I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Sunday, August 27, 2006

IITians on IITians - 2

As if Chetan Bhagat and Sandeepan Deb didn't do enough, here comes news that IITians have proved that they are geeks.

While I would not challenge the thesis, the survey itself does raise a few questions. Especially, since the Tabloid has put it up on its front page. The piece has a classic headline, "Studies rule the lives of IITians". Really? Are you saying that?

The visual in TOI says this:
What IIT freshers prefer besides academics:
  • Nothing in particular 30%
  • Sitting at the computer 19%
  • Sports 23%
  • Music and dance 13%
  • Dramatics 8%
  • Literature and debating 5%
  • Others 2%
Firstly, what was the question that was asked? The article says it was what "activities, other than academics, they planned to pursue during the first year?" Were the choices left blank or was this a multiple choice question. Also, are we talking about activities on campus or off campus? Because, I don't see watching movies, hanging out with friends, clubbing, dating women, blogging* etc. on the menu. Or do only 2% of the students prefer that? Seems unlikely to me.

Secondly, just have a look at the results. While the Tabloid may think it's whopping, 30% doesn't seem like whopping to me at all. What would the results be like if the test was done in other colleges, AIIMS, NLS, DU etc.? I would not expect radically different results (although perhaps 30% might come down a few percentage points in an environment like DU where exams happen only once a year, thus releasing time from the rest of year for extra-curricular activities). Essentially, 30% of the students surveyed are saying that they wouldn't want to pursue another activity in the next year with anywhere close to as much dedication as they would devote to studies. Nothing unusual in that, in mind, hearing what first year is like.

Thirdly, I can also see that a quarter of the IITians prefer sports. Five times as many IITians prefer sports compared to literary activities. That is surprising**. Why has that finding not been highlighted?

Lastly, why is sitting at the computer being clubbed with studying? Let me quote from TOI, "Most of them did nothing but study. In fact, almost half of those interviewed said that they'd rather study or sit at the computer than do anything else." In my experience, sitting at the computer, while geeky in itself, isn't studies. It's instead a curious mix of porn, gaming and chatting/ blogging/ surfing the net. Is the assertion that 'most of them did nothing but study' made by the survey or by the tabloid?

By the way, the article itself is truly badly written. The press version has got statements like, "Not surprisingly, the brains behind the study are the students themselves" which I didn't think was particularly not surprising. Then, there is this - "Speaking of IITians, the trio (who carried out the survey) said, "We are termed distinctive, apparently concise, all-encompassing and even mildly disdainful nerds." What does that mean?

Update: Krishna, Editor of Insight, the campus mag which did the survey, writes in that this was another one of TOI's poorly written articles. The best part was of course was what the reporter said to Krishna,
what's your problem? the article is such a positive take on IITians; whats wrong with being called a nerd?!
Nothing wrong. Just as there's nothing wrong being called The Slimes of India.

* Actually, not much chance of the penultimate option being exercised!
** This would, also, perhaps be more insightful - that IITians are essentially closet jocks.


Anonymous shivam said...

i see that your IITians-are-c*******s campaign is still going on, and it gives me immense pleasure. They spend far more time on the comp than what they are saying in this survey. They indeed do a lot of blogging/orkutting and pr0n would make at least 5% of the survey if it were an honest one.

Sunday, August 27, 2006 10:42:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Shivam, my sense is that the 20% time that they are on the computer is either Quake/ AOE or pr0n. And no, didn't understand that word (too many stars perhaps). I love IITians.

Monday, August 28, 2006 2:04:00 AM

Anonymous Krishna said...


Tambay sent me the link to your blog. I thought I'd confirm just a few things:

I'm the editor of my campus newsletter, InsIghT. We did 2 surveys for the first issue of the year - one on aspirants who gave the JEE last year and one on the freshies in their first week, asking them their first impressions etc. It was just meant to be a satirical piece on how freshie mindsets change so quickly; visit http://gymkhana.iitb.ac.in/~insight or
http://www.cse.iitb.ac.in/~vivupu/Page8.pdf for the actual article

These Times of India morons have taken our data and quoted us completely out of context; I'm sure you know of ToI's well-documented quest to defame the whole world. They phoned me after laying hands on our article, and I tried to do damage control. And then; they conveniently misquoted me and the authors.

Anyways, I called up the reporter and fired her today and guess what she says - what's your problem? the article is such a positive take on IITians; whats wrong with being called a nerd?! Have written to the Editor about my grievances, hopefully they will print it soon.

Chalo, I'd be happy to answer any other queries about the entire incident.

~ Krishna

PS: Couldn't agree more with what you have said, hence the detailed reply! In fact when "our" article was printed in insti, there was absolutely no backlash.

Monday, August 28, 2006 4:43:00 AM

Anonymous Ashish Gupta said...

No seriously, what is wrong in being nerd or geek? They are the one who run the world anyway, rest just hang on their inventions. Is India going all US-y where excellence in studies is something to be ashamed of, or is it just your opionion?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 4:21:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Ashish, actually those who hang on the inventions of nerds are smarter, no? They just bullshit their way to the bank!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 8:02:00 PM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Ashish G, nothing wrong with being a nerd. Really. If you had stopped your comment there, I would have come over and joined you.

Except that they don't really come close to running the world (look at the last few US Presidents) and even when it comes to inventions, I would prefer a Richard Feynman to a . But that's my taste.

As far as logic is concerned, I don't see why IITians (nerds) have to be socially inept, sexist, homophobic etc. etc. All these are apparently a result of their lack of social exposure, as told to me by my IIT friends. Which, by the way, is the implication of the survey, for me. I am generalising. But since you asked, I am telling you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 2:34:00 AM

Blogger The One said...

I think the IITs provide an amazing academic atmosphere the benefits of which have been reaped not just by the students, but the global society at large- and that I feel is what the institutes were supposed to do in the first place.

Why IITians are supposed to be nerds or otherwise, is a personal matter. How they spend their time is also their personal choice. Such studies, though interesting, are just that. Geeks and nerds are to be found everywhere- including workplaces, and they do not necessarily come from IITs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 7:32:00 AM

Blogger Jatin said...

iitians r not intelligent, they r just like u. u can prove it. how many students in IIT r there who have not studied in coaching institution? how many students in IIT r there on their own studies after high school. if they where intelligent they would have qualified JEE without any coaching or tution.

Sunday, July 08, 2007 9:49:00 AM


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