May 5 promises to be a monumental day in my life. The occasion: Graduation Spring 2012; the culmination of a journey that started five years ago for a young boy from New Delhi. I will receive my Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from one of the most reputed and coveted schools in the world. Oh, how I can’t wait.
One’s last editorial before graduation is meant to be a swan song: an ode to the ups and downs, the good times and the not so good times, the transformation from boy to man on the way to becoming a hell of an engineer.
Looking back, it has been a mind-boggling ride, with my life’s hardest and most cherished moments having occurred at this institution.
School (primary through high school) had been full of memories made possible by the countless friends I made and my parents who supported me through everything. Everything happened quickly from there; I took the SAT’s, got a good score, convinced my mom, applied to some colleges, picked Tech and soon was on a flight to the U.S. for my very first visit.
I was clear about two things. One, I was going to make the most of my opportunities by getting involved on campus, and second, I was going to live life to the fullest. Soon, I found myself in a fraternity, on the board of India Club, taking leadership roles in AIESEC, working an on-campus job and soon was also on my way to my first internship.
Though this might sound typical of a college student, it meant a great deal to me as a foreign student, since I was constantly having to adjust to the ways of the U.S., dealing with managing my emotions far away from home, all the while handling the difficult engineering curriculum.
My life changed in the summer of 2008. In a chance meeting with a stranger on a gorgeous sunny day on the rolling greens at the University of Nottingham in the East Midlands of the U.K., I fell in love.
What ensued was a cross-cultural, cross-country romantic story like no other. We were from different worlds, we were not meant to meet, but we did. She was to become the pillar, inspiration, motivation and support for the rest of my college life.
So much happened whilst at Tech. I got my first job, my first car, my first credit card. I worked hard, grew as a human being, found brothers, picked up skills, my brain sharpened, studied abroad, got a 4.0, was part of a winning movie for CMF, did a co-op, travelled the world extensively, had heartbreak, made lifelong friends, made the Dean’s list, found my love again, started to blog, won the ME senior design competition, got a full-time job with a consulting firm, got published and lost a friend. I was never afraid to take on a challenge, whether it was academic, social or extracurricular. I constantly strived for more and more, and refused to settle for anything less than the best. I always believed anything was possible. As I mentioned before, besides my lady love, my friends were instrumental in keeping me upbeat, inspired and most importantly, dreaming big.
Personal change was inevitable. When I look back at the innocent boy from India that I once was, I feel overwhelmed at the thought of how one decision to pursue higher education in the U.S., far from home, brought about such telling and meaningful growth in me.
Tech gave me everything: innumerable memories, academic excellence, incredible values, determination and most importantly, the will to succeed under the toughest of circumstances.
If I were to summarize in one line, into a sort of advice for younger readers, I would say this: Embrace Tech and everything that goes with college life. College years are the most formative, most memorable years of one’s life, and one should never have any regrets.
Graduation may be the end of my association with college in the traditional sense, but I will continue to be associated with my Alma matter that gave me such a wonderful launching pad. One of my dreams is to have the first President’s Scholarship by an Indian for international students such as myself.
And now I will bid adieu with these fitting words by William Arthur Ward: “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”