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Engineering Colleges – The First Steps …

So now you’ve gotten your engineering admission and you have shelled out quite a large sum of your dad’s money as fee.
Now what?
If you’re in Pune University, it would already be mid semester by the time you start college.
If you’re in a decent college, where teachers actually give a damn, they’ll start rushing from day one. So don’t crib.
Though some of the nicer ones may ask everyone to get up and introduce themselves, thats the max you get.
By the second or third day in college, you’d be full throttle.
Going from the 10th grade to the 11th is a HUGE step and going from 12th to Engg is bigger.
Luckily, when in the first year, most of the courses are superficial, so students can get by easily by referring the local author books.
These are generally recommended, because in the first year, everyone has the same courses, and the local authors actually manage to churn out decent material.
C’mon, you don’t want to look like an idiot in front of all the Engineering students now, do you?
No one does, so these people (local authors) copy properly from other reference books and ensure that they have their spell and grammar checks on while actually typing stuff on their own.
Also because everyone is rushing you and you have a big time shortage, you can’t (generally) go about trying to refer specific reference books.
The local authors put in their books, all the stuff – which if you study decently enough, is all you need to get a high percentage.
Also, because of the less amount of time in the first semester, it becomes difficult to screw around and you’re either busy completing your journals and/or your assignments.
Luckily again for you, most of the subjects are not that bad and all of the start with the heading “Elements of such and such Engineering”
So, most of the course is basic and do able.
Once you come to know which books you are supposed to buy, and you have actually bought them and are happily on your way back home, you suddenly stop.
A realisation dawns upon you (this generally happens earlier to people who have a copy of the syllabus book).
You take off that heavy bag from your back and peer into the bag.
And you go : “What the hell is an Elements of Mechanical Engg book doing in my bag?”
I’ve paid for a Computer Engg course.
Hmm …
I don’t know if this a good thing or a bad thing, but the first year syllabus is the place where the syllabus setters give you a taste of ALL the major engineering disciplines.
This has been going on for ages, and will go on for ages, so you need to stop cribbing and mug up the formula : n = PV/RT even if you’re doing a non mechanical discipline.
It is kinda like Baskin Robin, where you can go to each ice cream counter and get a taste of the flavour for free (except that this is not as nice as ice cream … duh !)
This has a good side because it allows you to change your course in the second year (if you did not get something you wanted ealier, started liking some other course better. But for this to happen, quite a few of your batchmates need to flunk the year)
Also want to write about teachers and what to expect of them and stuff like that – but that will be in my next post (this has been long already and I need to get back to wasting time)
Until later …

About courses and colleges

I guess I am missing out a post on “Why engineering ?” but I found that I would not be qualified enough to write on that.
I guess you’ll have to do your homework on that account, and figure out things for yourself.
At this point, I am assuming that you have decided that you want to do Engineering only, and nothing else.
Basically, this might be due to many reasons ( sort of delving into the ‘why engineering’ side ).
Maybe your folks ( or even you ) for that matter, still think that being an engineer or a doctor is the only worthwhile thing to do with your life.
Maybe, you actually want to do it because it is more challenging, and you would like a B.E or a B.Tech thingy in front of your name.
Or, whatever the reason … you are going to do an engineering course.
So, there you are.
You have cleared your Std. XII in science ( I think in India, most of the places, Science is compulsory ) and standing with the application form in your hand deciding on which college / course to apply for.
Or, if you are of the more planned and organised kind, you’d be sitting on a table with your folks or someone trying to decide where and how you would be spending the next 4 ( hopefully ) years of your life.
Life is not fair.
And everyone is not a genius.
Only in very few cases, do you get both, the college as well as the course of your choice.
Most of the times, you will be faced with an option of a very well known college with a very bad course and sometimes, a not so great college with the course that you want.
Now, this is a tricky decision.
I was lucky, because I had one equation completely out of the way.
I wanted to do computers and nothing else. ( My dad wanted me to do mechanical which took a bit of convincing )
Hard core engineers ( those from a few years before, who did mechanical or electrical or civil engineering – very few courses existed then ) do not consider “Computers” to be worth of an Engineering course.
Anywho, I had my mind made up.
The only other equation was the college.
Now, all the colleges that I was applying to come under the Pune University category.
So, at the end of it all, the B.E certificate that you will be holding in your hand, would not have the college name on it, but of Pune University.
So then, the college does not matter … right ?
If you’d ask me the question one year ago, my answer would be in the affirmative.
But, I have learnt that the college does matter to some extent.
Now, unless you are bargaining for an IIT or a BITS, the teaching in all the colleges will be more or less same.
So, that is not a question of debate.
There is also the factor of crowd ( other people in college ) but then, unless you are going to a college in some God forsaken place, in the middle of nowhere, you should be fine.
You will always find ‘your’ kind of people in every college to hang around with.
The only place where the college DOES matter is placements.
The more known the college, more the number of people it gets placed. Period.
I learnt it this year.
Though I have already been placed and quite a few of my other classmates also, other colleges get much better companies coming to them ( or so it seems atleast ).
Please keep this in mind, ( atleast here in PU ), that you have to have an aggregate of atleast 60% to be able to appear for the interviews.
58% the door becomes smaller.
Anything less than that, I am sorry to say, it gets pretty difficult – atleast for a campus placement.
So, now the question is – “Should I go for a better college with a sucky course or the other way around ?”
My thoughts on this issue is : always choose the course first, the college later.
If you like a course, you will automatically do well in it.
( I know, I would have committed suicide by now if I would have taken mechanical )
If you end up taking a sucky course for the sake of a college, no matter how excellent the professor on the other side is, you will NOT want to study the material he is teaching.
Plus, you will have to tolerate the college only for 4 years, but the course that you take will propel you into a career which you’d be stuck in for a lifetime.
So, unless entirely necessary, please give a lot of precedence to a course rather than the college.
The other issue I wanted to address was the distance of the college.
If you have college A which is 25 kms away from your place and say, has a rating of 9 and college B which is just 8 – 10 kms from your place and has a rating of 7, please go with college B. ( 9 is a better score ! )
I have had many people come to me and say that, “Beta, you have to suffer only for 4 years of your life, then everything will get better”
If such people come to you, please ask them to kindly take a hike – and a long one at that.
The reason is simple.
Travelling 25 kms everyday means 2 hours wasted everyday of your life.
By the time you come back, you’re tired, exhausted and wished you were dead.
You have no time to complete your assignments, end up copying and suffer in the end.
I am lucky coz my college is just 6 mins from my place on a good day and 15 mins max on a bad day.
For an 8 o’ clock lecture, I wake up at 6:45, leave home at 7:45.
College is over by 3 and I make it home by 3:30 ( after wasting sometime in college ) – enough time for eating and having a nice 1 hour afternoon nap, to wake up at 5:30 – all refreshed and ready to hit the books ( only if the need be … )
So, please if you get a decent college close to your place, grab it with both hands.
It will make a hell lot of a difference in the end.

