“Survival of the fittest” is a phrase from Darwinian evolutionary theory. Natural selection is an idea which says that only the species that adapt to the environment the fastest will survive in the longer run. In our currently condescending world, it’s evident that this phrase is tossed about a lot and, undoubtedly, in reference to other people.
But there is merit to it. The degree of adaptability to the current environment is what differentiates all 107 of the new students from one another. What does it take to adjust to the rigours of academia and to the obvious intensity of input required in IIM Amritsar?
I was out of depth from the very first week, what with assignments, committee tasks and the low rumblings of already forming a political atmosphere. But it would have been a mistake to talk about feeling inadequate. Fitting in is the top priority when you are in college with some of the smartest folks in a country of 1.2 billion. Any misgivings, any oddity, and ‘justice’ would be delivered in one fell swoop, a declaration by a group, independent of individuals. You would be a social pariah, an outcast. But is this attitude sustainable? The coming month had insights to offer to change this unsustainable competition.
The first month at IIM Amritsar taught us, among other things, about fortitude and perseverance. On day three (mind, by which time we didn’t even know the name of the block we lived in and had to point it out instead), we were called for a resume presentation, which happened after 12 in the night. Now, this was in complete contrast to how most people would have been living their life before joining here. A presentation? To our peers who we have known for only three days? That too about our ‘achievements’? Some of us were raging at the rationality, or the lack thereof, of this ‘proposal’ and others, were too numb from the days work to comprehend anything. Despite all this, each one of us came out from the room, more learned and expectant. Requirements to study in an IIM is not just intelligence but primarily fortitude and perseverance.
The essence of fitting in to be the fittest lies in the fact that to make a change you need to be a part of the change. The camaraderie that this institute fosters is owed only to the crucible like the pressure that the workings of this institute present to students. And you can gauge this camaraderie to be strong because it has overcome the hindrance of unhealthy cut-throat competition, initially, vibes of which had the boldest of us turn timid. The catalyst to this change – the shift from base politics to working as a unit – was owed also in part, to the how our senior batch portrayed themselves. As one organism. One unit, moving coherently. Our batch was perceptive to this portrayal.
The first few months at IIM Amritsar have been very educative. Human nature is what’s hardest to change. But it can be moulded. There is no better place to mould oneself than one where people have come to be a better version of themselves. To get rid of complacency and arrogance, to imbibe continuous hard work, to push boundaries and to pull each and everyone up. This is the goal. This is what we are vying for. And this is what will make our fraternity a lauded one.