What You Never Knew About ASAB
You probably have seen that eerie, old, unfashionable building which looks exactly like the one beside it, and dismissed it as one of the ‘dark corners of NUST’. Today, we’re going to acquaint you with a day in the life a student at Atta ur Rehman School of Applied Biosciences!
1) NOT an MBBS Substitute
Firstly, let’s clear this out. ASAB is not a ‘milder form’ of a medical school, housing depressed medical-rejects who didn’t know what better to do with their lives. If you’ve been told so and believed it, you should be ashamed of yourself. Did you also think the world would end in 2012, you gullible little thing?
As for what we do, even we’re not entirely sure of that. We get to play around with DNA, microorganisms, can edit genes and raise hybrids which might take over the world one day. We could also potentially kill you with a single vaccine all the while making you think you asked for it, but no biggie.
2) The Lab Coat Run
At ASAB we play a game, which is like Temple Run, only harder. You start with forgetting/misplacing your lab coat and losing your locker keys (and never ever learning your lesson.) Next, you’re shunned from the class and get 10 minutes to change your life.
Here’s what happens: 20-something people take off in a marathon, first running to the classes to seek the holy coat-bringers and coaxing them into giving up theirs. On failing, they frantically rush to the labs and beg from anyone in sight. On being refused (again), their sole option is diving into a pile on the rack, most of which comes from the Animal Lab House and is supposed to go for laundry. At this point, closing the nose and cursing yourself is mandatory. With that, they rush back to class, with an accomplished smile and lungs which stopped working long ago, ultimately telling themselves they deserved it.
3) The Lab Animal House
We don’t know who tells you all those stories about what’s in there, but thanks for the laughs! Let’s bust those myths once and for all. No, it’s not a zoo, it doesn’t have an army of crazy monkeys, there are no hamsters up for adoption and there are definitely no snakes! However, there are scores of research mice- all of them genetically modified (diabetic ones, for example) You may also come across rabbits, chickens and ducks. Also, you need never fear an animal attack while you’re there; the stench will kill you before anything else can.
4) The Labs
Nanotechnology, Industrial Biotechnology, Microbiology and Virology and the list goes on; you name it, we have it. In them, you may stumble upon some of the weirdest stuff (Think: 6, 7 humongous jars of green goo bubbling together and connected by pipes.)
The whole department is a lab itself. You might be chilling on the benches and no less than 5 people, with trays carrying mice, petri dishes and other such absurdities (cool, sciencities) will pass by you. There’s also a distinct noise of running freezers in the background, and an eternal smell of chemicals, every single minute of the day. You do learn to ignore these eventually. There’s also a Diagnostic Lab due to which ASAB is filled with random strangers, sometimes, all of whom are there to get numerous blood tests done.
However, for the first few semesters, you’ll follow this one simple motto ‘If you don’t know how to micropipette, you will fail at life’ and so you shall comply.
5) The Freshmen Batch
Freshies at ASAB come in mid-November, every year. By this time, life at NUST has already kicked off and all society recruitments closed. Apart from feeling left out of the circuit (which their awesome seniors help them out of, you’re welcome) they also have their semester run all the way till the end of July. For people who practically rule NUST and C1, for an entire month, they don’t get half the credit they deserve. They also have to wait an incredibly long time for an official welcome (May) which then translates to ‘welcome to the end of the semester’. Only an ASABian can relate to the pain.
6) PhD Get-togethers
At ASAB there’s a PhD thesis defence (almost) every month. It is then that the whole school is encouraged (read: forced) into making their way to the auditorium and supporting the one person, the faculty collectively roasts. But all’s well that ends well, because more often than not, a doctor is born at the end of the day.
Additionally, as the stats go, ASAB has the largest number of PhD faculty members in NUST, who complement the coursework by their own research papers and motivate you to be nothing less than one. This is a lot of pressure when you can’t even get past your OHTs without contemplating what you’re doing with your life and planning an elaborate escape route.
7) The Shehtoot Game
ASAB is surrounded by well-kept lawns, with signs which read ‘ground kay andar say guzarna mana hai’ (a popular photography spot amongst the students. You daredevil, you!). The footpaths have rows of mulberry trees, where ASABians can be found swinging by, casually picking and devouring the fruit in bliss. The shehtoots have also taken painstaking efforts to improve the décor at ASAB, painting the town purple, leaving prints all over the sidewalk and classroom floors and ruining fancy pairs of shoes, while they’re at it.
