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Worrying about not getting into a good college will not help you! You have to find ways that can help you in achieving your dreams by overcoming all the disadvantages you get from getting into not so good college. Here are a few things you can do once you enter your first year of engineering! Read the full article as at the end Balaji Vishwanathan has shared his experience of Engineering that will definitely help you.

How to make the most of your college:

  1. Identify your college's strong suits: You don't need to move closer to the Sun to get solar energy. There is sufficient energy available on the surface, only if you can convert that to a usable form. That is up to you. Find out the pockets of strength in your college [location, professors, partnerships, alumni], and focus on how you can convert that strength to your advantage.
  2. Have a goal: What are you after? Is it placement at a top company or higher studies or starting your own company? Pick one and stick to it. The more options you try to keep, the more confused and inefficient you will be. And none of the top goals require you to have a top-rated degree.
  3. Focus on creation: While you want to get the theory foundations, remember that most of the engineering book material for a semester can be studied in 10 days [most do that]. Look to focus the rest of the time on building stuff - that's what engineers do. Cut out the peer pressure and build - robots and interesting gadgets. It is those creations that will make you stand out.
  4. Attend competitions: I had been to many of the top institutions in India to participate in tech contests. Such contests help you get closer to your smart peers and can teach you more than any professor can.
  5. Be a wild plant: A plant in your home needs constant pampering from you. A plant in the wild doesn't need that attention. Be street smart and grow the internal confidence of a wild plant that doesn't need watering.

The best thing you should do in Engineering!
No matter which engineering branch or college you are studying, you should be working with Raspberry Pi or Arduino or a related single-chip computer and get your hands dirty building things [Raspberry Pi Projects]. Work in teams of 2-3 where one is more strong in the hardware and another is more strong on the software.

Keep building stuff. Engineers create stuff. If you are not creating new stuff [such as new circuits or new software on Github or interesting robots] you are not an engineer. No matter which college you go to. And if you keep creating interesting stuff, you are an engineer, no matter which college you go to.

In the days of Github and Raspberry Pi, you have zero excuses for complaining about studying in a "low ranked" engineering college. You can have an insane global network in these places for building and showing. 

A short story of Balaji Vishwanathan where he has shared his experience of engineering!

Dear Students,
I was pumped up at the start of my college. I had quotes and news clips of Sabeer Bhatia everywhere and wanted to build a great tech startup. Napoleon Hill’s words and stories like Sabeer’s were quite influential. My Chemistry professor used to pull my leg saying new brooms sweep hard. I enrolled in almost everything - from helping professors proofread books to getting photocopies of relevant material [I made a very profitable business undercutting the campus Xerox shop].

In the second sem, I focused primarily on programming and I got a few honors in the department competitions. That was the time Dr. Abdul Kalam came to our college and we got to present him an idea [of an anti-ballistic missile that would use neural networks to learn input patterns and plan trajectory]. In the 3 years since then, I focused primarily on neural networks, genetic algorithms, and programming. 

The third sem went fairly ordinary - practicing Java and building Generic Algorithms samples and in the fourth sem, we topped the department programming contests - the qualifiers for the prestigious ACM programming contests. 

The 5th and 6th semesters were the best of the lot. We went to the ACM ICPC Asia Regionals at Dhaka and got an Honorable Mention there. The Bangladesh trip was life-changing but quite disappointed not to make it to the world finals and dropped ACM preparation from then. Worked on various research ideas that got me multiple medals from IEEE, IE, and IEE. It was in my 6th sem [Feb 2003] I got to meet Dr. Kalam at Rashtrapati Bhavan for 1:1 meetings. 

In 7th sem, got to publish a couple of conference papers and won a bunch of quiz competitions. I was among the 12 Asians nominated for Young Inventors Awards by HP and later got a summer fellowship to build on that idea at IISc Bangalore. A classmate of mine and I started a political group called the Kalam Youth Movement and started having competitions at the college level to get people interested in social issues. Later the Principal was concerned about the name movement and got us to change it to a more insipid Planning Forum. 

We hope that this article will give you a sigh of relief if you had any fear of getting into a bad college and now you are pretty much clear on your next steps!  

- Learn Real Engineering!

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