Peer passion, not pressure

Peer Passion Not Pressure

Peer passion, not pressure

The desire to follow footsteps of a group can be quite compelling.

It is the most basic human nature – to be with like-minded people, to be a part of the society is to be ‘secured’ about one’s own validations. “Oh I need to be where they are so that we all can benefit from each other”.

This DNA-driven ‘need’ to be a part of group for sense of security usually turns into the ‘want’ to do what they are doing too. “They are doing it so I must too”.

This is peer pressure.

The latest iPhone, the trending hairstyle, and even education – to do what others are doing becomes a compulsion. To be SEEN doing what they are becomes the most important necessity!

The gadgets can come and go and the hair can grow back, but the choice of country, university, specialization of higher education must never be an outcome of peer pressure.

Your friends or someone you look up to may have opted for a MBA program, or a specialization in Architecture. Perhaps they too have made their choice under pressure perhaps not. In any case the choice is theirs and theirs only.

Following is fine as long as it is on Instagram, Facebook or such. Not when it comes to education.

Pause. Gather your thoughts. Try to see the outcome of making a choice that is not even yours – a choice that is driven out of a temporary compulsion for validation.

What are YOU passionate about? Business? Architecture? Engineering? History? Arts? Or some other specialization. Choose what you are confident in excelling, a subject that hooks your interest. And THEN figure out, if at all, to know which friends are pursuing that same specialisation.

Even then, the country your friends choose for their education aspirations may not be necessarily appropriate for your ambitions.

Let’s say you have decided to pursue one of the S.T.E.M programs at a university in the U.S. Can your friends afford to make the same choice? Can YOU afford to change YOUR decision just because your peers can’t or won’t be in the same college / university?

You will lose some friends along the way. You will make plenty of new ones. The ones that really matter will stay for life. This is an undeniable fact.

Be as passionate about your education, career as you are for your friends, but please… Do not fall into the peer-pressure trap!

Time – An angel with wings

Time An Angel With Wings

Time – An angel with wings

Some believe time is sacred, made of moments. Moments that pass sooner than the blink of an eye, but leave lasting memories. Some consider time merely as a tool of measurement – to keep a count of seconds and centuries. Then there are those who are totally indifferent to time. Everything is random, time simply does not exist for them!

Everyone is right. How so? And what IS time?

Irrespective of the beliefs, it is in the moment, a second / a minute, or randomly that a decision is made. Decisions give relevance to time..

“I was born on so and so date and year” (of course, your parents first ‘decided to have a child)… “I went for a trip at such and such place during that month” (the choice of place and ‘time’ was made) … “Oh, she / he just happened to be there at the mall, I was attracted and then it all began” (the decision to follow the instinct was subconsciously made).

Decision lead to directions.

A decision at the right time to choose higher education – whether in Europe, USA, Australia or another destination – can make careers. A timely decision to apply within the given timeline at the chosen university can potentially transform lives. The uncompromising resolve to achieve graduation, post-graduation or masters in the program of choice, within the timeframe, can result in a satisfying quality of life.

Yes, you are a young and vivacious student now. When you are 40-something, what do you want to look back at? The timely decisions that led you to your destination or, you whiling away and groping at the next available opportunity?

Whether you believe time is sacred or not, it sure is precious. Don’t waste it and decide wisely.

Pets deserve the best of us

Pets Deserve The Best Of Us

Pets deserve the best of us

Pets. What a joy they are to be around. Ever wondered how easily they lift the spirits when we are down, and add to happiness every single day? These furry babies don’t hold a grudge even if they tried to – all they want is to play and share the love. Okay. Cats are an exception (just joking).

Of course, many of us love non-furry pets also. Some keep turtles, parrots, squirrels and even white mice! Some think that animals are better friends than humans could be, and we can see why. These pawfect partners – irrespective of the breed or type – are truly nature’s blessing to us humankind.

A worrying trend seems to be emerging though. Many of these beings of pure love are being abandoned for a variety of reasons. Sickness, behavioral issues, long travel, etc. It is cruel to say the least – would we leave our child / parent / sibling in such instances?

Go visit the vet, get your pet’s condition diagnosed if it is sick. Treat the angel out of sickness. Take it to an animal whisperer if your pet is displaying some odd behaviors. Google for one and you would find many.

If you have to travel – for vacation, overseas education, business – leave your pet in able hands. A family member or neighbor. You have FB and Insta – a friend or friend’s friend may want to adopt. At least find a foster home or a shelter instead of just abandoning the precious pet in middle of nowhere. Do not forget that animals cannot express the sorrow and pain of abandonment, but they feel just the same. Perhaps more than we could understand.

Please, be a responsible pet parent. Get one only if you can take complete responsibility. And when you are ready to have one in your life, please… adopt, don’t shop.

