Hey readers, welcome to my blog. In this blog, you’ll get to know about the journey of an Engineer, who didn’t like his department but ended up exploring his capabilities. Engineering is not just a specialized course for a specified amount of time, it’s about studying yourself, understanding your potential to its fullest extent. It took me 4 years to realize this. So, ready for a ride through the lifestyle of an engineer? Let’s go.
Every year, 9 lakh students engineering aspirants appear for Btech, and not even 5% of them get to the topmost colleges. When the computer screen flashed after my second round of counseling, I finally had a sigh of relief. After studying so hard for 2 years, giving multiple tests, spending nights in tension, I was finally going to the National Institute of Technology, Warangal !!
In India, most of the students get attached to maths, physics or biology while studying in the 12th standard. I was not an exception. I decided to go for a branch with more connection with physics. Electrical and Electronics was the obvious choice. With huge excitement, I packed the bag and started my journey to Warangal!
Introduction to Diversity
After coming here, the diversity of the students’ mindset left me amazed. Someone’s talking about Start-Ups, someone’s talking about the salary structure in Microsoft, someone’s interested in research! I mean, What ?? Research in engineering? How’s that even possible?
Meanwhile, I was quite fortunate to meet a group of individuals with really high IQ: Daksh, Samarjit, Shantanu and Pratik. They literally taught me everything, from BB ki Vines to Sandeep Maheswari. Every afternoon we used to roam in the Time Square (the best place in NITW to pass the time)and discussed what to do in our life. I started to love Computer Programming, Engineering Maths. We decided to participate in a Makeathon and compete against all the teams across the college. We made an Arduino based robotic arm to mimic human gestures. We became one of the top five teams in the college and got a chance to go to the final round in T-Hub, Hyderabad. Slowly, the first year of my Btech helped me realize my interest in research.
The Exploration & Conflict
The second year was a bumpy ride for me. In order to find my domain, I became a part of BLitzkrieg Team Genesis, the official Go-Kart team of our college, where I thought of using a two-way communication device between the driver and the car, and thus I grew my interest in Speech Processing, which opened a vast field of study in front of me.
Meanwhile, the famous ‘Electrical Machines’ entered into our syllabus. Honestly, I never liked the subject, and guess what, I didn’t even know that time that I had to study the subject. Most of my second-year classes went by reading lots and lots of research papers and making notes out of it. My knowledge in the field of Machine Learning started to increase, but unknowingly, I started to ignore my core branch. I had a summer research internship in IIT Delhi on acoustic Imaging. Meanwhile I successfully published my first paper on Speech Processing. By that time I was determined to fully devote myself to Machine Learning in third year and have a foreign research internship by the end of it.
Innovation & Hurdles
Luckily, Innovation garage (IG), the makerspace, and kinda the coolest place in our college, entered my life. Some exceptional seniors, led by Arihant Chindalia, asked me to join the group of IG and spread the makers’ culture in the campus. My job was to guide the juniors in their projects. Though, I realized later that I was actually helping myself in understanding the true potential of an engineer. I got four similar-minded students there and we founded Nevrónas, a Machine Learning research group in NITW. Every day, after our regular class-work we used to come to IG and stayed there till 2 a.m. working on our projects. My other friends were getting industrial internships and I was busy applying to the foreign universities for research internships.
On the other side, the huge syllabus of electrical engineering took a heavy toll on me. CGPA declined badly, in both the semesters. I stopped reading Electrical books, replaced all of them with a bunch of ML papers and spent sleepless nights reading them. Every night I used to sit down in my room and checked my mailbox hoping for a positive reply from a prof from a foreign University. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one. The first paper of Nevronas got rejected from an international conference. Finally, I ended my third year with a low GPA, no internship, and a rejected paper. Was I depressed? Did I have suicidal thoughts? Surprisingly, No.
That’s when I realized that the hurdles of Btech made me stronger. I didn’t like Electrical, but I loved Engineering. I went through a rough journey, which helped me to handle any kind of situation I face.
Soon, life took a slight turn. I was selected as the lead of Nevronas and got a unique chance to teach 180 students of our college the basics of Machine Learning over the summer. I spent a peaceful summer teaching my juniors and preparing for placements giving the GRE.
Five months passed after that rough phase. I’m placed in a famous RnD. I’ve published three research papers, taught more than 500 students till now, and gifted the campus a sustainable Machine Learning research group. But the most significant achievement in my four years is my emotional strength. I utilized my 4 years to explore myself, I did what I loved the most. Four years of engineering won’t just give you a specialization in a particular topic, rather it will show you a glimpse of your life. Don’t waste it, go on exploring it, because that’s what heroes do, that’s what defines an Engineer.