Hopefully, this one won’t be like the others…I will try to avoid the stuff they already told you…I’ll try to make this one an internal one, a personal one… instead of telling you what happens inside ESI , I’ll be telling you what happens inside an Esiste …so automatically I will be starting with the bad stuff :
FEAR: And No, not “horror movie” fear, not “scarecrow” fear, not even “high places” fear (that one you could just avoid by staying low). I’m talking about: “What the hell did I do” fear! The “maybe I’m not up for this” fear, the “And now, I realize I’m not as smart as I thought” fear. And sweetheart that is just the beginning! The few first weeks or even months … after those will come worse fears! “Shit I’m too far behind”, “my health can’t take it anymore”! All those fears and many others will come up to you almost every minute (varying from one person to the other, depending on your personal, financial, geographical situation). They’ll get stuck in your throat and they’ll mess with your stomach…Some students will break out into tears and some will break stuff around them and unfortunately some will just give up… The truth is, there’s no way around it…the shortest way out will be through it… What you can do is, suck it up, be brave, dress up (or not!) and show up (Every single day!). The fears will subside…more like you’re too busy to feel them that much anymore, but either way it gets easier and better over time.
Disappointment: Don’t even get me started! I mean common! Best school of computer science around and we don’t have a proper cafeteria! (trying to ignore the “tractor” in the room :p)
Oh yeah, As Algeria goes, you will not be finding what you expected, it’s the furthest thing away from those “college movies” that we all saw.. Nope guys! No legally blonds (well about one or two in every promo :p but we all turn into ugly betty at some point in the school year so what the hell!) And girls, sorry, no charming princes anywhere around (believe me I checked! No offense guys :p). You’ll be disappointed! You’ll be sorry, regretful (all that stuff) and this particular feeling won’t go anywhere (sorry about the bad news) they’ll always disappoint you in some way. But (and that is such a wonderful “But”) you can choose to be positive about some of it ( no, I still don’t know anyone who is positive about “ALL” of Esi ), you can choose to see that “the people inside ESI are actually amazing” (you got to dig deeper with a few but mostly you get to the same conclusion! ) or that “you are busting your ass studying building a wonderful future for yourself” or that “this challenging environment is the best thing for your best young self to know how to achieve and believe!” and every other positive cliché you can think of. The point is: If you had a goal, the disappointing conditions will get you a little further from it but you mustn’t let them get you off track.
Hate: Surprisingly yes! You may come to hate the place, hate the people, and hate the teachers (no cure for this one). Yes! You’ll come to that at some point… there came a time when I dreaded the idea of oued-smar at whole. I did not want to go there, I did not want to see or hear or even smell anything that would remind me of that place! However, if you stand tough through it and you survive ESI, you’ll learn more about yourself and your nature than you ever thought. Being in such a stressful, scary, challenging place will get you to do things and feel things you never thought yourself capable of feeling or doing but that’s the beauty of it! You’ll come to realize how much you don’t know and how big and numerous the possibilities are! Later, If you look deep enough inside, you’ll find a change, a new parameter in you or new self even… and it has to start with something as extremist as hate. The good news is, if you go far enough and look at it deep enough, you’ll also come to love. Either your new self or your new friends (occasionally a few teachers “Ansour” <3) … you’ll come to appreciate your life, your surroundings and find a new meaning to being happy.
So I think that’s about it on the bad stuff … The good stuff !
Sense of achievement
Sense of achievement: Best feeling ever! (Some may call it success!) This experience, personally, having been one of the hardest things I had to get through (And I mean all of the 10 months with all of their ups and downs). By the end of it, when I finally got to look back and rethink it …It made me feel quite amazing, quite powerful, quite confident…I came out of the race exhausted but more confident and motivated then I have ever been.. Certainly not because I won. I barely made it… But… I made it… and with all the mistakes I made and the bullshit that hit along the way… I still made it (surprisingly this is the part I’m finding difficulty writing because I can’t explain it! The other parts come out so easily! ) Anyway… it feels amazing.
The diploma: I wouldn’t know but they say it feels good to own that paper so… I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Student clubs: Would you believe that being in a student club actually changed my life? If you’re in one, probably. If you’re not, probably not! Let me just take my time explaining this one:
- I was an athlete the way CEM and High school so I know how to manage having multiple responsibilities and activities in my life. But! Having lived most of my life only for myself (doing everything I do for me only) I didn’t grasp the idea of organizing events for others for a while. It took 2 events and a few eyeopening speeches to make me realize that this was also my duty. As a student with huge potential and immense energy it was my duty to give something back, to make others benefit of my time and attention. Now, about a year and a half after my first HackIni I have been the organizer or co-organizer of over 5 events, I can say I’m proud of the work I have done and continue doing. And I encourage every student out there to get up and do something for others too.
- Working with a bunch of motivated people who believe in the just as much as you do in the vision you all set for yourselves and work to attain the same goals can give the word Friendship a whole new meaning. When you come to share your ideals, goals, ideas, creativity with another member or a few other members you come to believe in yourself in a different way than you used to, because now you have people who have your back and will work on your project with you till the end.
- Learning can come in many different ways. Up till now, I haven’t tried them all, however, I do think that what working in club teaches is not something you can learn anywhere else. In the student clubs I have been in I have learned ( to sum it up ) how to : Come up with a really good idea, shape it to be as realistic as possible, make a plan of action to materialize it and work with a team on building it from the ground up! The interesting part is: it can be anything! You can think of anything and you can do it! With the right tools, the right mindset and the right plan of action. That is the most valuable thing I learned.
Finally, the point of this article was to show you some of what you will probably find out for yourselves later and to motivate you never to give up. Do not lose to Esi, Kids! This article was some sort of a recap of everything I saw , felt , heard, lived and witnessed in me and in others. Eventually, I came out with a positive view and pretty good results (NOT GRADES!) and a vision for my future that is clearer than it has ever been before. This feeling and situation is one I wish you all get to at some point. I hope you do find out (or somewhat clarify) what you want your role to be in life (and not your job!!!!!). Now of course, I did not tell you everything (I believe I kept out a few of the good stuff) but that’s just so as to not spoil it for you. I wish you a productive, hellish, eye opening year in Esi… May the odds be ever in your favor Kids 😉