8) The ASABian Family
With only 4 undergraduate classes and no sections, ASAB is a close-knit family. It’s home to some of the most crazy-passionate-about-their-field people you’ll ever meet. They’re also painfully smart. If you’re an ASABian and you’re getting a GPA below 3.5, you’ll sit through loads of *cough* *uninvited* *cough* counselling sessions. People actively participate in societies, International and National competitions and get into competitive programs in universities abroad (Yes, Ivies and Russels included.) Yet, we’re probably one of the most misunderstood departments at NUST. But for all the labels and judgements that we get, we’ll just pull out our shades and ignore you because yes, we are ‘paindu’ that way, in this crazy little place we call home.
SMME – Things You Probably Didn’t Know
The School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. Yes, the department well-known for two things: having a high merit, and being severely allergic to females. Well, here we are once again to shed some light and give you a better perspective of what SMME truly is.
The SMME Family
The initials ‘SMME’ do not just refer to just the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering for its students. ‘SMME’ represents the bond that exists between all the students. The support that SMMEians bring to their fellows in any event is unparalleled. The Intra-NUST Football Tournament 2015 final that was played between SMME and NICE was one such spectacle. The touchline was filled with SMME supporters unnerving the NICE players with their chants. The Intra-NUST Debating Championship 2017 final (yes, we don’t deal in anything less than a final) between SMME and NBS was another occasion where, despite the round taking place in NBS, the hall was filled with SMME chants and slogans after every speech.
Photo Courtesy: Student Council of SMME – Abdul Wasay BK
Remember that day-mare when almost all of us sat in the hall next to NIT, hopelessly checking away MCQs on a screen, hoping to get into NUST? Well, for SMMEians the torture didn’t end there. All of our OHTs and ESEs take place in that exam hall. Before any exam, it is a common sight to see hordes of SMMEians with ruffled hair and sleepy eyes scurrying away in the direction of the hall, perfectly aware of the doom looming above their heads. Well, at least we have a separate place for our exams (not sure if we should be happy about that or not).
The pre-exam stress relief stages
You may have your own way of dealing with stress one night before the exams, but here’s how we in SMME go about the ordeal: (credits for the screenshots: Huzaifa Kafeel)
All it takes is one email to set the rolling snowball in action.
Can’t we all relate to that?
Right in the feels, that one.
What’s more, we haven’t even told you about the time when Imran Khan was all set to lock Islamabad down. Here we were studying frantically for the paper that was the very next day, and this is what we got:
k some time and some email-checking for us to truly accept that the OHTs were indeed postponed.
The Manufacturing Resource Center (MRC)
Back when we were freshmen and came to SMME for the first time, the sight of the huge building with all its machines and equipment brought feelings of pride and wonder to us. Outsiders may still feel the same way, but that’s because none of them have spent an entire day trapped inside the MRC each week for one complete semester. Let us tell you more about it. The philosophy of MRC is encapsulated in this one sentence:
“There is no problem in this world that you can’t file your way through.”
Regardless of that, it isn’t that bad a place. A lot of FYPs are worked on and made in the MRC, and it isn’t rare to see a group of SADA students showing up in the MRC to manufacture their projects and fabricate their designs.
It’s not so surprising to find out at times that people are unaware of the fact that there are four Concordia’s in NUST! The fourth one is located inside SMME on a small hill between the MRC and the actual SMME building. Go back a year and a half and the only items you’ll find on the menu in C4 are depression and despair garnished with some emptiness and the occasional spring roll. It has come a long way since then, now selling: milk shakes, anda-shamis, biryani, donuts, korma, depression, shinwari, nan, pulao….you get it.
We are home to NUST’s very own Robot Football Team!
Headed by Dr.Yasar Ayaz, the robotics department in SMME is in full swing. In the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) lab, you can see (besides other robots) a small football pitch with a goal, and a few robots standing around. If you’re lucky, you may even find the robots playing football. RISE acquired Aldebaran’s NAO Humanoid robots a few years ago and is since consistently participating in the RoboCup Standard Platform League, the top Robot football league in the world.
SMME hosts the annual DICE Innovation Event
SMMEians would usually recognize this as the two-day event during which you don’t have any classes and you’re taken [read: coerced] in vans to sit in CIPS during the ceremonies and talks so that the halls don’t feel empty. Regardless of that, this is one of the biggest events of NUST where students from all over Pakistan come to present their projects and innovations, and compete for prizes.
Last but not the least, the SMME naara!
It goes like this:
One person goes: “Aakhta laakhta laka paakhta chabutar!”
One person: “Chabutar!”
Don’t try to look for some meaning in the words. There isn’t any.
We hope this was an informative and enjoyable read. If you want to tell us about your department, feel free to send in your submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By Ishaq Ibrahim