Arihant: Hi I’m Arihant Verma, final year Electronics and Communication undergrad student at National Institute of Technology Hamirpur. The fact that I blindly gambled with which branch I wanted to take makes me different. Engineering today is infamously captured in ‘first today’s youth do engineering then they figure out what they want to become’, but this actually turned out as a boon for me, for I didn’t know what I wanted to.
IF: Which internship did you get the chance to take? What was it all about? Stipend, duration and place?
Arihant: I did my summer internship in the RRMC (Research Reactor Maintaince Division) at Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Mumbai for 6 weeks. There was no stipend provided, it was a purely vounteered research internship once selected.
IF: How did you come to know about the internship? To what all sources you kept yourself connected?
Arihant: I got to come to know about the internship through internshaala. I regret not having known about the existence of InternFeel at that time. I bet it would have helped me better. Anyways. I kept myself updated to all the IIT websites, ISRO’s website and IISc’s website. I also kept an eye on some of the institutes abroad. Mostly I searched professors and labs and sent individualized mails to them.
IF:Tell us on the procedure to apply for the internship. Who all are eligible to apply for this internship?
Arihant: The way I applied for the internship, was through their official notice on the website. This webpage gives a glimpse of it : http://www.barc.gov.in/student/student_sp.html . But one can also directly approach their human resource department and ask so forth. Another method to apply to BARC is through the IAS (Indian Academy of Sciences). The website reads : Students in their third or fourth year of under-graduate engineering programme and science students in post graduate programmes may apply for undertaking project work/training, as a part of their academic curriculum, in various engineering disciplines (namely Mechanical, Chemical, Electrical, Electronics, Instrumentation, Computer) and basic sciences (namely physics, chemistry, biology) for duration not less than three months. But I also saw 2nd year students interning when I was there.
IF: Let’s talk about how competitive is the selection process.
What qualities of yours, you believe helped you in having an edge over the selection
process? What key things you feel were looked for by the selectors?
Arihant: Nothing, I was a blank slate. I had no major projects undertaken, no research papers published, no nothing. It was based on the project proposal and the resume( which was genuine and showed eager(but not desperate) interest in getting the internship) sent. Also if you pair up a couple of people, there are more chances to get selected. I applied both individually and with a friend. I wasn’t replied to the individual application. At my time they selected about 450 out of around 10000 students who applied, from all around the country, but my project guide told that the number would be lessened because there were too many interns under one guide (5 on an average, apparently 5 was too much for them, they wanted less).
IF: About when did you get the news for the selection? How were the celebrations done?
Arihant: It went like this : I had applied to about 70 places but without any positive reply (replies were really seldom, and whichever came were of denial). It was in the middle of final semester exams that the reply came in the morning. First thing I told my friend, and we both were more than relieved. We decided to go forth now. At this point of time, there was more fear and curiosity than celebrations, we knew we had work to do, lots of.
IF: What all preparations you did after the results in view of the internship?
Arihant: Nothing, surprisingly. We had to leave on the last day of our exams itself. We reserved train tickets immediately, checked the required documents, and off we went the next day without the slightest idea of the housing (since they didn’t provide any place to say on campus.)
IF:Please tell us what work/research project you carried out during the internship
period? It’s application in near future and your work in it?
Arihant: As I said, we worked in the Research Reactor Maintance Division. We worked on the instrumentation of the control systems of CIRUS and DHRUVA research reactors, that monitor the change of flux of neutrons coming out of a nuclear reactor and provides necessary feedback in case the flux levels exceeds the limit. So you see there were instruments which themselves monitored what the upper limit was. It was exciting. Also as the part of the research we modelled the logarithmic amplifiers tinkered differently for different places of application in the circuits. We were given the actual instrumentation ciruits (operational amplifier circuits) to study, which were made from the components that BARC itself made (BARC can’t rely on any outside technology that is not tested multiple times, safety comes first).
IF :What was the best thing about the work culture and the internship? What all things
you liked there?
