A Day In The Life Of An IIM Shillong Student
When I got an admission to an IIM, my only source of information was Chetan Bhagat’s Two States. And I couldn’t be any more disillusioned. While the idea of finding love in a hopeless place sounds exciting, few get the opportunity, or rather, the time to pursue such interests. Here is a glimpse of an average student’s daily itinerary.
8:00 AM – I have only one regret in life, that I didn’t sleep enough in my previous life. Every morning the corridors resonate with alarm ringtones. Wake Up Sid should have a sequel of sleep-deprived MBA students struggling to get up. What works for us is that the first person to get up ensures others are up too. We have a no-lock policy, and it works well for us. Nobody misses class because somebody surely woke them up. It’s a part of the bro code. Look out for your section people. Wake them up.
8:30 AM – Breakfast is not an option. It is a mandate. The classes are tough, the weather is cold. You need the energy. So, we stuff ourselves with idlis, parathas, upma whatever is the menu of the day. My peers are pretty health conscious and choose diet variants with fruits and cornflakes. I am happy with a large butter jam sandwich.
8:59 AM – I have never participated in any sports day event, and suddenly find myself running at undiscovered speeds towards the class. At strict 9, the door closes, and the attendance sheet will have a sad blank by my name. Attendance is a big thing in MBA colleges.
Every Class is 1.5 hours long. Some of them seem short, and some of them infinitely long, the theory of relativity you see. Also, the length definitely seems directly proportional to how hungry you are. We get a break of 15 minutes between classes which is our golden time. Depending on how busy we are, we use it to discuss college gossip, have a cup of tea, go through pre-reads or collate PPTs. It is also a good time to go deposit laundry and finish other menial chores. I also do my side-reading on my beloved Kindle during this time.
6:00 PM – By this time, we are drained and would trade our soul for a bed. Luckily it’s tea-time and we can forget our miseries while we drown ourselves in the snacks. The next part of the day is spent on club/committee work. There is always an event coming up that needs to be taken care of, always an article to be written. However, I don’t really mind the work on most days.
The ‘M’ in MBA could be for meetings. There are so many! Study group meetings, club meetings, competition meetings! This has a super positive side too- you know everyone. Everyone is on at least Hi-hello terms. You are always paired up with someone or the other, and hence the whole family thing is even more closely strung.
Sleep is a luxury, truly. However, the hours you are up for are actually fulfilling. There is a sense of achievement in spending hours over a PPT and then be appreciated by the teacher for it. Learning, when we spend hours planning the next club event. The thing that keeps us going is that all of us are in this together. We are huddled up together in our legacy hoodies, uniformly united (pun intended)
And we find a way to do things. Going to Neef and Dorema (our favourite food joints) and working over steaming hot momos or soul soup, are memories that I will cherish all my life.
By 12, we are weary but determined. The Night Canteen fuels us. Chai pe Charcha is the driving force that keeps us going. There are always assignments to submit, and pre-reads to devour. Most of us have little notebooks or apps to make our to-do lists. My favourite thing in the world is a list of all ticks. It is therapeutic and is the papyrus equivalent of Xanax.
We have made a truce with the prereads though, most of them are Harvard cases and are a delight to read. Some of them I don’t understand, but my finance enthusiast friends seem to like. So, I guess one man’s food IS another man’s poison.
The weekends are more relaxed, however, we do have pending work to be done. However, we can choose our pace. If we had worked hard enough during the week, the weekend is about trips and sightseeing. There are hills to see, lakes to enjoy and wind to catch in your hair. You are in the North-east, the most beautiful seven sisters you would ever meet.
If you love food and charming cafes as much I do, you will be spoilt for choices.
If you are an indoors person and don’t want to go out- you don’t have to! Clubs and committees ensure that you have the whole experience here. Every festival is celebrated. As I write this, I cannot wait for Dahi – Handi, one of the first festivities to be conducted in the new academic year. A human pyramid, and Bollywood dance tracks. It’s the day when 360 people become one.
Then there will be the events. Marketing, Operations, Finance, HR, Environment – all the clubs spend a lot of time coming up with fun versions of concepts. Together, we make it work.
Committees make our MBA life as comfortable as possible. Hostel Committee brings out little surprises like Sunday Biryani. Cultural Committee ensures no festival is left uncelebrated and those little game and movie nights. Sports Committee manages to engage non-sports enthusiasts like me too. We have our IPL version of Cricket and football.
IIM Shillong is a verb, it is constantly buzzing with activity. Everyone is always doing something. However, that little something that they do is what makes them the amazing managers that they wanted to be.
I could have written a little more, but I realized I miss my buddies too much, so instead, I am going to call them and count days till we are back in IIM Shillong together.
That is what a day in IIM Shillong feels like, the feeling of belonging, the feeling of longing for Shillong.
About the Author:
Sanchari Das (Class of 2018)