Student Leader Interview - Rounika Juneja, DBS

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1. Tell us more about your roles and responsibilities at your college?

As the Publicity Secretary at Invictus Oratory Club (formerly known as Public Speaking Club) at Doon Business School Dehradun, I've been actively engaging with activities such as promoting the club not just within the college but also amongst other colleges as well. DBS has more than 2500 students each day on campus and approximately 12-15 different clubs, to meet everyone's hobbies. Thus, creating an identity of Invictus Oratory Club amongst all of these becomes a challenging and yet fun task in hand. 

However, we office bearers at IOC have always been cross-functional and lending a hand to each other. I have been working actively for organizing various on-campus or virtual events (during lockdown as well) as much as I have worked on maintain Public Relations with students and faculties out there. My only aim as the Publicity Secretary has been to keep spreading words about our club like wildfire and thus encouraging new talent to overcome their individual hurdles and join our club. 

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

Reaching this position certainly is not a piece of cake and can't be done just by flipping your fingers. However, it isn't a big challenge if you love what you do. I personally have always been very fond of public speaking. I've been participating in debates, Group Discussions, compering at multiple events, giving presentations, and whatnot for the last many years. Being so engaged and engrossed in all these activities helped me overcome my fears and gain more confidence every passing day. As a cherry on the cake, I've also been on such student leadership positions during my graduation days. Maybe all of these together helped me groom myself well so that I could reach this position. 

I remember as a fresher kid, I always looked up to my senior student leaders and dreamt of seeing myself standing there someday. If you specifically want to wonder how I reached here at IOC - we had an annual Student Committee election, wherein we slogged hard to get the maximum votes to win. This is all that I would suggest to all young students out there. You just have to DREAM! Dream and hustle for whatever you want, don't shy around thinking 'What would others say about me?' - because such others would come to you for advice later when you succeed. Dream. Work hard for it Face your fears Come out of it like a Phoenix!! Lastly, don't be afraid of failures. (A secret- I lost my first student election badly, but that didn't stop me!). 

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

I'll talk about these in 2 parts - Work-front challenges & Personal challenges. 
Work-front challenges- As I mentioned earlier, it was very easy to get lost in the chaos at DBS, and creating an identity for myself or my club was not at all a piece of cake. Also, since it was the first time ever in the history of the Public Speaking Club, that it was renamed and had student leaders as well. So many people on campus either were not aware of the club activities or found our office bearers team to be just a waste of time and energy. Since, Public speaking needs to have activities that encourage the students to step out of their comfort zones and overcome their fears, most of the students on campus were least interested in it. 

Initially, we struggled really hard to get student participation in our club activities. However, it makes me feel glad that every recent event of ours has had great participation and students have started loving the events and activities organized by us. One of the key learnings for me and my team was that you need to keep pushing yourself and you definitely would succeed sooner or later. Student participation plays a key role in the success of your club and thus, whatever club you are in, always get your stuff to be 'Student-Centric' - helps you attract them better. 

Personal Challenges: Any leadership role often comes with endless criticism, insults, or bitchings from your fellow colleagues, classmates, or even a few friends. This happens everywhere - be it at an Undergraduate level, Postgraduate level, or even during your corporate jobs. You will always find people who would try to pull you down. However, what I've learned from all my past experiences is - "If everyone around you loves you or speaks good about you, indicates that you're doing something wrong somewhere". This might sound weird, but its the fact of life. Enjoy the critics, look at things optimistically, and keep improving yourself. This is the only success mantra that works everywhere. 

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

Okay, so here in this question, I definitely wouldn't want to take all the credits to just myself. Our whole team worked day and night and really hard to make Invictus Oratory Club a real sensational and most active club on campus - which I believe we've succeeded in greatly. Today, we have more than 120 students in our club and all our activities get a huge number of participation from all students of the campus. I feel that reaching here in itself was a big success for us.

 But what I am really proud of is we could bring out the hidden talents of so many young kids on our campus. Trust me, I've seen students sweating and shivering before the mic when they first spoke on stage who are now amongst the best speakers of our club. This has been the ONLY motive of IOC at DBS and we feel we as a team have successfully achieved it and would keep doing so in future too. Achieving this, while being engaged and occupied with studies, projects, assignments, etc. of PGDM was not less tedious at all. So, yes, these bits and pieces really make me feel proud of myself. 

5. What’s your message to encourage students to do an internship and attend conferences? 

Talking about internships and conferences, these are a great way to groom yourself for the corporate environment which you would be stepping in the future. Internships often give you an exposure of how your corporate job would look like, if you are unsure about what filed to choose, interning in various fields might help you big time to figure out your interests and what work you would enjoy doing. Internships give you opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them so that they won't cost you your job in the future. One of the additional benefits of internships is that it helps you build a great network. We postgraduates often look at internships to get our PPO (Pre-placement offers), however, even if you don't get one, you definitely come out of there with some good relationships build with your seniors - which might help you in future, not just to get a good job but to get good mentor opinions when you need one. 

To be honest, I could never stop counting the benefits you get from internships. I've often seen students during their UG, getting fake internship certificates just for the sake of college projects. My friend, it's not the college who needs a job or who needs to earn better in future, its YOU who will have to slog in a 9-5 job a few years down the line. Use internships to ensure that you would slog happily doing the work which you would really enjoy. Also, your internship certificates, letter of recommendation, etc. play a role way more important than the stipend amount you get. You can even keep doing virtual internships along with your college studies - reflects you can handle pressure and multi-task as well. Such little details on your CV helps you gain a competitive edge in today's job market. 

Conferences, on the other hand, are a wonderful place to get endless insights from industry experts who have struggled hard and reached there. You can attend conferences which have discussions topics of your interest or have really good leaders speaking there. Trust me, I have not just attended but have organized many national and international conferences, and the amount of knowledge and inspiration you get there is incredible. 

Tell me, where else would you get an opportunity to interact with senior industry leaders? Yes, I agree that these conferences often become a one-way communication and makes it boring to sit there for hours. But look on the brighter side, use the breaks or high-tea sessions to go, and personally interact with people there, ask for their visiting cards, build a network. Networking never gets wasted!! You never know the person you met today might turn out to be extremely important and resourceful 5 years down the line. Lastly, conferences often give you participation certificates as well, which do add a great value to your CVs. It shows that you have some real-time industry insights as well. 

A message to all the youth reading this- You don't have to be perfect in every sense to succeed, don't judge yourself by what people around you say about you. They don't know the real you. Be yourself, keep getting inspired and motivated by every little thing around you, cherish, and encourage your little success stories too. Because all these bits together would help you achieve greater heights. Let go of the negativity around you and try being optimistic. Believe in yourself and keep working hard- nothing would stop you from achieving what you aspire. I would once again like to thank Eat my news for approaching me with this. I really hope that this sends some encouragement to our budding talents out there. 

Interviewed by - Akanksha

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