JEE Main and JEE Advanced are deemed to be the toughest entrance exams in the country. A large number of candidates take the tests and clear them with flying colors. However, many students don’t actually know about IITs (or engineering in general). They just study because everyone else is doing so. Here, we will talk about what it is like to be an IITian.
When the selected students enter the gates of prestigious institutions, they feel like they are at the top of the world. All their dreams seem to be coming true. Most students want to relax and enjoy for a while. But when the magic of getting an IIT seat hangs on for more than a few days, it hits their performance in the very first test they take after entering the IITs.
The First Year
The first year at an IIT works as a truth mirror for many IITians. What they have been thinking life may not completely match up to reality.
After acing the JEE Advanced, many of them fail in subjects like Mathematics, Physics, or Mechanics at IITs in the very first year. The data from IIT Madras revealed that out of 840 students, 6.89% failed Mathematics in Semester 1 while 9.95% failed the subject in Semester 2. Similarly, 5.3% failed Physics in Semester 1 and 1.3% failed it in Semester 2. As many as 10.46% students failed in Chemistry and 10.73% in Thermodynamics in Semester 1.
The former Deputy Director of IITM blamed a lack of seriousness among incoming students for their low scores. He also pointed out that products of coaching institutes find it difficult to adjust to the teaching pattern at the IITs in their first year. That’s not completely true as students who are a bit concerned manage to get decent scores.
The Hectic Life
After entering an IIT, you can expect life to be hectic — especially at first. Everything happens so fast. Interested students learn much more in a four-month semester at an IIT than what they learned in two years of JEE preparation. Most students study for a week prior to exams. There are exceptions, but we are talking about most of the students.
In IITs during semester courses, life is defined by deadlines. Projects, assignments, presentations — these are all initially quite troublesome for students. But as they meet each new deadline, even at the last minute, they begin to get accustomed to the workload.
IITs are a great place to explore your hobbies. They give you awesome exposure to various extracurricular activities and an opportunity to explore your interests. With lots of activities happening on campus, sometimes students keep playing their favorite sport way past midnight. I used to play badminton till 1 – 2 AM! It’s just so much fun doing these activities without having any pressure at all in the 1st year.
There are plenty of student groups in almost every IIT, involving things like cinema club, Rubik’s club, programming club, choreography club, audio section, a photography section, an electronics section, etc. Most students are involved in at least one of these groups. You can join any club of your interest or even start one if you want to. There are plenty of resources and hands to support you.
In the beginning you may take time to adjust — but once you start feeling comfortable, it’s all great. Hostel life is what makes life at IITs so wonderful. You’ll likely find yourself staying up late at night because all the fun activities happen then. Be it late night conversations, exam time studies, or extracurricular activities, it’s tempting to stay up late most nights — however, we wouldn’t recommend that on a regular basis!
Students come from all over the country. You meet them, get to know about their culture and diverse backgrounds. You learn more during the 4 years of undergrad than what you have learned in your whole life so far. The experience you get is invaluable.
Fests are the most enjoyable days! During tech fests, you get to explore your technical knowledge, and make something cool, and participate in competitions. Students from various colleges come to participate. You interact with them, and share ideas.
Cultural fests are even more fun. Various cultural programs and competitions happen across all the IITs. A lot of students from outside come too. Those 3 days are quite memorable for most students.
At some point, students must decide what they want to do next in their life. Many sit in campus placements and get placed with good companies, a few pursue higher studies and go for their Masters or Ph.D., and a few go for their MBA either abroad or in India. You do what excites you the most. Having an IIT tag gives you an edge with any of the above-mentioned options.
After coming to IITs you realize that there is more to life than studies (but studies should remain the highest priority). It’s just that it provides you a good platform, and the company of really awesome people. Many students take full advantage of these benefits, but it is possible to hide and live unnoticed for all 4 years if you really want to! (Hopefully, you don’t.)
To crack IIT JEE and get into an IIT is a dream for many students. It provides an unparalleled experience that remains with you for a lifetime. So, if you are wondering if all the hard work and sacrifice is worth it — the answer is “Yes, it is for sure!”