"" Bleh and Awe: What I experienced engineering from a private college: Part 1

Friday, 1 April 2016

What I experienced engineering from a private college: Part 1

This was the answer to a Quora question I had posted some time back:

What are some bitter truths about engineering in India?/Why education system of B.Tech. in India is so depressing?


Most students learn what to pursue in life AFTER their B.tech degree.The major reason for joining an engineering college is: To have an easy academic life and to get a well paying job with the least effort applied.
That is not how it works.
Typical Engineering meme. Sigh,

The Indian Engineering system is flawed and even, outflawed. Except for the top institutes, the quality of graduates mass-produced is simply appalling. In fact, a large percentage of the engineering undergraduates are unemployable, and this rate has been toppling down at break-neck speeds. 

There are lots of ways to analyze the problem. Ill set the main characters as Society, The Student and the College.

Society: Society has always believed that engineering is one of the most noble careers to pursue. True. That doesn't mean English honours or degrees in fine arts are worthless. Each and every academic degree is vital to the Nation, and it's impact can be determined by how we perceive. If you wish to show off to your neighbours "See, my daughter/son just got into a engineering college (which becomes an MBA course after 6 years)", stop. If you're Keeping up with the Joneses (that is comparison with you neighbour's lifestyle as a benchmark for social class and achievement) then good luck. Compare your lives with others, and realize how INTEGRITY and SELF-RESPECT flows out of your hands. People should not frown upon, instead encourage everybody to strive for excellence.

The Student: The most confused organism on the  planet. If brainwashing from everybody else (who are equally brainwashed) wasn't enough, the lack of information, coupled with laziness, fueled by procrastination are the painful sources of the future  depression to be faced. If the student has access to a proper library, a proper internet, then that is the greatest source of information. Instead of updating Facebook statuses  and being a couch potato at home, a student can always learn, not memorize. Learning doesn't have to be boring. it can be learning how to ride a bicycle, shopping for vegetables, playing an instrument, visiting the local mechanic and find out how cars are fixed, meet and make new friends, exploring the nearby surroundings, etc. The more you try out, the greater your horizons expand, and the more you will find out about what you like and what you dislike. Do not every study to get a good job when you grow up. THAT IS THE BULLSHIT WHICH IS USED TO BRAINWASH. Yes, and this is true. You need to find out your own passions and interests, your own flaws and strengths, Mummy and Daddy won't be able to spoon-feed you every little detail. Learn up (Not memorise) as much as you can when you're in school. (Here I feel parents and teachers play a very important role in guidance) Gobble up knowledge. Unfortunately you'll encounter crap subjects, but if you learn what you like and what you love. Study on your own as much as you can. Learn to be independent, especially from tutors and coaching centres. If you can manage on your own, take help and suggestion from them, never depend completely on them. This is the hardest part. Prepare well for you exam, and choose your stream wisely.

The College: C0ngrats, you've joined a college after clearing the multivaried exams and courses. College is completely different as you're on your own, even if you are a day-boarder. You'll actually fail really badly in college if you do not study, and can be swayed away by the influence of friends. Most students join enigneering colleges to safety secure a job with minimum effort. In a typical Indian Engineering College, the problems amplify, and you face more difficulties.
So accurate !

  • Absolutely no application of knowledge: Memorize. Puke that on the test paper. Forget everything the next day. Repeat. That is academics. If you write something which is logically correct, but out of the box, congrats, you do not get your marks. Just memorize pointless facts and data and graphs and diagrams and equations. You'll get a 9-point CGPA, but you'll never apply that knowledge.
  • College curriculum is outdated: A large majority of the colleges still follow the course set up in the 90's. Books given to you will be SHIT. And your professor will probably point out the important questions for the exams. The syllabus is massive and you'll find yourself sitting on a pile of worthless books.
  • No proper infrastructure: Mechanical engineering without a proper machine shop. Electronics and Telecommunication without a proper Electronic lab. Applies to all branches. Not even a proper library, not even decent access  to the internet. Computer Labs with outdated Pentium 4 processors. And writing lab records is one of the mysteries yet to be solved. No proper practicals, but a complete analysis of every tiny screw, every tiny line of code, every tiny detail.
  • Classrooms: Personally, I find classrooms the greatest waste of time. Some teachers are great, and I love attending their classes, some not-so-good, but its okay to attend. Some teachers exist for reasons God knows. Absolutely shit, no proper knowledge, equipped only with a written notes. They squeeze the life out of you with their monotonous lectures, and you find that you would be better off not attending their classes (But you need the goddamn attendance)
  • College life: It is focused on boozing, parties, getting girlfriends/boyfriends, racing around with bikes, narcotics, fighting (to protect your branch's so called 'respect'). If you try to get involved with a project, you'll be on your own. No financial support from the institute, the academic support is worthless (may not be). The laptop is your greatest friend, as every night is movie night. Counter Strike, Friends, The Game of Thrones, DOTA or ganga, cigarettes and alcohol or maybe the mix of the two catergories. No passion in finding out what you can do with you life. On top of that, you'll be the laughing stock if you're every caught STUDYING for your exams 2 weeks beforehand.  And oh, the crowd. Filled with ego, medieval and backward thinking, no interest in developing their skills. The crowd is a sad example of the effect of society and being excessively pampered by their respective families.
  • Money: Engineering colleges (Private ones) are a business. It is okay because the world's best universities are private universities, but they place service before self, results and learning before the money. In India, not only private engineering colleges want to squeeze every penny out of your pocket, they will increase the fees at a sky-rocketing rate.
  • Mess food: Mess food is inedible. You cannot simply eat the food.
  • Scientific temper is a just a rumour. 

Most engineers undergrads end up with poor grades, backpapers, zero skills, zero speaking skills, heads filled with toxic mentalities, loads of useless facts, unemployable, no job offers. All that binge never drove away the boredum, it only affected them and others. The ones who really do wish to make a difference are overwhelmed by the whole scenario, and most give in. Depression creeps in, because you realise you've wasted 4 years of the most fertile years. That IT job doesn't console you, MBA seems like your only option to break away. 
 There are way too many negative aspects, but you have to strive, adapt, endure and survive in the toxic environment. Life isn't caviar served on a silverspoon send from heaven, you pave and construct your own future with your own bare hands. Engineers at ISRO, TIFR, BITS Pilani (IITs and NITs, and many private colleges) are making a huge difference to the country. You can too, you need to work really hard, and use the resources available.