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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014
The big college picture
Anwesha Padhy, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 16, 2014
First Published: 13:46 IST(16/7/2014)
Last Updated: 13:50 IST(16/7/2014)

Some debates never get old.  If you, like me, have grown up in Delhi, there is a fair chance that you have heard of a certain debate that takes the city by storm every year around July The ‘best college’ debate .

This fuss over one’s institute  something which I could not understand earlier. However, today when I am on the verge of entering college, I can well identify with this sentiment. All we CJs are already experiencing this sense of belonging. And this is when we have just secured our admission and not even started college. All our discussions these days are centered on highlighting the ‘qualities’ of our respective colleges.

We had all visited our respective colleges to complete the huge amount of paperwork that officially gave us the ‘student’ status, but the excitement and anxiety in that moment perhaps did not allow us to adequately relish our experience. So, in order to prevent chaos at the meetings and to get a real sense of the colleges, we decided to visit the DU campus together.

The idea of exclusiveness that has so long surrounded the Delhi University necessitated for all of us campus journalists to have a long list of expectations prior to the visit. The crowd, the canteens, the various extra-curricular clubs and societies, the sports facilities, alumni - everything has been so immensely glorified by our seniors, that all of us felt a burning need to go experience it all first hand.

And the experience was nothing like we had imagined it to be. It was more, much more. Rishabh being the big foodie that he is, first of all dragged us to the canteen at SRCC to check out their famed ‘paneer cutlet’. Little did we know it was only the beginning, as the day progressed we sampled the food of as many as eight college canteens!

Hopping from one college to another, we checked out the infrastructure of various colleges. Parnika, Yusra and I tried to figure which college had the most stylish freshers. But it seems students these days take their dressing sense too seriously, because everyone we saw was perfectly dressed. Apoorv, being the only one to not be joining DU took great pleasure in telling us how engineering colleges are cooler. But at five versus one, he never really stood a chance.

We met many other  students like us. And when we spoke to them, the common refrain was that they were living their dream, that a desire they had cherished since childhood was finally being fulfilled.

I know  what that feels like! I sure do hope that in the years to come, we will be active participants in the ‘best college’ debate, and perhaps tilt the needle in favour of our respective colleges!

Parnika Singhal, St Thomas’ School

Funky festivals of music

So my fellow CJs are debating over various aspects that influence their choice of the college. However, little do they know that rocking college fests are what make the college unique.

Picture a cold winter evening, crimson and teal lights and deafening beats. One man is performing on stage, like a fireball. Innumerable enthusiastic spectators are dancing to every line and singing along every stanza. Cries of joy, praise and ecstasy are releasing an almost magical energy.  Camera flashes are trying to capture this moment for posterity - for, alas, in a few hours, the moment shall be gone. This is what college fests are like! And these fests are the most talked about events on campuses.  Be it actors, singers, DJs and VJs these fests are always invariably star studded events. Last year Crossroads (SRCC fest) witnessed the presence of Shaan and Nikhil Chinapa. On the other hand, Mika Singh had performed a string of peppy numbers at Renaissance (the KMC fest). Food is another attraction at these fests and there is something for every palate and pocket. Pushing one’s limits and a spirit of adventure is the unpronounced but inherent essence of all these college fests.  The lawns are packed with numerous fun events like slow race, paintball, wall climbing etc. With fashion shows, western dances, medleys and  street dances the fests guarantee entertainment and excitement full throttle.

Rishabh Suri, Ramjas School

Mega bytes of food and life for remembrance

After a cool crowd, good, hygienic food is the second-most important thing you look for in a college. Canteen food is a huge draw in terms of the overall popularity of the college. 

St  Stephen’s College has a ‘cafeteria’ with an amazing ambience (don’t dare to call it a canteen), famous for mince cutlets. The steaming hot spring rolls at the spacious canteen of Hansraj College is a huge hit. In the South Campus, Lady Shri Ram College rules in the canteen department. It offers the best non-vegetarian options. However, it’s not just the chicken-lover who enjoys the food here — vegetarians also have a wide variety to choose from. Meeting friends, completing notes, exchanging news (read as gossip) and not to forget dating, are on the list too. The most creative minds are at work in canteens, be it the drummer who practices with spoons and plates or an amateur poet who scribbles on the canteen tissues! The canteen is undoubtedly the busiest corner on the campus. It can be rightly called the lifeline of a college. Long live canteens - the food paradise, where you can meet, eat and celebrate the best years of your life!

