Final Year 101 : Retrospective and lessons learnt

11:52 PM


I started college with mixed feelings and zero confidence in me as I thought I would fail in the path I have chosen. I joined Uni knowing not one thing about Java or C#. But still I had worldly dreams of becoming a Software Engineer *Ah, the nerves!*. However, looking back at my journey makes me realize how far I have come in my life and how I have proved many people wrong along the way. My only dream was to become a Software Engineer, but I achieved more than that. I currently hold a First Class Honors, an All-round performance award from my University and a few places for my final year project at competitions.

The journey was tough of course and all you undergraduates will agree with me as well and if someone like me who came in with no confidence at all, is walking on that stage with full confidence, I think you can also do it. These are my lessons that I learnt which I want to share with the world. 


About opportunities

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I learnt that opportunity will only knock once at your door. I was asked to be a member of the team that was competing at Microsoft's Imagine Cup. I was on the verge of declining it with the excuse being I may not be able to focus on my final year, but something somewhere within me just asked me to give it a try. And I did. And the rest is sweet victory. But there were still people who called me names and mentioned that I was "giving ass" to people. What a wonderful figure of speech. And all I did was offer help to the team.

About helping

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I always loved teaching and I learnt that by teaching others, you are teaching yourself too. You are re-revising what you already know and sometimes you also can find out where you are stuck and go back to revising the areas that are grey to you.

I also learnt that help will never come to you but you have to go to them. To all the egoistic people, no, you cannot do everything on your own. You will have to ask for guidance and help at some point. So if you think that people are going to walk over to you and ask you what you need, then darling, you are living a dream.

I learnt that people are busy and it is not because they don't like to help you that they don't. It is because of their workload. But I also learnt that there are some people who will go along the way to help you.

On the other hand, sometimes, some can show the true nature of their ungratefulness as well.

About achieving

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I learnt that you will very rarely get credit for the things you achieve and the only reason you made it to the top is because you are good at "report writing". So all those lines of code I produced by having to whack my brains through the night doesn't count. And who said this was a "Software Engineering degree" anyway? But, listen, this is your own hard work, and every moment you wasted trying to make something out of your life counts. And don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Achievement will only be sweet to you if you worked hard for it, if you spent hours on something and you did something genuinely. You don't necessarily have to get a first class, gold medal or the Westminster award. As far as you have given your best you will be content.

Whenever you feel like giving up, think about your graduation. You wouldn't want to have regrets.

About trust

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I learnt that a little bit of trust is everything you need to go forward in life. I had a great supervisor who gave me courage and made me face my difficulties. She often used to give me words of encouragement and believe in me. She saw dedication and perseverance in me and hence she gave me courage.

She was the reason I was motivated to go on after being bed-ridden with measles during a very crucial time period for the submission of my final year project.

About perseverance

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Talking about perseverance, I learnt that whatever you do, you wont reap the benefits overnight. It is a continuous struggle and only with determination you will reach your goal. Stop fooling around.

About friendships and relationships

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I learnt that friendships can be tough and not everyone will accept you for who you are. There will be plenty of bad-mouthing, a myriad of false stories surrounding you and a truck load of judgments that sometimes even you start doubting yourself. Well, to everyone who took advantage of me and wished to see me fail, please accept my sincere f**k you and a gracious *Shift+Delete*. And to the others who stuck with me or decided not to gamble with my life, I am indeed grateful to you.

I learnt that final year in college reveals to you who is real and who is not. I want to thank each and every friend of mine for all the good things that they have done for me. And to my really close friends who still stick around with me, I wouldn't be here, if not for you.  :)

About hatred

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I am not going to justify why I hated the four years of my undergraduate life, but they were born out of the days of the silent treatment, the social media drama, the prying eyes, the stories and all that unnecessary tears that I had to shed because of others. Somewhere along the way, I decided, I need to stop being weak and gain control of my life. And that even though I will never grow to accept this place as my home, I'd still have to try.

