It’s been a heck of a semester! The grades just came in a few days ago after such a long wait. Following Ben Kuhn’s excellent example, I’ve decided to write life updates once in a while because of these reasons:
- I take writing articles seriously. Writing a semester review or life update requires that I sit and think about the significant bits and reflect on them. Ideally, I want to optimize the tradeoff between tragic events and good ones. The first step towards this is to actually sit down and think about what went on with me.
- It can help others learn from my successes and failures. Possibly provide some insights and warnings about what you shouldn’t be doing in life to avoid landing in the wrong spots. Of course, my opinions can be biased, but I’ll leave it to the reader to decide what to take away and dismiss as bullshit.
- This lets me be honest and keep me accountable. Now, I don’t expect you to stop me in the middle of the road and hold me responsible for something that I promised or wrote. But, positive feedback usually works fine.
Without further ado, let’s jump right into what I’ve been doing for the past (half)-semester.
Table of Contents
Navigating the academic mess
I finally completed all the compulsory courses that are required for the completion of my degree. I have only electives left for my final year, which is pretty exciting. The degree requirements are a joke. I’m just happy that the compulsory courses are finally done. Just know that by this point, I’m pretty much sure that I don’t want to have a future career in Electrical Engineering.
I hate Electrical Engineering and the compulsory courses that students need to complete during the first two years at IIT Kanpur. I don’t see any point in calling BS in Physics students to learn about how you can weld two metal pieces together. I also fail to understand what an Electrical Engineering student will gain from going to the Physics laboratory and noting values up to five decimal places. If you, that TA, are reading this – screw you! If EE were a girlfriend, I’d have broken up within the first week.
I hate Electrical Engineering and the compulsory courses that students need to complete during the first two years at IIT Kanpur.
I did okay in the courses that I took last semester. Technically, I was allowed to choose only two classes out of the six, the rest were thrown at me, but that’s what it is. I had a panic attack before going in to write the mid-semester exam for a course. The test was scheduled in the evening, and I hadn’t studied anything, to be honest. Things did not make much sense, but then a thought occurred to me, I had credited $64$ credits, that’s more than the average number of credits required to be done each semester.
Moreover, I was ahead in credits completed, so I did not need to stress out that much. As soon as that occurred to me, I just did not care about that evening anymore. I played a few of my favorite dance songs, danced to them, and went happily to the exam hall to write the exam. I did poorly on the exam, but hey, it was okay.
I mean, I could have either really stressed out about this one exam or do well in the other 5 courses and overall have a lovely semester. This is probably the first time I went into the exam hall without fear of anything. I was confident that if things went south, I would drop the course and carry on with my life.
Women & People
CSC: “Good morning! How are you doing? All well?”
Me: “Hi, good morning! Yes, I am fine. Everything’s great!”
CSC: “I called to just check-in when you’ll be revisiting me. Can you come sometime this afternoon?”
Me: “Actually, ma’am, I’m going home today. I just left the campus. I’ll visit you as soon as I get back to the campus on the 16th.”
CSC: “Okay, call me when you get back.”
Me: “Sure. Thanks! Have a great holiday.”
That’s the conversation I had with the counselor on the morning of March 7. Well, March 16 came and went, but I did not get to go back to the campus because COVID-19 decided that this is the year it wants to ruin.
I got into my first serious relationship on December 13, 2019. It was devastating in every way, would last for only two months; most internships last longer than that. One might just dismiss it as a waste of time. Still, I think that relationship taught me a thing or two about relationships and dating in general. After this relationship ended, I went through one of the worst days and nights of my life to date. On the surface, I would smile and wave at everyone I came across. I was seeing the counselor and psychiatrist at the same time while surviving on three or four cokes a day.
I’m a bitch that stops eating and sleeping correctly when things don’t happen as expected. I’m trying hard to change for the better. Let’s see what happens after the next heartbreak. The day we broke up, I had an assignment deadline, which I missed, but the professor allowed me to submit it late without penalty. I’m really grateful to him. That is also the day I called up my friend and cried to her on the phone because I really felt miserable. I never did that before, and I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. She was just out of a lecture but spoke nicely to me and said a few beautiful things. That’s what friends do.
After this experience, I continued to ask girls out as sort of a challenge to myself. I eventually asked this girl I met during the treasure hunt (she refused, saying she was drunk at a friend’s place) out. Initially, I thought asking her out would be a bad idea since she had the same surname as one of my friends, and I thought they might be siblings, lol. I asked another girl, she said she would love to go out on a walk someday. When I reminded her, she said she won’t be able to make it. A good friend would later tell me that she agreed out of politeness, nothing else.
I asked yet another girl, who I found really beautiful and still have a massive crush on. There is nothing common between us, though, except our mutual love for robots. She agreed to hang out, actually. When I suggested going out for a movie together, she said she’s busy and had something to do. I think it was one of those ‘polite’ moments, but I understand. I still have a massive crush on her. This could have been a charming date just before the world went into lockdown.
It was scary to ask people out. Each and every rejection hurt. You start doubting yourself and think that you are not good enough. But eventually, you understand that it’s okay to ask people out, and it doesn’t seem odd to do so. You know that rejections are natural, and they will happen.
My story does not have a happy ending, and I doubt it will ever have a happy ending, but whatever, we’ll see what happens.
“Your parents will eventually hook you up with someone way above your league.” – An age-old adage.
Deciding what to do with my life
The lockdown and the world seemingly coming to a stop made me think about many things lately. I had the time to reflect on what is it that I wish to do in life. One common theme is that I want to touch other people’s lives. There are many ways to do that. I can be a professor, become a politician, or become a writer and bring positive changes with my writings. I can also be a public servant like the UPSC guys. The thing is there are so many options to choose from. Each of those could change people’s lives, and yet, I can’t do all of them. I only have one death.
To paraphrase a comedian that I love, “Pata nahin yaar kya karna hai, bas ye pata hai ki naam karna hai.” I don’t really know what to do; I just wish to leave a dent in the universe. Just like that, I have decided that I’m going to skip the upcoming final placement drive and instead apply to grad schools for MSc in CS. Please email or message me and advise me if you think this is a bad idea.
The way I reason it to myself is that I’m only 21. I got my whole life ahead of me. I’m sure I’ll live long enough to get bored of living, or so I think to myself each day. There are so many things that I could try and fail without facing grave consequences. I think of the whole process as trial and error, where you try out a bunch of things and decide which ones you like and which ones you don’t. I can always go back to working for a bank if things don’t work out as expected.
Endnote. Thank you for making it this far. I just turned 21 today; I can’t thank people in my life enough for what they’ve been to me.
I guess all I mean to say is screw them exes and everyone else who pulls you down.