Students queuing up under the scorching summer sun for admission into Delhi University (DU) colleges have a bewildering task on hand with labyrinthine formalities, but help is never far as former students are there to guide them.
Whether it's for the feel-good factor or for giving back something to their alma mater in return for all that they have received from it, a lot of ex-students of the university are sweating it out on the information desks set up at various centres of DU in a bid to help freshers and their parents in the admission procedure.
Sonam Sahni, for instance, is one of the many who sit at the information desk of DU's north campus where the admission forms are distributed.
A pass-out of the university, Sahni is at present pursuing her masters in business administration (MBA) from the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. So what makes her come back to the university to help the new students?
"When I came for my admission to DU four years back, my father and I felt completely lost. We had to keep asking people for direction and by the time we reached a college the counter for submitting the form would have closed. Thus we had to keep coming for days altogether just for the submission of forms," Sahni said.
An active member of the students union in her Bharati College, Sahni used to put in her best to listen to the freshers' problems and to help them settle down in the university.
"Helping students and their parents find their way through the campus, answering their queries and receiving a smile and a simple thanks at the end - for me that means a lot. It gives me satisfaction. Moreover, I can understand exactly what they are going through because I have been through the same stage earlier," she said.
Like her, Gargi Lakhanpal is also a pass-out of the university and has volunteered to help newcomers. Standing in the sun and explaining the common admission form to a parent, she seems to mind neither the heat nor the repeated queries.
"I am pursuing law studies and my holidays are on, so I decided to volunteer to help the new students in the admission process because I know exactly what these students are going through - I have been through the same," Lakhanpal said.
Ask what she derives from all this and pat comes the reply "self-satisfaction".
"These students are freshly out of school and are at times lost as to which course or which college to opt for. Since we have been through this phase, it feels good to guide them," she added.
"For all that the university has given me, education and all the good times, this is the least that I can do for it," said Surender Singh, another ex-DU student who is working with an advertising firm.
"There's nothing like interacting with young people and helping them out. It's a feel-good factor," he added.
The new students are happy with the help.
"I feel more comfortable interacting with the former students than with the officials. They understand my problems better, give me an honest answer to all my queries and are all ears to my problems," said Neha Sethi of Chandigarh who is here for her admission with her mother.
Amit Goswami of Dehradun said, "Since they have been through this stage they sometimes give examples from their own experience whether it is the choice of subjects or of college, providing a great help to us."
Talking about the active participation of the former students in helping out the new students Vikas Dahiya, vice president of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) said, "Lots of students in the union who are involved in helping the students, dealing with their problems and handling their matters day in and day out, come back to help even after they have passed out.
"Some even take leave from their jobs for it. A lot of students who are studying at DU volunteer as well. At the end this collaborative effort helps in the smooth conduct of the admission affair with minimum problems for the freshers".