It’s really interesting how some universities acquire the stature and respect among the many millions of others spread across the world. We all know what makes a particular university “respectable” and of “repute” in comparison to others. Students while “hunting” for a university forget the toll the process of learning shall take on them if and if they choose that particular university.
This also makes me wonder how important it is as a senior of ‘that’ particular university to state the crude blunt facts of the ‘learning, living and surviving process’ to the curious juniors. As a junior, I was informed in an abstract and vague manner than in a concrete and crude manner. I still recall my Senior telling me “You don’t realize the value of this place as long as you are here. However once finished you shall realize the value of the name”. While I’m yet to reach at that decision, the current termination phase has bestowed on me a myriad of thoughts to think about.
As I began this blogpost I was expecting to lash out with anger and frustration. Well, these are the two primary emotions one ends up feeling due to the strenuous course work and expectations ‘these’ universities welcome you with. However, here I’m, reflecting on the strength that this course gifted me with. I still remember telling myself umpteen number of times “What doesn't kills you makes you stronger”. I believe it really does. Universities or academic institutions of great repute don’t just admit any students. Furthermore, they set the standard so high that a student pushes himself or herself to great lengths to meet the bar (read: pass examinations). Some might be of the view that what matters is who could persevere and who couldn't. I opine that even those who couldn't should not be judged and those who could should not ‘always’ be expected to meet everyone’s expectations. If you ask a why, here is the answer: I do not know about Ivy League colleges for I haven’t been there nor am I aware of the IITs or the IIMs, however my experience of being in ‘one of the country’s best institution’ tells me that these universities shake you until you have dusted your older self only to have been born with a tough hard skin. They literally in every sense of the word take you for- granted! They forget that you are w(hu) man! They expect the work to be done regardless of you being lacerated inside your heart or being tortured by your thoughts in your head. If you are lucky you might find a soul or two to confide in. If you are very lucky then you might even find a group of good friends with whom you can sail through the sea till the end. However, like they say “As you go up the ladder, you make colleagues and not friends”. It’s less of a saying and more of a fact.
Coming back to the question I raised in the title, I believe that great universities don’t just leave their students till they finish the course, in fact, they never leave their students! They make an impact in their minds so great that students remember and learn from it. The students ( I would like to include myself as well) think of their struggles and how they succumbed through them, they think of the critical moments where their insides were broken yet they continued. It is these lessons, among the little highs and the abundant lows that saw through sunlight, that make great students. If this is what makes a great institution great, so be it!