Wednesday 26 October 2016

International Award and Me

Ilma Jabeen, a Silver Level participant from Ansal University, Gurgaon, sharing her Award experience.

I am a civil engineering student and proud to be a part of the IAYP programme. It has helped me achieve a wholesome growth; today after completing the programme, I realise the significance and the intent behind each of these sections: Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey. As I worked through each of these sections, they inculcated in me a habit of daily physical workout; sharpened my potent skill set; helped me overcome my fears during the course of adventure trip; and I learnt the art of time management as it required a balanced regimen to practice these activities on daily basis.

Being an engineering student, I was way distant from any of the soul strengthening practices as I spend most of my time learning the theories of construction business and design of high rise infrastructure. It goes without saying that IAYP provided me with a life changing experience.

In my Service section, which lasted for a duration of 6 months, I worked for a mandir (temple) on Huda market lane, sector 56, Gurgaon. The temple has a beautiful provision for the under-privileged kids, providing them with a school facility inside the mandir itself; the school had teachers who volunteer to teach them during their spare time. I took it up as my service during my IAYP tenure. The place was at a walking distance from my PG; I visited it as and when I got off from college, but made it a point to have a disciplined visit at least twice a week. Though I was not a regular mentor, however, I tried contributing whatever best I could to it. This engendered in me a feeling of social responsibility and ignited a confidence that my “small part” too can create a difference, provided I take it up with sheer conviction.

It was the Skills section that I took up for a year under the Silver Award of IAYP, simply because I had a serious goal to accomplish under this section. I had always been more of an extrovert person, active speaker, debater and one who loves to give speeches to masses with zilch stage phobia. As ‘the law of diminishing returns’, is applicable to most of the parts of life; my oratory skills had reached a stagnation point and I was unable to morph myself from a good speaker to an influential orator, who had the power to move her audience merely with her words. Under the Skills section, I got the time to put my rigour into review and identify my drawbacks. Lack of intonation was a major bump, my pitch was high (may be by birth) but a good orator must have immense control over the pitch as there is a difference between shouting and proving a point; not all topics are a point of argument, at times it is required to state a fact in a polite, low pitched tone. I worked on it and even today I make it a point to set my tone right before I speak. Words are magical; this was a lesson I learned in one of my soft skills classes. I practiced the art of choosing the correct words to communicate during this one year: I ended up learning that “maybe you should review your work”, is a much better way to put a person on the right track than to tell them, ”You are incompetent to do this or it’s not your cup of tea.” Though I had my roadblocks listed even before IAYP happened to me but it was only because of IAYP that I could dedicate time for improving these setbacks.

My Physical Recreation had nothing to do with joining a gym or hardcore weightlifting. I made it a point to walk regularly, covering a distance of around two km (one way); this way I was able to kick start my morning with a brisk fresh walk. Skipping and cycling were also contributing to my physical activity simultaneously. But I was not satisfied with this and started on counting small steps like using stairs instead of elevators, walking over riding, etc; as it is the small pebbles that give a substantial rise to the great ocean.

IAYP Adventurous Journey was a euphoric experience for me as it was unlike the regular college trips where we ganged up with our friends or the usual family outings where every destination is predefined. It took me to Manali, a 3 days+ 2 night’s journey, embarking from Ansal University’s campus on the night of 26th September 2014. The itinerary was packed with activities I had never thought of doing: camping in a forest, trekking, river crossing, fox climbing, etc. and I found myself thrilled with adrenal rushes. The best thing about the trip was its Practice Journey during which we went trekking to the Aravali Hills near Ansal University to spot all possible challenges one can face on the Qualifying Journey, such as camping; lighting the fire and cooking meals with the meager resources; keeping the body hydrated during long trekking hours; supporting and helping fellow mates if need be; surviving emergencies such as accidents, snake bites, etc. The trip was exceptionally riveting because it had different students from different streams and it was an ultimate platform for the exchange of ideas, bonding and individual performance, which was a real self- evaluation for each and every student on the trip.

When I look back today, I can say that IAYP has given me one of the most memorable experiences of life and I can say it with pride that this Award does shape youth with the right spirit and enthusiasm, shaping their personality and building their character. Click for pictures

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