Yusra Hasan, Mater Dei School

The north south debate

The ‘north campus versus south campus’ debate has been plaguing Delhi University aspirants since time immemorial. The north campus is considered  the ‘most happening’ place of Delhi University on account of several reasons.  Firstly it houses a number of top colleges such as St Stephen’s, SRCC, Hansraj, Hindu and Miranda House . These colleges are in the same area, which obviously augments the overall campus life. On the other hand the south campus has Lady Shri Ram College to vouch for its enviable campus life. LSR occupies the first position in almost every list.

The ‘better transportation’ debate, again goes in favour of  north campus since the south campus colleges are scattered.

The sphere of shopping has tough competition. As the ‘northies’ cling to their dear Kamla Nagar market, the south campus has Lajpat Nagar, Gk 1, and Select City mall to brag about.

It almost seems like this will go on forever but will always boil down to one conclusion; nobody can ever win this war!

Apoorv Gupta, Cambridge School

It’s interestingly different

You can always hear DU students bragging about their college campuses and the ‘exotic’ campus life. For us B Tech students this privilege of praising campus life goes a step further asr most of us stay in hostels.

Therefore, we can take pride in our hostels and living in the most happening blocks of the colleges. 

How the internal matters in a hostel teaches some of life’s most important and universal lessons are surely interesting  for all to read. One thing is common to all engineering students living in hostels. Throughout the four years, we experience different feelings and views about hostel life and the variety of people we encounter, but in the end we all agree that these hostel years were indeed the best years of our life. We invariably find our best friends here too. 

The late night football matches, the un-ending jamming sessions, or simply the senseless gossip are a few things that everyone should have a share of. The sports fields and courts of engineering colleges are always bustling with life and activity. Some of the biggest music competitions are invariably held in the grounds of engineering colleges.

One thing that I have said to many people at many occasions is that in an engineering college, you’ll find everyone from a poet and a singer to a batsman and a painter! Unbelievable, no?

Neeraj V Murali, Rishabh Public School

Read into your interests

Every college under Delhi University has a well stocked library that is a veritable paradise for the voracious reader. From textbooks to fiction novels, these libraries have something for everyone. Needless to say, every college library has its own perks – while some have an extensive collection on a certain genre others cater to multiple genres. Delhi University students (especially the English Honours students) should utilise the library to the optimum.

The writing societies (of colleges) are another part of college life that students should not overlook. Moreover, many colleges have their own magazines, spear headed by a student- editor and managed mostly by the students. Such magazines usually cover the whole of Delhi University and its achievements along with the literary news of the outside world.

These magazines offer a good platform for students who later want to make a career in journalism or writing. Many literary societies open up a vista of opportunities for students.

So no matter which college you enroll in, make sure to join these societies and clubs. After all you have three whole years to showcase and prune your skills. And you might discover some talent that you have as well.

Anwesha Padhy, Amity International School

The coolest alma mater   

It is a universally-acknowledged truth that college is not just a place where you go to earn your degree. It is in fact a place in which you spend that phase of your life where you form those crucial impressions and opinions that influence your personality and mindset in later years. Needless to say, a conducive environment in college is critical to overall growth and development. Students of a particular college invariably always remain connected to each other by means of their alma mater. And this is regardless of the decades that may separate their college days. The fact that the ‘Shahenshah’ of Bollywood Amitabh Bachchan is an alumnus of Kirori Mal College is a fact that no KMCite will ever forget or overlook. Similarly, the students of Hansraj take pride in their association with superstar Shahrukh Khan. Many other colleges boast of similar celebrity connections. In fact, the list is too long to recount. Though every college has its fair share of famous alumni, it will perhaps not be an exaggeration to say that in terms of sheer numbers, St Stephen’s takes precedence.

St Stephen’s also tops the ‘cool’ quotient. While I say this I can already hear shrieks of protest from the students of Hindu College! The ‘cool’ quotient basically involves elements like crowd, party atmosphere, canteens, hangout spots, et al.

From what I gather, fashion sense can no longer be used as a decisive parameter in judging the cool quotient of a college. These days everyone is so particular about how they dress that it is virtually impossible to say which college has the most fashionable crowd. I do have a sneaking suspicion, though, that all girls colleges will do better in this department.

It is very difficult to reach a definite conclusion in terms of the ‘coolest college’ debate. This is because every college student will vouch for his/her own college. So I guess for freshers like us it is best to explore the colleges on our own and discover what’s cool and what’s not. Once we actually start classes when our colleges reopen we will be able to determine how many of the legends surrounding the colleges are actually true. Till then it is fun to speculate and anticipate.


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