Learning and Unlearning Is the Only Cycle That Fosters a Better Future - Ashin Antony

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

I am presently doing my master’s degree at Loyola College, Chennai. There, the most important responsibility I shouldered was in the Editorial Board of Loyola Economics Association for Development (LEAD). I worked in the role of the Editorial Secretary.

My duties were to be a part of the team in compiling two annual works of the Economic Association, an Annual economic journal and a National Conference proceeding. Loyola College and its Economics department carry on a legacy. My job along with the team was just to ensure the quality and do the needful on the works to be published. 

These responsibilities I carried out became easy to me, owing to the experiences from the place I did my undergrads, Christ College, Thrissur. I was the Sub Editor of the College magazine for two consecutive years. I always loved the idea of collecting and collaborating with young aspiring colleagues of mine.

Hence, as of now, I have set up a team of students from different universities in the country in building a web platform named `The LightHouse'. Primarily, its target is to provide a space for the student community to speak out and discuss various topics; since to me, dialogue and space are what our youth needs the most and its the cardinal element to a healthy society.

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

I had worked with the content as well as the lead roles entrusted upon me by the SFI unit of Christ College. The College Union addressed student issues that had a universal nature and also incorporated ideas from the students making every venture of it vivid and inclusive of people from different strata of the society.

Such an encompassing, and working it out in the college magazines were tedious jobs since most college managements are undemocratic, dictatorial and fodder apolitical thought. A persistent conflict with the authorities and teachers to publish the independent words of students is enduring. In those times, taking some bold stands and negotiations while assisting the student editor, was a learning experience for me personally.

3. How do your parents look at you participating in extracurricular activities?

Just like most of the parents are, my parents were not that encouraging in the initial stages, they were not much happy about me taking an openly political stance or participating actively in social and political issues. But as time passed, they never forced me to quit or step down from the extracurricular activities. Marks were criteria of their assessment, but now things are surely changing, in a positive way.

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

I enjoy every bit of working with my team to get a job done. Keeping the events in line with its schedules, collaborating with the other students and working tirelessly in organizing events such as competitions, conferences, seminars and every bit of college activity always give me immense pleasure and satisfaction. At the end of the day, the only thing you count is your self-satisfaction.

5. What are your career goals and how is what you are doing going to help you with that?

I aspire to be a part of research firms; social research and market research are two of my strongholds. Strategy development and policy research are the areas which I am doing my certifications right now, and  I do believe that various roles in the colleges have given me a grip to communicate my decisions towards any team I could be a part of.

6. Do you have a message for parents to allow their kids to do things besides academics?

Marks should not be taken a criterion to assess the calibre of students, they should be given free space to think rationally and independently. I have seen a lot of parents asking their children to not be political or do not interfere in social issues, what are those parents bringing out of their kids!

How can someone be rational if they are apolitical, the society is done with all those apolitical intellectuals. Parents should free their children to read, write and believe in any political ideology they feel right. Kids should be taught to feel the pain of the vulnerable rung of the society and they should be appreciated to have empathy on others.

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

Students should identify education and employability as two distinct things. Education with full marks doesn't mean that you are highly employable. Anyone can acquire good marks by mugging up the study materials but for being employable it requires some real talent. Students should open their minds to be sceptical, curious and learn from anyone around.

I personally do believe that there is much to learn from everybody around us, starting from a tea vendor to a multimillionaire. Internships and conferences are actually an opportunity to learn new things and expand our horizons. And for doing internships I would recommend to get out of their surroundings and comfort zones and thus explore new. Learning and unlearning - that's the only cycle that fosters a better future.

Interview By - Benil Joseph

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