In One Year, Out the Other – A Fresher’s Handbook Article

You hear a lot of things about a lot of things from a lot of people before you start your (hopefully) three years of DU, most of which should be disregarded because there’s enough going on for you to make of it what you will, and a lot happens purely by chance.

You’re accustomed to being a senior when you enter 1st year, a habit which should be discarded as soon as possible. By assuming that you already know all there is to know, you forego the chance to learn or explore anything. Luckily, I was swiftly put into my place by the Hindu College Debating Society interview.

I had the good fortune of being accepted into the society, and this had a profound impact on my college life and life in general. As the pool of people you know widens, you realise that being the smartest person in 12-B or 12-C doesn’t mean very much in the (not-so-) real world of college. Due to the obsession with securing cut-off marks leading up to the college admission process, very few people think about charting their extra-curricular activities in advance and will almost always leave final year surprised at how being part of such a society taught them so much.

Another widening of pools takes place when you go through the list of available courses – you know your commerce, science and arts, which loosely translates into B.Com/Eco, English, and engineering. I had no clue I could study Philosophy until the  day I walked into Hindu and started filling out the admission form, but it immediately caught my interest and I ended up studying it over B.Com (default choice as a Marwari) and English (default choice as a teen-emo poet).

I told myself at the time that philosophy is an enjoyable detour but I’ll still do my MBA after college, and even took tuitions to that end. In reality, I feel I learnt more in the philosophy classroom (analytically, theoretically, principally and civically) than I will anywhere else. Then companies like Facebook and Google showed up for placements, and I’ve been happily employed at Google for 3 years without an MBA in sight.

You might think these constantly changing directions are a direct result of me being aimless and lazy, and you would be right. However, by keeping an open mind and not following a set formula which is focused entirely on marks-achievement as a means to further some pre-decided goal, I found that I had an amazing 3 years and talk about those days with a greater fondness than most people. DU was the best opportunity I could have got to learn about the world, and I’m blessed that I got it.

Pritish Agarwal

This article was first written for “Fresher’s Handbook” 2015.

Fresher’s Handbook 2016 is coming soon!


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