Engineering Myths

Background: I had written this article at the beginning of my second year as an undergraduate. For better or worse, I have tried to stay true to most of the advice given below till this day. After all, as the great Dominic Toretto had once famously said, “A man must have a code.”

Myth no.1:

Engineering colleges suck every ounce of your soul out you for good!

Simply put, that is ridiculous. In fact this point is without a doubt, especially for first year, utterly bogus. First year more than anything else provides you with an extremely valuable welcome gift, TIME. And that it provides you with, in abundance.

See that you don’t while away this period of time sitting in your room watching shows and movies or reading the out-dated course books only.  Explore what it out there and spend time with friends doing stuff rather than gossiping, and you should be just fine.

 

Myth no.2:

Over-night studies are the hallmark of an engineering student.

All-nighters are entirely over-rated. Just because all the guys around you are nocturnal doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. If you are a nocturnal yourself well and good, but if you prefer the early morning sun make sure no-one makes you stay awake for no reason what so ever.

Adjust your time-table in a way which suits your needs; preferably in a manner such that you get to do the more important stuff at a time when you are at your most productive and creative(you ought to know the time by now!). If some-one finds your practices queer, let it be. They will get used to them eventually.

 

Myth no.3:

CGPA WOES

This honestly is a tricky one.  Even among veterans having already been in this institution for one, two or even three years opinions wildly differ as far as this sensitive issue of CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average!) goes. They range from it being considered the most sacred number of them all (much more than pi or the golden ratio even) to being totally discarded.

In spite of what all you might hear, the truth is it does matter. Well, not so much so that you can build a career using it as a base, surely not! But it is considered by many as a decent indicator of how hard-working you are. So much so that many prestigious management companies give it a lot of weightage because they believe that it indicates that a student has spent a lot of time doing stuff he doesn’t really like and those companies need people exactly like that! And well most of the foreign universities also consider it during their admission processes, among a lot of other things.

So my advice, strive to maintain a decent CGPA but don’t let these numbers become the focal point of your college-life. They are surely not worth that, but they aren’t worthless either.

 

Myth no.4:

Participation certificates from college-fests are going to help you in your placements, and that is precisely the reason why you should work in them.

In all probability, the only thing which those participation certificates will significantly contribute to as far as your placement goes will be your folder’s weight. Yes, you heard it right. The truth is most of the times the interviewers won’t even care to open your folder; they will be much more interested in the person who will be sitting in front of them. And that is precisely the reason why you should work in those fests, to help yourself develop as a person.

Don’t strive to collect certificates or become a co-coordinator in future so that you can have a name for yourself. Use the atmosphere these fests provide you with to watch and learn as much as possible. Interact with your seniors, take part in workshops, competitions and don’t be disheartened if you see something you don’t like. Concentrate on doing something for the college and getting the best return possible for you as an individual.

And yes, have a good time!

 

Myth no.5:

You don’t want to waste your time doing programming/coding/web-development if you are not a CSE student.

You might get to hear a lot of this during the course of your first year, sometimes even from professors. And that is just unfortunate to say the least.

The syllabus doesn’t expose a first year student to much of mathematics or basic programming, and in turn most of them don’t even try having a go at coding or webdev. Even if one tries to, those surrounding him might try and discourage him due their lack of knowledge about the current scenario or sometimes outright ignorance.

In the current IT dominated scene, having some basic coding skills under your belt will benefit you only if nothing else. It is also a highly transferrable skill which will help you in a bunch of professions- analytics, finance etc. Not only that- autodidactism or self-learning is probably the most important skill you can have throughout your career- applied to everything, not just CS. So learning on your own is a great thing, especially if you can do it without having your grades suffer in college.

Myth no.6:

You are stuck with your branch and now there is no going back.

Life is too short to stick with something which you don’t feel excited about. Find your passion; plan a switch even if it complicates things.

But be very sure that you do it because you know it is your passion and not just a passing phase. People often confuse between interests and passion. But for that you need to give it a shot first and that requires patience and will-power. Give things some time, have patience and time will let you know the difference.

 

Myth no.7:

Getting into this college was the hard part; time to party!!

Well the above statement is not entirely a myth; at least not the second part. By all means you will experience some of the very best moments of your life inside this very institution’s gates. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be working hard. In fact, if you end up doing things right you will have worked your hardest than ever before and enjoyed like hell by the time your college-life gets over.

 

EMBRACE THIS TIME AND DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU HOW TO DO YOUR STUFF. BY ALL MEANS, YOU WILL END UP HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!

svnit

NIT Surat: The place I called home for 4 enlightening years.

 

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