Friday, 7 September 2012

Where do you Learn to 'Think differently'

 As a kid, I was a very average student who always liked to look outside the window while teacher taught in class and wondered she not connect, all what she is teaching with the environment beyond our classroom. Why are we being subjected to think only what has been written in the books and not appreciated if we did something beyond what has been written in the books...

 Well the result of all those thoughts in class at that point of time reflected on my grades in throughout my schooling(remarks written in my report cards- were average student who is dreamy, yet intelligent, if she wants she can improve her grades). At home my parents always used to say if you do not make it to good Undergrad/grad school like IITs(Indian Institute of Technology) or IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) then you will never be able to reach those heights which I always dreamt.

 As usual I always wondered whats the difference between IITs and IIMS and other schools, after all they all get us good jobs and eventually I will reach where ever I want to, so why aspire for these schools only. After school, I did try for these school but with reluctance, so made it to schools which were a level or two below the big guns.

After MBA, I started working and that's when it set in that I still have not learnt what I supposed to learn while in school. I was always very energetic and aggressive and fast in doing and getting my work done before time but people somewhere got intimidated by my way of work. Some of the task which would seem herculean for the organization, I would get it executed perfectly within a span of 2 months, targets set for a year which were unreachable were completed by me within 8 months, but still I could not reach the desired heights in my professional world.

Finally after suffering a lot emotionally in my professional life, I decided to go for further studies and somehow managed to get myself enrolled in a course for my MS at Upenn (2006). I remember the excitement in my voice when I made it to Upenn was huge, but now I had to convince my parents and my husband to lemme pursue the same, so I googled on what is the status of Upenn, ( probably a lot was on stake and only thing which would convince them was that it was a good and reputed school where I had got admission). To my surprise they all readily accepted and agreed to lemme go and pursue my dreams with no resistance. Got the emotional and financial support which I needed at that time, even my younger sister who was at that time in US agreed to support me financially. That was the first time I realized the importance of getting enrolled in a good school. This was just the beginning.

 One year at UPenn, was just a roller coaster ride for me. Read, analysed, experimented and researched and wrote papers and got one of those papers published as an international monograph- 'History of Present' Human Resource Crisis at World Food Programme in 2010.
While at Upenn, I never had time to think over on what is the difference between this school and the schools where I did my undergrad and MBA from.

 Its only after I came back and was working towards developing my format ' Experiential Learning via Nature Based Activity'(ELNA) which is  meant to integrate the learning of an environmental based activity with all the subjects being taught in Grade 1-12 and connect every subject with each other, that I realized what Upenn had done to me.

It had made me learn to ' Think differently'. It taught me how should I convert my dreams into reality in an effective manner so that they actually work towards the betterment of society. One word for this is 'Innovate' the methods as per the requirements of the society. Today I have realized that all the good schools around the world make you learn think differently and become leaders in such a way that you become 'changemakers' while the other schools just teach you to follow these 'Changemakers'.

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