About passing the ball of blame

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I learnt that we will always blame the degree for our mistakes. You don't understand the subject, it's the degree's fault. You failed the exam, it's the degree's fault. You are distracted, it's the degree's fault. Well, sweetheart, stop blaming the degree. Maybe the degree is not fair for everyone, but it is the closest to landing you a job.

About preparing for the worst

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I learnt that however much you expect things to work fine, you will always, ALWAYS have to prepare for the worst. Code Backups. Always take code backups.

About spoon-feeding


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Nobody is going to spoon-feed you and nobody is going to keep coming behind you to ask you to submit your coursework or simply to turn up for lecturers. If you want to learn and get through college, you got to do stuff on your own as well.

About All-nighters

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I learnt that the All-nighters will leave your brain dysfunctional and you wont even realize that you deleted your own project which you worked on for more than 6 months until it is gone. No traces and even the git repo is gone. I don't even want to be reminded of that tragic incident. A word of advice. Take a break. Get some sleep. You can't work well when your brain is dead (If you are doing an all-nighter to submit a coursework the next day morning, then yeah, it can be regarded as an exception)

About Last minute work

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I learnt that last minute work will not get you anywhere. Well, you can definitely pass or even pass with the same marks as your neighbor *cough* but for those who are targeting more than a pass, no, it just doesn't work that way. The closest you get to is a panic attack. I have had them, and trust me its not the sweetest.

About competition

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I learnt that competition is what drove me to give my best. It doesn't have to work that way for everyone. But for me there were a few people with whom we had a healthy competition and it was the anticipation that was the most worthwhile.

About swearing

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I learnt that everyone will get accustomed to a swear word, even if you have never sworn once in your lifetime.

About social media

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I learnt that Social media is a very distracting tool. Of course if you are not the facebook kind of person, you dont have to even worry about it. But some of us are, and I am one of them. Towards the most critical parts of my final year, I cut total contact with Whatsapp and reduced my Facebook usage. I have to tell you, it worked wonders. I could easily leave my phone at home and go to uni if I wanted to. My life was that free and focused.

About the batch as a whole

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I learnt that, the power of working together as a batch will always outweigh any trouble that comes your way. When the batch unites, the force is strong. Always. First hand experience...

But sometimes we just didn't. And some of us regret it.

About your personal life

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I learnt that sometimes you think that college is everything and you clearly don't set the distinction. If one piece of advice I can give you, give priority to your academics, but don't make it your life. You only have to suffer for these formative years and the rest will pay off in due time. But I wouldn't advise you to stay home staring into your books/code the entire time. Give yourself a small break or celebrate small victories by treating yourself to something small.


About Final Year Project

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This can come as a nightmare for many of you and for those who have already faced it, it would be another bitter-sweet memory. Your fyp will evolve more times than a standard Pokemon character. Okay not technically, but you get the point. So don't be harsh on yourself. But do start early with some vague idea, keep reading on and keep meeting experts in the field and stabilize it after some months. This process will become really tough if you don't start somewhere early. And the other thing. It is natural to panic about your fyp, but everyone else has gone through the ordeal and you will also also go through it just fine.

Your fyp is your chance of showing off your dedication, effort, hard work, sleepless nights and your pride. The feeling you get when you have published your work, that beats everything. Work hard for it and when you finally graduate you will feel really content that you did this on your own!              

About hope

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I learnt that I grew more spiritual during my final year at college, something that I had never hoped I would ever become. But I am really thankful for that. For the hope it gave me throughout my journey.

About fun

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This is something I forgot to have during my college life and something I advice you all not to forget. Make memories and have fun. But most importantly I also learnt that, as much as I hated my college life, and as much as I swore that I will be the most happiest when I leave, I missed it deeply on the night of the grad ball.


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6 comments

  1. Good article.. :) I thought there'll literally be 101 lessons learnt. Haha :P I find the GIFs distracting thou..

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    Replies
    1. Haha :P For you everything is a distraction nah :P

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  2. Good post. Some of this stuff reminds me of school :)

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