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For some of you it was the beginning of your college life, or as the cliché goes, a new chapter in your life. The cliché, is, in fact, very right. For the rest of you it marked a successful survival of the past academic year. In any case, you embarked on this journey with goals and plans and a spark – and will be working hard to make sure this spark doesn’t fade away, bogged down under the lectures.
As someone who was in your shoes a year back, I think I am qualified to tell you some things that no one else tells you. But you would love to know this- the sooner, the better.
“Do marks matter?”
Do marks matter, you ask. From what I believe, it is more a function of the choices you will make in the future, rather than a matter of accumulating merit. Score decent and you’re good to go.
As for me, in an entire year of my professional career, spanning some 6 interviews, a full time job and a few freelance gigs, no one looked at my marks, or judged me by them. The only time they came in handy was in my postgraduate application, and even there I just had to meet a minimum eligibility, which I did, by a large margin.
The point is: try to identify what purpose your UG marks would serve in your professional life and aim accordingly.
Should I take up an internship?
Should I join a student organisation? My answer will always be an emphatic YES. That’s a loud and clear yes. I can not emphasise this enough but the experience you gain during internships, the interactions you have and the people you meet all concoct to add value to your college life beyond the books and lectures. There are a plethora of internships, volunteering opportunities, college societies, and youth-led organisations and/or publications you could be a part of. The possibilities are endless and the permutations of how many people you can get to know are mind-boggling!
What other advice do I have to offer?
This is the time, no matter seemingly how hard, when you can learn by making mistakes, make friends in the oddest manners, bond over the funniest memories, take that trip to Goa, attend college fests and fangirl over celebrities.
But most importantly, make friends. Forge friendships now- because those are the purest versions. These friends will see you struggle through various momentous life decisions and changes. They will look at your vulnerable selves. They will be the most non-judgmental critics you’ll ever have. They’ll make you believe in yourself and be your best cheerleader but also give you a reality check, when needed. These will be some of the most authentic, genuine soul friendships.
These 3 years are precious- do not let go of any chance to make a mistake and learn from it- while the stakes are still affordable.
Kritika graduated from Indraprastha College for Women, and has since been working with Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Research Assistant.