Indians making India proud

Indians Making India Proud

Indians making India proud

Thank you Cornelia Sorabji. You were the first Indian national to study abroad, but more importantly you were the first lady advocate that inspired so many Indians – men and women alike – to follow in your footsteps.

Now we have the likes of Indra Nooyi, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Vinod Khosla, Salman Rushdie, Raghuram Rajan among hundreds upon thousands of other Indians making India proud.

Isn’t it a great feeling when the chap you had chai with leads the biggest global IT giant? Or to see the next door girl leading a behemoth cola company? Well, we can thank them and their decision to pursue higher overseas education.

Studying abroad gives students an international edge. It not only exposes them to multicultural mindsets, but also helps them with first-hand experience of what it truly means to be in the midst of a global setup. International education transforms the song ‘wings to my dreams’ into reality.

Let’s not take away anything from the scores of Indians who have studied abroad and made India proud. They would have made many sacrifices. Leaving the comfort zone of family and country is not easy. The euphoria of living in a ‘foreign’ country soon comes down. Homesickness kicks in. Insecurities set in. But with great sacrifices, come great victories!

Did Sundar really thought he would be CEO of Google one day? Or Satya heading Microsoft? Was leading IMF and then RBI Raghuram’s dream? Perhaps not.
What they probably believed in though was that they wanted to make themselves proud. Be it at a university or college of UK, USA or any other country, higher overseas education was an important decision in order to fulfill their aspirations.

As we read this, scores of young Indian students have made the same decision. Or are in a process of making one. To pursue their ambitions through overseas education. To fulfill their potential. To make themselves proud.

India cannot wait for more brilliant young Indians taking helm of the global corporates and world affairs!

Look. There’s so much to learn!

Look There Is So Much To Learn

Look. There’s so much to learn!

Education and learning. Are they the same or is there a difference between the two?

While education is an integral part and an outcome of learning, learning by itself is the most fundamental fabric of life. If we pause our thoughts for few moments and rewind as much as possible in the past, a flash of all that we have learnt until now would appear.

Swimming, cycling, driving, sports, arts – we learnt these and many other ‘activities’ unwittingly. We were not aware that each activity was higher education at that point in life. But wait. Knowing how to drive is learning? Ummm?

If we break down any type of education, any learning to its bare minimum, we would discover the nucleus – information! Yes. Through information we learn. We acquire information about specialization in studies, achieve graduation / post-graduation at the college of our choice, make a successful career, own that fast car and be in the fast lane.

At every step, information leads to learning. Of course, an individual’s own interests and orientation plays a vital role too in using the information in appropriate ways. But you don’t have to blindly believe in this.

Read – or rather ‘learn’ – about famous people. You’d discover that every one of them has a huge library and they never stopped learning. They knew the established science to this phenomenon – learning rewires the brain!

Learn a new skill. Don’t take your hobby lightly. Or too seriously. Pursue it. Just the way you would be pursuing overseas education. Life’s situations will also eventually do their part in ‘teaching’ you a few things, but that’s not under your control.

What you can, should and must do is learn. And then learn some more.

Choices and consequences

Choices And Consequences

Choices and consequences

Vulnerability and higher overseas education. What do these two have in common? Sex trafficking and crime! Yes. You read that right.

Several heartbreaking stories are emerging from Canada, New Zealand among other countries, where young Indian students are lured in murky waters of prostitution and crime. Pimps and criminals are charming these young and vulnerable nubile minds with money to pay for expensive lifestyle in a foreign country. It slowly turning into a habit and compulsion.

Desperation is another reason. When students studying abroad do not find work, or are cheated by locals with promises of a career – only to lose their precious money – are often willing to go to any lengths to make it even. Consequences of indulging in criminal activities is beyond reason then. Lives of so many bright minds with a promising future are at risk.

How can this be avoided? What can students pursuing higher overseas education do to keep such mischievous people at length?

Remember your roots. Your family. Your culture. The pride in your parent’s eyes and the tears they shed bidding you goodbye at the airport. Was it for nothing?

Remind yourself of your aspirations, ambitions – the promise you made to yourself. To take your life and your decisions into your own hands. To be the high-flying executive, to be a global citizen. To be a startup that sets an example. Remember your dreams.

Be honest to yourself. Did you choose to study abroad to experience a lifestyle? Or to make a life?

Surround yourself with positive people. There is plenty to learn and to experience in a foreign land. Visit landmarks, cultural spots, libraries. Write a diary. Get involved in a hobby or develop one.

Most importantly, stay away from murky and criminal characters. You are smart enough to identify them from a mile away. And if you find yourself or a friend getting sucked into some undesirable situation, snap out of it. Immediately. Or talk to cops / local authorities. Don’t be scared.

