Finally, four months of the phase of life I looked forward to, has passed, and I could not find a perfect time to write about that, immediately after completing my end-semester exams!
It all started with an impulse decision …
Till May of this year, getting a Ph.D. admission at Kanpur was the last thing I could ever think of. I applied for three other institutes and was expecting an interview call. With curfew enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was staying at home and giving final year exams remotely. I had to stay in touch with my professor regarding the assessments and communicate with my batchmates (yeah, typical CR stuff). One day, we were talking about my career plans and in the process he reminded me about the extended deadline of IITK admissions, a message circulated in our class group that I ignored, and insisted on applying for the same. I had to do some research about the ranking and facilities and I thought I would give it a try, and mailed my resume.
I had my interview after a week over the phone. The interview committee was of three professors and they asked multiple questions involving basic Chemical engineering concepts. The interview went for nearly 40 minutes and I was still unsure of my performance until one of the professors in the interview committee called me back a few hours later and said that the interview went well and I would get an offer letter soon. That was a sigh of relief, I was happy.
Fast forward a couple of months, I was informed by IITK that the odd semester would be online, and the thesis guide allocation process would be deferred, so the coursework was the only thing to be worried about. Despite the need to adapt to a virtual-mode of teaching, I was excited about the new college and the people.
The classes were asynchronous i.e., recorded lecture videos were published and we could watch them as per our convenience, and there would be a discussion hour every week, to clear our doubts. The online portal was neatly maintained and also had the option of uploading assignments and a forum for discussion. The professors were knowledgeable and I liked the way how each of them took the semester as an exercise, for this virtual teaching is new for them too!
There were numerous assignments to submit and there were frequent quizzes and exams. They were quite challenging compared to my undergraduate in which going through the class notes and reference material would be more than enough. I really had to work on that and also my time management. I had to make a small investment by purchasing a graphics tablet for writing. Digital writing saved me a lot of time (and paper!) while writing my exams and assignments. Meanwhile, I also got to know my classmates and their help in solving assignments, and also making the concepts understandable is noteworthy.
The best part of all? My consistency improved! I was able to meet all of my deadlines properly unlike my undergraduate days. Also, I started maintaining a diary (like a logbook) to record my daily academic activities and I’m still maintaining it (yeah, the pic you saw above)! The kid is 15-page long now.
However, I felt the final exams even more challenging, and they made me realize that there’s a lot more to catch-up. It has been informed that next semester would also be online, with a chance of live classes. With more challenges incoming, gotta gear up!