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One Last Ride

July 25, 2023
- Ishan Rawat

Google Search: memoir meaning a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge.

That was the first thing I did when I started writing this memoir. I’m not sure how much of the memoir aligns with what Google says, but anyways, here’s an honest attempt.

So, I started off on a rather rocky note. I was this homesick little kid with no idea what to do once I entered college, apart from the tidbits of information I could gather from Wona’s yearly freshman guide. So naturally, once my parents were gone, I found myself shedding tears on a daily basis for about two months. Most of my conversations with my parents revolved around the regret of studying hard for JEE only to be far away from home, to get a goddamn degree. Things would have been so much better if I had chosen not to continue my education and open up a business in my hometown. Lmao. Now, I feel completely different. Instead, going away from Roorkee actually makes me feel homesick. These four years changed me in ways I could never imagine—some good, some not-so-good. But overall, it was an enjoyable journey.

Continuing my story, with a failed branch change attempt, my first year felt uneasy; probably the best thing happened was when I got selected for SDSLabs. The night I received a call that I was selected for Labs, I felt so good that it made me break into a small dance inside my room; and I had never really done anything like that before.

Since then, Labs has had a significant impact on my college life. I got super close friends, cool seniors, crazy stories, and obviously a boatload of knowledge. It sounds cliche, but I genuinely can’t imagine my college life without it. (Once, while taking a recruitment interview for Labs, a fresher asked what you would have been doing if you hadn’t been in Labs. How would your campus life have been? I was left speechless for a good while before answering) The amount of passive learning I got there just through conversations made me realize how sitting alone with your laptop isn’t always the best way. Even if you go on a chapo with a senior, you either come back with some new gyaan, or at least a better friendship with that senior(if all goes well :P). A lot of times, even missing a meal seemed worth it to work.

That was nearly my first year. And with all that, when I felt like I was being able to “fit in” and make friends, Covid came in. I was shocked by the fact that the same person who was crying about college a few months back was now yearning to go back to the same place. With academics at total liberty (all hail online exams), this was when I had the realization hit me that I could learn anything I wanted to, without any academics burden(this didn’t last for long). It was the first time I was having a feeling of getting a proper exposure to what I was passionate about. I got the chance to work with a team for the first time, sometimes a team where I was the only junior. I learnt the art of sipping coffee and making all-nighters. Once, a Labs senior helped me debug my code, sitting continuously with me for 12 hours on a discord call! The learning was immense. Work and studies were going just fine. Still, I was missing the super happening life I used to have back at college.

That craving didn’t last for long though. My third year started with a bang. I got debarred from the internship season (trust me; don’t assume what it seems like). It was a major setback, and although I now understand that internships are not the end-all-be-all, back then, as a second-year student, I succumbed to the peer pressure and felt like this was the end of the world. We were again allowed to sit for interns very soon, but the interim period was filled with trauma. Luckily, I had people who supported me during that time and didn’t let me fall. I was really able to get out of that phase fast enough due to them. Lots of love to you guys for everything you’ve done. You have all my heart.

Oh, also, I even ended up on IITR memes on some memes due to the same incident. (A wise person once said any publicity is good publicity).

I think I should rather switch back again to happier things now. With Covid ending, I just had three semesters of college life left, and I had to make the most of it. This time I was quite a changed person. Unlike the first-year version of me, I socialized properly for the first time. Staying in my room became a rare thing, and I found myself on long walks or chapos. With that, I met people who were relatable, people who made me question my nonsensical biases, people who understood; above all, people who were good. I finally was beginning to feel that I belonged. All this made me more confident about myself. I really had grown more in just three months than what I did during the 1.5 years of COVID-induced restrictions! First year Ishan Rawat, would have been scared to see final year Ishan Rawat.

Finally, in fourth year, I tried to have every drop of fun college could offer me. Going to CCD became an everyday ritual for me. It was my escape for anything daunting. The road from the backside of CCD to the main building became my favorite part of the campus. This was also the time when I realized my interest in slam poetry (thanks to Eunoia, by Kshitij). Though initially reluctant, I participated in Choreo FOS where every year you can find tons of final year students learning to dance on stage (most of them like me, were bad at dancing; we just go there for fun).

Parties were once again a common sight, and I was trying to get a taste of every type of food this town could offer me. With parties, comes Motel Divine. That’s one of the most interesting places I could find in Roorkee. Please, however skeptical you might of be that place, do visit once. Different people find different attributes that amuse them(apart from the common motive of visit). One of my friends called visiting divine an anthropological exercise. I wasn’t a frequent visitor, but my favorite memory was when two groups got into a dramatic fight and I was watching from a safe distance. Nobody was hurt, but it was quite the popcorn content.

Another aspect that added spice to my college life was the drama: petty fights your friends get into, dragging you along. I may sound like a fan of soap operas, but the amount of entertainment (and occasional turmoil) people can provide you is mind-boggling. You just need to be in the right place at the right time (Well, quite a few bits of my fourth year went there)

And oh, just like anybody else, I went on a lot of trips. (Please go on trips. Trips can do magic. You either end up loathing or loving the people you travel with; there’s rarely an in-between).

That’s all. This is the point where I should sum up. All I can say is I’ve been “lucky”. Isn’t it luck that just an examination and a choice of colleges end you up with such perfect people, great experiences, and as a result, shape everything in your life?

That’s probably what this place does. You arrive with dreams or fabricate a lot of them while being here, a so-and-so version of yourself once you go out of this place, romanticize the whole four years, but in reality, quite a few of those dreams get completed, and added to that, a lot of unexpected things happen, you get lucky at a few places, and you end up being a very different person than you expected, but still proud of who you are.

Thank you, Roorkee, for being the open, safe space that you are. I hope you continue to be the same for others too.