How to succeed in any College education

The following conversation applies to any graduate study in India, especially if you need to move into a hostel.

The biggest stumbling blocks have nothing to do with the syllabus and the difficulty of the subjects. It has to do with your own mental makeup and your room mates and close friends.

  • If you are staying in a hostel or a rented apartment, avoid the hall! Get a room that allows you the option of closing the door! In a room of 4 or more people, different people get bored at different times. The folks in the hall are a good starting point for conversation. Plus people in the hall end up as gatekeepers. This is by far the biggest factor in success or failure.
  • Be a little bit selfish! Some folks tend to be extremely polite and helpful. They end up being parents to the other folks in the room. Then frustration sets in and studying suffers. But the helpfulness never goes away. Some of the most brilliant folks that I have known have been victim of this characteristic. Here is a link to an article that tells you how to go about keeping yourself at the top of the list.
  • Do not end up as a mediator between two fighting friends or lovers! You will get a double dose of long winding conversations and a lot of tension and lost sleep. In the end, those folks will move on as if nothing happened and you will be the sole loser! You can love or fight someone if you want to, but NEVER be the mediator!
  • In the event that you do fail, do not give up! Even if you fail in subjects and even if you have to miss a semester, do not give up!. At the end of the day, only the degree matters. Flunking the exam does not mean anything if you have given it a good faith effort.
  • NEVER get into confrontations with faculty, including peons and lab assistants. Some of these folks may have enough clout to fail you. This is especially true if you are from another state or do not belong to the majority language/community of that area. College representatives/class representatives are especially at risk.
  • Blend in and have a nice disposition. This is good training for future life as well.
  • Avoid gangs that have too much fun! Try to mingle with more than one group even if that makes you uncomfortable. It helps eventually during projects and assignments.
  • Start studying early. Buy the books before the semester begins and start reading. Finish your journals as early as possible.
  • If you are an NRI or out of towner, keep a low profile among the local friends. You might be the richer one and there will be more action around you while you burn the money. You will end up with a group that will encourage you to have fun. Again, those folks will move on and you will be left back wondering what happened!
  • Brush up your English speaking skills if you happen to be a high school graduate in a non-English language. If the local language is used widely in the campus, make sure you converse with an English speaking group in English. You will appreciate this advice after you are done with your first campus interview! If that is not possible, watch English films and read popular English novels. English is the language of the world and it pays to know the language well.
  • Have no fear or apprehensions about being separated from family! Your family will be fine without you and you will be fine without them. Your hostel life will prepare you well for the real world.

So there it is! You will still end up learning some of these things the hard way. And that is OK!





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