The campus was unusually quiet. It wasn’t the lull before the storm. It was what happens after the storm has come, ravaged everything in its way, and blown over. We- the survivors, were holed up in our bunkers, trying to recoup from the onslaught. We had known second term was going to be tough- but it had exceeded all our apprehensions.
The night felt strange- we had waited for this for so long- the end of term 2. But after the adrenaline charged, caffeine dipped, sleep deprived last few weeks, tonight felt like we had no purpose. Because, for the first time in perhaps two months, we were thinking about what to with our time, rather than what not to do with it. All we could think of was to crash on the bed and give rest to our aching bones. Someone once said that to be a good writer, you need a lot of pain in your heart. So right now, seems to be the right time to pen down my thoughts on the term that has been- when there’s not a single part in my body that hasn’t been aching.
The term had started well. We got three classes in the mornings, and life was peaceful. Assignments were obviously there, but we had reached a stage when a daily dose of an assignment and a few cases were like the staple diet for us. We had become masters of gulping down anything that was thrown at us. We puked too, but we also knew how to clean up our shi*.
Role plays in strategy cases, managerial communications speeches, impromptu speaking sessions, getting to know the basics of the equity markets- we were having fun actually. The professors were all studs in their own fields, and some in one field too many. This was IIMA, where we expected no less. We even got philosophy lessons from time to time.
The student clubs were functioning at full pace, and most of us were members of more than one. Some of those members were multi-faceted talents, or some like me- who still hadn’t figured out our life’s goals. We were driven by the ideals of soak in as much as you could- indigestion can be cured by medicines, but malnutrition cannot be. #fomo was the modern term for this.
Then the evening classes started. Cases increased from one to three. Pre-reads weren’t being read any more. Excel calculations of company balance sheets were taking hours, and still we weren’t sure if we were getting a positive NPV. Sleep was reducing exponentially. We had become resistant to caffeine. Tummy lines were bursting from late night, er… early morning snacking.
And just when we had it ‘almost’ figured out- the mid-terms came. I so long prided myself on being able to understand macroeconomics so well- maybe it was my seat in the first bench that kept me from falling asleep, which had been the reason for my brain to function at an elevated capacity. However, all my dreams were shattered the moment I started working on the eco paper. What were these? I mean were they even taught in class? They must have been -given by the frantic way some people were rubbing their pen on their papers. I tell you- I could even see sparks flying. The sheets were about to catch fire.
However, half an hour before the exam was scheduled to end- a few sparks came to my brain. Perhaps, peer learning also happens by atmospheric diffusion. I felt I wasn’t that stupid after all. When I submitted my paper- it had at least some scratches on paper- of course I wasn’t very sure of the content.
The law paper wasn’t that bad, we were asked to write our opinions on two recent events from the paper. Opinionated as all are- we were in fact pressed for time.
Classes started again after the mid-terms. The finance steamroller was on. Cost accounting, corporate finance, financial markets- Gosh! It felt like all I could see in front of me were balance sheets, and more balance sheets. Numbers were starting to appear scary now. I even started getting nightmares where I was sitting alone in a desert, trying to calculate the NPV of setting up a swimming pool in the vicinity.
Despite the horrible schedules and the extreme rigours we were put to, we were kept going by the fact that perhaps for the first time we were actually taking interest in the subjects being taught. And by we, I mean I. the figures were making sense, the assets and liabilities were matching, and we could figure out some rudimentary marketing strategies to sell that new variant of Goodyear tires, that were supposed to be monsoon proof.
Syndicate times were going beyond 4am- and it had actually become our homes. Some of the more prudent ones in fact arranged for a mattress or two, and spent the remaining hours of the night in syndicate rooms. It spared them the effort of having to come back to the dorm, only to come out after two hours, for morning classes.
Life wasn’t bad. We had purpose- we had zeal. We felt we were here to learn something. The profs were very helpful and were conducive to our repeated questioning of the same things. I was no longer feeling shy of asking stupid questions- though I did get that occasional “you don’t even know this- who am I teaching” kind of looks. Classes were hence spilling over their scheduled times, and we were facing the threats of being late to the next class.
T-Nite provided some relief in between. 3 days of unadulterated fun, they formed one of the best days on campus. The good part was we got our friends and families together- which meant none missed out on the fun. Section X had a few high points- FashP and Adzap. The PGPs amazed us with their energy levels too. But never mind, we had experience to know energies are best rationed. Or so we consoled ourselves.
And then, the next bouts started in class. This time it was a fight till the end(term). The Profs literally came to classes with flamethrowers- even the farthest corner seats weren’t safe.
Hours were getting shorter, the days left before exams were not enough- and some of us started to break down. We resorted to Glucon-d and Rasna to infuse energy levels back to us. But with such high demands they were prone to being out of stock. Black marketers made a killing. The only light at the end of the tunnel was the IIP- International Immersion Program.
End terms were like well… end of everything. We asked profs for practice question and simulation tests. All we got were smirks- meaning, “You can only try. Now is the time you die.”
But, we are X, PGPX. Punch us how much you like, we will still keep standing. We had become Rocky Balboa- every time we fell down, we kept getting back up. It was a question of endurance. The last man standing, wins. And win we will. Come what may.
So when the last paper got submitted, I threw my arms up in the air. We have done it, we have survived term 2. Grades didn’t matter. We had lived, to fight another day.
Archya, is a doctor-turned-healthcare administrator, who thinks he has a passion for writing, and hence uses his limited idle time to pen down his thoughts. No publishing house has yet made him any offers, so he has to now debate his opportunity costs.
Archya is presently pursuing a MBA (PGPX) from IIM, Ahmedabad.