I thought I would pass-on(share) some of the experiences I(we) gained the hard way. Which I hope should be of some use to Juniors at IIIT.
Making more out of 2/3rd year in college: Most of us spent our leisure time and other time too playing some computer games or thinking about strategies etc. Lately I realized that their are better things one can do in 2/3rd year for time pass which will be many folds useful than those games.
First there are so many programming challenges and contest online that one if determined can easily find enuf resources on the net to practice hell lot of it. Some links of this catergories are http://www.topcoder.com, http://acm.uva.es/, IBM Linux Challenge, etc.
Second there are other things like topcoder component design/development competitions that one can take part in thereby both winning cash prizes and gaining the experience and fun of coding.
Third is jumping in to Open source software development, I did this when I started my MS, and believe me I always wished I should have started earlier. There is nothing too difficult that should behold us from starting contributing, the code is mostly simple, readable and gives you sufficient examples to build open and achieve your desired functionality easily. Moreover the great feeling comes when someone thanks you for the small contribution you have made.
This might only apply to IIITians: I realized this lately that our approach towards things is terribly wrong. There is some kind of lack of self-confidence and more over lack of motivation to work harder. Some how we never take any challenges (like IBM Linux Challenge, RedHat scholarship Challenge, CSIDC and may be M$ challenge too) seriously.
Some of us might think(at least many of my friends and I did) that these competitions are tuff and require great intelligence but its nothing so hard. To get a better idea make sure you enquire sufficiently about any challenge of your interest and see the previous years entry and you will realize, nothing is so difficult.
There must be many other ways of being more creative, like game development etc, Let me know if you want to add something.
I would also suggest ppl to avoid thinking of hidding information like these from their friends and thereby avoid local competition, Local competition and sharing will mostly help you increase ur strength and confidence.