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What 3yrs of college life taught me.

I recently completed my college degree🎉. After all the chaos, I felt a bit numb about the experience, and I hadn't had much time to reflect on my three-year journey through the Hotel Management course. Here is my reflection on my college experience.

I started this course after watching all those food shows on TLC and Food Food channels. Watching “Man vs Child” gave me the inspiration to cook like those prodigies in the kitchen. I mean, how can a 13-year-old cook such amazing food? It got me really interested, so I started researching the best institutes in the country. After clearing the entrance test, I got into a beautiful college campus in the state of Goa. It had a huge area and was notably bigger than other IHMs (Institute of Hotel Management).

I joined the course, but my childhood friend, who had taken the course at a different institute, left because of some bad experiences at his college. Honestly, he had a significant influence on my decision to take this course. When he left, I felt lost because I didn't know many people at my college, except for one guy from my school. We stuck together and rented a flat with three others. Five people in a 2-bedroom flat, barely knowing each other's habits, was challenging🫥. Everyone had quirks that irritated me; it was a tough adjustment.

The first year was chaotic because of the aftermath of Covid-19. I attended some practical kitchen classes, and I absolutely hated the course. The way food was prepared, the amount of physical work, and the teaching style—none of it was what I expected. My legs would ache after each class from all the standing, and I found the continental dishes bland, lacking the flavours I enjoyed. I wanted to drop out, but I couldn't because my parents had already invested so much money in my education and living expenses.

I resolved to complete the course. Part of the curriculum included working in a restaurant, serving tables, and clearing plates. During my internship, I got a reality check about the hotel industry. The shift timings and long hours, including overtime, were exhausting. I noticed how poorly employees were treated in the industry; some worked 13 to 14 hours a day😢 for a mere 18,000 Rs salary. It was mentally and physically exhausting. However, I enjoyed working in the Front Office🤵, handling back-office tasks, and generating reports. This experience shifted my perspective. While the curriculum didn't always align with industry practices, the internship boosted my confidence and helped me develop a charming, goal-oriented personality.

My third and final year was all about competing with my batchmates for job offers. It was a cutthroat environment, with recruiters looking to filter out less worthy candidates and select the best. I worked hard to stand out and secured four job offers, which felt like a significant accomplishment. I grew closer to my roommates and adapted to the culture and surroundings, though I never quite mastered Konkani.

Despite the rocky start, I don't regret what I've been through. I learned so much in these three years, from managing personal finances to facing adult challenges😇. Meeting people from different parts of the country exposed me to various cultures and ideologies. Ultimately, the education was just one part of the experience; the real learning came from the people I met and the situations I faced.

I felt anxious when I started college, and I have that same feeling now as I enter the working world. But deep down, I know it will be okay😌. I'll gain new experiences and have more stories to tell.

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