I Read and Watched Everything English!

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Thinking of the past two months is like rewinding a video at 8x. I remember practising cooking rice and dal, frantically reading every English novel, story, essay that came my way (everything from Shakespeare to poems of Oscar Wilde to articles of Jack the Ripper), packing up woollen clothes that would be fit for an Artcic expedition, watching BBC so much that even my dad started thinking about my need to know more about the world, re-revising every chapter in maths, researching about every king and queen that ruled over Britain, looking up ecs blogs on a daily basis, getting spoiled by my whole bunch of relatives and family and just daydreaming how this experience would be. Trust me, I never realized it would be this fun!!!

It wasn’t that easy at first. After an 11 hour flight when I had to stand in a queue of over 400 students to register at Heathrow Airport, where people were pushing and elbowing each other out of the way, I felt more like a rugby game. Then the things that particularly struck me here are: The usage of the word ‘Cheers’, everyone uses it for everything here! Every food packet may contain traces of nuts. Every door is a fire door and must always be kept locked. There are elevators with floors-2,-1,0,1,2 and all these floors are above the ground level. Then you get up in the morning you find the sun shining happily and by the time you are out of doors, there’s heavy rain outside.

Yes, I had a fair amount of culture shock. But in spite of that my transition from a convent school life in India to that of a British university has been quite smooth. The international week (ie. the first week here) was amazing. There were seminars, talks, activities, quizzes, to know more of the UK and the people around you and lots and lots of free food and freebies. Then we had the Jumpstart! We explored the whole of the city, went to meet the mayor without a prior appointment, serenaded an elderly person in a pub (much to his amazement),took pictures of undergarments, photoshopped almost every picture we took, met our seniors and most importantly we got to know our tutorial mates and future best friends.

I think Jumpstart easily captured the spirit of ECS-it’s bizarre but you love it. You are expected to play hard and study hard. It’s a mind-blowing challenge that you are expected to know things even though the lecturers never mentioned it. Some of you might say-Shouldn’t you complain, they didn’t teach you? Well, to them I have to say-once you’ve seen the undergraduates, postgraduates and professors come together and passionately discuss their fields of interest, research or projects and hear them argue about whether html 5 is better than javascript, whether java has more features or the family of c with a mad glint in their eyes and realize they all know at least ten programming languages whose names you haven’t even encountered yet, then you suddenly receive the divine enlightenment that there is so much more for you to know and time is running out. I feel like Tennyson’s Ulysses, most of times I encounter my course mates

“I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro’
Gleams that untravell’d world whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.”

And even though the feeling is frightening, it is tremendously inspiring ….

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

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