On most of the few interviews I attended, I was asked questions about my performance being extremely good in the first semester at IITK, but not later. The ITC panel seemed really surprised to see the trend – “Normally people find it difficult to adjust in the initial days and hence perform bad; later on they improve. How come you started with a bang but faltered later on?” And unhesitant answer started with “Sir, I did not have any adjustment problems…”
I think, for long now, I had taken it for granted that I shall not have any adjustment problems anywhere – at least not till I am inside India (I have been, and am still so, not sure of being able to adjust outside, US in particular). I have had my share of adjustment problems in my first hostel – at Navodaya. Afterwards at Ranchi and at IITK this problem never came back. Amongst all apprehensions I had about joining IIML, I never even once thought of this. But if I analyze my present situation, I wonder if it can be called anything other than adjustment problem. Yes! Having spent all my life outside home, during my post-graduate education, I am facing adjustment problems!!
Many a times I get a feeling very similar to what used to haunt me during Navodaya days – a feeling of getting choked by something (no, do not get alarmed – its not physical 🙂 ), the urge to keep away from people (anyone knowing me at IITK would find it difficult to digest) and loneliness. I was thinking over it during the classes. And realized that it can be explained – rather easily. There are similarities in the way I perceive the environment at these two places. Even at Navodaya, my problems had not come because of some inherent home-sickness, but it was because I just did not find the environment offering the kind of freedom I had always wanted, ever since I was a kid. So many do’s and dont’s, punishments, fines, scoldings, perpetual fear of doing something wrong – it was all horrible. I sometimes fear I over-do the emphasis on freedom (after all others did not seem to be so affected by it), but that’s the way I am. In that kind of an environment, I really did not feel like becoming a part of it and hence friendships etc. could not balance for other negatives. I could never really embrace any part of its life – even the ones others remember fondly.
Because of living in a private lodge, the restrictions in Ranchi were fairly less and I felt OK. Usually the environment at school was sensible and since every one was a day-scholar many of the absurdities of school-hostels were anyway absent. IITK was/is, of course, a symbol of freedom and independence to me.
And then comes IIML. Day 1 – Induction programme and the admonitions begin. I have talked enough about it. Look at any of the notices regarding anything you are or aren’t supposed to do – more likely than not it will end in a warning. Latest one in the series, “Mobile phones must be in POWER OFF mode while attending classes. If your mobile phone rings in the class, *disciplinary action* will be taken.” Now in a place where everyone is 21+ (baring a few exceptions at 20), can’t you do away with this “disciplinary action” part. What if once in a while somebody does forget to switch off his/her mobile; disciplinary action will be taken?? It does not come only from the administration – Students’ council is no way behind them in issuing all sorts of warnings.
And there is more. The place has no respect for differences. Consider placements. For summer placement, companies do not get to see your CGPA. Even for the final placement,only the slot 1 companies get it; that means Investment Banking and some consultancy firms. Now, what if your interest does not lie in any of these categories; and still you have worked hard on your academics – possibly at the cost of your extra-curriculars? Who cares? Aren’t you stupid enough not to want a high-paying job if you think your CGPA is an asset with you.Whenever I have tried to talk it with anyone, the usual response in “That’s the way it is…” Good enough for budding managers? Possibly, I do not know.
And hence all this emphasis on “committee-selections”… One must not be able to do without it – the system will make sure – if you are good at other things, those to whom it matters, would never come to know of it.
Conformance to norms in the rule here. Just too much of similarity in people’s goal, either originally or so moulded by the system.
I feel choked – just the way I used to feel at Navodaya. Conformance was the norm there (In Navodaya) – a girl was not supposed to go to the library alone. If you did, something must be wrong with you. Here you are not supposed to have any preference other than immediate highest paying job. If you do, something is wrong with you.