Introduction …

Okay, before I get on with all the stuff about engineering, I’d like to tell you something about myself and how you should read the blog.
I am doing a 4 year engineering course in Computer Engineering from Pune University.
The Pune University is one of the more reputed universities for engineering this side of the country after IIT Bombay.
This is mainly because, unlike many colleges elsewhere, we have University exams every semester (6 months) from the first year itself and the overall results are pretty low .. with about 18% – 22% of the students appearing, clearing all the papers.
So, the course is pretty challenging … and people need to slog out regularly to do decently well.
Now, Pune is sort of a students paradise – and its one of the best places to study in.
A large population of Pune comprises of students, with people coming from all places in India and also other countries to study here …
You’d find probably any conceivable course in Pune.
And isn’t Pune called the Oxford of the East ?
Now whether you believe that or not, is debateable … but the fact is that it is called that.
Anyways, why I mentioned its one of the best places to study, is because there are tonnes of student centric activities that take place here.
There is the Indian Express Verve, and every college has their own festivals ( and there are 100s of colleges ) with quizes, games, lan gaming and any other contests people can come up with.
In the sports side of the story, there are lots of sports tourneys that take place throughout the year – enough to keep you busy.
So, in all, its a nice place for a student ..
You can stick to one particular side, or get your hands dirty doing a little bit of everything.
In the three and a half years, I’ve wasted a good many college hours doing all these things, so I reckon I can consider myself pretty knowledgeable to write on “How to skip classes in a productive manner”. A lot of which I would also be discussing out here …
So .. umm .. watch out this space for more …

The big why ?

The first question, most of the people reading this would ask – “why ?”
Why would anyone want to write a blog on engineering ?
Here goes …
I’ve been in Engineering for the past 3 and a half years of my life ( as of writing this ) and have observed a lot of things … which are typical off most of the Engineering colleges and the courses …
Engineering is a different ball game altogether, and hapless 18 year olds are pushed into this big thingamajing with nothing to expect at all …
To some people, its something they have been waiting for most of their lives. Some people can’t handle it for more than a year and quit and some people are still unable to fathom, as to why anyone would want to do engineering …
Have been there, done that – and learnt a few things on the way which I’d like to share with fellow aspirant engineers as they embark, or are thinking on embarking on this 4 year journey.
So, you can consider this to be some sort of altruist excercise, a writing expedition or just something that I am do to kill time … the fact is – that its there, and if you have just joined an engineering course or are planning to join, it might help you a wee bit in making choices, and as to what to expect …
So, here I am … with my second blog.
My first one – if you haven’t heard of it or been there, is called “Musings on Life” and its worth a decko …
There, I rant about life in general … and what I personally feel of certain things and situations.
In the next post, I will talk about – what I actually intend to put up in these spaces and how to go about interpreting stuff from this site – if you are not in the same faculty as me or doing engineering under a different university.
Until then …