I loved my preparing-for-JEE days. I loved the single minded focus, strong dedication towards a cause and losing myself completely in that world. The revisions, tests and tutorials, though exerting always filled me with contentment on completion. But when one is so attached to a dream, every setback and even the slightest flaw magnifies itself beyond proportion. Looking back I realize that I could have done much better with guidance or someone to help me clear my priorities.
I was first acquainted with Avanti Fellows in the middle of my first year. It aims to help motivated students from low income strata have an equal chance at quality higher education. Its vision is to break down the socio-economic obstacles that such students face and level the competition field by providing them free coaching in 11th and 12th standards and constant guidance of mentors who are undergraduate IIT students. The cause resonated with me completely, so it was natural for me to apply for the position of a mentor as soon as I got to know about the recruitment.
Being a first time mentor I was apprehensive of whether I would be able to live up to my fellows’ expectations since they had already been associated with Avanti for a year, and I would be their second mentor. When I talked to them all these fears faded away. Their sincerity heartened me. I felt that if my experience could be of help to them then all such apprehensions were inconsequential.
I realized that my journey would not be the same as theirs, we would face different obstacles and being different people we would have different ways to cope with them. They had to change their coaching institutes after 11th and dealing with the uncovered syllabus and adjusting to the new institute was their major problem, adding to the existing pressures of time management, extensive practice and coping with self-doubt. In such circumstances it is reassuring for them to have someone with experience who can nudge them in the proper direction from time to time.
My involvement with Avanti has given me moments which reinforce my belief in the worth of my efforts. The faith that the fellows put in my advice and absolute conviction with which the parents regard me invoke a sense of responsibility and fulfillment that is difficult to attain. The feeling that this experience has opened to me, that what I do can and does help someone reach for their dreams, is unequalled.
–Ishana, Mentor, IIT Delhi
Reach for the stars and keep helping people reach for the stars, Ishana!