From Being a Professional to Working as Student (Again)

No!

Till date, a ‘NO’ from me to something means it is going to cling on to my back. For example, I ended up staying for 7 long years in Bangalore after saying no to the city after my first visit to southern India. Once you have lived in Bangalore, you will become a Bangalorean forever! Heaven also might seem dull. When I visited NITT for the first time to attend Interview and Group discussion, I was sure of never returning. Yet, Life dumped me back here for my MBA.

Beginning of My Journey as a Hosteler Again

My landing at NITT on 18th July was not so smooth. For example, we were not given permanent hostels due to a sudden surge in intake of EWS seats and were squeezed at Zircon Hostel. Driven from some miscommunication, steward moved us to Garnet hostel. From there, we rolled into a room at the Diamond hostel. Yet again, I had to shift within also, as the wing I chose was meant for MCA students. I finally collapsed in Room 44. Yes, I had a rough start. From awesome 24 degrees Celsius of Bangalore to 40°C of NITT felt like a furnace. Topping it, shifting ~40kgs for four times was difficult. My first friend at NITT kept on cursing me, for bringing bad luck, after he met me.

Lugging around luggage

I was further pushed on a roller coaster by Admin of NITT. Being a Government college, NITT asked for numerous documents before admission confirmation. Mostly, my documents were missing. I approached my engineering college to enquire about my Transfer Certificate. They insisted for a letter from the principal of my new college (NITT) and communicated that all documents would be sent to the principal only. For getting the Migration Certificates, I needed a signature from our Dean (NITT) on a form. Then, the form was to be dispatched to the University (not my engineering college)!  Further, the certificates would be sent to the college’s Admin. Then I could finally submit it. The cut-off date was within a month, and they could cancel my admission.

Deleting the nitty-gritties, I thought to add a few pearls of wisdom and stories (coming soon below). For the Transfer Certificate, I thank our HOD. She understood the issue and supported me, making me indebted for life towards her gesture. She took all the pain to collect my TC and then hand it over to me.

Emptying the Glass that was Full

I also had to enter the cycle of learning and unlearning, repeatedly. Being at corporate world, I got used to an “open-door” policy. I was unable to figure out the reason why faculties or officials were not entertaining my requests. I realized it later. I missed out “May I come in Sir/Madam”, “Good morning Sir/Madam” etc. and used to directly enter in discussion. Then I remembered, I am doing my MBA from a premier Government engineering college. So, few things were a must to keep in mind. I added these niceties to my vocabulary.

Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/WTuuwvjicSc

Our orientation included attending countless guest lectures. One such guest lecture was titled “Management lessons from Indian Railways.” We came to know a shocking fact that Indian Railways runs trains always on time! Not the schedule displayed on the railway stations, but the one that is meant for operation of the whole system (including goods and passenger trains). That’s how things were progressing with me (universe conspiring). But in anxiety, I missed Firm games (Senior Junior interactions) and delayed making friends. Few of my classmates even refused to recognize me outdoors.

Slowly, things did start to change for me. I went on trips and did make few more friends. In due course, everybody knew everyone, and I was getting recognized. (My identity was mostly associated to sleep. I kept sleeping in the hostel to save myself from heat and during lectures as well, as there is air conditioning in the class!)

But Changes were Stressful

I never made any strategy for change management, while shifting from corporate to college. I felt that I lacked confidence as the people around me were very energetic and excited. But eventually they got stabilized and were low in energy within a few months of NITT life. I learned another lesson. People are not always what they show, tell, or sell. And yes, I realized that I had enough confidence to break barriers and survive.

Here is a short example of the beg borrow steal life for survival, as promised in my last article. I am the kind of person, who prefers Rs. 350 worth of bus ticket over Rs. 600, “sacrificing comfort over savings.” Instead of buying a new mattress, I chose few from the ones left behind by seniors. Further, I like buying sturdy cotton-polyester polo t-shirts and wear them till they turn into rags.

Full length Break Fast Menu for 25 Rupees at MEGA MESS I (first floor), Cornflakes, Bread-Butter-Jam, Tea-coffee-Milk Missing

I love being a student again! Being a student, you don’t have to worry about your next meal. You can go to Mess, Feast, keep complaining about food quality (for fun) and repeat.

Lessons Learned Inside Classroom

Now, coming to actual MBA study facts. We have eight subjects worth 60 hours of lecture each, taught in 30 hours, that we complete within 6 hours a night before, for an exam of 3 hours. Less the presentations and assignments; that anyhow becomes a mass effort from the whole class.

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/studying-exams-preparation-951818/

The trimesters kept on flying. I was unable to survive the torrent of first two trimester exams and the hazy schedule. But this trimester was different. I coped well (being awake in all the lectures) until the lock-down happened (read between the lines).

Lessons Learned on Campus

I chose to stay on campus while everyone fled to their homes. My decision was supported by my parent. I desperately wanted to stay alone for a while. I got a lot of time to introspect. I went back to basics and started afresh. I evaluated my strategies to deal with procrastination and laziness. This healed me. I started rebuilding my lost hobbies, re-learnt the importance of being consistent and continuous in whatever I did. Developed a planned effort for goals and prioritized tasks for building a better future.

I also became indebted to NITT for providing me shelter during the pandemic. Yes, there are still few hiccups and glitches, but living on campus is indeed beautiful.

PS: I am accustomed to Trichy weather, and Bangalore is now “too cold for me.”

#thriving at NITT
Vivek Rai
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