I’ve begun an internship at IIM-Ahmedabad. I’m not sure if I’ve written about this on the blog before but I found this Professor here who takes interns on board to help with research and I thought it was a great opportunity for me to do a couple of things. Aside from the work experience I thought it would give me a good amount of time to get away from my campus and relax a little, and also give me access to resources of arguably one of the finest institutions in our country.
IIM-A is revered here. Across industries, in pop culture, WIMWI (and I’m not sure if outsiders like myself are allowed to use the term) is an institute that has captured the imagination of several in the country. Of course, admission is based on a test and an interview process. And of course, the test does demand an aptitude of Mathematics. But the entire procedure that IIM’s use to select the crop of students who get to spend two years here has been the subject of several enjoyable Quora threads and a lot of conversations. It’s probably one of the testing systems that receives the least amount of flack in India for the pressure that it puts on students. Whether that’s down to the fact that individuals who write the entrance to get into IIM-A are more mature than those writing the CET or the JEE, or the CLAT or several other abbreviated test papers, or down to the fact that there appears to be an element that accounts for an individual’s opportunity to express and be themselves, I’m not sure.
Whatever it is, the institution seems to produce leaders. Okay, forget leaders – because I think that’s too much pressure to place on individuals who graduate from an institution. The institution and it’s experience creates individuals who have perspective to offer to most conversations.
My experience of IIM-A alums is limited to two individuals I’ve had the luck to spend a fair amount of time with. My mom’s colleague and his wife saw me grow up from being a baby child in Grade 6, and I visit them even now when I’m in the same city as them. Of course, conversation was easier because of how many of our interests overlap, but the one thing I’ve always admired about them is how much and how widely they read, and how much of a different perspective they’re able to provide to everything I’m experiencing. I really enjoy that.
Anyway, I’ve been observing that up-close, now that I get to sit in the library here twice a week, and I think the institution itself facilitates a lot of that. Even my conversations with the professor supervising me feel different to the conversations I have with professors on campus – something I think is reflective of the culture of an institute.
It’s different – and I’m enjoying the difference.
Yesterday on the way back to campus my Uber driver was an individual who drove Ubers part-time – who was saving up for his daughter to go to Law school. When he saw my campus gate he commented “Yahaan nahi aane wali hai”, which translates to “She isn’t going to come here”. Defensively, I asked, “Toh kahaan?”, loosely meaning “So, where else?”, and he confidently said “Bangalore mein seat pakka milega”.
That belief in his daughter’s ability moved me. I know my parents have that belief in me as well, and I know how much of a difference it makes on days that I feel less motivated to do things, or to go to class, or even to put in less effort to activities I do perform.
I just hope it doesn’t overburden her with pressure. Pressure can obfuscate the difference between someone else’s expectations of you, and your own expectations of yourself – which I think is unfair when you’re trying to decide on your own career path and how you want to spend up to 5 years of your life.