From Freshmen to Graduates: Our Unforgettable College Journey

Posted by Souptik Datta on 2024-01-07 @ 17:50:12
It's a really long one. Ready? Let's go!

The beginning

The journey commenced with an entrance exam for the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology immediately following our Higher Secondary Education. Post the Higher Secondary examination, we found ourselves navigating through a multitude of college entrance exams, with some friends attempting tests for virtually every college in India, securing impressive ranks, yet opting for none 😛. It's worth noting that each exam came with its own associated fee.
But I was fortunate enough to only take three examinations - KIITEE, SRMJEE, and JE Mains.
And for whatever reason we selected KIIT over the other two (let's not talk about the reason, if you know you know 🤫, hint - I couldn't distinguish between my rank and phone number).
And then we went to counseling, where we had to select a branch (as per availability) and finally, you know, get the admission. But here comes the not-so-good part. As you might have guessed I was not so great a competitive exams. Even if my KIITEE rank was better than other exams, it was still not that great considering the level of this exam. I wanted to get into the "Computer Science Engineering(CSE)" branch, but the "destiny was already paved" and I couldn't get into CSE, even IT, even any other hybrid CS branches.........
And it was a bit (frankly a little more than just a "bit") disheartening for me as firstly I did get pretty shitty ranks in all the competitive exams compared to my brilliant friends and now even in KIIT, I didn't get any of the CS branch I wanted so badly. "Sad emoji here?"
But still with lots of motivation from my parents and brother, I stepped into KIIT, Bhubaneswar.

The journey

To be precise the journey began on the first evening in the hostel. Fortunately, I had pretty adjustable roommates from the first year only and I didn't have any trouble settling with them quickly (atleast for a few months 😛). I still remember the first dinner we all three went together. Here is a photo of the plate (trust me it was the first dinner at my hostel) -
For the first few days, we didn't have college and therefore it was time to talk with others and make friends. But atleast I was too shy to make the first approach ( I didn't want to write this statement, but if I didn't, my friends would surely get back to me if they read this😬). But my awesome friends were kind enough to bind me into their group and that's how I got an amazing friend circle which I am thankful for even today.
But at that point also I couldn't get over the fact that I didn't get CSE and what other perfect timing could be than that when I heard that if you score greater than 9 CGPA in your first semester, you could get a chance to upgrade your branch to CSE. I studied like never before throughout the first semester to achieve that 9 CGPA mark. But as I just "heard" about it. There was no proper documentation about this. I went from office to office to just confirm this one statement. But as expected who would entertain me? Who am I and why should they entertain me? Really why? I just desperately wanted to confirm this, I was tired of false hopes.
Despite not getting confirmation, I did all of the assignments, attended all the classes, "sat on the first bench 🥲", and studied extensively to get that 9 CGPA. I used to skip trips with my friends just to do this! But it was not like that my friends were not happy. There was a free supply of assignments to copy from 😛.
But at the end of the first semester, guess what, I was not able to reach the 9 CGPA mark. To date, it remains a mystery to me what would happen if I had got a 9 CGPA. Would I have got the chance to change the branch? And if yes then what would my current situation be? Spoiler alert - I am grateful that the change didn't happen and the way it went currently.
At that point, I had given up the hope of branch change and then I decided that it was now my time to "copy assignments"!
In short - from that point, I let my academics follow its flow and I was completely focused on working on learning computer science topics. Frankly from the beginning only I had a little curious nature and therefore I liked to explore one topic in much depth. I was enjoying the stuff! I knew Python, but I heard the suggestion to start DSA with C++ or some low-level language like these rather than Python, etc.
I learned C++ from a YouTube channel named "My code school". And what a channel it was 💯! Then I started practicing DSA. In the meantime, I also developed an interest in web development and other peripherals.
Although I didn't dive in-depth, I learned a little bit about app development (but it was not my cup of tea).
It was this time that the pandemic was knocking at the door😷. Not explaining much, as we all know the situation.
Just a glimpse - All the lectures were running on abandoned laptops, while we were having sweet dreams.
🎮 This was the time I also learned a little bit about game development. It was a great experience! There is a lot in game development and I got to learn a lot from those few months. I even participated in a few game jams and made a few games! Here -
Now it was 5th semester's final examination, and when I came to know about rtCamp and was interested, gave it a shot! Fortunately got selected as a Web engineer trainee. What a speedy onboarding it was🚀, loved it ❤️! Boldly declaring, I catapulted into the most remarkable beginning of my professional journey, achieving unparalleled success both in terms of financial gains and a culturally enriching work environment.

