What happens with Formaldehyde during Cannizaro’s Reaction?
This would seem like a really easy one for a student preparing for Engineering Entrance Exams. Well, most of you would have had a “gosh… I knew that " moment. My cousin had actually asked me that very question and I had no answers to that. One important thing that B.Tech has taught me is how well to answer questions that you have no clue about. I did a reasonable job to avoid embarrassment.
But then as it always happens, I could never get over that question. I turned to Google for the answer and Google once again seemed infallible. I tried the same trick on few of my friends back in college; they were more or less at the same level as me. I was happy but not enthralled since we have all forgotten what he had studied in the first place to be there.
Starts can be deceptive
I am not playing a 3 Idiots thing on anyone with that start. Well, starts can be deceptive.
The reason I couldn’t answer it dates back to nearly two years ago when the third semester had begun. I had enrolled for B.Tech in Chemical Engineering for a number of reasons (actually only reason): Screwing my AIEEE exams and getting four times as much as my JEE Rank, (just a little bragging, I had qualified for Counselling in JEE ;)) and that is it. The rest were just after effects of the only reason. I had to opt for courses like Chemical and Mechanical. College was kind enough to grant few deserving students an option to change the branches depending on the CGPA at the end of first year and of course availability of seats in that Branch aka “Sliding”. My seniors wanted me to opt for Mechanical as companies visiting college for placements preferred Mechanical students. But, one of my batch mates was lucky enough to get through JEE on the second attempt and made sure that one seat in Electronics was made available for sliding. As luck would have it, one more student who had opted for Sliding from my State had the same CGPA and we had made a pact before going inside that she would take Electronics, as she had prior background and interest in it while I would opt for IT which would fall vacant upon her sliding. Things went smooth and I had made a decision which I never thought would have such a big effect on everything I did in college after that.
Benzene Structure to Data Structures
I had taken preliminary Computer Science (CS) vocational subjects during Junior College days so the transition from Chemical to CS was smooth.
I got interested in the subjects that my new course taught me. I got involved with Programming Contests and it felt good solving them, each AC or ACcepted solution made me feel confident and better. Two Semesters passed like a breeze after that.
During the third year, one Software Company visiting college for placements felt that I was ok enough to be offered an Intern position the following summer. I knew I had to work harder and prepare before hand. But all that was in vain, as the amateurish preparation at college never really worked there. Now, the next thing that college life teaches you is to adapt to any kind of environment ranging from corporate lifestyle to Mumbai local trains.10 weeks flew by and I was back in College.
Now, after over two years since the day I took that decision, I cannot still decipher what I had learnt from all this or what the real impact was but one thing I am sure of is I am not ashamed that I don’t know about Benzene Structure or Cannizaro’s Reaction but rather proud of the fact that I have a relatively better knowledge about Algorithms, Data Structures, Databases, Software Engineering which matters most from now on.
Life is like a box of chocolates
I know some of you might think what is the point of sharing this experience which could be labeled: Dull and Common in anyone’s life but the point is I had no thoughts in my mind when I was in that board room signing up the form and taking a decision which was against what my peers and seniors had suggested. It struck me when I was watching the movie Forrest Gump in which Tom Hanks says "Life is like a box of chocolates". Then I had this feeling of Déjà vu (no pun intended) and I , of course, continued to enjoy my box full of real good chocolates.