Like the American dream, we have one for all the engineers here, in India. The grand IIT dream. Pratik Patra and Prashant Raj’s Netflix Original ‘Alma Matters: Inside The IIT Dream‘ takes you on a journey into the lives of the students who are living this dream.
It leaves you with some hard-hitting truths about the glorified lives of the aspiring engineers living in IIT.
Every year, more than 15 lakhs of students sit for the IIT JEE entrance exams, out of which only about ten thousand students get in.
Here are some of the reality checks and life lessons that the Netflix original documentary The IIT aspirants highlight in their 3 episodes, that every IIT aspirant should be prepared for.
It’s Okay To Not Have Your Life Figured Out
Most of us have this preconceived notion, that once you get into IIT, you will have everything figured out. You will have your future figured out, with a placement ready for you at the end of your 5-year course. But this docu-series shows how simply delusional the notion is.
Getting into IIT is not the destination, it’s just the beginning. After you get in and make your entry into the world of the vast but limited world of the college, you are allotted your engineering departments, not on the basis of your preference.
So after living with a dream of becoming a mechanical engineer tucked under your pillow for all your teenage years, you might just be allotted into something completely different like the agricultural department.
So when the bubble of delusion pops, and you realise that you don’t actually know which path your career and your life will steer to, it might just stun you for a good while. But guess what? It’s okay. You are not alone and you will make it through.
You Will Have To Prioritise Your Mental Health
Mental health and a stark suicide rate inside the IIT is something really important that Pratik Patra and Prashant Raj bring up in their documentation.
With a student population so high and a pressure so intense, as on the IIT campus, mental health is often severely neglected.
The only way to get through deteriorating mental health in this isolated world is to find comfort and friendship in like-minded people.
On the other hand, you will also have to keep an attentive eye out for the people around you, and take notice of the little things, so that you can extend help before someone slips into the abyss of depression.
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In a place where competitiveness is at its peak, you have to remember that nothing comes with a worth more than your life, and that’s the ultimate truth.
The Gender Bias
IIT is not without its vice of sexism and gender bias. The students talk about how the gender ratio in the campus is 1:9 and the girls are grossly outnumbered.
The domination in the campus is not just in number, but in influence as well. In the history of IIT, there hasn’t been a single woman Vice President elected in the Kharagpur campus, let alone a candidate who has won.
So before you step into the gates of IIT, be prepared with a voice to raise and a will to fight, because the sexism inside is as real as it is on the outside.
You Are Not Alone
The rat race of placements is extremely daunting. The branding of IIT that we see in different media is very different from the truth. And the truth is that a seat in IIT does not guarantee you a placement in a high-profile company.
CGPA matters. Your effort matters. Your dedication matters. But confidence trumps all.
What you need to keep in mind is, you are not alone. You never are. Everyone is struggling. So if they can make it through, you will too.
It Is An Experience Of A Lifetime
Despite all the struggles and pressures that come with being an IITian, the privilege and the experience makes it worthwhile.
The friendships, the fests, the extra-curricular activities, the vast campus, the competition, the exams, the pressure of placements, everything comes together to give you an experience of a lifetime.
The point of the entire documentary is to show that IIT is as difficult as fun and enriching it is. So in case you are yet to fulfill your IIT dream, watch this 3 episode documentary, to prepare yourself for the journey ahead.
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