Ankit is a Computer Science & Engineering student at IIT, whose hobbies include playing for the college cricket team, writing and meeting new people. Here, he shares his experience of volunteering as a Mentor with Avanti Fellows:
“I came to know about Avanti when members from the Team visited our hostel wings to explain about it – they really impressed me. What I liked most about it were the calm-cool-soothing seniors. Being a 1st year student, we were habituated of seniors shouting at us, ordering to do things we didn’t like etc. So, these seniors were a cool breeze for my mind, I felt more connected with them and somewhere deep within I wanted to be like them. My interview to become a mentor was so enriching in knowing myself. The Avanti senior wasn’t actually interviewing me, rather giving me a chance to speak out my mind and then clearing my misconceptions.
Memories of my 1st meeting with my Fellow are still fresh in my mind. It was a get together of parents and the Avanti team and all the fellows were asked to speak about their dreams and ambitions. My Fellow’s words were mature and philosophical, and at once I realised that I too can learn a lot from this guy. His seriousness and deep understanding of life was striking. With the passage of time, our friendship has grown stronger. He is a lot more comfortable in asking his doubts, shares his problems very honestly and I think we have a very good bonding now.
The biggest challenge for me was instilling the belief in him that he can crack the college entrance exams. My Fellow lacked confidence in himself. He was worried about if he is capable to manage his school and coaching work simultaneously. So, I had to constantly remind him that he is one of the top 20 students in Kanpur and there is no reason why he can’t be in top 10,000 of the country. Another problem was making him realise the benefits of going to a good college. The kind of exposure you get, opportunities etc, he wasn’t familiar with all this. So making him realise it has also helped in accelerating his motivational growth.
I have had some really special memories with Avanti Fellows. The first meeting with the parents, the first home visit, that special lunch that my Fellow’s mother prepared for me were all very special. The campus life too became a lot more fulfilling with some of the night outs with the Avanti team, pulling each other’s legs in Friday’s sessions etc. But the most beautiful moments were the nights we interacted with Krishna and the night out when we sat together to select the next batch of Fellows. Also lately, I loved taking home interviews of the next batch of Fellows. The response we got from their parents was really touching.
I joined Avanti because I wanted to contribute to the society. I wanted to do it because it would have made me happy, made me feel good about myself and I would have helped a guy in coming out of circumstances which I too had faced in my life. It’s not social work, rather it was only because of my selfish motive of feeling good about myself. As a person, I have become more patient (as solving doubts require a lot of patience), I am a better listener now (which is vital for having a good interaction with almost anybody) and most importantly I feel more responsible now, as someone’s life depends on my guidance.
To someone who was thinking about becoming a Mentor, I would say: once you have an unadulterated heart, take it for granted that you would have some of the most beautiful experiences you could seldom have at any other club or institution in the campus. The mentoring, night-outs, awesome seniors, the interviews etc all would contribute to just one thing, one very important thing in your life – ‘peace of mind’.”