Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The 25 things I learned at SIIB (or thought so)

It's not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You're still young, that's your fault
There's so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I'm happy

I was once like you are now
and I know that it's not easy
To be calm when you've found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you've got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again
It's always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

I was once like you are now
and I know that it's not easy
To be calm when you've found something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you've got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not

All the times that I cried
keeping all the things I knew inside
It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it
If they were right, I'd agree
but it's them they know not me
Now there's a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

-Ronan Keating ("Father and Son")

Experiences cannot be quantified yet the pages of memoirs are limited.The ink and page should approximate what the eyes saw, the mind thought and the senses felt.My journey in SIIB ends in roughly 20 odd days, so I thought this post should deal at length with some of the things I learned here.

1)In Semester 1 ,it felt good to be back in a classroom after some years of corporate life.One promises to study hard and play harder .Life seems rosy.The world is conquerable in six PowerPoint slides.Or maybe not under the withering glance of wizened Professors who have seen the same trick somewhere else.

2)You promised yourself that this time the mistakes you made as an undergraduate would not be repeated. Ha ! Life's little jokes. So history repeats and will again. Caveat emptor, future SIIBians.

3)Do your own thing anyways , keep your head above the water while doing that "own thing". This needs some further explanation. There is not an exact correlation between CGPA and the job you land , though for certain jobs ,it helps to have an edge.See where your interests lie and if they are not exactly being a topper in academics,but say dramatics : make sure the two years are filled with drama.That may mean you may not be able to attend all the classes,and some assignments may not be as top notch had an extra hour been spent on it.The point I am trying to make is an old one : do not miss the woods for the trees.

4)It is easier said than done to retire by age 35 unless you are Warren Buffet .The quote "do a job you love to do and you will not feel you are working" is not always realizable.One can do financial planning but why would one retire by 35 ?The average Indian lives upto 70 years , what would you do with 50% of your life ?If you can answer that , then you should go all out for that retiring early bit.

5)Income taxes matter, beyond the basics one should know.Irrespective of the specialization one chooses.Yes,even if you are a people's person and could not care about money.

6)Presentation skills matter. So do Excel and PowerPoint.Learn them.Do not exceed time limits meant for Presentations in classroom, it is: a)Bad manners b) Rude c)All of the above.

7)It is good to be silent ,and it is also good to speak out.You are in an academic environment , you are allowed to make mistakes.That is what is so great about being in a learning environment.

8)Make friends with people who do NOT think like you. Group-think is a real affliction.

9)"Group assignment" is an oxymoron , few groups get together to contribute equally or even close to the same to an assignment.Deal with it.Try to visualize how to make the best of a bad situation ,if the groups were not selected by you.

10)You may not understand everything at the first go.It's OK.Make sure you do get the essence.

11)The most productive days were when I went to the classroom without expectations, and listened like a layman . Mental baggage can and does stop effective learning.Learning to unlearn is a continuous process.On the same note, doing the extra reading before a class can help you see what the Professor teaches in 3D 2048 X 1536 resolution while other less prepared see the same class in hazy black and white imagery. Footnotes often contain juicy details.It is good to know, and good to know that you know :old Chinese saying.

12)There will be fads and there will be trends.Social networking is a fad today.Will it be 15 years down the line ? Read science fiction.You will smile.

13)And this is a mistake which I did make : I overslept for most of the days I know out here in SIIB. Which meant I woke refreshed every day,but saw fewer movies.Or read less.So if possible, sleep less.

14)Get involved with the social service activities out here in Symbiosis Infotech Campus, it will humble you to know the unique challenges facing the underprivileged.You will count your blessings and you will see there is so much you can do to help.

15)An empty mind is devil's workshop.Do something, anything.

16)Read research papers for they would define the many tomorrows to come.Having knowledge of obsolete practices is not going to help.

17)I wish I had discovered TweetDeck earlier.TweetDeck allows me to see all my Twitter tweets, Google Buzz and Facebook news feed in a single interface.The amount of time people spend on Facebook is ridiculous ,it is the idiot-box of our generation.

18)I learned that I can live without TV for months altogether.

19)Discover new genres of music.

20)Understand how rural India thinks , it is very different from what the aspirations of city-dwellers are.It takes some time to do this even to a small extent due to lack of readily available documentation.

21)Personal integrity is of surmount importance, never compromise it.

22)I have learned the most out of observing people, and their reactions to situations.Be it in case studies or campus.

23)You may be calmness personified or your temper may have a short fuse : one needs the ability to be professional at all times.

24)The art of explaining well is a prized gift.

25)And the last one : do not believe all you read.If all this sounds pompous and pretentious , that's because it is.I read a draft, and I asked myself :"Who do you think you are to preach?". Yes, self-deprecating humour can be substituted for humility.

Best of luck all ye future SIIBians .
-Aby Johnson (Batch of 2009-11)


Venky said...

I havent read your post yet. The very fact that this blog gets resuscitated fills joy in every fibre of my being!!!

Thanks for caring for this blog!! Although it seems like a little forsaken child, it feels nice when somebody nourishes it:0

Sid said...

Aby.. don no wen u posted this.. i just read this.. a great post :)
I also like the blog, like venky did, but in simpler english :D

din mention anythin abt room mates :P