A not-so-talkative aspiring novelist, a very talkative future diplomat, a budding investment banker, someone who wants to work in the United Nations; a quick -witted potential politician and an over-excited aspiring lawyer – that’s how we describe our new gang of campus journalists. The six of us met for the first time last week at the HT office and bonded instantly. Though each one of us is different in his or her own way, the one thing we have common is the excitement and anticipation of going through the college admission process. We also share a love for new challenges, so now, as campus journalists, we stand here pumped up to face another challenge, a new experience to look forward to and a new terrain to explore.
Like all our batchmates, we too prepared for our Class 12 Board exams with a lot of late night cramming sessions and cups of coffee. Beating anxiety, coping with peer pressure and dealing with tough papers such as math.
One common dilemma is whether our decision to opt for our respective subjects in Class 11 will prove fruitful. We also plan to take you on a trip across colleges and through the minds of teenagers standing at the same junction of life, trying to choose between course or college. With the admission season around the corner, we are all worried about the uncertainty that comes with it. But you don’t have to worry, for you are not alone. The six of us will share our exciting journeys with you. So join us as we move around campuses, visit different colleges and meet different people. Though a yet unchartered territory for all of us, we plan to have fun while we’re at it.
Do join us in this fun-filled ride as we move around colleges and explore new avenues and express ourselves through articles, blogs, photos and videos in print and on social media. We will also talk about our aspirations and how we plan to get cracking on our goals.
Noor Bhatnagar, Bal Bharti Public School, Noida
It’s all about not being stereotyped
When you take up humanities as a stream, the stereotypes are bound to follow for the next seven years of your life. We are often called students from the arts stream as if we only draw and paint.
But it does not end here. In between questions such as ‘did you opt for humanities or didn’t have a great score to get selected in the science or commerce streams,’ I plan to pursue the road not taken by many.
Economic honours is what I had in my mind when I took up this stream, wanting to be a businesswoman. Due to my experience with Model United Nations (MUNs), debates, panel discussions, competitions, cross-country video conferencing, volunteering and also as the president of the student’s council of my school, I fancy myself as a political enthusiast, wanting to take up political science honours, and aspiring to be a diplomat.
Whenever anyone hears about diplomacy, all they understand is UPSC and IFS (Indian Foreign Service) as the role of an Indian civil servant. But there is more to it. Diplomats do not only represent countries, they represent causes, issues, and ideas, not necessarily of a particular country. They represent humanity as a whole.
International civil services is the less ‘hyped’ career choice taken by few and moreover, even fewer are successful at it. Why you ask? Well, I have tons of reasons - many colleges are devoid of courses like political science and international relations; Google scholarships and you will find almost all of them for science and commerce students, few for students wanting to pursue this field.
So, in between catching up the latest season of Game of Thrones, Suits and Friends I applied for the campus journalists’ initiative. It is not only about the transformation from a school kid to a college girl, it is about the small things that many a times go unseen. It is the fun and also the feelings of apprehension that every person, who has taken the Boards and is looking for a college, has.
Today, I write as a ‘CJ’- a campus journalist, because I am here to talk about the road not taken, about not being stereotyped. Anxiety and apprehension is what we all are feeling now. Anxious about the future, a future that is great and in which we all will be able to fulfil our desires. Whether to drop out? Whether to just change your stream? Whether or not we will get a college? Whether or not it will be a good college? What should I choose - course or college? Will there be only five cut-offs by DU this time? And the most important one – whether I am going to make it? We all are in it for the same thing – to learn and to have fun.
Sara Grover, Carmel Convent, Chanakyapuri
Stay hungry, stay foolish
When I was quite young; I was greatly influenced by my father as I saw him working in our ice cream factory. When I was a child I often went there and noticed how he worked. I believe at that time I didn’t quite realise how an interest in such things could lead to my interest in economics.
It was when Class 10 came knocking; that I realised I was deeply interested in the national economy. After that came the crucial decision of choosing the right stream, my decision was based on my interest that was in business and I chose commerce with math. However, it was only after my Class 12 Board examination that I finally came to a conclusion as to what I would want to do for the rest of my life. It had to be something interesting and something I liked.
It was then that I decided that I would like to pursue a degree in either economics or business from Delhi University and then an MBA from Harvard University. It was my keen interest in numbers that nudged me to take this decision of being an investment banker. The reason that I was intrigued by this profession is because it is that of analysing and taking the risk. I am a firm believer that one should take risks in life if you win, you will be happy and if you lose, you will be wise. Although the risk inherent in the profession is very high and the stakes are even higher. But we only regret the chances we didn’t take. So far the journey of being a campus journalist has been an experience of a lifetime. The visit to the Hindustan Times office, meeting the editor was quite surreal and interacting with such vibrant people was a great opportunity. I believe that I live in two worlds, one is a world of books, I have been a student at Hogwarts, visited Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, cried on the death of Jon Snow, fought alongside Napoleon and taken a sad train down with Anna Karenina... it’s a rewarding world but my second one is, by far, superior. My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric but supremely real, and now is the time that I would like to write about the real world. I think it is going to be a roller-coaster ride so feel free to hop on!
William Shakespeare once said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” This is what I have learnt from Shakespeare, life is short and opportunities are rare and we must be vigilant in protecting them. And this is why I am drawn to be an investment banker. Just like a moth drawn to a flame. Investment banking is not just about signing million dollar deals. It’s about numbers, risks, challenges, opportunities, success and also failure without which success remains shallow.
