Dehradun hardly has any distractions and that worked out perfectly for a small-town girl like me
It was during a harsh Indian summer that I decided to pursue my Masters in Doon. I had completed my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering and was working with a real estate company. Life was good. They say, a frog staying inside a well likes it there; for it does not know of the world outside. I had the option to choose between a certain premier university in Bengaluru and UPES. I chose the latter; this was a decision I cherish even after five years.
Even in the midst of my large family’s skepticism, I was somehow very sure about my decision. But I had my own apprehensions and fears of a kid who had grown up in a small town. A small-town heart is usually a little scared of moving out of its comfort zone.
UPES to me will always be more than just my alma mater; to me it was my many firsts! To me it was like the first rain of the season; only that realization came after leaving it for good.
Here are the 5 things that UPES taught me:
1. The finest things in life are cheap
Human needs are very basic; you will realize it after struggling in life for a while. The first year I chose to stay the in the Kandoli campus because of my love for the mountains surrounding the campus. My mother had smiled and talked to all the security guards and asked the oldest amongst them to take care of her daughter. The old aunty in the mess made khichdi for me because she had not seen me at the mess for two consecutive days. These are precious memories that peep in while I am trying to distract myself unsuccessfully from the worldly burdens and bring in big smiles even today.
2. Confidence shows, irrespective of what part of the world you are in
I was scared that I would lose my identity in a university as big as UPES. There would be so many bright minds and so many beautiful people, I would never shine there. Deep inside, I was scared to try because I thought the chances of my winning were scarce. But after my orientation at School of Business, UPES, I felt more at ease and eventually found my steady ground. The faculty, that had more degrees than the number of candles on my cake, were surprisingly very grounded. It is here that I learnt the art of humility. In due course of time I realised that I was on a par with students from premiere Indian colleges and big cities. That confidence is something I wouldn’t lose in this lifetime.
3. Life becomes a lot easier if you focus on the good
Criticizing everything is not proof of your intelligence. UPES was a great university like many others in the country. It could also be because I had a limited scope to make the comparison then. But that was not the case for a lot of students in my batch. I would be lying if I say everything was perfect, but I can guarantee my life was easier because I focused on the good. It kept me sane and satisfied; allowing me to do better in college as well as in life.
4. The connections you make in the university can possibly make or break your deal later
UPES brought me on the same platform as many big heads from around the country, both from the corporate and the academic world. I managed to make some great connections. Not only did these connections help me professionally, but also personally as there were some great lessons I would want to imbibe in my everyday life.
5. Small cities teach bigger lessons
I loved the slow pace of the city. Small cities are beautiful in their own ways. I remember this one day when I had a friend’s bike at my disposal. It had rained heavily the previous day. I had missed a couple of classes and left for the city for a ride and a cup of coffee at Ama’s Cafe. On my way I saw an elderly gentleman, all geared up, digging a drain. Something about his look told me it was not his task to do on such a fine day. On inquiring, he replied: “It’s my city, if I don’t clean it up, who will?” It takes time and perseverance to make a happy man; small Indian cities have both.
Dehradun hardly has any distractions and that worked out as a blessing in disguise for the students like me.Now I am part of the crowd, but I miss the small-town girl who had the time. I guess I will always have a small-town heart. I will always enjoy a rainy day ride in Doonga more than hitting the pubs on weekends.
(The writer is an alumna of UPES, an Engineer and MBA in Business Analytics)