Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Voice of PGSEMer...

What better way to welcome the new batch to the blog than to put one of their creative work as part of orientation...

Creating Nostalgia: IIMB PGSEM 2011 Orientation Day 1

It was a Friday morning, dress down day at work, but I got into carefully ironed business formals. I picked up my laptop bag, like I do everyday, but also picked up a suitcase that had been filled until it was bursting at the seams. If it sounds like I was preparing to go on a business trip for an extended period, let me tell you I wasn’t. I was preparing to go to college…10 minutes away from home.

More than four months of a procedure – entrance exams, interview invitations, admission offers and the anxiety accompanying each of these – had culminated into this day. The 14th batch of the IIM Bangalore PGSEM programme was to be inducted into and oriented towards the Institute, the course. A 3-day residential event that we were all looking forward to, finally commenced this morning with breakfast and hostel check-ins.

Some things in life don’t hit you until you are in the middle of them. Like finally being an official student of IIM Bangalore. I walked in through the gates, pulling my suitcase along and taking in the campus anew, the greenery, the serenity, the sanctity that only college campuses can exude. I was completely in the moment until I reached the hostel blocks and stood in line for getting a room allotted. It was then that it hit me; I could now call this campus mine, that I was in there as a rightful occupant and not as a visitor. I suddenly relaxed and almost broke into a comfortable smile at the thought. The feeling wasn’t different from coming home.

For someone whose last memory of college was being on an NIT campus with peers of the same age and na├»ve mindsets, ready to take on the world, this felt different. The classmates standing in line, most of whom I was seeing for the first time seemed to come from all ages and in effect, from all levels of experience. They seemed somehow more grounded, more sorted. One immediately knew that this wasn’t going to be like the last time for more reasons than one. And the day’s proceedings reiterated that fact in every way possible.

We were allotted rooms in the Executive Blocks of the student hostel and for someone who had never stayed in a hostel it was a complete deviation from the stereotype that undergraduate level hostel had left in my mind…the ones where my friends stayed in college. I got a well-furnished front room in these well-designed blocks and the view of the striking green patch that is the football field was like a balm to my screen-strained eyes! I couldn’t enjoy the view for too long though and had to run back for the day’s proceedings!

The PGSEM senior batch students had the reigns in their hands from the start. Right from pointing out various blocks to giving out announcements through the day about the events lined up for us and acting as our bridges to the IIMB campus and community. Our day started with a welcome session by them where a lot of practical and useful information was given out regarding many things concerning out 2.5 year sojourn. It was more reorientation that orientation as we tried to dig up words like grades, GPA, assignments, group projects from our past college experiences. Through the day, we were appraised of various committees that co-ordinate activities for the PGSEM students. Before the orientation we had received an assignment and had been given a week to finish it. Somewhere I was secretly hoping that it would be something to just warm us up but they actually brought it up in the session and used it as a basis to discuss various aspects of classwork. To top that, the assignment marks were going to count towards the House Cup!

The House Cup is an event comprising of various activities – academic or otherwise – that we all are undertaking in groups over these three days and the group scoring the maximum points will lift the Cup. Just the task of coming up with a name and war cry for our group turned out to be quite a task commanding extensive discussions in our group. We ultimately got it done only at the last minute feeling quite stressed about it! But that was only the start.

The welcome session was followed by our registration process and an extensive discussion with the PGSEM Chairperson Prof. NM Agrawal. In the evening, the batch was officially inaugurated by a distinguished alumnus from Samsung, Mr. Dipesh Shah, followed by an Alumni interaction session. Each of these sessions convinced me that I had made the right choice with this course, going by how fondly each of these alumni spoke about the PGSEM experience. This was just our first day and already the slope of the learning curve seemed to have gone up a few notches.

The time post dinner was filled by the Student Affairs Council with more activities for the House Cup that began at 10 pm! Just when we were feeling we couldn’t even move a muscle after such a tiring day, we were able to pull out energy from some secret reserve and everyone participated enthusiastically in the know-your-group contest, Antakshari and Dumb Charades. We were behaving like a bunch of unruly school children that I am sure the seniors had a tough time dealing with. All the same, it was amazing to see our child egos resurrected, a concept Prof. Agrawal spoke about in the afternoon.

Just when we thought it was a wrap and time to hit the bed, something we assumed was our birthright after spending such a hectic day, that we realized that our seniors had no intentions of letting us sleep peacefully anytime in these 3 days. And so were given out more tasks to do – House Cup activities like writing blog posts, making a skit as well as an official case study! It is a godsend that the eat-outs on campus stay open till late and we prepared for a long night ahead by ordering some munchies from Park-N-Eat and getting down to discussion.

So yes, it’s 2 AM and I am determined to meet the deadline of 7:30 am for this blog post. Somewhere in these beautiful corridors, my group members are scheming for a skit. It is just a snapshot of things to come and it is going to be an exciting and gruelling time but it is also a time none of us will ever forget in life and this is nostalgia in the making. It is a Herculean effort working on this rather than be sleeping on that comfortable-looking bed but I’d prefer to be nowhere else but here right now – sleep deprived but excited in the hallways of IIM Bangalore. As a student of the 14th batch of PGSEM. Actually, just as a student. Let the good times roll!

~ Anupama 

We wish the new batch the very best!

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