Life Lessons, Undergrad Life

6 Things I Learnt during my Undergrad

A 40-minute ride from office to home with a dead cell phone gives you just enough time to retrospect. It has been about three months since I was a college student. Though I like most, if not all, things about this new city, I often look back at the last four years; the things I did, people I met and the lessons I learned. Only this time, I thought I would type things down and share a few things I learned. Some of you may find this obvious, to some of you this might not make sense, but I hope all of you have a good read.

Explore your individuality 

One of the great things about college is that it offers a wide range of options – in terms of courses, extracurriculars, clubs and societies, etc. It is a great time for you to explore what excites you the most and what draws your interest. Don’t just do something just because everyone else is doing it. Of the things that I did right at BIT, one was not blindly following the crowd. Be in terms of choosing the courses, participating in clubs, or associating myself with groups, I chose what aligned best with my passions and goals in life. The simple advantage of this is that you are not stuck doing something or being someone that does not bring you joy and happiness.

Seek help and help others

 

We may not realize it but most things in life are accomplished only with the help and support of other people. I am where I am because of the advice, guidance, and support of so many professors, seniors, batch-mates, and juniors. From, helping me choose electives to career advice to general life lessons, I have always been lucky to be guided by my well-wishers. So, in a way, it becomes my moral obligation to give it back in some way — a helping hand, a listening ear, a kind word, or a bit of guiding advice.

It is NEVER the end

One of the great, obvious facts of life is that the task at your hand seems the most crucial thing on earth. No matter how insignificant it seems in hindsight, in the moment it feels like your life depends on it. Like in the first year, you feel that not getting into clubs is the worst thing that could happen to you. But as soon as you move to the next year, the pressure of academics, extracurriculars, and “understanding your passion” takes center stage and you wonder why you ever worried about small things like getting into a club. Then comes the third year and you see everyone around you getting internships when all you have is a pile of rejections and you think ‘This is it.” But it’s not the end. Finally, fourth-year will hit you with placements, entrance exams, grad school applications, and whatnot. And you have to persevere. The point being, there is never an end. You will always be faced with challenges – bigger and harder than the last one and all you can do is give your best and move on. The clubs in the first year will not decide your 4 years of college in the same way as your first job will not decide the rest of your career. I am not saying don’t try for the best. Give it all you have for the things that matter to you but also remember that there’s only so much you can do and there are always so many other options, pathways, opportunities It’s NEVER the end.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

You can’t please everyone

While the origin of humanity might stem from a single source, the truth of the matter is that, today, we are all different.

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you go, you can’t please everyone. We all have different opinions, beliefs, values, relationships, thoughts, and emotions. That might be the reason, why no matter what you do, someone will always question your choices. So, why live according to someone else’s standards.

It took me some time to realize this. I had always considered myself a “people-pleaser”. The dopamine high that comes with praise and appreciation used to be one of my key motivating factors. But the flip side to this was that I felt really sad when I was not able to live up to others’ expectations. So after a lot of introspection, I concluded that it’s important to do things that make me happy. As long as I am doing the right things with a good heart, I’ve got nothing and nobody to worry about. While this information did not wholly alleviate my worries, reduce my stress, or eliminate all my fears for pursuing my dreams, it allowed me to come to the realization that nobody will be completely pleased with my actions all the time.

People Evolve

You may not always like it, but the inevitable truth of life is that people change. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In my opinion, if the change is for the growth of the person then that’s a great thing. From my experience and observation,  your friend groups will evolve during your undergrad. That’s because as we progress in the years, we grow and so do the people around us. Our priorities, preferences, and choices change and so naturally we make new associations and sometimes in the process also grow out of our previous ones.

Always and continuously LEARN

One of my great pleasures in life is to learn about new things. And college was a great time for this. I mean obviously, we learn so much in the classes. But even beyond that. We meet so many different people from so many different places and cultures. For example, I had never lived in the southern parts of India before I started undergrad. (It’s different now that I am writing this from Bangalore). But thanks to my friends I learned so much about the geography, culture, and cuisines of the place. All you have to do is be receptive, and listen. I had a college life where the learning curve only kept going up, and I will forever be grateful for that.

There are a lot more things that your college will teach you. All you have to do is learn and hopefully write about them. I had one of the most enriching experiences at BIT Mesra and I will forever cherish that. Like any phase in life, there were ups and downs. But I am glad I got to meet some people who will be irreplaceable. Although nostalgia hits me, I am excited for the next phase in my life: to learn more, grow, and meet new people.

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