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Friday, December 17, 2010

College Chronicles : Sector Seven ;)

Now that I'm into the final semester of my Bachelors in Engineering, here's the customary College Chronicles post mentioning highlights of my time at college during the sem gone by.

When the 7th semester began I was juggling the work I had left at IIT Madras and all that was happening at college. The seventh semester being tight as it was didn't quite help matters. Had some friends to help out though:

(OK, so he didn't help out but he joined us on the benches we occupied near the co-op store)

Professional Ethics was one subject which we all took easy. The professor who took it had to leave for Italy on some training program for 10 months. So what he did was hold classes on Saturdays too (which I conveniently missed to continue my internship at IIT). Can't say he had too many fans though, especially with the way he corrected papers. However, this did have a positive effect on the latter part of the sem. He pretty much disappeared after mid-August leaving us with a whole day free.

The other faculty members couldn't leave well alone though, so we inevitably had classes on most days. In the midst of this, a classmate and I were working on a project sanctioned by the IEEE itself (yeah, with funding from them). That took up a lot of my time with welding, metal cutting, frequent trips to electrical and mechanical part shops and some electrical stuff to be done. I guess I was wrong to expect a "free" start to the 4th year. Once my extended internship at IIT was completed, there was the GRE to prepare for with just 2 weeks left on the clock. The kind of English the ETS tests us on is filled with words you'd rarely ever use even if you were a literature major or a lawyer. When that was done with, it was back to concentrating completely on college. Most of us were so engrossed in what was being taught that we didn't notice this dog take a walk through out class.

Now, when I say "concentrating completely" what I mean is enjoying every day to the fullest and preparing for exams on the very night before the test. Some would only study on the morning of the test. While class was on, you'd find most people looking more at their watches than at the professor teaching. When a particular teacher once asked why everyone wanted the class to finish so soon. Reply from our representative Praveen: "Ma'm, Pasikkidhu (hungry)". LOL. Yes, Thalaivar Praveen is a very hungry young man as evinced below.

The next bit of comedy came as a result of a particular report we had to submit each week. Now, this was for one of the lab classes. While some of us did do it sincerely (yes, that includes me), there would always be a few groups rushing to put together a report at the last minute. Code "borrowed" from one report, theory from another, calculations from yet another. A composite report so to speak. :) Why, some reports would only differentiate themselves from others in the kind of font they used.

This year was also the beginning of a new phenomenon during Dr. PK's classes. Some diagrams from Petrochemical Instrumentation are, strictly speaking ;) , just insane to say the least. And not all of us can depend on our quick rough sketches which are quite often far from accurate. So I took the initiative and asked him if he'd let me photograph the board after he'd drawn it. Contrary to popular belief, he was more than willing to oblige. Ever since, it is his wont to put forth a sly "Gaurav, don't want a photo?" every few diagrams :P

One of the staircases was declared off-limits 'officially' this semester.

Beginning at a 019019, frequent trips to college helped me breach the 20,000km mark on the car. Besides the work on the new Metro lines in the city was creating traffic snarls all along the route to college and driving me nuts. And when it rained hard, oh my, the roads would be flooded. At such times, especially when an exam was close by, we'd resign ourselves to eagerly keeping watch for this announcement courtesy of Mr. Ramanan.

(It reads "Chennai schools and colleges are on leave today thanks to heavy rain")

On the home front, Mum thought it'd be a good idea to change out the old mats and put something more..umm... colorful... there to say the least. I knew there was something fishy going on.

This hectic timetable had me tired and bored. For reasons unknown, my scratch support chief (like tech support, except you scratch him when you have a problem and you feel better) seemed much more tired than me throughout the semester. Yeah, Mr. Cactus:

It's common to hear the expression "Padichu kizhichitten" when referring to the intensity of one's preparation. However "Padichu Chair e odachen" is a new one. Broke it and fell flat on the ground during one of my pre-exam night study sessions. Might have had something to do with the fact that I was falling asleep sitting....

Birthdays were celebrated with pomp and splendor as always in class. And yeah, with cake and plenty of ice-cream too. Observe how one of our daredevil class representatives spits in the face of danger and licks cream off a knife. Mr. Vigneshwaran attempts to recreate the effect albeit in his dream world with his finger.

This time around, we also hit a few big malls and went to the movies to celebrate the majority of us securing employment offers.

Our intra-college festivities took place as always in the form of Sivaranjini 2010 as well as the intra-college technical fest LiveBeat held by our department (hats off to my classmates who worked pretty hard to make this a success). Some posters (concerned with other events happening around  campus) invited us to enhance our electromagnetic properties too, not sure that was quite what they were getting at :P

There was one workshop by National Instruments conducted for our benefit. Only issues were that the class was packed and the microphone didn't work. Didn't help that the guy from NI couldn't really raise his voice either and that we were seated behind our juniors. End result - I slept through some of it despite trying my best (with my fingers even lol) to hold my eyes open. I'd imagine most others were far worse. Props to Topper Harini for capturing this snap.

I mentioned employment a few lines back. This semester we had companies coming to campus to recruit us. What this offers us, apart from a chance to write placement tests, sit for interviews and group discussions, is an opportunity to enjoy a day out with friends without fear of losing attendance. The only placement session I attended ... well the company HR Manager told me that I was "overqualified" for the job with the stuff I had in my resume. LOL. The only thing worthwhile that day was the trip to KFC with my classmates:

(Yes, Santhosh was busy looking at the food tray in Vigneshwaran's hands)

I'd put in a word in my last College Chronicles post, if I'm not mistaken, about a paper of mine that had been selected among the ones to be published in the conference proceedings of an IEEE conference in Shanghai. Well, it was dang in the middle of our end semester exams and that led to a drastic change in the timetable giving us pretty much 9 days worth of holidays inbetween the 3rd and 4th final exam dates. While the guys went back to their native places and the girls revised the remaining subjects' portions 10 times over (no offense meant hehe) during that respite the university afforded our department, I headed to Hong Kong first and then Shanghai where I presented the paper. It was received quite well and I got to see a lot of sights. The university didn't pick up the tab for even a portion of the (considerably large) conference registration fees (or any other expense for that matter) though because I'm not a PhD scholar or professor, and Vigneshwaran, my co-author, couldn't accompany me for lack of time to prepare for the conference and his management exams. So I turned this into a vacation with my parents. Had a wonderful time, really, and I'll be detailing all the sights seen and things we did in Hong Kong and Shanghai (with pictures mind you) in later posts on the blog. Stick around for that, or better yet subscribe for e-mail updates or the RSS feed so you won't miss out on anything. The links are on the left hand side column. You can also get notified of articles if you're in India using Google labs free SMS notifications.

Special thanks to my friend Kaushik and his driver for picking me up on their way to college whenever I hadn't slept enough to drive myself to an end semester exam. Without him, a lot of my last-minute reading wouldn't get done because I'd have to concentrate on driving during that last one hour. Speaking of which, this was my final odometer reading:


And so ends this College Chronicles post. Another 5-6 months and the final part of this tale will be up. The 8th semester has started off just fine, here's hoping it goes well too - especially our final year project. 

Do note that the remaining days of the Egypt trip will be up shortly on the blog, followed of course by a travelogue of the Shanghai-Hong Kong vacation + conference. Don't miss it. :) 

PS: Cheers to you if you got the Transformers reference in the title!


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