I remember my very first days in university. After all the work and long hours of preparation it was nothing less than a great happiness when I came to know that I’ve got admission where I really wanted to finally! And so with some hope and uncertainty, a bit of fear and a lot of excitement I welcomed my first day at uni.
When I think about what I expected uni life to be I can’t really remember what my thoughts were precisely. In fact, having no older sibling I didn’t have much of an idea what life at university is and how it would be different from school if not similar. So basically I had no expectation of any sort just a lot of “can’t wait for it” feeling and all….
And so the first semester began. Getting to know the campus, lots of introductions (of teachers and students), making friends, hiding away from the seniors who wanted nothing more than to rag us (we were so scared that we went to the library that’s quite a distance away from our department and hid among the bookshelves! ) and the unfortunate encounter with them were the highlights of the first few days….
Then when we came to know each other, the campus, the teachers and the life that would be ours for the next four years to come (or so we thought) intense studies took off. Our free time in uni was spent in solving circuits, carrying T-squares and drawing charts to the drawing hall in the far off block away from the department and making those detailed and meticulously labeled and scaled drawings of different models for engineering drawing classes. Calculus practice used to take place after the class.
Diving headfirst into intense and difficult studies and a routine which seemed so tough (getting home in the evening) I was drained. I couldn’t imagine how hard the coming years would be as just the first one (“which is NOTHING” as told by the seniors) seemed so hard. I couldn’t understand how those fourth years girls could sit there, talk and laugh having gone through what I am going through now and much much more than that. (Ha! I smile when I think about it now)
I also missed my old friends and college a lot. Not to forget the all-girls environment. It was so hard coping up with all this that I can say without hesitating that the first semester is definitely the toughest as you really have to adjust and make new habits.
Time passed. Got used to the new routine. Made friends. Talked and got guidance from the seniors who are really very helping. Understood what’s expected of me and how I have to study and where I stand right now.
And so some studies and exams and parties and assignments and trips later along with many ups and downs in different ways I got to know and actually feel my university as sort of my own. A place where I belong. :)
Studies are not that easy here. They are challenging. No, very challenging. A lot is expected from you. There’s so much to learn and to do that sometimes it feels as if you have no life apart from studies. But I think it’s really worth it in the end. One thing that makes things extra difficult is that the competition here is very intense. But the challenges are what keep you going ahead and to stretch yourself to your utmost capabilities. Besides, studying with such intelligent students really gets you inspired.
The thing I love the most about engineering is that you get to implement the material studied in class in real applications and projects. The satisfaction of finally seeing something you worked on for so long actually work, whether it’s a code or a hardware project, makes all the effort worth it!
Working in labs and for projects showed me how to work in groups and what being a part of team is. I got to study some courses which seemed more like solving puzzles than solving problems! (Digital Logic, for instance). Our studies enhanced and improved our problem solving and analytical thinking skills. I got to know how to manage my time better, how to work under stress, how to manage my studies with other things that I love to do. And the list goes on.
Today when I see the first years I am reminded of my own initial days. I used to wonder and ask everyone “Is it going to get even harder?”, to which I used to get a variety of responses though mostly encouragement. :) But after having gone through it, at least as far as I have come, I realize that the question “Is it difficult?” has the problem in itself. Because when life goes on it takes you and makes you capable for what you were incapable of before. It teaches you and makes you strong enough. And finally the challenges that you couldn’t have succeeded in yesterday become do-able as you do them today.
So yes, if a first grade child asks a university student “Is your maths very hard?”, the university student will reply “Definitely! Yours is nothing but a piece of cake!” . Sure, the grade one math is easy for the college student but it wasn’t like that when he himself was in grade one! The child will go grade by grade and be able to do the college level math when he finally gets there. So there is no need to be afraid or to give up. And its the same for so many other things in life…
“The beginning is always the hardest..”, I had read somewhere, “…just ask a baby as he learns to walk.” True indeed…
Having said that, I will also say that there will be some days when you don’t feel motivated enough, when you feel like leaving it all. That happens to everyone at some point or another no matter what. But if the goal is kept in mind and you have good friends along with you and you have complete faith that no effort ever goes wasted then anything can be done. Time passes quickly. So it’s best to make the most out of it! :)