First Year: I reluctantly came to IISER K since I was disappointed that I didn’t get accepted to a medical college (I got dental and, to be honest, I’m not a fan of teeth!). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to study the fundamental sciences. In addition, IISER K required that you complete all five subjects—Math, Chem, Bio, Physics, and Earth Science—by the end of your second year. To my absolute dismay, this meant that I would have to endure the agony of Physics for two more years.

Additionally, the campus at the time was still being constructed and was therefore oddly distributed. The building where courses were held and the other hostels were quite far from my hostel. Out of a total of roughly 90 people, my hostel only had 7 other girls from my batch, which was quite upsetting! By the conclusion of my first year, I probably didn’t know a good fourth of my class. And I despised it. Since I lived in Kolkata, which is roughly an hour distant from the college campus, I also ran back home whenever I had the chance. This undoubtedly did not make things better. I was home every weekend, so it was difficult for my heart to find a home on campus.

 

The Literary Club, which was made up of a group of fantastic people who enjoyed reading, poetry, and stimulating talks, and the Math class, which was taught by an amazing professor and covered the fundamentals of Real Analysis, were the two things that kept me afloat throughout all of this agony.

 

Second Year: Things started to get a little better in the second year. My social circle grew, my hostel improved, I became more involved in campus activities (I co-hosted Teacher’s Day and humiliated myself), and my favorite classes—Literature club and math—remained those two. During this time, I also established a good number of friends and began spending some weekends on campus, which was a significant step for me.

 

At IISER K, students chose our majors during our second year. For me, choosing Math was simple because those were the courses I loved most

Third year: For me, this was the year that perhaps saw the most change. I was primarily enrolled in math classes (Yay! No more physics sobs), I formed my own group of friends, and best of all, our college moved onto a permanent campus, which meant that my batch’s whole hostel population was housed in the same location. This made everything much more enjoyable. I now knew everyone, and most of them fairly well:D. And I’ve finally begun spending a lot of weekends at home! For the first time, I stayed overnight for Inquivesta (our festival; in the past, I would stay for a few hours).

Then, the fourth and fifth years passed quickly. The fourth year was driven by a ton of classes, but the fifth year was dominated by putting together an MS thesis, preparing for the GRE, applying for PhD places, and trying to choose a school. Additionally, I had the opportunity to serve as the Literary Club’s secretary and organize the publication of the second issue of the college magazine. One of the best moments of my stay there was this.

In the thick of it all, I formed some of the strongest friendships. I have my drinking partner, my life lesson partner, my insane decision partner, my ‘go to and cry to’ partner, and my 2am partner (started in the last few months at IISER and is the strongest still). Everything that happened in the last two years, including late-night strolls, scooty rides, games of Mafia/UNO on the grass, chit-chatting on the lawn, the banter and laughing, canteen fun, and departmental picnics, made up for every miserable second of my first year (self-inflicted miserableness, I admit!).

These five years have been beyond gorgeous. I didn’t anticipate it to make me more autonomous and content. Prior to joining IISER, I was unaware of my interest for scientific study. I also didn’t anticipate how many friends I would make. But eventually, everything came together, and now, I would do anything to go back and relive those five years!

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