Road map

As part of the CareeReady program, the students draw a road map of their life. What detail they want to include, what they want to share, whether or not they want to present it, that is all up to them. But they do need to spend some time reflecting on their past. Indeed, reflection is something that happens every day of CareeReady because it is so important to be able to thoughtfully reflect when you are trying to progress in a career. The ability to reflect means you can handle criticism and use it to improve, which is a very desirable characteristic for any job profile.

I did it when I was in a volunteering team over the summer. By that point in our placement, we were very close and very open about talking about what hardships we had encountered. I can’t imagine how much courage it must take to share a personal story, full of challenges and obstacles, to people you don’t know so well. But one of our students did this, and I have written about it today so that his inspiring story is shared. (Quick note – he wasn’t obliged to share it at all, but he wanted his fellow students to know what brought him to Antarang)

I will call the student Rahul. Here is his story.

Rahul is originally from a small village in Bihar. He was in a government school, but he wasn’t really getting an education. The school did not take education and teaching very seriously. They were teaching him, but he wasn’t learning. But Rahul wanted to get a proper education, which is why he jumped at the chance to take extra classes in a nearby city. His brother-in-law took him and he began a new journey into learning. Rahul’s strongest subject was Hindi. This was the subject he was most confident in and had the highest hopes for. But when he took his 10th standard exams, he passed all his subjects…except Hindi. Not only was this totally unexpected, but his confidence and motivation to learn really took a hit.

The people in his life knew that he is a good student and that he has potential. They wouldn’t let him give up education without a fight. With the encouragement of those around him, Rahul was persuaded to reappear for his 10th standard Hindi exam and this time, he passed! He went on to successfully complete his 12th standard exams in the nearby city.

And then he hit another roadblock: tuition fees for undergraduate courses are expensive and his father could not afford them. Rahul’s father asked him to complete his education in the village, but Rahul knew how uninspiring it would be.

At this point, Rahul felt his future was looking bleak. That was until he had another idea: he came with his father to Mumbai, where his father worked, and he approached his father’s employer. He asked if he would be able to stay in the same accommodation as his father while he studied and then sought their advice on which college to apply to. He gained admission, but in his 1st year, unfortunately failed many of his subjects because it was an English medium college. Up until then, he had been studying in Hindi medium. So in the summer, he studied incredibly hard, re-took his exam and passed his first year!

He is now in his second year of BComm, and has been attending Antarang classes on the recommendation of a friend.

Let us do some reflecting on this story, and on what it can teach us. For me, it taught me that there is no shame in trying again. That having a support network to help you get back on track is important, especially when you’re an adolescent and quick to get demotivated. That asking for help can lead to opportunities and that persistence and determination have the power to make or break your future.

What did it teach you?


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