So, what happens when you finally get into NUST? Trust me, the days that follow are wonderful. The horrible gut sinking feeling whenever you thought about the universities is replaced by a whooping euphoria, the horrible entry tests that loomed like banshees in your dreams become past pieces of cake you knew you would have aced whatsoever. You constantly pat yourself on the back, relatives, friends from everywhere now pour in to congratulate you, your endless would-be needs start to spring up gnawing at your parent’s money deposits, and they suddenly seem eager to cater to everything. The last few weeks pass on the high throne; your head over-inflated and up in the clouds. But still, now that the test and the tension are past you, what next?
When I first arrived at my campus, a lot of things I had not thought of took me by surprise. I wanted to come to H-12 particularly because of its freedom from military touches; uniforms and annoying restrictions. True, there were no uniforms but I still found myself in a completely foreign environment. It took time to learn to get along with everything and settle. So when you are making preparations for starting the exotic university life, do remember to prepare yourself mentally. I, from my one year experience of the hostels of NUST H-12, have summed up six things probably no one will tell you, but you should know nevertheless before coming to H-12.
1. Bring strong, long-lasting shoes:
Yes, follow this advice literally; bring some built-to-last (resemblance to any other slogan is purely incidental) shoes with you. H-12 and shoes don’t get along at all. The campus is spread over a whole sector, and ‘walking’ is the most commonly followed hobby here. The internal transport that they talk about, it is just a bunch of mysterious vehicles that never are there when you need them. The hostels, in which the freshmen will probably be staying, are not within a reasonable walking range to the basic necessities. The journey from the gate to the hostels, with the no-taxi-inside rule is nothing less than a quest. The schools are not ‘too’ far away (some of them are, relative to your hostel), but when the summer sun scorches above your head, the idea of going back for a bite of lunch becomes quite questionable. Talking about lunch, your meal routine might be disrupted now that you are completely independent. Unless you are very particular of timings, you are very likely to skip meals and develop appetites at odd times.
So, if you have been worrying about gaining weight and buying over-sized clothing, there is no reason to worry, in fact, this is good news. For the rest of the people, yes this is not a military school, but be prepared for losing weight, and shoes too.
2. Don’t get ragged.., too much! :
The age-old fear of freshmen everywhere in the world, ragging! The ‘fresh’ seniors will go to desperate measures to pull a prank; carrying themselves like military seniors, shouting matches and threatening to beat you up. Nustians of H-12, my seniority conscience beats me up for saying this, so will probably my batch mates, but have no fear. People tend to think about the senior-junior hierarchy because of the military wings of NUST, but seniors here cannot order you and ragging is not allowed.
Yet, it is a part of university life and it is always a better idea to be on good terms with seniors. So, instead of going hay wire if a stranger so much as asks your name, play along and be a good sport. You will reminisce this time sweetly later and after all, you will also need some memory to inspire you once you become seniors. If anyone does cross limit, just plainly refuse and remind them of the limit. They may threat and shout, but one thing H-12 has military touches in is the disciplinary actions; no one will dare to harass you in the campus. They will probably also forget it in a few days. Do not make commitments outside the campus, however.
3. Behave yourself:
As I said, one thing H-12 has military touches in is the disciplinary actions. This goes for you too. Be it fighting, harassing someone or even breaking a tube light, nothing goes ignored. There are no compromises, no second chances. Keep your head down, or the administration will expel you from the hostel without so much as listening to your side of the story. Given the offence is big enough; they will have no hesitation you from kicking you out of the university, even if you are in the middle of your degree. So, if you have any dirty plans brooding in the back of your mind, either erase them, or forget about NUST.
4. Be ambitious:
Remember when they used to tell you, “just get into a good university, and you are done”. They lied, the same way they did when we were finishing school. Regardless of whether you are in H-12 or any other campus of NUST, getting in is the start. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourself for the longest and toughest hours you have ever endured spent banging your head over fat books. The style of study changes drastically, now you have to keep yourself updated with the coursework on daily basis; there is no last-days revision. To cap it all off, there is the relative grading system, which in all its complexities translates to the simple fact that you marks do not matter, they should just be better than the other’s. And yes, people are also kicked out due to poor grades.
This might be discouraging, but this is the only way, not only in NUST but in any good university. Even when you go for your job, it will be only the next step of the ladder. So instead of sulking and thinking ruefully of the years you have wasted to achieve what you thought would have been freedom, resolve yourself. Eventually, the mental pressure wears off, but if you are not very serious about your studies in the beginning, survival becomes difficult.
5. Cheating? Forget about it!
Now that we have covered academics, let us turn to cheating. The motto of my school is: “It is better to fail than to cheat”. Rest of the schools might have different mottos, but they take this to heart. It doesn’t matter how much of expertise you have gained in the art; when coming to NUST, erase the word and everything related to its art from your mind. Well, you can cheat in the small class tests or home assignments, but a big ‘no way’ in exams. Firstly, it is very difficult to pull off, apart from few occasional glances. And if you get caught, there is no further questioning. Your paper is cancelled, you have failed the course and you very likely lost one precious year.
The point here is; it is foolish to depend on unfair means when going for examinations. One can get lucky, but it will be only for that miraculous once. But usually freshmen ignore warnings, until they themselves have sat their first exams. So when you come, do not keep the old attitude of ‘I’ll manage somehow’; get yourself by the collar and start working from day one.
6. Don’t let failures discourage you:
At last, after all the hard talk about studies, here is something comforting. University life is fun after all, even after all the stress. Don’t over-pressure yourself. These will be the ‘good old days’ at some time, so also enjoy it where you can. The relative grading system is all about the class average; who is above and who is below. The only glitch is that now, your concept of average might undergo severe changes. You will be after all, with some of the best minds of the country. You will new to the system and environment, and you might not get the grades that you always had been getting or what you expected. The best way to cope with that is: do not let these things get up in your head. The only thing that matters in your job is the knowledge and skills you acquired during your education. So just do your best, try to develop interest in your field, think creatively, and do not let your grades be the sole purpose of your life.
That is all I can think about, the joining tips for future nustians. The coursework might be hard, the restrictions might be silly and a little too much, but this is what most of us dream about. This is one of the best institutes of the country, one that remains just a dream for a lot of people. And after all these hard years, it will be you who can hold their head up high and say “I R NUSTian, and proud of it!”