarily) deep on the dynamics of relations and *cough* human existence. Looking back, I tell myself some soul searching is always good. Hopefully, it is.
Mental Health: If you are in college, it is a no brainer that your mental well-being is constantly under threat from the never-ending onslaught of deadlines, quizzes and from having to squeeze in everything you want to do in the day ( including getting yourself to actually do them). There will be times when you sort of cannot care enough or care
too much, times when you feel down without reason.
I cannot emphasize this enough: do not and do not ignore signs. Do take advantage of the institute help groups, of the counselling available.
Their helpfulness will vary from person to person of course. But that I believe shouldn’t deter one from seeking out the support one needs. Take it from me and I am sure, a lot of graduating junta too- The effects of putting off seeking help when you need it: they are sometimes long-lasting and damaging.
Awe: To me, awe was an important preoccupation when here. I was very frequently given opportunities to be immensely impressed by the brilliance I saw around me. I know several hardworking, talented, beautifully multitasking individuals. I know incredibly kind old souls. This I see as the essence of the working of a good institute: to be in an environment where you are shown several examples to look up to every minute. Sure, it gets daunting at times. But not every instance of such exposure is an opportunity to raise one’s competitive hackles. It is in insti that I learnt just how important being inspired is.
Reflection: Was my journey a productive one? Shouldn’t I, who would eventually earn a degree in Physics, have chosen different things to occupy my time or at least excelled at the appropriate ones? I did neither and for a whole lot of time, it has been something that bothered me immensely. That is until I learnt two things slowly over several months. I am of the opinion that: 1. You will make a lot of mistakes and not every one of those should be agonised over. 2. If you feel you are grateful to insti for showing you how to be a twenty-something-year-old who understands the importance of learning and seeking even when she hasn’t learnt all there is to be, you have done a decent job.
TL;DR Pseud Gyaan
I wouldn’t say everyone has it hard the same way, so get along now. College deals out especially difficult cards to some. Some muddle along and yet some more find the whole experience exhilarating, a dig-as-much-as-you-can mine.
So if you don’t think you fit in at insti, remember that there is no such thing most times and even if there is, it isn’t worth a sneeze of the smallest of those red two-headed insects on campus.
From all the perspective that hindsight bestows, I realise that many times, one freaks out too much over their choices, panics over deadlines too much, gets one’s heart broken too much and in general has so intense a time that it seems surreal once one passes out. And the only healthy way I know to deal with intensity is this: calm your heart and follow it no matter how obscure a club, how low key an intern and how unpopular a career it takes you to.
Anvitha’s articles with T5E can be found here.
Editor’s Note: You can also read the other articles from this series from the years past here.