Arihant: The best thing about the work culture at BARC was that everybody worked sincerely towards the goals they were assigned. There were no loopholes in the research one had to do to make something work. The best thing about the internship, for me was the library. It was a storehouse of such tremendous information, and I confided in it. I kept xeroxing the books and reading. The campus is a city in itself. There is a km length long building, imagine that! We got to see the research reactors, what more could we have asked for. The working hours were flexible, our mentor was extremely helping and polite with us. Their canteens were retro looking and super cool. We ate things we had never before.
IF: Were there any special events during the internships?
Arihant: No, not on campus. BARC is not such a celebrating place to be.
IF: What was the guidance provided by your guide/mentor? What all support you
received from administration at the intern place?
Arihant: My mentor, as I said was extremely helpful and polite. He’d always help me with any kind of query I’d have. He kept pushing us to try to find out the solution to a particular design ciruit before himself telling us. The administration wasn’t very cooperative on helping us getting the accomodation. Also the security procedure and the procedure for making an authorised entry card was so tiresome and elongated, that we actually had to wait a week, before we got it and were able to go inside the BARC Campus. Being a government institute, we couldn’t expect better (pun intended).
IF: Let’s now talk about some negatives.
What problems you or your friends faced, regards to the internship, which your juniors
may be able to avoid?
Problem : Housing
Never go for brokerage agents and trying to get a PG out of them. You will be looted. Try getting in touch with your relatives or acquaintances (we didn’t have any ). The best option is to get rooms in IIT B. Though the commuting time is about 30 minutes from BARC to IIT B, but that’s no problem because BARC buses to IIT B are there, with almost no cost of travelling.
Once you are in IIT B, there won’t be any kind of problem, you could be sure of that.
IF: Anything you would like to tell us please. Feel free to share any interesting thing that
Arihant: On weekends, just go out and explore and discover Mumbai. I fell in love with the city. Just don’t dare work on weekends.
IF: Was this your first internship / training?
Arihant: Yes, it was my first internship.
IF: To which all people you would, like to thank in context of this internship?
Arihant: My mentors Dr. Jacob John and Dr. Roy Kallol, for being so supportive, informative and inspiring. Also my parents for letting me hack live without prior preparations. Also not the least , my friend Tapan Sharma, with whom I had one of the best times of my life.
IF: How much difference this internship period has made in your intellectual capabilities
and mindset. In broad terms what are your gains from this?
– I got to manage things, like I had never done before, including time and money
– Learned how to persuade people, increased my communication skills, made new friends
– Dr. Roy Kallol was an eye opener in the ways of life and what not.
– The combined knowledge imparted by mentors, friend discussions and library is definitely gonna set a milestone in my ways of trying to understand things.
– Do projects. And just for the sake of it, but to really learn somthing. No other substitute to it.
– Get out of comfort zone and ask for help when you want, clear your doubts, no matter what or how.
– Set targets. Procrastination will lead you to a not so great place to be : nowhere.
– Research hard for internships out there. There are always more than you think, always more than meets the eye.
– CGPA, keep it up, it will definitely helps.
– Try to find out as early as possible what is that one thing you want to dedicate your working hours of life to.
IF: What are your future plans after this internship and how much impact this internship
will have on it?
Arihant: As time had it and had to be, I’m going to switch careers. I’m gonna go on the literary writing side (four yeard helped me figure this our, hence the boon). But the after effects of this internship definitely would not die with this, my love for physics would keep it alive.
IF: Any views about this initiative of InternFeel, and how beneficial it would be? Any
suggestions for improvement?
Arihant: What can I say. I already told, its existence was no less than a surprise to me. Wonderful initiative, you guys are changing lives. Kudos to that.
IF: It was so nice to know all about this. We agree you would have been busy with your
academics. Even then you took out time for this. We thank you and wish you best of luck
for all your future endeavors.
Arihant: No big deal. वक़्त होता नहीं है निकालना पड़ता है (Time isn’t there, but has to be made, perks of management ;), and I’m still learning so 😀 )