Do your best and leave the rest

by Utkarsh Kumar Singh

Well, 18 June 2015 it was, the day which marked one of the best ever achievements for me and added a new meaning to my life. The D-day, for which I was ardently waiting for the last two years, had finally come! To be honest, AIR 1991 was never a rank that I had craved for. But, few things should better be let handled by the almighty. I am one such strong believer in the fact that whatever happens is there for a reason. So, whatever bit of dejection was there (pertaining to a feeling that I under-performed ) was eventually superseded by the proud smile on the face of an 84 years old lady, who despite of not knowing the relevance of the results was even happier than me because of the congratulatory calls coming from everywhere, my grandma she was. Frankly, I was happy for the only fact that everyone else around me was super-happy.

But, the real challenge began right after the announcement of those results. A hell lot of Google searches and digging in to get the desired information started. Studying Computer Science and Engineering in an IIT was always a dream for me and I didn’t want to let it go of this opportunity. Nevertheless, hailing from a middle income group family, I was very much placement oriented (I wanted to ease the financial burdens on my parents as soon as possible).The first thing I did was short-listing the options available at my rank by going through a vigorous analysis of the last years’ opening and closing rank data from the JEE Advanced official website. And, keeping those two factors in my mind, I zeroed down my search to these options:

1) IIT Kharagpur Chemical engineering

2) Mathematics and Computing at IIT BHU, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur and IIT Guwahati

3) Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Indore and IIT Ropar

I never wanted Chemical engineering but Kharagpur being a prime college and Branch change as an option, I shortlisted it though I had apprehensions regarding what if I had to get stuck in this branch for the 4 years. I googled up the average packages of a Chemical engineer and that figure was not very encouraging, so I eventually dropped it from the list.

Mathematics and Computing was something very new to me. I tried gathering information about it from the official websites of the colleges. I looked into the syllabus, consulted my teacher who is an IIT Kharagpur alumni. The thing which fascinated me the most about this branch was the good-looking average package figure which was comparable to CSE and off course, since these were already established IITs so no gamble was involved. I almost stopped considering CSE at Indore or Ropar. I was pretty much sure of MnC being the most optimum choice for me.

But now, I had to make the choice of college for me as according to the last year data, I was getting MnC branch at all the four colleges. Kharagpur was my first choice because it was a M.Sc course there and I could make use of my KVPY fellowship. Guwahati was the next in my mind because of the course structure which also covered Finance. Between BHU and Kanpur, I preferred BHU because I read on Quora that this course was more research-oriented at Kanpur whereas BHU has had some lavish placements in this branch.

Meanwhile, I also looked for Aerospace or Engineering physics but again, the placement thing in my mind compelled me to check down these options. Making a choice between MnC and CSE was although not that easy. CSE is a core branch and is well-known for creating some quality jobs whereas MnC was something unknown to me and so, an unorthodox option.

So, this was finally the preference order for me: KGP MnC > Guwahati MnC > BHU MnC > Hyderabad CSE> Indore CSE > Ropar CSE .

I preferred Hyderabad and Indore over Ropar because of the location factors.

The resources I used in the process of coming to this final decision mainly included the institute official websites, reviews on Google and Quora, and my teacher who was an IIT KGP alumni. I wasn’t aware of the Facebook counseling forums then. There was no acquaintance in my family from an IIT Background, so this thing did disappoint me and in order to get a word of advice from an IITian himself, I looked for the mail IDs of the students on the college websites and randomly mailed them seeking their suggestions. A pretty weird methodology but few of them did reply their opinions on my choices and they too were handy.

Getting IIT Indore CSE in the mock allocation first, and then in the first round seat allotment was a bit surprising for me as all the MnC courses this year had been filled before my rank. I had thought of “floating” my choice at the end of first round but then, when I went to Kharagpur for seat acceptance, I eventually prepared myself mentally for Indore CSE and “froze” my choice in the first round itself. So, this was actually how I got IIT Indore CSE although I initially looking for MnC.

But, as they say, things happen for some reason. After exactly one year, today I consider myself very fortunate to have got CSE at Indore. I am more than contented for my branch and college at the moment, having become part of a very beautiful community or rather, a family. And, frankly speaking, had I been sitting today filling up my choices, I’d have preferred CSE Indore over Mathematics and Computing. As the saying goes ‘Do your bit and leave the rest up to the GOD. He’ll come up with the best results for you’. This experience indeed taught me to accept the circumstances as they are because worrying on the things which are not in your hands is worthless.

For the juniors reading this article, few things I’d like to suggest from my experience:

1. Don’t base your choices solely on figures like average package (it was a mistake I did). Off course, placement must be a concern but not the only one as more or less, your package will depend more on your own efforts during the college.

2. Try to prefer the branch of your interest over the choice of the college. Your branch will define you for the rest of your life.

3. Quora answers can be misleading. So, only take the facts from there (and verify them too), not the personal opinions of the writers.

4. Try to talk to a few IITians before making any final decision. Their experienced advice would help you a lot.

5. Before preferring a branch & college, do visit the college website and check out the syllabus of that branch.

6. Listen to everyone but make the decision yourself, without getting influenced by anyone. Good Luck!

Utkarsh Kumar Singh is a B.Tech, Computer Science and Engineering, 2nd year student at IIT Indore.

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