Second year at IITD

Today, I was reading a note in FB by one of my classmates, in which she was describing her second year experiences at IITD.  With her permission, Here I present to my readers, an excerpt.

One week into the fourth semester and I realised this ain’t going to be an easy one in terms of academics and it wasn’t because the courses being taught were very-very difficult or something but because of the way they were being  *forced*  upon us. Where shall I begin, be it EEL 308( where I didn’t know what the hell was I doing and why, just for some stupid quizzes and marks or a grade) or be it EEL204(which I thought had led me to a level where for the first time in my life I doubted myself).

The fourth semester in particular had brought about the best and the worst in me. Sitting in a class and not knowing what is going on or what is being scribbled on the board and being totally clueless became a normal experience. The teaching methodology had led me to a point where I stopped listening in classes because I thought that anyway it wouldn’t be of any help and studying just for the sake of some marks or a grade became a reality. The IIT system had gotten the better of me and had turned me into a self-doubting person doing night-outs before exams and assignments to get a good grade which though I did(yes, I did get a decent SG) but it in no way made me happy or satisfied with what I had learnt this year.

The second year is supposed to be the basic building-block in our college years because this is the year when we actually are opened up to some of the detailed elements of our field which would serve as the base for our future learning but the faith I had in the professors here because of some of the most wonderful teachers I have had the opportunity to learn from in the first year was utterly shaken. The moment I thought, “Could it BE anymore frustrating “… got worse. One is expected to find his/her way out of all sorts of critical conditions here in IIT when the system here instead of imparting knowledge expects you to knowledgeable. The way I look at it now that this year is over is that I wouldn’t be afraid now of what comes in front of me because the system here toughens you up in the battle of survival.

That is a part of the note, quoted verbatim..

And I completely agree. I’ve a lot more to add. Though I doubt if I would be able to express it all clearly. One thing that I shouldn’t miss:

The fact that a professor is an awesome man, highly knowledgeable, proven in research need not mean that he’d make a good professor. Students need someone who could express things with clarity.

It is a very sensitive issue. Put it forward in a mild way and it gets ignored. Hit them hard with the truth and you are called undisciplined, bla bla bla. I wish things change, for the better.

I once happened to have a discussion with Prof. Shouri Chatterjee about this topic, when he reflected: “I thought just the same, and disliked my professors when I was a student. And now I perfectly agree with my professors behavior.”  I thought I agreed with him at that moment, but now, I’m in doubt.

The problem is with them either not expressing things clearly, or we not being able to understand because we are not up to the mark. Either way, it deserves a thought. The gap needs to be bridged. Here’s a witty conversation I once had with Prof Shouri:

Me : How can we be expected to know everything?
Shouri: You can’t expect to be spoon fed here.
Me: But how can we be expected to cook and eat ourselves?
Shouri: Why don’t you just come and say, I’m hungry?

So, The gap seems to be there. And I somehow failed to locate its root and solve it. Last semester, I had tried a bit to bridge the gap, and was partly successful. Most times, a silent reflection on ones own ways should help break the ice, in this situation. And that’s what I ask of my friends. 🙂

I will have to write another very very long post if I wish to discuss Prof. Shouri. He is someone I would not think twice to approach for help, be it academic, or otherwise. 🙂 Good to know that he was awarded the teaching excellence award this year. 😀 I am in fact, proud that our batch, EE made it happen.