It has been 3.5 years since I first entered this building. It’s time to sum up whatever happened inside this building in these 3.5 years.
*rewind to September 2009*
The adrenaline coursing through me as I drove into NUST’s territory from gate 10 was indescribable. It was like walking into a top secret military facility hidden away from the average person’s eye. The serene tranquility of NUST HQ campus has never failed to amaze me a single day since then.
My first impression of the IESE building was positive. I walked in a little scared, a little excited, a little happy, not knowing what I was walking into. That was the day I started growing up and in the 4 years that followed, this amazing, magical institute made me grow up so fast, I’m almost an old woman now by the time of graduation.
So, how does this less well known, one-of-its-kind institute help me age so fast? Let me try to analyze.
Months flew by. I was new to Pakistan. I learnt a lot about people, friends, places. Life phase changed 170 degrees (if not 180 complete). I met a lot of practicing Muslims within IESE who fulfilled their moral obligation of preaching very well by guiding me sincerely about my hair, shoes, dress and existence in general. Five minutes in their company would thoroughly enlighten me about the best dress stores, hairstyling, shadi systems and actors. I used to walk away from IESEians feeling sorry about how little I really know about all that I should know. Gloom began to set in.
Semesters started. I’m no theta. I only believe in a respectable GPA. So, I set out to give professional education my best shot. I strived hard and didn’t do very badly in the first semester.
It was in the 2nd semester God really decided to teach me my first major lesson. He sent a legend to IESE. Yes, a legend. He came in the guise of the Analytical Chemistry sir who, currently, I believe is enlightening young minds at SCME and elsewhere in NUST. He had a truly amazing and absolutely fair system of marking exam sheets. He’d take them to his students who would then mark MCQs. I’m not sure what he used to do next but it must have been a long, complicated process of somehow converting the MCQ score to the overall paper score without checking a single question on the paper. So, heartbroken, I let it go and moved on. But a dent in a good looking GPA is not the only harm he caused. Now, after three years, after learning how IESE administration works, I have learnt, the first and second semester are your entire degree. That is when they form the impression and judge your intellect. Next, they devise these three awkward classes of top, average and bottom and conveniently place you in one of them. Then, no matter what you do and how you do it, you cannot move up or down that class.
At the end of the third semester, I had given up hope and sidelined from IESE’s human population (there are rats, lizards, cockroaches and some other species here too). The site of the building invoked fear (not because of rats. I’m not afraid of rats.). I started dreading it. Yes, I was big and mature, but psychological trauma of coping up with IESE became too hard to bear. You will have to enroll into a UG/PG/Ph.D program to know.
Over these 7 semesters, this system of relative grading, this huge delay in results after the paper showing day, this biased system of grading has taken away my sanity. Half of it, at least. Statements from some very senior and serious IESE administration are shocking. They admit they change grades, they manipulate the score sheets. They forget to mark a student’s lab score and take 30% straight to 0 without any chance of revising the result sheet. They change an entire class’s result to accommodate a few pet students. An average student mistakenly scoring an A in some creative subject sets off their alarm and the entire result sheet is revised to check for possible errors.
Then, I experienced some serious TTP culture at IESE when UG and PG female students were frequently called to administration’s offices to account for their dresses, dupatta-less outfits, open hair and playing table tennis with boys. I can now safely say, thanks to the international degree holding faculty, administration and aunty students at IESE, I learnt way more Islamiat here, than Environmental engineering.
I met some IESE graduates of the PG course. They told me the story of one of their course mates going totally crazy at IESE. IESE wasn’t giving him the degree. In their words, IESE is like an abyss. You are stuck in it, you ask them to let you go without degree, they won’t. You want to move forward and get the degree, they won’t. It’s more like a sequel of the SAW series. You are stuck in it until you… ok, no.
Yet, through all this, through the many hurdles and obstacles, through the bleak gloomy corridors of IESE and the aunty culture, there are people like Saman Khan (GIStech winner), Anam Rathore (Climber at national level), Seemal Mushtaq (award winning blogger) and many other IESEians who provide hope, who provide inspiration to pass through it all and be successful.
In order to write a fair and unbiased article, I must also mention the positives of IESE. Here, I have bulleted down all the positive aspects of this beautiful place:
I’m sorry. I really tried there. I tried to come up with at least one. I’m sure some other capable IESEian will come and fill all that blank space up there some other time.
Now, there is nothing this admin can do to my CGPA. It’s already in tatters. IESE is now tired of lecturing me on Islamic values and have understood that I am a stubborn, shameless person they can’t change. The molvis looking me up and down as they walk into the class is way more amusing than 9GAG’s comics.
In the end, to all those who have suffered here, let me say, there is hope. Let me say, we all make wrong decisions as I made one 4 years ago. But I learnt my lessons and wasted 4 years of my degree life learning nothing remotely environmental engineering. To the esteemed international faculty at IESE, I humbly request, please revise the definition of “engineering”. Please help us learn something practical. Please do not subject us to ridiculous FYPs that do not have an iota of engineering in them. Please understand we are not beasts of burden, do not overload us with 2 labs, 15+ credit hours, an FYP and psychological torment in the last 2 semesters. Please allow some breathing space.
Please make us better engineers and treat us all like human beings.
So dearest admin, let’s meet in the next world and discuss this article in more detail. Till then, revel in your power of causing misery.
A student IESE hates