Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Some Freedom at Last

The Academic Calendar always lists the Mid-Term Break as being in October. But the truth is that the real break is in November: while Diwali is just one day, its combination with Bhai Duj and the general festive atmosphere make it a full week without classes. And the fact that I stay back in Roorkee makes it particularly important this year.

Let me be honest: I came to the wrong Department. After Sri Chaitanya, what I wanted was to be allowed to do things at my own pace. So when I discovered that I disliked Structural Engineering, I should be allowed to stay away from it and pursue my field of interest. And if I have a bunch of entrance and placement exams, I should be able to focus on that.

But this Department is a mass-control freak: they insist that they and they alone can take decisions for students, the people who are directly affected by its policies have no representation in the decision-making process. In the most crucial semester yet, we are burdened with unnecessary courses and an excess of tutorials and practicals.

The icing on the stale cake has to be the Minor Project: a relic from the past that has no value whatsoever today and should be dropped. And many professors do believe that: but nobody will do anything. So you have the Chairman asking students to devote "not much time" to the affair but it will remain in the curriculum. You have a silly Concrete Technology Lab that you have seen more times than you can count and where you keep doing one and the same thing, but which you must do because the Lord Almighty has decreed so. And there are many such labs and the dumbest tutorials imaginable to mankind.

But Diwali week makes it better: an unexpected holiday and this time (again), just before the exams. In fact, this ETE has come so soon after MTE2 that it seems more like MTE3 than otherwise (not that it will be any easier). But such are the strange ways of the great grand old department.

Fortunately, the free time has allowed me to finish writing my paper, which just needs some minor corrections now. And I have to complete a volume of tuts and practicals, but that is all doable. It's just a busy week, expect that you no longer need classes to be busy. Fourth year! 

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