NUS: I will remember..the experience ..

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and I couldn’t quite place what I was really going to write. It was meant to be a summary of the entire experience, and if the experience was anything to go by, it had to be bloody good.. And there in lay the problem..

So, after attempts at trying to think through this post, I have decided to just go with the flow..

I was a skinny 17 year old when I landed here on the 20th of July, 2006. I was a kid who, like all those Indians who make it here, had done well in my board exams, had a respectable cultural activities record, sports track record etc. I was also a boy riddled with many insecurities, had a big big ego, took myself way too seriously for my own good, was generally not so clean, a tad spoilt, very careless with money, generally disorganized and always always rushing. It was not all bad – I could hold my own when communicating with people, enjoyed working in teams and was generally the type who has had to work hard for anything good that has come..

When I came to this place, I was just one of those 1,000 international students who made it here, was a misfit at the engineering school, was overawed at the kind of options that even existed in this place.. And slowly began finding my feet, primarily because of some wonderful people who helped me find my place(due to respect to Pranav, Nitin and Abishek here and a whole bunch of my immediate seniors..)..

And slowly things began falling in place. Here are a few random thoughts on the experience itself.. It’ll never quite be a complete summary, but I guess it never should – some things are best left unsaid after all..

I goofed up, a lot..
Screwed up in places and situations unimaginable..
Tried my hand at ‘entrepreneurship’ – it’s a big word..
Failed more than I could have imagined..
Worked my a&$ off..
Learnt I could be pretty persistent, sometimes annoyingly so..
Strongly believed that an idea would make a billion dollars..
That didn’t happen..
Strongly believed an initiative would take off..
That didn’t either..
Soon realized that the learnings that came with them were worth a lifetime..
Got straightened out by multiple mentors many many times..
Was made to shut up many a time..
Realized I was nowhere close to the smartest person around..
But knew I could work hard and never give up..
Slowly began finding my place..
Found my fragile ego crushed..
Began rebuilding with an attempt at some self confidence, one blog post at a time..
Never was and never will be a good engineering geek..
But survived anyway..
Played lots of sports..
Tried my hand at a lot of random stuff..
Realized that every experience was worth its weight in gold..
Tried hard to be a keen student and learn every step in the way..
Realized that I learnt a lot more from the lows than the highs..
Failure makes us humble after all, and is a wonderful thing..
Learnt I should spend less than I earn..
Learnt that health is NOT worth messing up..
Noticed that most great men never take themselves too seriously..
Struggling with that still..
Decided I needed to stop rushing and take things one at a time..
Went back to my roots when I was most in need..
Realized the value of faith and prayer in that one instance..
Tried becoming a happier person by smiling more and wishing others more..
Tried becoming cleaner, neater, better organized..
Tried my hand at my own little initiative..
Tried making a dent in the university life in this place..
Wanted my life to be defined by ‘If your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they should think of you..’
Started reading again.. Voraciously..
Made my own mission statement..
Found my own values..
Went to RealAcad..
Learnt I should believe in those dreams..
Made friends from across cultures who shared similar values..
Became a loyal mentee..
Always tried finding excuses to test my leadership ability..
Realized that leading and being proactive is part of one’s own life..
Tried my hand at ‘mentoring’ myself in an attempt to give back..
Failed miserably at first..
Slowly began finding my way..
Tried setting an example and had an excuse to be clean and organized..
Began finding unparalleled joy in spending time with my ‘kids’.. :)
Spent a LOT of time with close friends..
Had long conversations I will remember for a long long time..
Realized that it is the people that make the difference..
Learnt that relationships are more about giving than taking..
Fell in love..
Made friends for life..
Began telling people what they meant to me..
Rather than leaving feelings unsaid..
You never know which moment could be your last, after all..
Learnt how to give a proper hug..
Learnt what it meant to ‘be there’ for people..
Found a sibling right at the very end of the journey..
Fully realized the joys of this wonderful student life journey right at the very end..
A lot of good things happen right at the end after all..
And they have..
For I know, 20 years later, when I show my kids these posts(fingers crossed :)),
I will do so with all my 32 teeth on show.. :D

There are some experiences that words can’t do justice to, all that easily atleast.

This is one of them..

All I can say I’m really thankful to all those who made this experience what it is..

To all those who are still going through your university amidst this exam period – all I can say is university life can tend to just follow a script – 1st week joy, cca activities, mid sem ‘stress’, more cca activities, searching for internships/jobs, final exam ‘stress’ with variables like design projects, final year projects popping in and out..

It’s probably worth it to break out of the usual once a while and try and do something we would actually remember 10 years from now. I don’t know if there ever will be a better opportunity to get our feet wet, experiment, fail and still never face any real consequences and don’t know If there will ever be a time where we can, well and truly, do whatever we want in a day without a care in the world..!

In short, life is to smile and have fun rather than get caught in our own and generally insignificant ‘stress’ loops. We’re not machines, never will be.. So, here’s wishing you all the best and hoping you just give it your best shot – not because that’s all that matters (eventually, winning, losing, performance do tend to make a difference..) but because going down the regret path is definitely not worth it..

Aside from these moments, I’ve probably found the most profound learning to come from a Harry Potter line – at every point, we are faced with a choice of what’s right and what’s easy.. And there’s probably no better place to test this out than during this period of life as a student..

Here’s to a wonderful memorable university life.. And if you ever have questions that you feel this blogger can help you with, you know where to write in..

In the words of a friend –
To love, life and laughter..
This Blogger.. :)

12 hours..