User Persona ft. Kritika (the Freshman)
The online semester meant attending all (special emphasis on ‘all’) lectures, asking questions, and completing tutorials for the typical ‘ghissus’. At the same time, none of these actually had a presence worth mentioning in the life of other students of our infamous ‘covid batch’.
While I identified myself as lying somewhere between the two extremes of this spectrum, my undying urge to try something new made sure that I attended most of the intro talks of the campus groups. So when I came to know about SDSLabs, I knew I must give it my best shot because I would be with people who are not only ‘machau’ but also understand why a few extra clicks on a website can be a little annoying.
Although I was a little hesitant at first because I considered myself to be a ‘noob’, when SDSLabs announced the Syntax Error Hackathon, I decided to participate in it after my seniors encouraged me because “even if you don’t win, you’ll definitely learn”. My first hackathon experience was great. Our project was shortlisted for the final round, and I vividly remember spending over an hour selecting the ‘right font’ with a fellow freshman team member (also in SDSLabs now!).
Making the cut
Shortly after our end-term exams, the problem statements for the recruitments were released. As I worked hard on my project, I felt really motivated as the seniors helped me with reviews and guided me whenever necessary. This reminded me of a blog by an SDSLabs alumnus that read, “Help shall be provided at SDSLabs to those who ask for it”.
After successful submission, I was called for rounds of interviews. A few hours after my last interview, when I got a call from a senior saying, “Congratulations, you got selected! So, are you in?”, I replied, “Of course, I am 110% in (~insert multiple exclamation marks, happy WhatsApp stickers, dancing GIFs, etc.~ )
My first online chapo at IITR was the SDSLabs Intro Chapo. After getting done with the initial onboarding process of being added to the Slack workspace as ‘critica’ (with a “Stay on chat” advice from almost every senior) and other teams on GitHub, Figma, etc., we had a series of lectures and assignments on Website design, Game design, design tools like Figma, Adobe Illustrator, etc.
We were also introduced to the various ongoing and released projects, and their aim, expectations, design philosophy, etc., were explained in detail. I remember being amazed upon realizing how vast our domain of work is and I was especially drawn to Rootex, our game engine (because seriously, how cool is that!)
Work Mode: ON
We kickstarted our work as SDSLabs members with our Minors, where we worked on minor fixes and issues in the ongoing projects under the guidance of our mentors. I worked on identifying the UI/UX issues on Accounts, the authentication system of SDSLabs, and with that, I learned the importance of documenting your work.
Then we had our Majors, where our scope of work and learning increased. We were assigned projects based on our interests as well as our performance in Minors, and I got to work on Backdoor, the CTF platform by SDSLabs.
We design nice posters, and I also got to try my hands on Adobe After Effects while working on the release video of our project Studyportal. Apart from the excitement of learning something new, the sheer joy of getting a ++ on slack (our internal motivation system in action XD) is unmatched.
There’s always happening a lot out there in the tech and design world, so how can the environment at SDSLabs be possible unaffected? We would know about some events or hackathons being organized, and with the slightest possibility of finding an opportunity to learn or build something cool (and often winning some awesome prizes too!), we would have a meeting, divide ourselves into teams, and just get going.
Not to forget that internal hackathons, sprints, and lectures are a regular practice at SDSLabs.
Fun Mode: They forgot to design an OFF button for that
We indeed had a lot of fun online with meets turning into ‘bakar sessions’ and a few chapos. Even online farewell for our seniors was as grand as it could possibly be made virtually. But the real fun began when we reached campus.
With many more chapos (for successful Minors, Majors, any small or big achievement or for no good-reason-at-all) being given either at the best eating outlets at Roorkee or stacks of Pizza boxes and cold drinks being delivered at the SAC Building, the ambiance at SDSLabs is always perfect for learning from your peers and seniors, coming up with crazy ideas and implementing them, or just going on random late-night walks if you feel low.
Also, if you think that everyone at SDSLabs is a tech-nerd (we’d rather take pride in being called tech-enthusiasts, but ok), prepare yourselves for pleasant surprises. You’ll meet budding poets, gaming gods, great to not-so-good singers and musicians and people with crazy dance moves. Not to mention, you may ocassionally find yourself amidst a conversation about great movies and songs or some adventurous trips!
A lot of us spend most of our time at SDSLabs, so whenever any of my friends see me leaving my hostel room with my laptop bag strapped on my shoulders, they almost always know where I was headed to!
To sum it up in one line, my journey at SDSLabs so far has been better than what I could have ever expected. With seniors playing a great role as mentors guiding me not only in the professional sphere but helping me deal with the ups and downs of life as well, and my peers being just the right like-minded people to have conversations and discuss ideas with, SDSLabs has helped me grow.
So if you want to meet some of the most amazing people in the R-land in their natural habitat, drifting away with the music as their fingers move effortlessly on their laptops to bring ideas to life or just chilling on the bean bags waiting for inspiration of a great project from the heavens above, just drop by at SDSLabs :) Recruitments will be held soon. If you have the slightest interest in anything I have talked about so far, do not miss the chance!