Remember. Your choices will have consequences.


 

Reference Articles:

https://hindupost.in/world/indian-students-trafficked-for-sex-in-canada/

https://www.sbs.com.au/language/english/desperate-international-students-are-turning-to-crime-and-prostitution-in-new-zealand

Don’t be a prey of the prying eyes

Dont Be A Prey Of The Prying Eyes

Don’t be a prey of the prying eyes

Ambitions of nearly 2,000 Indian students and thousands of other international students were crashed and burnt recently as 3 Canadian colleges announced an abrupt shutdown.

The panic-stricken teenagers were left in lurch. They had migrated to a foreign country and took admission in these colleges with a hope of receiving quality higher education. Each of these students had paid thousands of dollars in tuition fees. Many of them would have taken educational loans.

Financial burdens due to COVID was the colleges’ reason for deciding to shut down. But upon fact checks, it turned out that 2 of these 3 colleges didn’t even have authorization and licenses to admit international students!

If you are planning to study in Canada or pursue higher overseas education in any country of your choice, you must – must do your due diligence in checking these facts to avoid any unfortunate experience:

  1. Checks and double-checks: Verify everything about the college / university of your choice. Visit its website, make a phone call as and when necessary. Confirm facts with the local authorities if you are not convinced. You will spend only a few dollars in making those calls. Read blogs and reviews about the college. You have Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. More importantly, do not share your personal information to any unverified person / institution offering student visa on making a payment.
  2. Don’t be over-reliant on your education counsellor: Is your counsellor over-eager to send you to a particular college / university or a certain overseas destination? That’s a tell-tale sign of hidden agendas. Check his / her credentials. A counsellor’s job is to understand your academics, orientations, innate abilities and then give you overseas education options to choose from.
  3. Documentation checks: Once you have made the final decision, check and double-check about documents you need to carry. Keep them safe. Keep copies of each. Take pictures of them as well. Ensure that you have more than two places to source the copies from, in case you lose the originals.

These simple steps would go a long way in avoiding unpleasant experiences.

Be careful. Be certain. And bring the best out of your potential. Good luck for your higher overseas education aspiration.


 

Read full reported story here.

A young student inspires millennial Dumbledore. No – it wasn’t Harry Potter.

A Young Student Inspires Millennial Dumbledore No It Wasnt Harry Potter

A young student inspires millennial Dumbledore. No - it wasn’t Harry Potter.

One may have ample of criticism for the Gen Z, but their desire to excel in life is beyond reproach. This is a widely reported story of the young mechanical engineer Shantanu Naidu, whose love for dogs and passion for higher overseas education brought him face to face with Mr. Ratan Tata. He now occupies the prestigious deputy general manager’s seat in the office of unarguably most famous Indian Parsee.

The story is reproduced here: Due credits to Moneycontrol.com

Shantanu Naidu graduated from Pune University in 2014. Armed with a degree in mechanical engineering, he started working at the Tata group as a design engineer. One evening, when he was returning home from work, he saw the dead body of a dog lying in the middle of the road.

“I knew that I had to do something. So I called a few friends and designed a collar which had reflectors on it, so that drivers can see the dog from afar. The next day, we went around and put these collars on the stray dogs,” Shantanu Naidu told Humans of Bombay.

“I didn’t know if it would work, but when I woke up the next day, I received a message saying that a dog had been saved because of the collar. It felt amazing!”

Naidu’s initiative got attention after it featured in the Tata group of companies’ newsletter. Soon, demand rose for the dog collars, but he was short of funds. This was when his father gave a suggestion that would change his life. “My dad asked me to write a letter to Mr. Ratan Tata, since he loves dogs too. I was hesitant at first, but then I said to myself, ‘Why not?’ So I wrote him a handwritten letter and forgot all about it,” Naidu said.

Two months later, Naidu received a signed letter from the iconic industrialist, in which he said he wanted to meet the young employee. Naidu met Tata at his office in Mumbai. Tata introduced him to his dogs and said he would fund his dog collar venture.

Soon, Naidu left India for his MBA at Cornell University. “But I promised him that once I finished, I would dedicate my life working for the Tata Trust… and he happily accepted my request,” he told Humans of Bombay.

After he returned to India, he said Tata gave him a call, saying, “I have a lot of work to be done in my office. Would you like to be my assistant?”

“I didn’t know how to react. So I took a deep breath, and a few seconds later said ‘Yes!” Naidu said.

Naidu has been working as the deputy general manager at Ratan Tata’s office for over three years, since July 2018.

“People my age have a hard time finding the right set of friends, the right mentor and the right kind of boss. But I can’t believe my lucky stars that I found all of these humans in one superhuman named Mr. Ratan Tata. People affectionately call him Boss, but I like to call him the ‘Millennial Dumbledore’-I think that name suits him the best.”

