For the second post of the Avanti and I series, we have Samyak Jain, a third year undergraduate student from the department of Chemical Engineering. Affectionately called ‘cute bhaiya’ by our mentees at JNV Pondicherry, Samyak recounts his journey with Avanti right from the very beginning. Let’s hear what he has to say….
Getting into the team
It was just the second day at my dream institute, IIT Madras. Everything around made me feel curious that I wanted to attend all the sessions. Seniors advised me to read all the S-mails. I sincerely followed them (even now I do :p ). That’s when I saw a mail about something related to teaching and mentoring kids to clear their JEE examination. ‘Wow!! Great concept.’ I applied for it, and soon over phone they were like, ‘Hey Samyak, are you free now?’ So in the next 15 minutes, my first personal interview began.
They asked me to explain certain concepts and I was pretty much able to explain them. After a couple of days, I got a call informing that we have a common group meeting for all the selected members. I was immensely happy as my first interview was successful.
The meeting started with an ice breaking session where we got to know more about each other. At the end of the meeting, we were told that two days from then, we were going to Pondicherry, and I was ready for the first trip of my awesome journey with Avanti.
The first trip
On 15 August 2015, we left and it sure was one hell of a journey. I couldn’t have asked for more. Initially, I was like, “Yeh log ragging wagerah bhi lenge” but No! I never thought that the seniors would be so friendly. Even today, I can share and ask anyone for literally anything and they will stand by me.
Two mentees – Chirag and Kshitij (in 11th class at that time) were assigned to me. We were explained about our roles and what we meant to them. After that, I had a good discussion with my mentees, getting to know each other and sharing my life stories with them. I thoroughly loved it.
We left school at 4:30 and went to the nearby beach where our bond grew more. The return journey to the institute was crazy, we played a lot and had a wonderful time. This was the end of my best day after stepping into the IIT.
Bonding with the mentees
From then on, my journey has been amazing. Travelling to Pondicherry was the best way to spend my weekend and holidays. My bond with all the mentees of the class and especially my mentees grew stronger week by week through calls, visits, email chats, hangouts and whatnot. I consider it my privilege to get such sincere mentees who listened and followed most of the things I said. There was short term planning, long term planning, strategies, strengths, weaknesses, interests and much more that we discussed over the phone and through visits. Coming from the VMC who provide them with the modules and satellite classes, I had a good advantage as I was familiar with most of the questions.
I was considered the cute bhaiya among them as I never scolded them 😛 The kind of life they were living was something I would never wish for. It was disheartening to see them struggle for each and every thing. You cannot go out freely, have to eat the same mess food daily, same school clothes, same routine for everyday from Monday to Saturday. So, I set in my mind that whenever I make a trip I have to be cheerful so that I can make them cheerful. This was always my motive and I stuck to it.
One of the most extraordinary feeling transpires when you arrive at the school and the kids start asking you questions very eagerly. Solving these questions gave me a lot of confidence. There has been a great learning curve for me as well.
The return trips were amazing at times. It gave me immense satisfaction to help these kids and I would just put on my headphones, listen to my favourite songs as I watched the sun set in the sky through the window of the bus.
Second Year of Mentorship
After my mentees passed 11th standard, I was sure to continue. The stress was really high when they came to 12th, for them and me as well. Our calls went from 30 mins a week to almost 150 minutes a week. The intensity of the talk grew and plans for every 2-3 days became important.
I asked them to keep their faith in me and follow my advices.They sincerely followed it which gave me a lot of confidence in my mentorship. I began using all the tricks I told them to my academics as well 😛 and it helped me a lot.
The one thing I have always told the kids and want to tell any kid preparing for JEE is to be happy and enjoy learning. Science is interesting, trust me. Work hard, not because you have to reach somewhere, but because this hard work will pay you off in some or the other form later on in life. Also, learn from your mistakes, don’t get distressed because you scored less or something, because this will happen. It has happened with all the IITians. The reason why we are here is because we did not have time to think over the past . We rather learnt from our mistakes and moved forward. Plan your schedule judiciously and before sleeping, analyse your day. Appreciate yourself if you do something good and strategize for things that went wrong so that you do not repeat it again.
I didn’t expect, but during my last trip to Pondy, I was flooded with emotions. I could see the love and attachment that grew among us. Most of us are still in touch with each other and I hope they achieve success. And no matter what, I’ll always stand beside them like a big brother.
A once in a lifetime experience
Everything I learnt, being a part of this group, is commendable, due to which I suggest each one to join this team and have a once in a lifetime experience. First comes the team, rather the family with whom you will be bonded throughout your college life. One cannot explain the immense bonding that grows and grows by team meetings and especially during the trips.
The work that you do does not go unnoticed. Each step of yours is observed by people. The friends who couldn’t be a part of Avanti appreciate you a lot. Avanti is rather a brand in the eyes of seniors and they know that if you were selected for Avanti, you are definitely worth picking for any POR.
No doubt, the Pondi trips are unforgettable experiences. The love you get from the students is immense. They serve you lunch, and always care about you. You won’t get that love in insti definitely. The sleeps after the trip were the most satisfactory ones for me as I knew that I did something impactful and felt extremely happy about it.
At last, I thank all the mentors involved in every step I took in the past 2 years. Special thanks to Kaushik, Divanshu, Vedant, Pooja, Bhavesh, Yash, Vamsi who played a great supporting role at each step. I truly wish for a great success to the upcoming core team – Bhavesh, Sudheer, Mokshesh and Venkatesh. All the very best to all my brothers-cum-mentees for their future. Hearty wishes again to all the members involved directly and indirectly with Avanti.