I did my post-graduation from KMC, Manipal, and it is interesting for me to sit down and chew on what is it that made my time here so immensely enjoyable. The more I think about it, the more the answer appears to be blindingly simple. Key to enjoying Manipal is doing things. I understand it sounds a bit vague and obvious but consider this analogy: when would you enjoy a Picasso painting, say Guenica, more – when you have worked to understand Picasso’s political background, the geopolitical situation at the time, Picasso’s artistic influences OR when you’re looking at the painting without putting in any work and expecting instant gratification? I’d venture to say that in the former case (or at least that was my experience). Manipal is similar to a Picasso in a sense that it requires a lot of work and participation on behalf of the student to get the most out of this experience. Passive contemplation will not work. Manipal has a remarkably open and vibrant culture, but only once you put in the work to get to know it.
Firstly, the academics. From experience, going to class without having read the case/topic is useless. No, it’s useless and boring, because you have no idea what’s going on. So do the readings and, I promise, you will find your classes intellectually challenging and informative. Also, participate in class. I stumbled on this technique by accident – I noticed that, holding prior interest in a class constant, when I participate more, I find the material a lot more interesting (and fall asleep less). So take academics seriously because if you put in the work, it will come back to you manifold.
Second, extracurriculars. It’s really easy to go through the Manipal years and not do any extracurriculars, claiming a busy schedule (and it will be ridiculously busy), a case write-up due Monday or whatever else as an excuse. Please do not do this. Pick activities that you like, and there are hundreds, and jump in head first. The people you meet, the connection you develop to your classmates and the school and the sense of accomplishment that you feel once the last note of your Western dance has fallen silent or the last speaker has gotten an ovation during a conference you put together is exhilarating. Some of the least happy people at Manipal are those that did not do this. As a rule, they feel bitter and cheated – but it’s too late. Graduation is a month away.
Last but not least, the people. People who surround you in your Manipal years are remarkable. Each and every one of them. So get to know them. Invite them to dinner. Go for small group drinks and random dinners (big parties are not the best for getting to know people but they sure provide conversation topics). Manipal students are the cream of the creative people in the country (this is not a self-aggrandizing fantasy, it’s a fact) and if you don’t get to know them, you will be remiss.
So, to close, do things and your Manipal years will exceed your highest expectations!