Published On: November 20, 2020
At the age of 40, with a couple of academic degrees next to my name, with two decades of work experience in two different industry and half of this coming in international settings, having lead teams and projects, I consider myself a confident individual cognizant of my ability to be self-sufficient in any challenging situation that life could throw at me.
But since “you are never too old to learn”, I decided to pursue a business program to progress my life and career. However, this decision had the same sense of self confidence; “I know what I want, and I am willing to work for it”. The entrepreneurial bug had bitten me, (too) providing the underlying motivation in this pursuit.
I started exploring academic options, which institute should it be? In the end, it was a no brainer, I decided in favor of SPJIMR because of my greed to be on campus and in the hostel for a few days. There is no parallel to an on-campus experience. The virtual classroom can be compared to the loyalty of a social media lover. (of course, this view also had to change in the COVID times).
I had lived the hostel life in the past and I have an appreciation for it. The friendship, the exams, the assignments, the late nights, the empty pocket times, the tea breaks, the joys, the griefs, and so on. Several memories associated with that part of life. I wanted to relive those on campus and in hostel moments.
The journey began with the typical entrance exams, GD & interview. I entered an academic campus after several years to participate in this process. As I walked in, I tried to shed my overly professional attitude and decided to be cool. Memories of the larger than life scenes from Bollywood served as refresher to define “student cool”. I made it through and got an admit (just like the other cool ones out there!!! Wink emoji).
As classes began, the friendships started to blossom. Student life is never constrained by age. My classmates are highly accomplished professionals, but on campus, they were all cool students having all the fun. Ingredients like the assignments, exams and group work added the flavors that complete the recipe. Irrespective of what our professional accomplishments are, we are competitive, hardworking and we blend seriousness appropriately with the cool.
The trill of completing the assignments on time, taking exams, quizzes and being successful academically had the same sting as they did two decades ago, before becoming a working professional. The moment you don the student’s hat, there is magic in the attitude and approach towards life.
Managing time by juggling priorities between work and school provided a new dimension to the possibilities that I am capable of. The realization that some of the things that consumed my time were wasteful and that the same time can be reassigned to other productive tasks was profound. The acknowledgement that I’ll carry this learning for a lifetime and optimally invest my time is a big take away. There was a newfound respect for time.
As the old adage goes “there are always two sides to every story”, and the wisdom gathered from the participation, both in and out of the classroom added new perspectives that allowed me to explore these second sides and appreciate the nuances of every situation.
The multidimensional development of a personality has been the essence of this journey. I am a couple of months shy of finishing up and I am already wondering what I’ll do with the excess time when I am done, because I learnt to optimize my time consumption. I am already viewing everyday life situations with an open heart and mind, knowing that there is no single point of view. I am loving the skills I added to my repertoire as it is rubbing off positively at work. In the end, I am wondering if I can find an excuse to continue to be associated with the learning process and campus life.