When the world shut down because of the pandemic, a new one opened up, the virtual world and this realm hosted one of the best workspaces in the form of Sushiksha. We learn from our mistakes and experiences, but we can learn so much more from that of others. And thus, Sushiksha was born and emulated by the mentors to share their journey and mould us, mentees, into ‘world-class productive machines’. It’s a place where we learn and grow together. From Hustlers to Sophists and finally to Sushiksha, the mentoring programming only got better with each upgrade and I couldn't ask for more than it had to offer.
With the start of the first quarter in October, the program got intensified with the induction of many more mentees and the grouping of teams. My team, Atulya, consisted of scholars whom I’d known from the camps, some I had very little interaction with and some completely new to me. But with every meet and team task we got closer and stronger as a team. It was nice how every member of the team was assigned a lead’s role for each event so that everyone shares the responsibility and carry out the duties of taking the team forward. I was appointed as the lead Orator and it was a wonderful experience. I had gone from shivering with fear a day before having to give a speech to wating for the Oratoria session to give a speech impromptu because of attending the Oratoria sessions in the past. As the lead the very first Oratoria was unforgettable with many of them giving a speech for the very first time and doing such a good job that it was hard to select a winner for the next round. But it was a proud moment for me as our member Rakesh, having not given prepared speeches before, competed against the other teams and went straight to the finals.
The slack workspace was always bustling with energy, with so many posts and many more reactions and replies to each post. There wasn’t a day with no activity, with the scholars and mentors posting valuable resources to memes which made us laugh out loud. The pair sessions are one of a kind where we work on our tasks whilst being accountable for it as we shared the retrospection of the session with others, and it has played a huge role in productivity as well as helping me come out of my bubble and interact with people, especially the mentors as I would have never been more comfortable talking to anyone a few years older to me if not for these sessions and the mentors who provided that comfort. I was amazed at how we can get to know a person and grow so close without having ever met offline and it is that group of amazing people, mentors, and our beloved Gurumaam and Sahanakka who make the Sushiksha what it is. To keep consistency in any task we undertake, the wonderful OKR system was set up, to see how consistent we are with our tasks and how much more we can do. There’s always scope for improvement and we try to make amends in the coming months. Another blessing which came our way was when our organization got free access to the DataCamp courses for the scholars. It was a great platform to improve our coding knowledge with the courses designed and laid so meticulously that it makes programming even more fun. I had a great time as I immersed my self in those courses and could gain so much knowledge.
The donut sessions were set up so that we could meet and interact with the other member of the workspace personally. It was amazing to know who every person is so unique in their own way and every one has some stories and experiences to share which is completely different. It was the first time where I got to meet so many new people and realized how hard it really is to strike a conversation for the first time with a stranger but I eventually got accustomed to it and heard so many interesting facts about each of them and getting to know them personally. The 1:1 sessions with the mentors was a great initiative as it helped the mentees in so many ways as the mentors shared their journey and experiences with us, and also their mistakes and challenges which we can learn from and learn to tackle right from now. These sessions were a great career guidance tool as well as the best platform to get my doubts answered, be it in a technical aspect or merely a small decision and I’m grateful how the mentors always made time for us though their busy schedule. It’s not only academic or professional aid that the workspace provided us but also boosted our all round development. They even concentrated on the mental health of the mentees which is so very important but often neglected. There was a channel set up especially for this where we could reach out for help and help was provided almost instantly in form of advice from the mentors as well as the mentees. I really like how the entire team behind Sushiksha is so concerned about every aspect of the mentee and how they go out of their way to help us grow. They are the source of inspiration which fuels the entire workspace. Another important thing I learn from Sushiksha was the importance of gratitude, how a small compliment or acknowledgement propels them not only to do more but also brings a smile to their face and sense of satisfaction. The best part is that giving a compliment doesn’t cost a thing but has great returns. The tradition of celebrating a birthday of the mentees with everyone in the workspace has a different charm and it has always made their birthday very special.
The workspace is abundant in talent be it in singing, designing, writing, coding, drawing , speaking or cooking with each one of them contributing to the workspace in their own way. The posts on the my-work channel proves testimony to the adroitness the workspace holds with the posts of delicious food by the mentees leaving us mouth-watering. There’s so much to learn from each one of the mentees and everyone has inspired me in one way or the other, motivating me to unleash my potential in other fields and going to that extra mile. The leader board and the badge system to acknowledge the efforts by the scholars was a great driving force which drove us to push our limit to see ourselves in that leader board. Every event in Sushiksha is so efficiently planned and executed that it leaves me in awe and it has never failed to surprise me with always having something new and exciting every week.
One of the biggest events that happened in the first quarter was the Sushiksha Coding League which was a coding challenge to improve our coding skills. The mentors didn’t just declare the League open with the challenges but made sure we understood the concepts first by conducting workshops where they explained the concepts so clearly in a short time frame. It started with a 8 hour mini hackathon which was an entirely new experience in itself, coding for 8 hours straight with a team, with many coding for a website for the first time. With SCL Maxo I learnt some very valuable lessons, technical as well as non-technical. It isn’t always easy to work in a team but it is important to take up challenges and deal with them accordingly. It also taught me how important it is to be consistent and evaluate your progress like with the daily stand-ups, for the successful completion of any project. In mid-November I got an amazing opportunity of conducting the resume building session and it was the very first time that I had done something like this. From meetings with the team and mentors to holding the series of sessions, it was an splendid experience and I could see myself more confident in speaking in front of such a large number of people.
Overall it was a great quarter and the most productive I've been during the pandemic and it has brought with it so many memories, life lessons, realizations and experiences which I hold in great regard and its these things which I carry into the future shaping my life. The first step to the better version of yourself is the willingness to change and I feel Sushiksha is that step in the best direction. I’m glad to have to have taken that step and feel truly blessed for having an opportunity to be a part of this wonderful program and I'm grateful to each and every person in it.