Transitioning from an advanced western international school to a tiny local, virtually unknown polytechnic was interesting to say the least. I quickly found out that I was not their target demographic. Why my parents decided to enrol me there is a long story. But in hindsight, a good choice. The first few weeks were gruelling. Imagine the Shawshank Redemption. Well not that much. But still similar and less dramatic. I was very obviously different from everyone else. I couldn't speak their language which was probably the most frustrating part. For me and for the other students since I only spoke in english, which they didn't know. Long story, short, there was tension. Jealousy and envy were also mixed in a bit.
But all this was expected even before I joined. I learnt Tamil very quickly and started talking to everyone I came across. My Tamil was hilariously broken but I guess was sort of quirky because the others appreciated me trying. I quickly made friends, friends who I still hang out with. Made a good name for myself with the teachers and admins. I had a strong work ethic and was very experienced with electric projects. So that was sort of an advantage.
All the subjects were objective oriented and practically approachable, which I truly admired. I took advantage of all that I could. Soon I started participating and winning all sorts of competitions. Paper presentations, symposiums, seminars, project competitions and much more. This is were I overcame my stage fright and learnt be a good orator. I totally owe my speaking skills to this phase of my life.
Fast forward to the final year and I was very experienced with all that the college had to offer. I worked on a few projects that would directly benefit the college. Everyone in the college new me. Or at least my name. That's something that I'm truly surprised about. It was straight out of a movie. Literally every single person in the college knew who I was. Every time I go from one place to another, it was very common to hear greetings from at 5-10 people.
Since, before joining the college, during admissions, I found out that they gave a gold medal award to the best outgoing student. Right at that moment I had decided to make this my goal for the next 3 years. Do everything in my power to win that gold medal. That was my only objective. Everything I did since then was directly to achieve that goal. The Gold Medal for Best Outgoing Student is given to students with a well rounded skillset. So I started doing better in studies, participated in many (way too many) extra and co curricular activities. I even got selected for the college basketball team. We won the divisional championship 2 years in a row. Then I left the team in my final year to concentrate on other things.
In the end, all my efforts paid off. I had won the Gold Medal. It was my greatest achievement of my life at the time. I made my parents proud and reached the goal I had set 3 years earlier. My work here was done. It was time to move on to the next phase of my career.