My first memory of collegeJune 25, 2018
My first memory of college is of my parents getting into the taxi to leave, leaving me be, at Manipal Institute of Technology. I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Delhi, the place where I was born and brought up, and it would seem as though that is where I learnt most of what I knew about being an adult. How wrong would you be if you would assume that. The four years at college taught me more than I can count on ten hands, the crux of which lies in the knowledge that I was brought up in Delhi, but Manipal was where I grew up. From the outside, Manipal is an ordinary little village in Karnataka, no more than a few kilometres in radius, and that too if you have ever heard of it. I hadn’t. If you’re like most people, you probably hear Manipal and think Sikkim. It’s fair to say anybody who hasn’t extensively lived here has no idea what the place is about, although that may be true for any place. What isn’t true about any other place on the planet, is what followed through the next four years.
Manipal is a town run entirely for the students and faculty of the twenty three pristine educational institutes it hosts, all falling under the its namesake university, Manipal University. Every year, over two thousand young high school graduates pour onto Kamath Circle, the central point of the engineering college, with nervous excitement in their hearts, ambition in their eyes and a lot of their parent’s money in their pockets. If you have ever wondered what happens when thousands of young adults enter a new phase of their life, and are given all the freedom in the world that they’ve never had before while living away from their families for the first time in their lives, the answer is found on this campus. They become creatively uninhibited and socially free. They find new ideas and modes of expressing them they never knew they had. They are a blank slate to write yet another wonderful story on, and most of all- they become each other’s family.
Life in Manipal seems to have a theme for all those living it. Meals had in the food court in groups of twenty, being in the hostel by 9:30 pm and the demotivating feeling of having missed a class in the first year all seamlessly transition to three am deliveries from Planet café and the sheer lack of effort to even try to get to a morning class in the third. Kissed by mountains on one side and beaches on the other, the college life at Manipal gave me more than I could possibly put into words. It was the mecca of creation, where anybody could be who they want and do what they want (of course, it helps that Goa is just four hours away). From first kisses on the sunlit, manicured lawns, to becoming presidents of student groups centred around our passions, from weekend parties that continued well into 4:20 am to the behemoth workload in the end seem week, I would do it all again a hundred times over.
There is a fascinating amount of knowledge I received in the classroom, and a staggering education outside of it. Manipal taught me the value of hard work and creativity. Of relationships and experiences. Of joys and sorrows, of days that mean nothing and moments that mean everything. It gave me a family away from my family, one I will cherish for a long, long time to come.
The image I have in my head of that first day is of my parents leaving the moment I got to college. Little did I know that it meant that on most levels, parenting would leave too. Manipal would now teach us to parent ourselves. If clothes were not given for laundry on time, there would be nothing to wear. If assignments were not completed as required, then nobody would hesitate to fail you. Surely, somewhere between watching our parents’ cab leave and dancing on the bonnet of a jeep on the farewell day, we all did grow up.
Manipal Academy of Higher education (MAHE) is a global institute of repute. Besides courses in various other fields, here are some of the popular ones that students opt for. Click on the course of your interest to find out more on it.