Student Leader Interview – Nakul Gupta from Shri Ram College of Commerce

Image courtesy – Nakul Gupta

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

I am a 2nd-year Economics honour student and the president of the economics society at SRCC. Our idea as a society is to celebrate economics as a disciple, which promotes both academic research and practical fieldwork. We create a platform for students to engage with different people having expertise on various topics and make sure to give them the experience of the fieldwork. And so, we are not only restricted to the theoretical part of economics. We offer a variety of sections in our society to cater to young minds and students. We have an online publication, a magazine, a lecture series, and a well-functioning website to which contains the information about what all we do. Apart from juggling between the college administration, juniors, and peers, I and my society also provide our college help with the logistical and intellectual expertise. For example, during the national conference organized by our college.

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

Well, the two positions which I rose up to, which are scoring the AIR 3rd rank in class 12th boards (CBSE) and becoming the president of the economics society at SRCC, followed a different approach. For the former one, I planned my studies according to what numbers I wanted to get. So, one should set his/her goal, expect as in how to approach academics and exams to get the desired grades and not even to lose out on one mark. For the latter one, the difficulties presented by the environment of the college and the attempts that I had to make to gel with it were a significant thing. The student who has no lineage either backwards or forwards in the college, making a mark of his/her own, becomes comparatively tricky in comparison to the one who has such a lineage.

To make yourself accustomed to the given culture and productive enough so that your desired society will induct you is difficult. This is where economics studies stand out; it didn't look for any of my inherent productive potentials, it just saw out for my interest in research and my potential in which others could invest and develop it further. The space given to a particular individual to grow and work on personal interests in the economics society makes one more into and committed to the community. During the 1st year, one gets many opportunities for cementing the ground over which he/she could claim one of the leadership positions and get elected as one. For example, when we had the economics summit in our college, we had a lot to get done, like handling speakers, lecture series, publications, writing articles, and much more. So, this whole idea of facing difficulties because of coming from different backgrounds is a bit prominent in starting, but then it is up to to you that if you can catch up or not with how things are working.

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

It is something that you learn during the process. Though it's a hefty task, it's fun; you get more managerial with your time. There is some bare minimum required for both. If you bargain over one of the two, then it takes a lot to compensate that, if you ensure to manage between them then it sails smoothly. Whenever a lot is required to get done in anyone, then you can devote your extra time to that. The spare time which you need to dedicate is temporary as the focus keeps changing between the two. Studies are an integral part, but such extra activities are the things which make college fun, otherwise, by just having a monotonous life, there would be no benefit of going to college. Moreover, all of this prepares a person for his/her professional life; juggling between them is the best way to be ready.

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

For me, the biggest challenge has been to make a mark in this competitive environment where everyone is a class topper. There are some 800 students in each batch, which makes it a total of around 2400 students and among which only a hundred or so standout. Only they can make a name that stays and revolves around. One needs to understand how to make that mark. Societies are not the only platform; there are other outlets too in the college where one can achieve his/her goal. This makes it very important for one to choose what trait of oneself to showcase and develop to stand out. It was challenging for me to make into the 2nd year's leadership team of society.

There are many things which one needs to take care of in his/her junior year to legitimize himself/herself as a member of the community and as someone worthy of a leadership position. Although a rigorous process, it is a pleasant learning experience too. This process helped me to develop the most in learning how to manage a team. In a group, everybody is different, which only makes the team productive as then everybody has something different to offer to the table. This makes it essential to manage all the members well and give them the right direction. Your direction of approach and your investment in them also has to vary from person to person. A contrary challenge against this constant rush of competition is to make your college life peaceful, which is pretty necessary. Otherwise, it will be like making your artificial side more prominent to make a mark. So the key challenge is also to make that organic side of yours more famous and notable than the fake one.

Do you enjoy the kind of influence you hold at such a young age?

You don't know the influence that you hold until people come and make you feel that influence. It feels good when the juniors come and acknowledge you or school students approach you for different things. But this sort of experience which sometimes also act as roadblocks for the people who can't digest that influence and hesitate to come and talk to you. It becomes an impediment for pre-existing relationships like friendships or other relationships, and then you have to juggle between ensuring what you used to be, what you want to be, and how people want you to act. At times it is challenging to be the perfect role model for everybody. You know that people are looking up to you and seeing you as an inspiration for their journeys, which makes you feel accountable for their travel and puts up the pressure of setting an example. It is also lovely and funny as you get to know what everyone is thinking, and then you find out the ironies in the system, which gives you delightful laughter. But one can't deny this influence has its burdens too.

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

My 1st year in college was the most liberating experience. I could travel anywhere and everywhere by Delhi metro, and our college campus being near the yellow line served as an advantage for me by reducing the travel time significantly. I took advantage of this by regularly going to different conferences at places like Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, Indian International Centre, etc., attending book launches, and panel discussions. It has always been of much pleasure to interact with people and understand different perspectives. All this may not be beneficial in the short term or utilizable in some examination, but there are other sides of knowledge that you gain from going for such conferences or doing internships. This is very similar to how the wage of a homemaker doesn't count in counting the annual income.

Attending these events has made me able to understand the practical loop of life better and increased my understanding and awareness of the general issues. It refined my knowledge of how the geopolitical, economic, or the policy state of India is working. What I want to convey through whatever I have told until now is that sometimes you do things which may not add up to your portrayal or CV, but they do develop you as an individual and gain a diverse set of knowledge.

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Student Leader Interview – Nakul Gupta from Shri Ram College of Commerce Student Leader Interview – Nakul Gupta from Shri Ram College of Commerce Reviewed by EMN on October 28, 2019 Rating: 5

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