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To the Start of an Odyssey—A Fresher’s Experience


We are the batch that has experienced it all—online and offline college, turning virtual reality into a tangible lifestyle while adapting to the pandemic. People complained about not getting the complete college experience right from the first semester. For me, however, having the first semester online was a blessing. I still remember the day online college commenced, our dedication towards the first CPI class, and how it only lasted for that day. I soon realised the online side of MIT was unknown to me for longer than I had thought. So, when I came across a link to a WhatsApp group named Freshers’25, my college life took an unexpected turn for the better.

Connecting Across the Internet

Before I knew it, I had found several other groups of people I could bond with—groups of freshers, dance enthusiasts, and K-Pop/K-Drama fans. MIT seemed to have it all, much more than I had imagined. Late-night meets were a pre-established essential in the online community of MIT.

During the pandemic, MITians started their own little life on the servers of Google Meet. Every evening, multiple meeting links would pop up across groups, allowing batchmates to talk, catch up, and share ideas and experiences all night. My online college life grew beyond just meeting new people on screen—getting to know them and trying to find my people was an essential step in developing the excellent rapport I share with my friends and classmates today. 

Mattu beach, with the sea on one side and a river on the other. [Image credit: Karnataka Tourism]

Like most other freshers, I was overwhelmed by the myriad of student projects and technical and non-technical clubs that MIT had to offer. Cambiar played a vital role here. It was an online event introducing all the major cultural and technical clubs to make this process more manageable for the uninitiated. From the fun interviews with seniors to playing games and crying about boring lectures and enjoying movie nights, or dance nights, we did it all online. I met some of the best people at these virtual meet-ups.

Although our online experience was pretty eventful, it did not hold a candle to what offline college had in store for us. Daydreaming about offline college is how every first year spent their days. While we were busy with our end-semester examinations, the Institute finally decided to release the much-awaited notice about arriving on campus. We were one semester into college, yet everything seemed brand new. Soon enough, we were all packed and ready to leave home. Until then, we had only seen the campus from someone else’s perspective—watching vlogs, reading blogs, and listening to our seniors.

An Introduction to Campus Life

From the beautiful administrative building of MAHE to the large entry of Gate 1, walking into the campus, I had just two emotions coursing through my veins—excitement and apprehension. Some of the faces I saw were familiar from our online stint, but the places around us could not have been more alien. I laugh every time I reminisce about how confused I was the first day I came to campus. The beautiful Student Plaza, clean and shiny, seemed to welcome me as I made my way to my hostel in Block 7. The most independent feeling is when one creates a home out of an allotted room. I made some of my best hostel memories in Block 7 but soon was lucky enough to get a room in Block 22, where I unlocked more memorable experiences.

The Student Plaza extends a grand greeting to everyone walking to their hostels. [Image credit: MAHE]

The first few days for every fresher on campus are a blur. There is so much happening that it feels overwhelming. The next important place to discover is the mess. Several people I talked to swore that Food Court-2 served the tastiest food, so I opted for it too. Food courts are probably the noisiest areas at MIT. You chatter away as you unwind from the long, hard day and catch up with your friends.

Entertainment and Exams

I reported to campus a week before the commencement of offline classes. So I had enough time to explore MIT and Manipal. In the first week, I visited a few beaches like Malpe and Hoode, explored restaurants like Eye of the Tiger and Hadiqa, and went clubbing. Ultimately, I could categorise everything into a list of likes and dislikes. After two weeks on campus, the buzz surrounding Revels, MIT’s cultural fest, began to take hold of the student community. No words would ever be enough to describe the campus atmosphere during Revels. With decorations and posters adorning every building, games and competitions conducted across the premises, the energy on campus was unlike anything I had ever encountered. At the same time, it was everything I had ever dreamed of—the perfect coming-to-life of the “college experience” we had only dreamed of during the two years of the pandemic.

KK’S performance at the ProShow that moved hundreds. [Image credits: Samanway Chakraborty via Revels]

When exam season rolled around again, I remember spending hours cramming the course material with a few friends in the library. Going through our first offline exams after a few years was an endeavour. After several stressed-out and sleepless nights, everything paid off, and we passed with flying colours.

Looking back at my first year, I would say that college is where you have the chance to explore and understand yourself. Bonds were made, faltered, and even broken, but I come out of this year rich in new experiences and learning a lot more about myself and the world we inhabit. Time passes quicker than you can hold on to it, so I recommend taking one step at a time and experiencing it all. Find out who you can trust, what you like to do, and how you want to have fun. Create your boundaries and limits while staying connected to your roots. Do not forget where you come from, but do not let it be the ball and chain that keeps you from trying new things. Usually, college is the first time you will be entirely accountable for your actions. While a thrilling idea, it is best to stay careful till you have grown accustomed to the novelty of it all.

Featured image credits: Kshitiz Bathwal

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