Tips to survive IIM A PGP-1 - Deepak Mehta, IIM A
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Deepak Mehta is a man out of time. He wanted to be born a few decades earlier, before the advent of the computer, when times were simpler and people were more content. Unfortunately, he wasn't. So, to compete in today's time, he has equipped himself with 2 degrees - one each from BITS Pilani and IIM Ahmedabad. He cracked CAT with a 100 percentile score. In his spare time, he likes to write on random website on random topics and for random people.
PGP1 at IIMA has been one of the most harrowing experiences of my life, and yet it is something I would happily experience again. Some tips from my experience...
Train yourself: You must be ready to work harder than you have in your life till now. You must be willing to put in hours of efforts each day to simply make it through that day. You must be prepared to survive on little sleep and brace yourself for mediocrity most of the times. Do not let negativity, self-doubt, and failures pull you down. The day you concede to these demons and start believing that you can't, you definitely won't.
Sleep whenever you can: Whenever you get a free hour or two, try and catch up on your sleep quota. After a few days of sleeping only 3-4 hours per day, your body and mind are going to feel the heat, your productivity and concentration will be shot, and you will be a walking zombie. Nothing good is gonna come by working 2 more hours as you will not be working at your best output. So catch up on sleep, re-energize, and then get back into the competition.
Have good friends: If you are anti-social, or sometimes even asocial, surviving PGP1 is going to be even more arduous. I cannot recount the number of occasions when my friends, dorm-mates, and my study group had had my back. I would have missed a lot more classes (and suffered the wrath of the professors) if not for my dorm. I remember multiple times when I was either sick, or completely exhausted, when my study group members stepped in to help me out, even though we were in the same boat and they had their hands full too. In a place where you are competing with 400+ people, it is good to have a dozen or so allies you can count on to help and support you.
It's perfectly fine to be mediocre: Once you step inside the gates of the red institute, you will realize that almost everyone is better than you at something or the other. There are people who are intrinsically more intelligent, or have a stronger work ethic, people with more stellar accomplishments, or with better skills at dealing with people. There will always be that guy who is super popular, aces his acads, is found at every party venue, is the pick of all dream companies, and can also strum the guitar. And in all likelihood, it's not you. Buckle up to accept that. And remember that it is fine to not be the best sometimes. Despite whatever the media has propagated in recent years, there is more to life than only accomplishments.
Fall seven times, stand up eight: If you are going to give up at any point, give up now. But once in there, muster up every bit of determination. After all, it is just for 10 months (300 days/7200 hours). You can do it.
"Hakuna Matata": Have a positive outlook on life. Actively push away everything poisonous from yourself - jealousy, inferiority complex, and insecurity.
Go after what you want, not what is popular: Don't opt for a course just because everyone else. Do not run after a job because everyone else is. If you do not get the most lucrative job on campus, you will forego a few days of popularity, but in the long run, you will get better job satisfaction. Figure out what you want and pursue it.
In the end, if you free to ignore all of the above.
Take up the entire thing as a new experience/challenge and 'go exploring'.