Student Leader Interview - Devansh Agarwal, Delhi College of Arts and Commerce

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

I, DEVANSH AGARWAL, am the President of Drift Up, The Western Dance Society of Delhi College of Arts and Commerce.  As a President, I have to ensure smooth the functioning of society. I have to ensure the selection of a dedicated team, decide on a choreographer in a democratic manner, motivate the team through ups and downs, collaborate with the team and above all keep the team tight and together like a family.

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

I have always been passionate about dancing. From my very first year, I have been planning on how to take this society and put it on a level higher than where it currently is. This far-sightedness was appreciated and it helped society and me to get to this position. I have always ensured that society was my utmost priority.

I believe everyone will carve a different path for themselves, I just highlighted my way. But I believe that there is no substitute for hard work. An aspirant will have to show their dedication and willingness to be at this position. They should actively contribute to society. They might have to sacrifice their time gruelling under the sun or getting drenched in the rain on weekends while their fellow classmates are having fun.

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

In India, colleges and parents are more academically inclined hence students prefer to attend classes rather than joining cultural societies. The amount of time required by a dance society, for example, is enormous and moreover, it hampers a student’s social life. They do not get to spend time with other friends as much. It is pretty much classes, society rehearsals, chilling with the society and going back home. Getting permissions from college for various things is very hectic. 

Due process within the society and college takes time and energy. Convincing members to keep continuing in society after it meets consecutive failures is difficult. After investing time and energy to something everyone yearns for results and when they do not see it, it is demotivating and encourages members to quit the society. Members come from different financial backgrounds therefore a holistic and inclusive approach needs to be adopted to make decisions on budgeting the needs of the society.

Well, first of all, being in a society, whether in a leadership position or not, teaches an individual team building and leadership skills. It also makes an individual an effective communicator. One starts seeing that they have gradually become more empathetic and concerned about the welfare of the members and the society. 

One eventually learns to be patient and calm while making decisions. No matter how well planned one is, there will still be some unfortunate events, so one learns to always be prepared for the unforeseeable. Over time one learns that winning is not always the ultimate joy, enjoying the journey is the real essence.

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

Our chief plan in 2018-19 was to try and rejuvenate the society as our society had been dissolved since 2014. That year, my first year in college and society, we focused on rebuilding society almost again from the scratches as there weren’t enough members. 

Last year, 2019-2020 although we did have seniors to guide us, we didn’t have the presence of many experienced dancers in our team. We had to again start building a team. We, unlike other dance societies, didn’t have the experience of participating or understanding competitions. 

It was like a new creature. I had taken a pledge in my first year that in the next year we will take part in many competitions both within and outside the DU circuit. I was very persistent about it. I feel proud to say that we were able to achieve this target. We participated in over 9 competitions which were a farfetched dream. 

There were a number of times that I wanted to give up because I felt that the society was not ready or I felt disillusioned. However, somehow I never gave up on myself and the society and we were able to make it a reality. Although we did not win this year, we have extended out our wings and we will fly soon.

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

I am of the opinion that internships play a great role in bridging the gap between what we pursue in college and what the real world after college holds for us. Seminars/ Conferences, on the other hand, are tools to widen our knowledge base and provide us with a platform to interact and connect with leaders/mentors from various sectors. 

Both internships and seminars are instrumental in bursting our imaginary bubble and helping us step forward towards our goals. The University of Delhi is known for its exposure and these two are the pillars of exposure.

Interview by - Himanshi

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