I have been through two orientation programmes- one at IIT Kanpur and other recently at IIM Bangalore. Two were contrasting in structure, content, and effectiveness. One at IITK consisted of tours to labs, which most of us end up not visiting ever again, and sitting in L-7 giving ragging to seniors. I could never understand why a computer science engineer should visit a glass blowing lab at all. The orientation programme gave no insight regarding the life at IITK, the academics, extra-curricular, what the institute expects of me, etc. All of us were left strangled in our JEE moods. Can't say seniors presented us the true picture too....In the second year, when I was a part of the Counselling service, I thoroughly enjoyed ragging girls during our lab tours :)
Here at IIMB, orientation programme was much better planned and thought out. So, we didn't have tours around the campus, or lectures by wardens, or walking in straight lines for hours!! We started off with short 10 min. speeches by the Director, the Dean and Chairman, PGP Admissions Office. Next day, we had an outbound session in "Breakthrough", where we had fun playing games and learning management fundas. Though, for me, management fundas like team work, trust, blah blah can be learned only through personal experiences. Nonetheless, at least some learnt from it. I had a great time in many other ways, not to be discussed here :)
Next day, we had ABACUS, which was essentially a meditation cum artistic cum creative session. We were taught meditation techniques, surya namaskar, and simple exercises. In addition to that, we had fun exercises of developing a film script, guessing products for ads, etc. All fun and learning at the same time!!
Final day, and we had a truly great session with Mr. Sudhakar, entrepreneur whose FabMart is a great success story. He talked about his experiences in IIM A, how to enjoy your stay here and lead a balanced life. He laid great stress on Integrity in corporate world. Don't know how many of us will actually do that!!
It was followed by another wonderful session by Abhishek Thakore, who has just passed out of IIMB (the guy who was there in the BusinessWorld). He talked about the life at IIMB, how to enjoy it, the dos and the don’ts, how to handle stress and manage time, the importance of academics, and how to balance acads and extra curricular. The most important thing he did was he reminded us of our dreams, and ambitions. That really helped me to introspect and reassess our position.
There was another orientation programme, which was being run in parallel by our seniors. I won't divulge the details here for the sake of tradition :)
IIT Kanpur seriously needs to replan its orientation programme. People come to IIT in JEE mood, all ready to rock, completely forgetting that its just a start. I have seen many of my batch mates losing their focus, indulging in gaming, and being screwed in academics. The academic performance at IITK is on a low and getting worse day by day. Perhaps, a better orientation programme which can remind first yearites of their goals and ambitions might help them to focus better.