Why I wouldn’t have missed InternSaturday for anything

Team InternshalaJaai Vipra worked with Internshala until last month. At InternSaturday she relives the experience that is Internshala and her conviction in its basic principles gets strengthened. Read as she narrates what happened at InternSaturday.

While I have been part of Team Internshala, I have always been on the fringes of InternSaturday. I was lucky to attend this year’s InternSaturday and since I was no more than a spectator, it would be fair to say that this account doesn’t have much of a bias.

When you hear that a speaker has a PhD in Environmental Toxicology and is an activist with the Narmada Bachao Andolan, you expect a certain kind of speech. But when this speaker is Rahul Ram, bass guitarist for Indian Ocean, the speech takes on a whole new colour. It is a laugh riot, a call for introspection, a push to follow your dreams. Rahul Ram did not ask India’s interns to sacrifice everything and do what they loved; he asked them to ensure they had a safety net. He did not tell them “You can do anything,” he asked them to give up singing if they really couldn’t sing. Such cautionary suggestions would seem discouraging were it any other speaker making them, but we were left with only optimism after Dr. Ram finished speaking.

The panel of Technology and Entrepreneurship was one that I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy (Arts students are snobs and do not like stuff that they do not understand), but I was surprised at the amount of insight I got. Sahil Barua almost inspired an Economics student to start up a technology company. “It’s a great time to be a tech start-up,” he said, and Pranay Gupta corroborated by saying, “Don’t so easily decide that you do not like something. Give it a shot.” Mr. Gupta also stressed on experimenting with things you are interested in (through internships) and learning from professionals in your fields of interest. Mr. Vaidya talked about there being a vast world of fundable opportunities out there, and a lot of them were non-IT. This panel was one where I felt like I learnt a lot, in half an hour, through the years of experience the panelists had.

The Study Abroad panel was comprehensive, to say the least. I learnt more about GMAT, studying in Germany and in USA than I would ever have had I Googled it all. There is far more clarity when someone explains things to you and is available for follow-up questions. If you missed InternSaturday, you should check out the DAAD and USIEF websites and work out an appointment with them.

The brand quiz was rather fun, and even got the half-asleep students really excited. Some might argue that the chocolates were a great incentive, but the quiz itself was really engaging too.

The soft skills session was like a complete guide on how to make employers think you’re the best thing in the world. From deep questions about what your reasons are for getting a job to practical tips on interview etiquette, the session did not fall short on anything.

The Analytics, Consulting and Finance panellists had qualifications that were imposing, to say the least. It is no small credit to them, then, that they made the world of numbers seem very straightforward. There was talk about big data, about communication skills and about logic and structured thinking.

The panel on unconventional careers began with Anshul Tewari, founder of Youth Ki Awaaz, telling us about his story and his motivations. Sometimes a speaker is more effective when he gives anecdotes rather than advice. We found our own desire to change the world in Mr. Tewari’s struggle to practice real journalism. Ritomani Das charmed with her stories about GB Road and the children of brothels. Her speech was sincere, unassuming and not even slightly patronizing. Some interns even planned visits to Kat Katha after listening to her account. Nehha Bhatnagar spoke about something I hadn’t considered before – the diplomacy of dance. An internship with Shashi Tharoor started her on the path of propagating Indian culture through dance.

I will not write about Dr. Kiran Bedi’s speech here – it is best understood by listening directly (the video link will be put up on the Internshala Facebook page soon). All I can say (at the risk of sounding clichéd) is that it was the perfect way to end a day full of learning and inspiration. It takes a lot to add more value to such a day, but for Ms. Bedi, that was effortless.

InternSaturday is yet another reason I am proud to be associated with Internshala and why I will always remain a part of the Internshala family. It is also quite fun to laugh at the rest of the team who couldn’t make it!

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