Editors comment : Dibyojeet Bagchi is the only the third person in our department who took seemingly the leap of faith to change discipline to Chemistry. We sought down to get his perspective on the same as most undergraduate are filled with repugnance with the very idea of it.
- -What was your motivation for branch change?
To take it forthrightly, IIT was never my first preference. I wanted to join IISc in the first place but due to some untoward reasons, I missed their counseling session. Later, after JEE out of peer pressure, I joined IIT Bombay electrical dual as per my rank. During my first year here at IIT Bombay, I came to know about many seniors who have chosen passion over peers (our dept’s Valay is one of them whom I knew since Chem Olympiad camp). Then, after consulting with a few seniors and profs from the Chemistry dept whom I knew in the first year, I decided to opt for a branch change.
- Tell us about the resistance you faced?
In the initial stages, the well-versed thought of “log kya kahenge”(“what will people say”) used to frequently ponder over my mind. However, as I started to think more seriously about branch change I became less concerned about what others got to say since it’s my life, my choice. Apart from that, I had a doubt regarding future opportunities in Chemistry compared to that I could get in EE but with time i realised that every field has endless opportunities if you are interested enough.
3. Were your parents supportive? If not, how did you convince them?
When I informed my parents that this idea of branch change is ticking in my mind, they were a bit surprised and filled with questions. They were shocked and wanted to know the answer to WHY, as it was my decision to join IITB EE over CSE at other IITs. After I explained my position, my dad was like okay it’s your studies so take your call but my mom was not very happy with it. But with time, they realized it’s was indeed best for me.
4. When did you realize chemistry was your thing?
Chemistry has been my favorite subject since class 8 but it was only during class 12th when I was seriously preparing for Chemistry Olympiad, I realized the beauty of the subject and I couldn’t stop myself falling for it. During the preparation, I came across many interesting concepts, problems, and stories of various chemists that always fascinated me. I was highly impressed by the life of EJ Corey and soon he became my role model.
5. You’ve spent a semester here, how did you feel about your decision (be honest)
Whenever I look back to my decision I feel extremely happy and satisfied with it. The pleasing and wholesome experience which I collared during this semester has made me believe that I made the right choice as I was meant for chemistry only. The joy you get by doing the things you always wanted to gifts you with immense satisfaction.
6. How do you manage being involved with so many things ( project, por, ta ship etc)
Honestly speaking, I don’t know how I am able to do all this but maybe the credit goes to the fact that I take up a job only if I am highly interested. And this always keeps my enthusiasm high towards the work. If you talk about my PoR, I am in the mess council, and the sole reason for this is my unconditional love for food! If you talk about my TA-ships, I love teaching. Moreover, for my project, I work in a total synthesis lab which again is my domain of interest. I would suggest one: explore as many things they can and find out where their interest lies.
7. What is that you’re looking forward to in coming years
In the coming years, I am looking forward to some more focused and dedicated research projects apart from core studies. I directly want to pursue my higher studies in a good Grad school and I believe this can surely escalate my chances to pursue my desire.
8. Advice to junta facing a similar conundrum
If anyone is facing a similar dilemma in their life, I would advise them to listen to their inner voice, because it’s you who have to study the subject for subsequent years and not your relatives or friends. So don’t let their opinions shape your decision. However, one thing to conclude, I’d say branch change is undoubtedly a tough call to make. I’d recommend everyone with a similar quandary to think thoroughly from all perspectives before going for it.