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Four weeks into classes at MIT Manipal, I can confidently say that the educational experience here is everything that I hoped for and more. As first year students, we have a common syllabus, regardless of the branch we have chosen. So I have been introduced to a variety of new subjects, like Engineering Graphics and Problem Solving using Computers. And while some of them are more challenging than others, learning something new is always fun.
One thing I found unique to this institute is the constant importance given to practical applications. It’s not just the theory that matters. We have three labs per week and we are graded for each of them. Initially, this does come off as a bit difficult but that’s what makes it all the more important. At the end of the day, we engineers are expected to be able to step into the real world and solve problems that people face. As long as we, the students, are willing to put in effort on that front, MIT has us covered.
Another thing I should add is that even though practicals are given a significant amount of importance, our understanding of the subject is also monitored. I am thoroughly impressed with how well the professors here can help us visualize concepts and problems. Personally, I feel this is best illustrated in the Engineering Graphics lab and in the Problem Solving using Computer classes. Even Biology for Engineers has an application-oriented approach, much different and more interesting than the biology I had to learn till my tenth grade.
Although I have said this before, as a part of my first blog (My First Week at MIT Manipal), I’d like to reiterate and emphasize how open-minded and insightful all the professors are. They genuinely care about our thought process and about our opinions. Most of our lectures are interactive. This enhances the learning process and increases the retention of what we learn. I feel like this aspect is one of the most underrated one people think about, when they think of an educational institution.
Everyone thinks of the curriculum and the qualification of the professors handling that curriculum, but what really makes the learning worthwhile is how the professors connect with their students.
For people who are willing to take initiative, the sky is the limit. From an academic point of view as well a research oriented point of view, our professors are always here to help. They give us guidance on how to learn more about what is being taught. While we are encouraged to maintain our own notes, we also receive a soft copy of the notes from the respective professors to make sure we don’t miss out on anything. They are open to helping students interested in research and as far as I’ve seen, each professor has at least one topic that they are working on. In fact, I know professors that are willing to help us take part in technical competitions too. This makes the process of academic growth relatively easier, because the gap between us and our resources is completely bridged.
The best part about the academics here is how much freedom we have to learn at our own pace. Not only are we free to stop the professors at anytime during their lecture to question them, we are given a decent amount of time during the day for self-study as well. The importance of this aspect reflects on us having our weekends relatively free for our hobbies and co-curricular activities. I feel like it takes very little time to adjust to the academic schedule here because it’s well planned. This includes the design of the time-table for each class as well as the course structure.
So yes, so far and so good, MIT Manipal is living up to my dreams and fuelling my ambition day by day.