With Study from Home (SFH) still in place, I seized the chance to seamlessly carry on with the internship, encountering minimal academic disruptions. And so, things were progressing quite smoothly during that period.
After six months, I received confirmation and continued my journey at rtCamp. However, this period coincided with the reopening of our college in Bhuvaneshwar for offline sessions. The question loomed – how to juggle both the job and academics simultaneously?
Remarkably, things fell into place seamlessly, and before I knew it, the last year of college concluded without a hitch!

The ending with new beginnings

July 23, 12:42 PM - 📥 "Invitation for 19th Annual Convocation on 19th August 2023 (Registration)"
And then what? - 16th August - Kolkata 🚆 Bhuvaneswar - for the last time.
We traveled a little earlier to enjoy the last few days before stepping into our future endeavors. We boarded the train together from Howrah station at around 8 PM, and then what, "good night"? NO, guess what why! Our ticket wasn't confirmed. That was a kind of a ride.
We thought that it would be just a few hours and we would easily pass the time by watching movies and gossiping. So, with full confidence, we started watching the "Vadh" movie. The movie was incredibly intense and thrilling, yet its excitement couldn't keep us from falling asleep. We soon dozed off in a single side seat! Describing our sleep is hard to put into words, but it was so comfortable that our other two friends were genuinely surprised, by our dedication to sleep. 🤭
Finally, we reached Bhubaneswar in the early morning and headed towards our hotel (scam 1992).
We opted for this hotel primarily because there were no other viable options available at the time. The cost of the hotel was moderate, aligning with our expectation of a standard stay. However, upon arrival, the experience turned out to be quite distinct from what we had anticipated. It wasn't outright terrible, but considering the price, it didn't meet our expectations. Rather than a conventional hotel, it resembled a home hastily transformed into a lodging facility. To add to the surprise, the hotelier cautioned us to "shut all the windows before evening, or be prepared for a mosquito invasion!"
On the following day, our agenda included the tedious task of gathering some necessary documents, followed by an unexpected rendezvous with a rehearsal. Rehearsal, really? 😂 However, post-document collection, we decided to ditch the rehearsal and dive headfirst into some genuine fun. It marked my inaugural experience with Starbucks – admittedly pricey, yet undeniably delicious and imbued with a certain prestige 😛! Additionally, another first-time venture was bowling, and against all odds, I emerged victorious for some inexplicable reason! 🎳
And finally, the much-awaited graduation day arrived! I won't spill the beans for those yet to experience it, but I'll certainly treat you to some photos! Before that, let's give a massive shout-out to our college for orchestrating the most creatively uncomfortable convocation center ever 😅 (IYKYK).
Ah, after an exhaustingly long day, we graciously returned to our five-star mosquito sanctuary. Lo and behold, the room was generously populated by our bloodsucking friends. Despite our flawless memory of sealing all the windows, we stumbled upon a cleverly concealed window behind the curtains. Bravo to the mastermind who crafted such a covert opening! And of course, who needs to double-check windows when on a luxurious mosquito-hunting adventure?
Well, after an eternity, it dawned on us that we were actually earning and perhaps deserved not to endure this dump. So, we magnanimously decided to treat ourselves to a booking at a luxury hotel. Tomorrow, we're upgrading and, dare I say it, enjoying at least one night in comfort.
Eventually, following a night filled with extensive conversations, we experienced a restful sleep, only to awaken the next day for the packing ritual and the concluding train journey of our trip. Although fatigued, we found contentment and brought back a plethora of memories.
After all these, I want to make a few big conclusions -
  • Just follow your passion/target. There might be several factors like some minor examinations, etc. which might block your way to your target by for example not giving a suitable branch, etc., but ultimately it's your effort that will pave your way, not your college and branch.
  • Now looking back I don't at all regret the path that was paved for me by (someone), which provided me with such friends, such experience, and such opportunity. Forever grateful for that 🙇.
  • People say that you should enjoy a lot during your college days. Frankly, I didn't do it a lot and on one side I regret it and on one side I think that it was somewhat right, because I got to learn a lot of things at that time. But learning about life holds "greater than equals to" importance than learning about tech. I still don't have an answer as to whether I did right or wrong. It's a really tough call. Maybe I could have gone a little lighter? But I think some questions don't have an answer and neither need to have one. Just go with the flow!
I'm putting together this amazing slide-show to capture the essence of my incredible four-year college journey in just a few images – impossible to include every event, but each picture tells an unforgettable story!
Maybe a birthday party? (I don't remember)
Random Click in classroom
Bhubaneswar station
What am I doing?
Foggy morning, but still a class to attend?
More clicks than work
Someone giving party for birthday?
Those train journeys!
Zomato helping hostel food
Some serious work here
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