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Posted at: Feb 11, 2018, 1:43 AM; last updated: Feb 11, 2018, 1:43 AM (IST)TAKE MY WORD

The enriching world of academia

Harvinder Khetal
The enriching world of academia
courtesy: SGT University

Harvinder Khetal

A day spent in Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary University (SGT University) in Gurugram last week was enriching for me in many ways. The interaction with the very inquisitive, curious and talented students was inspiring as I felt that they had pressed my refresh button; hopefully, the vibrant youngsters imbibed a thing or two from me, too. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr AKS Suryavanshi, radiated pride for his students, scholars and staff as he earnestly pointed out some plans for their intellectual advancement. The SGT University patrons, Mr Manmohan Singh Chawla and his charming wife Madhupreet Kaur Chawla, personified grace as they proudly walked us through various departments and state-of-the-art laboratories that they have built over the years- ever since 2002, when they took over what was then just a dental college on the verge of a shutdown. 

Mr Chawla recalled how he took a keen interest in its revival, how he put in all efforts and resources in its expansion, and how in 2013, the SGT Group of Medical Colleges was upgraded to SGT University status. Today, they boast of thousands of students pursuing more than 125 courses in the lush green campus spread over 60 acres on the outskirts of NCR. The university offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctorate programmes to candidates in medicine & health sciences, nursing, science, commerce, business & management studies, hospitality & travel, mass communication, law, teaching & education, engineering and design.

The account was fascinating as I got, for the first time, a first-hand peep into the business of the setting up and running of a university. It basically involves dedication and full involvement in every little aspect. For instance, that day, I had been invited to inaugurate the literary club set up for the students. The university authorities had gone all out and the extra mile to facilitate and felicitate the students keen on having a platform for their literary pursuits. Dedicated space was provided to them to have a little café library and brainstorming sessions to give vent to their quest for an opening to speak out their minds and thoughts and exchange ideas and amalgamate opposing views, and develop and grow beyond the course syllabus.

And, that is why a university environment is enriching. You touch any aspect or subject, and you are drawn into its depth, right into the core and nitty-gritty. After getting a whiff of the oratorical skills of the 'EngWings' (their literary club) members, I was drawn into the intricacies involved in the vast subject of fashion design as we passed by its numerous labs. Sample some fashion words and terms: 

Pattern making is the art of designing patterns with templates for basic garment formation. 

Apparel construction lab is where with special machines, works of piko, over-locking, flat-locking, embroidery, rib cutting etc are done. 

Lifestyle products are developed with leather stitching, trims attachment machines etc. 

Fashion draping is the process of positioning and pinning fabric on the dress form to develop the structure of garment design. 

Designing is a creative activity, where students transfer thoughts to documents through innovative sketches. 

Computer-Aided Designing is the use of computer to assist in the creation, modification, analysis or optimisation of a design for application in pattern cutting, grading, lay planning, fabric design, print design etc. 

Dyeing & printing are the major techniques for coloration. Tie & dye, block printing, screen printing, spray printing are some popular types. 

Workshop is the area where students develop innovative idea applications and create products. 

Resource centre is the place where they display their products for retail. 

Replicate it with the studios of the journalism department, the catering and hospitality art of the hotel management batch, the dentists' chairs, the robotics lab of engineering whizkids and you are just overwhelmed by all-round pedagogy.

As I was driven back to the IG International Airport, Delhi, after the intensely informative experience, through a road flanked by rich fauna and flora, marked by large flocks of saras crane birds standing tall on puddles of water and hawks perched on trees lining the road, I found myself reminiscing about my student days.

Life on a university campus has its own charm. It pulsates with an energy that is dynamic: at once scholarly and youthful. The learning and skills gained during my four years in Panjab University (two years as a student of Masters of English and two in the Department of Mass Communication), Chandigarh, from 1988 to 1992, honed my personality, enabling me to take on the world. It was the sum total of academics, extra-curricular activities, excursions, debates, politics, fun activities, exams, making and breaking up with friends and teachers. They jointly chipped off the rough edges and carved one into a refined person and with an insightful outlook. As one steps out, one is raring to go, firm in one's knowledge and at the same time humbled by the realisation that the more you learn, the more you realise how little you know: there is so much more to imbibe and discover, you have but sipped a drop out of the vast ocean of knowledge. Every day is a learning experience. One is a student throughout life. Your school, college and university make the foundation of your life’s edifice strong. 

hkhetal@gmail.com

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