An Open Letter To My Batch-Mates And My Juniors.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

This article is to be published in the departmental annual magazine of my college Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology, Shibpur (IIEST, Shibpur) established in 1856..

Dear All,

College life, for my friends of the final year and me, is practically coming to an end. We are at that point on the college-life timeline, where we start forgetting about the “flaws” of our beloved IIEST and start counting the in-numerous blessings that have been bestowed upon us.

Nowadays, as I recall on the past days of the college and worry about the coming future, many thoughts, both good and bad, cross my mind. Some of these I would like to share with my fellow batch-mates and also my juniors.

If you are going to stop reading this article here I would implore you to read a few more lines. If you are going to take away one thing from this article then let it be the fact that you are better than most. “Better” not in some Einstein-Newton genius way; “better” in the sense, that today if you are studying in the second oldest engineering college in the country, then certainly you did some right things at the right point of time. You have it in you the desire and the ability to stand up for your dreams and goals. Please don’t let it go.

I say this because, many a time in your life, surrounded by so many smart people, you may start feeling like a dwarf amongst giants. You may start feeling like that you are not cut out for this particular course or that particular job. Everybody is so much more and you are just so much less.

When such thoughts of self-doubt start polluting your mind, I would like you to remember all the great things that you have achieved in your life so far. I would like you to keep in mind that your parents are proud of you. I would like you to remember that you can do anything you want; you just have to decide to do it. So give yourself a pat on the back and carry on.

Having said that, I would also like to point out that although you are better than most, you are still not the best. I am not talking about being the best in your class or among your family and friends. That, I believe is not a fair standard of comparison. I am talking about being the best that you can be. If you are to compete, then compete with yourself. Ask yourself if you are better than what you were yesterday. If “yes”, good! If “no” then buckle up and get to work. Work on yourself. Grow. Every day.

You need to understand that you owe yourself to be the best version of you. You owe yourself the fulfillment of your dreams. You owe yourself the happiness and satisfaction that comes along with it. Today if each and every student of just one batch of just one college decide and become their best selves, this country and this world that we live in, will become a far, far better place.

But understand, that a successful career is only a parameter of a happy life; it does not equal it. We, as engineers, tend to cling to numbers. And why shouldn’t we? Everything we have done till date found a number or a grade attached to it.
 
 A “100” is better than a “99.5”. 
 An “A+” is better than “A”.
 A package of 10 LPA is better than 9 LPA. 
 300 “likes” are better than 50.

Please don’t let these numbers dominate your life anymore. In your frenzy to add few more digits to your salary, please don’t lose out on the people you wanted to do it for. In your obsession to get a few more “likes” from the people who don’t matter, please don’t alienate the ones who do. Happiness, love, emotions can’t be quantified. Although it is always good to keep improving these numbers that your world revolves around, please don’t do it on the cost of these un-quantifiable attributes.

On social media, everybody’s life seems picture perfect. In today’s photo-shopped and “filtered” world, it is easy to lose a grip on reality. The grass always looks greener on the other side. On social media, it looks golden.

I say this because, so often I have found many, including myself, wanting to be the social media version of someone else. We, looking at all the HD photos and videos, start believing that lives of others are so much more awesome than ours. This is far from reality. In all probability, the life of all others is as messed up as yours is. They too are just trying to be someone else. If anything, they are good at pretending. So be grateful for all that life has blessed you with. Cherish all the picturesque moments of your life. You don’t need other people’s approval to make your life wonderful. After all, social media is nothing but some lifeless algorithm.

I have penned down the little I had to say in this article. If just one person finds meaning in just one word of this piece, my purpose is accomplished.

I hope that all of us go on to live the life of our dreams. I hope that few years down the lane, we are all grateful to have been able to walk daily in the Electrical Engineering Department of IIEST, Shibpur.
 
 Thank You.
 
 Subham Agarwala.
 
 EE, UG: 2014–18.

Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” — Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society.