Last month, Tata was seen in a viral video with Shantanu Naidu, as he celebrated his 84th birthday. Naidu clapped and sang a birthday song for his boss, patted him on the shoulder and fed him cake.

There are several young boys and girls whose tryst with destiny goes unreported. Shantanu’s case can be considered as unique. He chose to study in U.S.A. One thing led to the other. Situations led him back to India.

Hundreds upon thousands of students who choose overseas education often attract plush jobs, making it to the list of the successful global citizens a.k.a. “Firangi Indians”. Their inspiring stories are no less and cannot be discounted.

Actions: 3 – Infections: 0

Actions 03 Infections 00

Actions: 3 - Infections: 0

Lessons. They’d be scoring the highest return on investment if a tangible value could be assigned to them. From the aspect of emotional well-being and developing confidence, the learnings earned during pandemic, and of pandemic, are of course invaluable. Especially for the ones seeking higher overseas education.

Once the initial hoopla about the virus settled and its aftermath was accepted, scores of students realized that they could use this time to their advantage. And they did.

Undergraduates and graduates in pursuit of higher overseas education and Masters / PHD respectively, donned their forward-thinking hats. The degree, curriculum, university, cost of living, the experience of a foreign land, its culture, people… they had their hands full, they figured most of it. All of it during the depressing pandemic. Pandemic? What pandemic?

Let us pick their brains. And see what are the top-3 things – or actions – students aspiring overseas education should cover while deciding on best overseas education options.

1. Passion and potential

Is it engineering or architecture? IT or infrastructure? Medical science and space science? Rewind your young life, relive the moments that inspired you, made you feel passionate. And gave the self-belief that this is what I want to do. Be practical as well. What drives you better, which subjects did you score higher?

Once you’ve got the basics in place, there is little or no chance to go wrong fundamentally.

2. Test your self

Okay. So you know you are a born rocket scientist. Or a Fintech coder. Perhaps a hotshot engineer. You have also covered this belief with your past and recent marks in respective subjects. Now test yourself. And be absolutely honest while you do so. Cheating here would be tantamount to cheating with your future.

How to test yourself? Go through the syllabus of some of the global top-3 / top-5 universities. Watch their videos. Go to YouTube. Take free online tests. See where you stand. And keep pushing ahead from there.

3. Share it with your folks

Admit it. You cannot take the flight on your own. You need the moral, emotional and financial support from your folks. Share what you figured out. Tell them how confident you are to, let’s say, study in Canada, France, U.K., Germany… or a country where your higher overseas education ambitions could be fulfilled.

The most common mistake many students make is to talk to their parents without a plan. Explain them in detail – right from the options of universities to the visa processes. And everything in between.

Make most of these lockdowns and this stuck-at-home time. Take positive actions. You’d be surprised how soon you can begin your pursuits of successful career via higher overseas education.

Rising to the potential

Rising To The Potential

Rising to the potential

Give the person a fish and you feed the hunger for a day. Teach that person how to fish and you satiate the appetite for a lifetime.

This age old wisdom, albeit slightly tweaked, demonstrates the importance and positive effects of education. Of course, we are in the post-millennial age, and we are talking about the quality of education. Specifically – quality of academic education.

Thanks to the industrial and research revolutions, and then to effects of post-modernism, the excellence of education has enhanced significantly worldwide. Sparing the under-developed countries, most nations now have institutes of excellence leading and inspiring their most valuable national asset – the youth – to newer skies.

Let’s give due credits to the millennials and Gen-Z though. It’s not just the highest quality of education or faculties that is pushing the envelope of quality education. The quality of aspirations of these young guns is probably as much a driving factor. Their orientations go above and beyond the greed of making heap loads of money. They want to make a ‘difference’ – not as activists, but as pioneers!

There are plenty of examples to this effect: Sundar Pichai. Some of Google’s controversial policies notwithstanding, a 40-something faces the Congress of most powerful nation with a straight face. Matthew Mullenweg of WordPress – to say that websites are now created by moms and pops due to this guy’s foresight would be an understatement. Advait Thakur – a barely 18-year young, young turk leading a successful IT empire in India. Then there are the likes of Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawala- a totally different breed of ‘I-will-achieve-to-what-I-set-my-eyes-on’.

(Okay – we left Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella et al deliberately).

Then there are those accomplished, well-settled NRI desis – many from technical backgrounds – returning to their homeland, to their native places specifically, to change the life-quality of their villages and towns.

There is a common underlying factor in all these examples, and the ones we cannot accommodate here. Education. It has unlocked the doors – to the burning desire to ‘be’. The fire was already there, quality education has stoked it. Engineers, astronauts, business tycoons, techies, writers… these are not titles any more. But the outcome of people learning how to fish!