IIT Kharagpur_4C--621x414I was called by my first name, Abhimanyu, by most of my friends at IIT but my close relatives had already started introducing me to others with a unique second name—An IITian—which, I also believed had become my caste of sorts.

I joined IIT Delhi in the year 2000 after defeating over 1, 18, 000 aspirants who had applied for the seat in IITs. Joining one of IITs was not a big fad back then and which is why the quality of engineers graduating from IITs was the best.

It was a time when Indian economy was grappling with some major shortcomings in creating professional opportunities for its nationals. Campus recruitment was attended by very few companies and students would prefer to pursue higher education in the United States.

My batch at IIT-Delhi comprised most students who hadn’t achieved anything big in their lives beyond academics, which, needless to say, made the campus environment for all of us competitive and stress driven.

I remember an incident of my first minor exam from the first semester. Me and my two other friends were studying on the stairs of the library in the campus when I asked one of them to lend me his notes.

He refused completely and said, “If I share my notes with you then you may score higher than me and, thereby, score better grades than me. I’ve worked hard for these notes not you two.”

I don’t have to tell you that this guy wasn’t one of those lifelong friends I had made during my stay at IIT-Delhi. But, my friend’s egotistical response then, highlighted one of the major issues that almost everyone from IITs was going through—a blind rush to achieve success even at the cost of humanity.

This encouraged an intense environment of self-induced pressure of studying, scoring grades, and living up to expectations of others in future. But the worst fear among us was to get a job, do an MBA, or launch a startup, someday, may be. Although we were all under severe pressure, we had innovative ideas and many plans of making it big in the world after graduation. But what we truly lacked back then, which we feel is still missing, was career counseling. At the time of graduation, most students feel helpless and stray into making wrong career choices.

This has not changed even after so many years. Our economic growth is on all time high as compared to the time when I had joined IIT-Delhi. The pressure is still mounting and refuses to halt at one point or level. The life of IITians has more pressure than pressure-cookers used by households. Everyone is required to perform better than other. It won’t stop.

Even if it does, I don’t think I’d be alive to see it happening with my eyes.
This post was contributed by Monika Rai, askiitians expert

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