A BITSian’s Story – Part 1 – About BITS and BITSAT

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Hi, I am Ravi Teja, and I am a BITSian. Let me tell you my experience with BITS and BITSAT. When I was taking the test for BITSAT, I was also under the same dilemma as many students now have – it is a private institution, fees will be high, can my family support me? Should I get into a local college? I didn’t give my preference options right and the story follows.

About BITSAT (before becoming a BITSian)

I gave only 5 options in preferences for admissions. These were such that only if I get those options I’ll go to BITS. Obviously I didn’t get in – I joined a local college. After spending 6 months there, even though my branch was CSE, I started realizing that I had made a mistake. But I really wanted to do CSE and also I wanted to do it at more than just a day in and day out college. So I started searching for what other options are there, whether I can go to any of the national colleges, or if I could do more along with CSE. I also didn’t want to take one more year and appear for the exams again. Then I came to know that BITS allows second semester admissions (they discontinued it later, so luckily for me that was the last but one year).

BITS is a place (all the three campuses in India) where you are free to do what you want to do, whether you want to be a tennis player or a musician or an actor or an analyst or an artist or or a scientist or do research on humans. Anything that is not not normal or ordinary to the many people out there, in BITS no one is stopping you to do it, so you can become someone that you want to become rather than what others want you to become. It is such a system that is so flexible that you can live and grow to your heart’s content in those four years that you are on campus. In fact you continue to grow throughout your life, wherever you are, setting high standards.

Coming back to the story !!!!!

I got into Civil Engineering and took CSE courses and got into one of the best places to work in the technology industry. I got 2 scholarships – one was Merit Cum need, the other was Angiras Foundation. I applied for student loan, I used send money back home not the other way around. So forget about financials and focus on the present moment – i.e., preparing and getting the best score possible; everything else will fall in place.

My First Year as a BITSian

My very first experience as a BITSian was very different. After we joined we were given a list of courses for each semester (in BITS language it is called Eligibility sheet) and we were told that we needed to select the professor that we wanted to study under and the time that we wanted our class to be. Simple rule was that we would need to have a break in our daily schedule so that we could have lunch. There were two sections – Lecture session and the other was Tutorial session. We could choose two different professors, one for Lecture and the other for Tutorial section. We were given a time table schedule book which had all the information on the timings that professors were available for lectures and tutorials. We could plan our schedule in such a way that all our lectures finish in morning session and most of the afternoon session was free or vice versa depending up on our priority. If we wanted our schedule to be distributed throughout the day we could do that as well.

This was the first Wow Moment for any fresher!! In my previous college I was used to a preplanned schedule which said – class at XYZ time. All students of a discipline sat in one room and professors used to come and go.

But in BITS Pilani, from Day 1 we were the ones planning and taking decisions, not someone else. We were planning our schedule according to the 10 different things that we wanted to do and learn apart from academics.

Next thing was the mixture of students : In my previous local college all the people that we used to know were seniors of the same discipline/branch and the students that were sitting with us in the same room for lectures. Effectively a student is constrained to the discipline he/she is in and friends he/she can interact with in the Library. But in BITS as far as I remember in the very first 10 days I came to know 70% of the students of my batch. How? Because in the first two years all students had common courses irrespective of their discipline (this has changed in the past few years to only first 3 semesters being common). Common lecture halls and tutorial rooms, between each lecture or tutorial we moved to a different room.

As far as I remember, in my batch at least, no one ever asked anyone his/her discipline. Everyone was known by their individual identity they created on campus. For example I was called DRT (Ravi Teja D) on campus, and no one could relate me to my real name. Everyone knew me as that guy who came in second semester admissions, did coding and built websites and stuff, had access to the server room and played with servers like toys!! A friend of mine Supra Geek (Suhas Srivastava), was known on campus as the guy who built the first CMS for course content, and built and managed the portals on campus. The titles and names will go on for ever. Every BITSian had created their own identities and were respected and identified by who they were and not by the differences of scores they got, discipline/branch they were in or by any other differentiation factors.

There were a lot of things that happened in the first two semesters. More During BITS and After BITS stories coming soon !!!

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