Haritha Prasad after completing her engineering interned at IIIT-Hyderabad. During internship – besides her days of enjoyment, parties, and a beautiful campus – she learned things and recognized her potential. Read on to explore Haritha’s internship experience.
My regular quick skim through my mails never used to lock me on a thought to participate in a contest announced in them. This one, the two little words ‘internship story’ , made me pause. I could not stop myself from reading what this is going to be. Finally, I decided to share mine too, as life is just one and if something is so close to your heart, why not speak about it?
My internship started soon after my college, 2013 June. Feeling like an Engineer from Kerala’s well reputed college, and having finished all the exams and viva, I went to this ‘geekland’ after couple of interviews, that I could manage to clear with the spoon-fed knowledge from classrooms. It was onset of monsoon, I made myself ready to enjoy two months in IIIT-Hyderabad with my childhood friends, out of which one was already pursuing his masters from the same institute. Grand shopping and pocket money offered by parents hearing the big name “International Institute of Information Technology,” first flight journey, freedom! This was abundant enough for me to be excited.
Expecting hi-fi glass buildings and gigantic constructions suiting the name, I found a huge green park with hundreds of trees and so many dogs that behaved so trained and loving, and lovely park benches, roads, small cafeterias, juice shops, and not-so-old looking buildings. I felt it like a holiday home. I probably entered internship in the wrong time that there was no one in the campus and hostel, as I had to stay alone in one floor of the hostel.
After settling down with the accommodation and other primary needs, my friend took me to the cafeteria. Every one and the other whom I met had thick glasses, and looked like miniatures of those old professors in pictures to me. Everyone asked me the same question “Who is your mentor?” and I would reply my professors name. I could recognize the similar sympathy in everyone’s face for me wherever I answered for it and it did not take time to realize the reason.
Man of knowledge: I do not want to name him, but I met him there. “What a man,” I whispered to myself. First day he called me and asked me to build a dictionary. With the experience of somehow passing programming exam by-hearting the code, and making project centre do the annual projects (that is how most of the colleges in Kerala are!), I was given the first shock of life. He told me, it would take hardly one day and wanted me to meet him the same time, next day. I saw unaffected people, with those same soda glasses pitying on me thinking I would need one whole day for such a small task ;) “Java” was just a safe, object oriented language for me before…and then I realised those dialogs will help us only in answer papers.
Java Days – I ran to my friend who was in the speech lab, I sat blank. I did not know how to explain my situation to him. But having seen me as a kid, he understood the facts. He helped me manage for the day with the dictionary, and asked me to study how he made the dictionary. It took me one week to understand what he did in a day. Days and nights, stuck in the lab. Access to facebook, phone, everything was irritating and time wasting to me. It was all the IIIT intranet, java tutorials and unicode scripting in my head. One week broke the ice, and then started the fire. Slowly I started learning.
Days of confidence – It was hard to stay without knowledge among such a group. Had to know something about everything, whether it be politics or TV series, everyone knew deep about everything. Days were hard and as I entered the track, I started enjoying to the fullest. While someone sitting right next to me makes his computer act according to his gestures using his code, I was struggling to make two normal words separated, and still was satisfied thinking of the level of improvement I had. The little I did, I was asked for more and more everyday.
Night life: As the count of girls were less among the interns, couple of boys chose me to ‘ask for dinner’. Geekiness and Naughtiness do not go well with some. Yes, the way one person asked me to go out for dinner still reminds me of Raj, in The Big Bang Theory ;) There were naughty ones too, but I was all occupied with my childhood friends. We went out for every dinner, the street food, chats (especially dahi puri and pani puri), the malayali mess kairali which served spicy fish curry, puttu and dosa, the green meru cabs, night parties, paradise biriyani, 4seasons chicken and chilled beer, everything will remain a cherished memory in me.
Learning – I was learning so much even without me realizing that. Every Friday presentation to the professor was a terror. He could accept nothing less than 100% perfection. Working on Malayalam script, I did not have an option to ask other interns as I was the only one who knew Malayalam and everyone else could just see Jalebis in the language. So self struggle, with great guidance from my friend and mentor helped me through the time.
Campus of love: Everywhere at night I could locate lovebirds from different places who met during internships. The nature supports it so well that anyone would fall in love, being in IIIT. Three of us used to sit whole night watching ‘Friends’ and ‘Modern Family’ and when stressed so much with work, watched pathetic Malayalam jokes and laughed for no reason. We had fun observing the love birds too.
Food: Mess here was really different. They served ragi, dates, lime juice, oil less rotis, fruits and vegetables.They had other North Indian and South Indian mess separately, but this mess was very healthy and different, but of course enjoyed one could enjoy this only for a few days.
Everyday there made me realize my ignorance and every moment there made me realize my potential. No second opinion, every computer science student in India should try to get into IIIT, as nothing can make you self equipped than putting yourself into the situation, and learning things on your own. IIIT provided me every possible facility, and gave me deadlines and targets. There was no compromise for learning and work. There was no less of perfection expected. IIIT gave me an awesome experience, and had let me fly.
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