Everything you need to know, and then some!
- Accommodation?? This is all handled by the college,
you'll be allotted a room the day you come here, probably a double sharing room, though a few
get single rooms too. There's no need to whine about a double room though, I'd prefer it any
day, it's a lot more roomy, and well ventilated.
As for the furniture, there's hardly any, you'll have 1 cot, 1 desk, 1 medium sized metal almirah/cupboard, and 1 (pretty uncomfortable) chair. You'll need to arrange for the rest yourself, that includes, mattress, pillow, hangers, rack (if reqd.), clothes line etc. (TIP: Get a bunch of newspapers and plastic bags when you come, it'll come in handy. Also a cloth for wiping dirty surfaces, you'll find plenty.) Note also that most parents will probably have to stay with their kids in their rooms, because the guest house will be full, though if you book in advance you may get a room. Mattresses will be given on rent to parents who want them, but no cots, so you'll have to adjust somehow.)
- Food ?? You'll have to sign up for the mess attached to the bhavan allotted to you, some messes are better than others, but what you get is all luck. Rates are reasonable, the mess basic is around Rs.1200, and you'll probably hog another 300-600 on extras like non-veg, fruits, beverages, ice cream etc. But whenever you get bored of the mess (and you will), then there are enough and more places to eat at, and its all pretty cheap. You can also buy fruits and other eatables from just outside campus.
- Dhobi?? Yes, there are dhobi's who'll pick up your clothes from your room, and deliver them back, cleaned and pressed. Rates are reasonable. Last semester I paid either Rs. 135 for a month (35 clothes), or Rs.100 a month (25 clothes). BUT you'll be on your own for undergarments, all the little guys (underwears, banyans, hankerchiefs, socks etc) will have to be washed by you in the bathroom. So get your scrubber and bucket along (you can get these and all other necissities on campus at reasonable rates from BITS Cooperative store, a.k.a. Akshay, it's a decent sized supermarket)
- Internet?? Yes, there are large computer labs open till midnight, where you can always find a vacant machine to check your mail, chat, or pursue your academics, but be warned that the speed is pretty slow. There is (faster) internet connectivity in every room, but you'll need your own PC or laptop for that. Though I'd advise against bringing one in the first semester, it'll hardly be of any use to you, and it can easily mess up your first sem. Usually if anyone gets a laptop in their 1st semester, they end up having to entertain half the hostel with it.. and... well ...do you want to be an entertainer?
- Fun and Games?? You'll have plenty of opportunity to flex your muscles here. You'll find all the sports facilities you need, and more. Here in Pilani there is a swimming pool, gym (a pretty good one too!), squash court (glass back), 2 tennis courts, indoor badminton (4 beautiful courts i think), table tennis (3-4 in the activity centre as well as 1 in each bhavan), running track, basketball courts, cricket, football, volleyball, hockey etc. Most equipment is provided in ample supply for free, so no need to bring basketballs, footballs etc, even hockey sticks and padding is provided. Also each bhavan has its own (elected) sports secretary who gets funds for purchasing equipment, so you'll get TT balls, cricket stuff etc if he's does even a half-decent job. Apart from that there are chess and carrom clubs (among others I think) where you can play these "sports" :P
- Love Reading?? I don't know how many of you are into this kind of thing, but the Pilani campus has a huge library. The collection of technical books and journals is pretty good (and also quite under-utilized), so you're likely to find whatever it is you are looking for. The fiction sections aren't too great, but you'll always be able to find something to read, but its less than likely than you'll find a specific. The library is quite well organized, and if a book is on the shelves (which you can easily find out using the online search catalogue), then you'll be able to locate it in no time. Also each bhavan has an (elected) cultural secretary who gets fund to order magazines and newspapers for the bhavan. However cultural secretaries have been notorious for keeping all these magazines well away from the public eye, and usually only his chums get any access. But a major reason for that is that few people actually bother to go ask the cul-sec for anything, so don't go around denouncing anybody! Also most people get a newspaper delivered to their rooms, at the usual cost of around Rs 80 per month, and you can also subscribe to magazines through your newspaper-wala.
- Phone?? I don't know anyone at BITS who doesn't have a mobile phone, you get great plans with concessional rates, so there's really no reason to not get one. (TIP : Don't buy your sim card from Akshay, I did, only find that it was available much cheaper outside at C'not/Connaught, the local marketplace.) It may be a good idea to buy your handset and come, especially if you're looking for something high-end. You won't get much of a discount here, and variety may be limited. Of course there is college run STD booth and fax (0-1596-244183), any faxes received are stored, so one can pick them up any time.
- Sanitation?? As far as your room is concerned, you're in charge here. So get used to sweeping and swabbing. You can also pay to get this done (, but the real men do it themselves...)
- Power cuts?? You'll be happy to know that the electricity connection is pretty reliable here in Pilani, and we rarely get power cuts. Also there is generator back-up for the lights outside, so you won't have an excuse not to study. Last year we had a big power cut on the first night when most of the parents were still here....that was pretty misleading, so even if it happens again, don't worry.
- What all to bring?? I've created an extensive list, click here to check it out, it should be more than sufficient.
- Books?? Almost forgot about these guys eh? Well, even if not using 'em, I always enjoyed buying them. It'll be a good idea to buy these second-hand from your seniors, you'll get all the required books, and maybe even a few extra. Just be careful that you're getting the right publisher and the right edition, but remember that most publishers just keep changing editions without changing content (except maybe the cover page), so you'll be pretty safe even if you have a book one or two editions older. How much you pay for them depends on who you buy it from, Rs. 2500, + or - Rs. 500, depending on the condition of books is the cost for first year books. Also you may want to check out Roongta House, it's a shop that sells old books. You'll probably get books cheaper here, but they usually don't have all the books in stock, so you might have a problem.
- Campus liberties?? Looking to spread your wings a bit? You'll have plenty of opportunity here, since you can leave campus anytime during the day without anyone's permission (though the rule is that you need to be back in by 11). You can roam around the campus 24/7, except for girls who need to be back in their hostels by 11pm. Its a bit sad though, that even though we can leave campus anytime we feel, you'd prefer to stay on the inside, coz' there's almost nothing outside. But we've been able to turn this to our favour, because you'll find one of the most vibrant campus cultures right here in the middle of nowhere. There are clubs for everything (and everyone), and like half the college is student run. Everybody'll be recruiting in the first few weeks, so keep your eyes and ears open. Getting involved is the best way to get your life at BITS kick-started, and you'll also be doing something useful while you're at it!
- How to get here?? Well from Delhi or Jaipur you can easily get a bus to Pilani, though it probably won't be a very good one, especially to/from Delhi. More detailed information available on the parents info page, click here.
I'm trying to cover everything possible. So if there's still something you want to know, or any suggestions, just drop me a message here. And do leave a comment!