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Two sides of the same coin – School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi

An “Institution of National Importance” Under an Act of Parliament (Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India)

SPA Delhi a dream, an aspiration, ultimate goal in life, greatest achievement, specialized university, Institution of National Importance and what not. Even when thousands of words are being added to the English dictionary, Oxford Dictionary still lacks apt word & adjective to describe this heaven. When a student gets admission to this premier institute, it’s a breathtaking moment for him/her. A moment so energetic that you can unleash a thunder storm. You are in a world of your own and feel like King of the World, joy takes over senses, there is no looking back and the only thing which come to your mind is “I made it to SPA”, SPA, SPA, SPA …. !!! This is the best thing that can happen to anyone who dreamt of SPA!!!

Soon after getting admission, just about to release the trapped energy, everything feels great from infrastructure to faculty, food to environment, parking to library, just everything. Slowly and steadily the joy which once took over the mind starts to function and you start to question yourself “Am I at the right place, umm, is it SPA?….  Is it SPA Delhi?” But then again mind choose to look at other side, reviews, rumors, recommendations, praises, achievements, proclamations, each and every positive comment about college and after which that question stops bothering you. You are at the best place on the planet Earth. The happiness which your family member, relatives, friends get & the proud feeling in telling everyone about you making it to SPA can’t be measured. This once again fills you with confidence and energy to leave no stone unturned to make most of this heaven.

But sooner or later the question once lingering in the back of mind comes to haunt you. This can be because of your expectation, standards experiencing free fall, faculty, academics, and facilities etc etc etc, the list is never ending and reasons differ from person to person which gets framed after having faced the difficult situation. Students who are ready to sacrifice everything and those who did sacrifice everything soon starts understanding that this is a place not to be. Something went wrong, terribly wrong but fails to understand what because of the achievement, fame, reputation associated with the Brand Name SPA!

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Everything which can go wrong and which went wrong is soon forgotten. SPA cites a perfect example of how short-lived human’s memory is. There are discussions & decisions in student council to rock the system and leave no stone unturned to bring justice to sufferers but it is soon forgotten or tamed or to be precise “suppressed”. You might wonder how suppressed? Well, it goes unsaid that with great college comes great aspirations and in current system aspirations largely depends on “Marks”, a criteria worthless enough to create fear in mind of students. Than rule of minimum attendance adds to the unspoken “suppression”. If these two ultimate powers fail then they combine and if that too doesn’t work than status “Fully Autonomous” is put to use. Administration is not answerable to most of the questions (which are generally problems, plight to be precise) and even if they do answer than those answers are something which makes no sense and cannot be put to any use. In case you manage to dodge these but somehow your identity is revealed then the continuous evaluation (integral part of education system) will take care that you spend sleepless nights and go through miserable days. You will be ripped apart with work load, tantrums, marks, comments, attendance and number of hidden criteria which gets you passed.

But who cares, you are at SPA!!! This all is a myth and can’t be true and I never experienced it and I won’t, simply because it’s not true. This is an event with probability “Zero”. But even if in rarest of the rare case, if some supernatural power takes over and you are caught in such a situation then you have Student Council, concerned faculty, some “Idols”, rules and regulations and RTI for your defense. But once caught, you will have a hard time realizing & believing that all of this was just creation of you mind. You are on your own. The one who will be undergoing the unexpected and unimagined will lose his/her voice and hope even before he/she regains senses to think and act. College administration will swiftly takes actions and move files that you won’t be able to keep a track and will be lost forever. The notices about students getting flunked are released few hours before weekend (officially college is off on weekend) and with exams on the following Monday. Just to bring some relief and hope a flunked person will cry on weekend and plan for all possible ways to get out of the mess and try to talk to concerned person on Monday just few hours exams, although this time which seemed to be a hope but is merely illusion as everyone will be busy with arrangements which are required to be made for conducting exam. At this time a person whom you never found to be on his/her desk will act to be busy and avoid getting into conversation with you. After all this you will once again be on you own. Now depression and fear will take over and you will just sit like an emotionally damaged and motionless person. All the good memories will fade away and you will start blaming and criticizing each and every second spent in this heaven. Your mind will soon start to work and all things will start to relate, there will be flash of memories which were once scattered like a jigsaw puzzle will arrange themselves and give you a clear picture of what was happening from the very beginning. Once you are back to senses you might dare to ask for the records (something which don’t exist in most of the cases) to save yourselves. It will be a time to put your mind to work and question authority for giving you all hope and freedom in the very beginning. You will blame authorities for letting you skip classes (something relatable if you ever got caught in this mess) and never giving any strict warnings, not putting up attendance list on time, for giving you hope to cover-up your attendance with silly assignments and in some cases just requesting the concerned faculty to give you attendance.

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Once you are done with all possible and seemingly impossible resorts, your perception and understanding of this premier institute (now Institution of National Importance) will change forever. You will stay away from all the illusions it has to provide and spend your rest of the time as a learned soul who will work hard to avoid getting caught in the net again and share your experience with juniors/ concerned/ beloved once to keep them safe. But who cares!!!, its SPA after all !!! They will not be able to relate unless caught in a similar situation which leaves them with no option and just to regret. The brand name “SPA Delhi” does a magic on you just like countless money and akin to a coin comes with 2 sides.

If you are unable to relate to anything which is mentioned above which seems to be against the institution than Kudos!!! You made it through the SPA without getting caught in the vicious cycle and should not be bothered about it. For those who can relate, you are too late to take any action and just to focus on avoid getting caught in this cycle again and enlighten others.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are of its author with no inputs from PlanningTank.

6 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Please don’t be nervous. This articles reflects some of the rare cases in undergraduate department. There is nothing like this is bound to happen. Be confident and give your best!

  2. Hey!
    I am joining the institution frm this year for masters in planning. I was a little nervous about this but after reading your article, I am really scared and nervous now. Could you please elaborate a little more on the culture that is being followed in the masters section.

  3. Hello Akanksha. As the other users mentioned about college its still considered to be one of the best (no official information exist about college rankings in India) moreover the article is one of the review of a student. There are many more positive things to look for. PlanningTank is a product of SPA D only, the whole idea is from SPA D and even the name itself. You can read about it, http://planningtank.com/about-planning-tank , we posted this article as it is important to highlight the problems of students which they might not be able to say in front of their administration because of number of reasons. We will suggest you to talk to some of the students and college representatives before taking a final decision. We hope this helps.

  4. Hi, Its still one of the best college in the country. Just because this article reflects the hidden face does not mean this happens all the time. It must be base on some cases. As far as other colleges are concerned there are no reviews at all, not with us as for now. They are very new to the field and still look up to SPA D as their mentor. None of the college in world is perfect. Positive * negative are part of all colleges.

  5. im afraid its not that simple…see the college has earned its reputation because it was and still is the best in some forms, and with the revised syllabus for their bachelor’s course in planning, it has evolved. But all this is just on paper. Its current reputation was earned by passionate professors and individuals, most of which have now retired and have been replaced. The problem faced by SPA now is that these replacements are unable to fill the shoes of their predecessors. The quality of education in the institute is nowhere close to what it had been earlier.
    So if you are contemplating admission into the college just for its name, go ahead, the market still values its name, but if you are actually passionate about planning or architecture, look elsewhere.

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