Student Leader Interview – Janhavi Kathuria from Maitreyi College

Image courtesy - Janhavi Kathuria

1. Tell us more about your role & responsibilities at your college.

I am part of two societies at my college, Enactus and Excelsior. I’m the President of Enactus, which is further divided into various departments like sales, marketing, human resources, R&D etc. with their own department heads who report to me. The department heads and I form the core team which currently consists of 9 people. The society has two ongoing projects and I’m planning to bring out a new project this year as well. I also handle the finances for the society, maintaining the proper inflow of cash. The society actively collaborates with other people, maintains social media presence and helps out the beneficiaries in our own capacity. As for Excelsior, I’m the Cultural Secretary and part of a union of 4. The main work of this society involves the organisation of an annual fest and other than that we conduct seminars and such. My role also requires me to ensure participation in various competitions in other colleges. My responsibilities are not limited to these roles alone as a lot of things are happening every day.

2. How did you rise up to your position and how can a student aspiring the same, approach it?

So, I don’t think to reach a position such as a president or cultural sec is that big of a deal because what matters most to me is my sincerity in my work. Since my first year of college, I have been working hard to meet deadlines and completing work on time. I have also gone for multiple competitions, production visits and seminars for the college, mostly during fest time of colleges. I think your first year is a very good opportunity to get exposure through competitions and this is what I believe helped me reach to where I am. An aspiring student for the same should be sincere and innovative and take initiative.

3. What's it like to juggle between a leadership role and normal college life?

I often get this question from my juniors who are involved in societies other than their college life. I have never considered this a “juggle” between the two. I try to be regular and have maintained an 80% attendance even after being involved in two societies. Society work shouldn’t take much effort and you should be able to go for classes regularly because you don’t have society work every day. You can take up this work in your free time. In a way, college life and societies go hand in hand, and you don’t need to miss one to attend another.

4. What have been some of your biggest challenges and learnings from what you do?

The biggest challenge for me, like most people, is coming out of your comfort zone. I was never comfortable taking part in competitions where you have to talk in front of hundreds of people. This one time, through Enactus, I was sent to Chawdi Bazaar which is a really crowded place and we had to negotiate with vendors for some raw material there which was again something I’m not comfortable with. So, stepping out of my comfort zone and sometimes doing things I don’t like/want to do was a challenge but you eventually overcome this by repeatedly doing it. I have learnt a lot through the experiences I’ve had going for such competitions and meeting so many people from different backgrounds than you and understanding their perspectives. These things can’t be taught in college and another thing that helped me get this exposure was internships.

5. What did you do in your current role that makes you feel really proud of yourself?

In Enactus, we have certain beneficiaries who are, say, HIV positive or are mentally or physically handicapped to whom we provide a monthly compensation as a lot of them don’t have a stable source of income. The fact that because of my efforts there’s a certain increase in their monthly income makes me really proud. In our more active times, when there is a fest and we put up various stalls, we generally are able to raise more money and hence give back more as a bonus. We even provide them with other non-financial benefits such as clothing and seeing them happy makes me really proud of myself for doing something for the society. Enactus is also involved in environment awareness and this makes me feel like I’m doing my bit for society.

6. What's your message to encourage students to do internships and attend conferences?

In my opinion, it’s all about getting exposure, learning new things and by doing these extra-curricular activities is what gets you there. Reading your textbooks, listening to your teachers is all good and expected of you but doing “extra” is what will distinguish you from others and will give you an edge in your next interview over your peers. Internships are about learning, you here speakers tell their story in conferences and that’s how you learn. I would strongly recommend students to join societies, apply for internships, attend conferences, participate in competitions and that would be really helpful for you later on.

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Student Leader Interview – Janhavi Kathuria from Maitreyi College Student Leader Interview – Janhavi Kathuria  from Maitreyi College Reviewed by EMN on October 18, 2019 Rating: 5

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