Bhrigu Bagga, Presidium, Indirapuram
Don’t be afraid of failure
As a Class 10 student, I was asked to decide what I want to do in life.
There was no peer or parental pressure. I decided to take up the medical stream as I heard this from my grandfather at a book store – ‘the pace at which you spend money, I don’t think you would be able to afford yourself’ – as usual I had my mind running at five thoughts per second. One of these thoughts were that those who opt for the science stream make a lot of money, so I opted for it.
The Board exams were a mess as anxiety and nervousness took a toll on me. Now, I am writing blogs and aim to pursue a bachelor’s course in journalism and mass communication from a good university wherein I can hone my skills in photography. My dream is to join politics and take Indian politics to another level. Failure is a natural thing that one has to deal with and it is not something to be afraid of. As a campus journalist, I am hoping to learn a lot and being associated with a newspaper is the perfect start that I could have asked for.
Shivam Parashar, St Columba’s School, Ashok Place
A science student with a passion for studying law
Many of us take up the science stream and an almost equally large number of us regret this decision. However, you can count me out of those who regret this decision later.
I have always had my eyes set on studying law. This, though, didn’t stop me from taking up the much feared, and sometimes revered, science stream in Class 11 and 12. Unlike most people, I can cross my heart and openly declare that it was a conscious well thought after decision free from all societal pressure. Moreover it satisfied my thirst for challenges.
But did it? Getting accustomed to the academic school life made me wonder if I was going too slow? Eventually, I ended up taking part in every extracurricular activity that came my way, be it the editorial board of the school magazine or the debating society or the student council or even business events which I despite being a ‘sciencee’ actively took part in.
While science came as a welcome challenge, law seems to me as a higher calling. I believe that studying law would enable me to work for the rights of the oppressed and bring out the voice of the unheard. From being the editor-in-chief of the school magazine to being the president of the student council, I have donned various hats in the past two years. However, I firmly believe that it was studying physics chemistry and math that made me an analytical thinker. And after two years in the physics and chemistry lab, I emerged out as a more organised and systematic person. So at the end of these two years I can call myself a proud science student. As a campus journalist, I plan to explore a yet unchartered territory for me and plan to have lots of fun while at it.
Ankita Raina, Shanti Gyan Niketan, Dwarka
Your career should be all about following your heart
What do you have to say about a girl who opted for the medical stream in Class 12 and now wants to pursue English literature from a Delhi University college? Some of you might feel I didn’t do well in my entrance test (it was really challenging with the change in the All-India Pre-Medical /Pre-Dental Test to the National Eligibility-cum Entrace Test). Some may say I am just an average student while others might think I am insane!
These are natural reactions when people hear about a science student who is not actually taking up a career in the discipline. But I have decided to follow my heart and realised that I am not fit for a career in science. As far as the stereotypes go, one who opts for medical science has to become a doctor even if s/he doesn’t want to, and one who fails to do so, is considered a failure! What if there is a different side to this story?
I always loved my novels much more than I loved my science textbooks. The day when I was acquainted with the feeling of liberation that writing gave me, that I could write anything and with as much freedom as I wanted to, no hard and fast rules and no boundaries, was the day when I stopped caring about science. It was on the very same day that I set out on the road to becoming a novelist.
Just because a student who takes up the medical stream in Class 12 does not pursue medicine as a career, doesn’t mean that there are no other ways of becoming successful. Hence, becoming a campus journalist was taking a step closer to the final milestone.
Through my articles as a campus journalist, I want to share my dilemmas and confusions with people and wanted to talk about the fact that not everybody changes their directions just in order to get rid of the previous ones; sometimes directions are changed in a dream of getting better and much clearer ones.
Akash Kumar, University School of Jamia Millia
A visit to the UN made this desi boy truly global
Born and brought up in a joint family in Motihari, a small town in Bihar, I did my schooling upto Class 10 from here. Quite interestingly, I share my birthplace with the famed writer George Orwell. The seeds of the first Satyagraha movement in India, Champaran Satyagraha, were also sown here. I was named Akash because my parents envisioned that, for me, only the sky was going to be the limit.
In 2013, I started my senior secondary school at Jamia Millia Islamia (Yes! Jamia is one of the few universities which offer school education as well). Even though I was the topper of the humanities entrance exam, I opted for physics, chemistry and math with economics. It was not because of pressure from my parents. My father is a teacher and he has always taught me to pursue my passion. It was a mix of societal and peer pressure, as well as my instinct for taking up challenges. Then that year came the biggest breakthrough of my life till date; I got the YES scholarship of the US Department of State to go to the United States as India’s youth ambassador for the academic year 2014-15. Saying yes to the YES scholarship meant losing an academic year.
I knew that this was my moment and thus embarked on a journey of self-discovery. My experience in the US gave me moments to cherish and lessons to remember. I took classes that shaped my career decisions. I made friends from across the globe. I got to meet prominent American political leaders; senators, Congressmen and people in the executive. I went to the UN Headquarters in New York and also got an opportunity to give a speech there. My exchange experience turned me into a truly global citizen by broadening my world view to an extent I had never imagined. Well yes, I also faced some pretty funny questions. Once a guy at my school walked to me and said, “Do you guys travel on horses and elephants in India?” And I was like, “Yes, and you know what, our traffic police moves on camels.” But when I returned to India in June 2015, I changed for better and changed to confront each and every situation life had to offer. I want to be a diplomat. Although I would deliberate upon joining the Indian Foreign Service by taking the UPSC exam, I feel passionate about working with the United Nations as an international civil servant in conflict resolution and global development.