In the new academic year, colleges everywhere are preparing to welcome freshers with a festive bang.

For many of us, college days are among the best days of our lives — the friends we make, the bonds we build, the time we spend hanging out in the canteen, sharing everything from our class notes to class gossip. College fests offer a chance to do all this and much more to a fresher who is willing to hop on to the festival bandwagon.

Getting involved

Almost every college has its own fest or a set of festivals ranging from cultural extravaganzas to technical wizardry.

The freshman orientation is usually a good place to learn about these.

Jayashree Subramanian, second–year student at MOP Vaishnav College for Women, Chennai, says, “In July, we host Abhilasha — a cultural fest exclusively for the first years — to scout for talented juniors who can represent the college at inter-collegiate festivals.”

Besides participating in college festivals, students can get involved in various committees that organise these festivals. Parth Loya, third–year student at IIT Bombay, says, “Freshers are keen to explore every aspect of campus life and make up the biggest chunk of students working for the festival.”

A major apprehension that freshers have about getting involved in college fests is time management.

Shubham Bansal, final–year student of Information Technology at the Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology at Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, says, “Being part of the college festival scene can be quite demanding. You may have to stay back after college, work on weekends and even miss a few classes. Initially, I was not used to this and my results plummeted. However, I eventually learnt how to manage my time.”

Most students who are involved in organising and participating in festivals agree that the benefits outweigh the challenges. For starters, such activities enable students to interact with a large number of people. Bansal says, “You get to bond with people in your college as well as outside whom you may not have met otherwise.” They also provide a breather for students.

“It’s a break from the daily routine of college. I participate in group dance competitions and about a week before the competition, our group comes together and starts practising. Although it is tiring, we have a lot of fun to look forward to,” says Subramanian.

“It is also a way to push your limits and test your potential. Competing with other students helps you judge yourself more effectively. Also, it’s never easy to perform in front of a crowd that is judging you,” Bansal adds. The work pressure also adds to the demands on the students, especially those involved in organising these festivals. Paras Shah, first–year student at Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai says, “Negotiating with sponsors can get difficult. We have a number of celebrities coming for the fest to promote their movies, and convincing them to come is a challenge. Managing the crowd at these events is also a major task.”

The addition to the CV is also a major driving force for students. Prabhu Ebenezer, final–year student at Sri Ram Engineering College, Chennai, agrees, “Participating in such activities teaches you a number of life skills and helps you develop a healthy attitude. Employers appreciate such qualities.”

However, Ebenezer has gone one step forward and taken his event management experience at such fests to form an event management company.

He says, “We have approached Guinness for the record of holding the largest and longest information security workshop — it had 9,000 participants and took place continuously over two days.”

However, achievements and accomplishments aside, college festivals are about living in the moment, enjoying yourself, and creating memories that will last long after college days are over.