IIIT Hyderabad operates a unique mode of entry for its Dual Degree Programme. The Lateral Entry (LE) mode allows students to be admitted directly into the second year of a dual degree programme.
After an entrance exam and gruelling interviews amidst a waning pandemic, 16 students were selected; 12 for Computer Science (LCD) and 4 for Electronics (LED) for the 2020 batch.
Our first introduction to the institute as students was in an orientation session. It was a simple online meet with the Director, Dean of Academics, and other key figures from the administration. They congratulated us and welcomed us to the IIIT fraternity. This session was held two days before the classes began. Most of the time in between was spent setting up accounts, installing apps, and trying to make sense of the unorganized dump of information that is the intranet.
Our first class at IIIT was Probability and Statistics. Some of the topics were familiar, but the environment was not. A peculiar thing that you get used to is the quick answers and thoughtful questions from other students.
An interesting observation that stood out in all course lectures was the fact that the whole process was significantly smoother than our previous institutes. IIIT really seemed to have figured out how to efficiently run online classes, at least to a certain extent.
IIIT has a very small community. It’s like living in a small town. A side effect of this is that it is not uncommon to see the same people in wildly different contexts. The versatility that some people have here can be intimidating at first but also very inspiring once you get used to it.
The best way to meet new people, especially online, is through clubs. There are clubs available for a fairly wide variety of activities. Art, Singing, Dancing, Literature, Languages are just some of the options available. They are student-operated and without any restrictions, so everyone is welcome to join. With so many different options and some organizing events quite frequently, it’s not too difficult to find someone who matches your interest.
One of the most significant ways in which IIIT differs from most institutes is its in-depth curriculum. This translates to a very intensive workload throughout the semester for the students. Add to that the fact that the pandemic has made traditional evaluation methods infeasible; most courses placed a very high weightage on the assignments. What this meant was that instead of a couple of high-stress weeks during the mid and end semester exams, we had a complete semester of high stress.
The constant deadlines coupled with being thrown into a completely new environment made it a very exhausting experience. Thankfully, the TAs were very accommodating with deadline extensions and patient with answering queries.
Group projects were also an important respite from working and suffering alone. It was a great way to work with our peers and get to know them more. With the usual hangout options not possible online, projects provided an opportunity to meet some new people.
Our journey here has just begun with (at least) 3 years remaining. One of the things we are most excited about is actually seeing the campus. Some of the people living in Hyderabad have already seen it on visits, and some are living there already, but those of us not in the vicinity are yet to experience the pleasure. We are definitely the first students in IIIT’s history to have started the third year of our programme without having even seen the campus.
Things are starting to look up though, and hopefully, next semester, we can finally experience the academic and cultural life at IIIT without staring at rectangles of light.
Editors: Pratishtha Abrol, Abhigyan Ghosh