The product lifecycle is a business concept used to explain the sales of a product over time and denote the various stages a product goes through once it is released into the market.

Product Life Cycle. Credits: Wiki

This has been a graph very familiar to me for the past few years for its business implications, but for once I decided to look at it from a different perspective.

My college life can be summed up in these stages. It isn’t a direct mapping of year to the stage, but it’s more of a philosophical mapping. Lemme take you on a very relatable journey.

Introduction

Remember your first ride to the college and a possible pose at the main entrance, a teenager filled with a mixture of emotions ranging from fear, excitement, sense of freedom, ambition and what not. In addition to the above emotions was, a “Wow” as you trod down the, now called, Suryamukhi path and witness the sheer grandeur of the institute lake and the reflections it displayed.

That started a list of firsts and events which would be etched into our memories, hopefully for all the right reasons.

  • Discovering your hostel lobby mates and branch mates. (Glad to have become very close and stick with them all these years ❤ )
  • Possible discussion over JEE paper and rank.
  • How you under/overperformed and omitted other IIT choices to come here?
  • Getting my name right! (Yes! It’s the one without an ‘h’)
  • Getting your stuff from MCH. (In other news, has your first cycle survived all the four years? Mine did :P )
  • Riding across campus to find those spots and being in “Aww” of several spots across campus. ( Yeah! Morning rides were common back then )
  • That lengthy, rather boring gymkhana orientation and other speeches.

With a lot of enthusiasm, we began with our journey in IIT with the classic MA101. An entire class of students, possibly one of those few instances when the class had a very respectable attendance.

Would never forget the finger cut during the mechanical workshop, songs played during the boring Engineering Drawing Tutorial.

Throwback to the times when notes were written sincerely.

For the enthusiastic person I have been, orientations were the thing of interest.

  • Institute-wide treasure hunt. ( And the injuries people suffered coming down the viewpoint, ouch! )
  • Papers planes made during EDC orientation.
  • Random case study pitch during FEC orientation.
  • Drama performance.
  • Step-Up competition. ( Dig your phone memory, just in case you have a recording or photo of me dancing :P )
  • And finally, Mr& Ms Fresher. The forms, interviews and finale.
My scribbled notes filled with orientation dates, thanks to the absence of laptop and smartphone

The first quizzes were the first blow for many and Mid-semester exams were a reality check.
Before we could organise ourselves, we were plucked into the, how do I delicately put it, hmm, eventful Manthan. For all the troubles, Manthan brought us closer to a good number of hostel seniors.

By then several gangs were already formed in the campus. Some lobby based, some based on club activities, some on based on mutual connections and hometown. On the other extreme were those people, who had a trend of gang-hopping. It’s the coalition of various kinds of people, which made this journey a unique one in itself.

  • First Techniche and flash mob experience for some of us
  • First Diwali ( And all the lantern pics, which are part of a, continued, tradition ❤ )
  • End semester examinations ( And subsequent results, which, come on, let’s skip it )

The favorite saying of everyone — “ Agle sem phodenge”

  • Endless nights post dancing at Alcheringa
  • First trip with friends ( And thankfully many more, with the same set. Couldn’t ask for anything more than a constant presence )
  • Being busy in a few clubs and trying our hands at many other events as well.
  • My first Tasveer, Techevince and Chalchitra. All the last minute dramas associated with these events.

Returning home at the end of the first year, with a lot of excitement, hundreds of stories waiting to be told and also flaunting your IIT tag among school students to conduct Technothlon.

As mentioned earlier, this is just the introduction to our college life.

The last set of actions are crucial in the next stage of our cycle. The Growth phase.

Growth

The excitement to explore new activities and find your groove is the crucial phase.

Everyone has their waking call to make him/her realise that their life is losing direction and realise that they have to start seeking their interests and think in terms of career.

For me, it’s my grade card, leg break and turn of events.

This phase, back at that instant, was deemed, by self, as a decline but as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer (Red Devil fan here, so had to quote him :P )has recently quoted,

“Mountains are meant to be climbed”

A gradual change in the thought process was felt as everyone took up more Positions of responsibility, started applying for interns across domains.

More and more people got active across clubs, polished existing initiatives, started new initiatives.

For some, it might be at the start of the second year, or sometime later but this phase is something had happened.

Personal success stories are spread across domains.

  • Getting your first event organised.
  • Gathering a good number of freshers into teams.
  • Make that project of yours working.
  • Be part of a team at Inter IITs
  • Getting that internship under a professor.
  • Probably even getting improved grades.
  • Gaining clarity over career choices.

Once we have started gathering ourselves and are in relentless pursuit in achieving our targets, maybe that’s the point we see ourselves as a matured person than the one we started college as.

Maturity

A stage where one is familiar with processes of the institute, clarity on what happens till that point of college life and what might happen in upcoming years.

Cliched pic these days. Couldn’t resist flaunting.

