I've really messed up here at IIT. Messed up academically.
IIT, just like any other institute of higher learning believes in a statistic called the CGPA. The closer your CGPA is to 10, the lesser chance that you have messed up your life here. A CG above nine is something like a clean bed sheet - not a mess at all. Between 8.5 and 9 is something like a few grains of rice on the bedsheet - nothing that a little washing cannot take care of. Between 8 and 8.5 is something like a fountain pen getting out of control on the bed sheet - and will need a lot of washing to take care of.
Some people just realize they aren't any good with white bed sheets anyway - so they dye their bed sheets blue - at least that blocks the ink. They also join Career Launcher and Time to prepare for CAT.
A CG below 8 is not just spilling ink on the sheet - it's urinating on it too. And I'm guilty of that too. I'm in a soup (or what was a soup) right now.
I did not arrive at IIT with lofty dreams of going abroad. As a matter of fact I was repelled by the idea - considering it somewhat unpatriotic. I had no idea about the urgency of attacking books. I adopted an idealistic approach to dealing with books - something on the lines of 'If I don't understand it, then I don't mind losing those marks in the exam'. Add to that the fact that the courses (and the professors) were kind of intimidating and unmotivating. Of couse I wound up with a GPA well below the 8 mark in the first year. Bladder control was lost.
Then came the engineering subjects to the rescue - somewhere in the third semester. But the damage was already done. Three semesters of wetting my bed sheet meant that there was no easy way out. It was all uphill from there. But I did find the courses considerably more motivating. I also found that my motto ('If I don't understand it, then I don't mind losing those marks in the exam') actually helped me get a better understanding of the course material.
A leopard cannot change its spots. I did well in a few courses that I really liked - but embarassed myself thoroughly in others. Idealistic, yes. Stupid, YES. I did not stoop below 8 again, though - but the first three semesters left and indelible mark on my grade card.
Of course (Hail Murphy), I started to like my work then - and realized that pursuing higher education in Mechanical Engineering woundn't be such a bad deal at all. A PhD would be nice. Who'd give me a seat now? I'd dug my own grave in my first year itself.
I have had my share of luck at IIT. It was in the form of a paper being accepted into an international Journal. My new founded enthusiasm saw me approach a dynamic professor for a problem to work on - and also saw me breaking my head on it. I came up with a rather stupid way of tackling it. The stupid method was smart enough to fool the reviewers on the Journal Panel. It was accepted.
This did help me getting a fellowship at Texas A&M university, extremely good for someone with my apalling CGPA, 7.94.
Things did not go all wrong here. But had I really been a little more pragmatic and a little less quixotic and lazy, perhaps, things would have been better. It's always easy to look back and say stuff like 'It could have been'. So, I'll say it. It could have been.......