You have locked in priorities, taken up responsibilities, working towards your aims.

You also see countless of your batchmates who are still finding their ground.

You see aspiring juniors being clueless about next steps.

This is another stage of college life, where one is compassionate about personal growth as well as returning something to others.

  • Personally, one is active in pursuing his/her interests, gathering contacts, seeking opportunities for taking the next step of life.
  • Internship session has seen the entire batch of students work to get one and even help each other in connecting relevant opportunities. This is an act of maturity.
  • Being a mentor to juniors at club, hostel or in general as well and guiding them and accelerating their growth.

And finally, the seventh semester.

I can’t even start speaking about what a phase, the seventh semester is for most of the students. You found students rushing through the coding practice, getting their SOP right. Acing exams, be it placement tests or GRE/TOEFL. It was high time for people to act maturely.

Amidst all these emotions, another emotion was slowly creeping into the hearts of most. The emotion of countdown to end of B.Tech life. Every event was the last time it was happening for us on campus. Be it Diwali, Techniche, birthday and absolutely any event, it was #OneLastTime.

Everyone was everyone’s friend. Some took time for coding lectures, some opted for CAT lessons. Everyone supported one and another as people ran across the lobbies of Umiam grabbing resume copies of students, who they might have probably not even met until the night before.

Gradually many of them secured their respective jobs/admits and thus started the last semester.

Decline

While growth stage left us with a huge number of contacts right from seniors we were comfortable with by then and incoming freshers who knew us as that senior from this club/fest, the final semester greets you with so many unfamiliar faces.

The senior known faces are now gone, the junior faces now in their own stages of college life and an entirely alienated batch of freshers. Maybe that’s when one realises that his/her time at college is over and their place at respective clubs has been properly taken over by those bunch of juniors whom, we have been guiding all these years.

It’s a moment of pride to see juniors take charge but also we prepare for the final stage of college life. Probably one of the hardest phases for completely unique reasons.

A stage of decline in terms of involvement in campus activities, a stage where it’s all Deja Vu hitting us all around.

  • Photos of #JabHumFaccheThe showing us how far we have come.
  • The shoot of batch song and all the photos clicked along with your hostel and department friends.
  • Every event signalling the inevitable end to this college life.
  • All the poses and photos we have clicked during GTP.
IIT Guwahati B.Tech & B.Des 2015–2019. Picture Credits: Montage
  • The cheers and hoots during the performances at Finalis Resonare.
  • Mockery in the department farewell.
  • All the strategies, attempts and success in getting a ball date :P
  • Last minute save of your BTP and courses.
  • That last trip with your friends.
  • That last club meeting.
  • That last tea at Khokha.
  • That last visit to the Ghat.
  • That last visit to the classes/departments.
  • That last class.
  • That last No Dues signature ( Oh God! )
  • That last trip to New SAC.
  • That last time you played your sport.
  • That last time you sat at your spot near the lakes.
  • That last stroll along the roads of this campus.
  • That last exam. (And realising there is no — “Agle sem phodenge” )

All these last culminate into a huge set of emotions.

Now it’s time.

First, it was the juniors, whom we have started to share a brotherly bond, now all grown up and flying for their interns, only to be seen again, Next time!

Gradually, we had the address the elephant in the room, saying goodbye to our friends.

  • The bunch of friends, you have spent your college life with.
  • The bunch of people who have seen your best and worst.
  • The bunch of people who have helped you at times and mocked during the rest.

Everyday bumping into individuals, we know, probably just by name, and have passed by them, without even realising it was the last time.

Running to other hostels early in the morning just to bid goodbye.

Tears flowed, Vows were made.

  • A weird feeling of not returning to the room which has hosted you for the past few years.
  • A weird feeling of not waking up the entire lobby once again to reach the morning tutorial.
  • A weird feeling of not having your usual mess buddies to crib about the mess food.
  • A weird feeling of not receiving a text — “Chalo Khokha”
  • A weird feeling of going to Khokha and not bumping into the usual crowd.
  • A weird feeling of not addressing juniors at club meetings.
  • A weird feeling of returning to lobby at night only to find it empty.

As much of a relief, staying back for a few days to bid goodbye has been, probably leaving early to avoid the above feelings seems like a better alternative.

But it’s our way to only look forward.

These goodbyes aren’t an end to all the relationships we have built over time.

Ek dassap toh Banta hai :P
  • To all the seniors who have guided us, bye for now.
  • To all the juniors who bugged us, bye for now.
  • To all the abroad flying batchmates, bye for now.
  • To all the India resident batchmates, bye for now.

As I leave college, it’s time to say goodbye to all the memories, places and people, but it’s only goodbye, until next time.

Signing Off

Sasank Gurajapu| Sassy| Sassu| Sasudii| GoPro| (and many other names :P)

150108034

IIT Guwahati

Batch of 2019

I look forward to the next topic which interests me.