Prince Sharma is a B.Sc. (Hons) Electronics student of Acharya Narendra Dev College, University of Delhi, who has been continuously involved in beyond the classroom activities.
Here, Prince is sharing his experience being a President of SPIE Student Chapter University of Delhi at Acharya Narendra Dev College. His hard work has the potential to propel him ahead of the curve.
Go ahead and know what his story has to offer so that you can easily find a path of self-growth. Young Influxers go ahead and upgrade yourself!!!
What was your role? Briefly list the responsibilities associated with it.
I served as President last year 2019-20 at SPIE Student Chapter Univ. of Delhi at Acharya Narendra Dev College. To better describe you my role I should first give you a brief idea what the society is about. So, SPIE Student Chapter is a part of SPIE, a US-based international society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers aiming to promote Optics and Photonics among students. It is a community of research-oriented students, professors and scientists. The chapter basically performs outreach and provide various grants and also reward its members with industry-based experience. So, we receive funds every year around $1500-$2500 for conducting various activities at the college level and another $2500 for inviting international scientist to deliver talks on topics related to Optics and Photonics. Moreover, we receive kits to experiment with. The chapter also provides a chance to work with experienced and supportive mentors on projects and researches.
As a president, my role was pretty obvious that is to essentially shape the aims of the society for the year and leading the team so that everyone communicates and work together for an end goal. I had to attend meetings with professors and my team of student members for decision making and planning. When you are a president of a society, you are also the figurehead of the community. So I was responsible for everything being done in society. Even the works like ensuring that all social media or email accounts are being handled properly, looking over the finances, available funds and sticking to the SPIE rules.
What’s it like to juggle between leadership roles and academics? Pen down the challenges you faced.
There is no doubt when you get any responsibility, things automatically juggles between one another. In my case, I had to work every single day right from solving problems of an SPIE member (I mean a member of our society), keeping them engaged with various events, etc. and planning and meetings with the faculty advisor to level up the society. While I was doing that I also had to focus on my career and passion and of course my college classwork, exams test, etc. Honestly speaking, I hardly focused on my college work which has another obvious reason for my own priorities. I focused more on enhancing my programming skills as I have realized this as my both career and passion. Initially, when I got the position, I was frightened a little like How shall I manage it? Will someone even listen to me? and so on.
Also, as I was already working as technical support at Fakir Mohan Foundation, New Delhi. It was really too hectic to switch roles more than three to four times a day. But later I got used to it. I had to face a lot of questions from my friends as well asking what are the benefits you are prioritizing the society work over programming and college work. I myself didn’t know what I was doing, I just kept doing it. Maybe I loved it. Loved leading students, advising them. Despite all these doubts and comprehensions in my mind, I knew that my leadership qualities are being polished and this is the thing which one can learn only through experience not by reading books and taking courses.
Did you also get a chance to connect with any other activity while working on this post?
Yes, the activities included writing research papers and working on various personal projects. Attending various conferences etc. Apart from this, the most responsible work which I felt that I undertook was inviting an international scientist Prof. Marija Strojnik (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marija_Strojnik_Scholl) from Mexico to my college. We collaborated with IIT Delhi to manage the expenses required to invite her from Mexico. We planned three sessions that were to be covered in just one day. First was the Talk and then the discussions with students followed by a project exhibition. On the day of the event, this was really a heavy and quite responsible work I did that too in the absence of my faculty advisor. I thank my team who worked with me so profoundly. And fortunately, I was also helped by some highly supportive faculties of the college.
What are the top learnings, skills and values that you acquired here?
Countless. If you ask me to jot those down. So, obviously the first one is leadership quality. Then comes the significance of professionalism and quality of work. Skills I acquired were little of writing skills and more technical stuff because I always chose myself to do works like poster designing, website designing, etc. By organising so many events, I understood different types of audiences and I learned how companies function in the back end because according to me when you are leading society of your college, more or less you are operating a company.
Let me keep some of my basic values in points:
- We should always work as a team to execute any kind of work. I realized the importance of decentralisation. We can see ourselves that nothing in this world is done by a person alone. There is always a team behind anything.
- If you want your group to function properly and want your members and team to remain active, then your organisation should always reward them and thus make an emotional connection.
It is always better to choose the person who is really interested in your work over the person who is skilled but not interested.
Always have choices. If someone not available to do your work. Ask someone else. Your work should not be delayed.
- Nothing is the end. You can always correct your mistake.
- Being social with your friends and family is good. But it is even better if you make a professional and strong connection with seniors, professors, and older people. Believe me, they can help at such an extent that no one can.
- Prioritize, Prioritize, and Prioritize.
This is the point which few of you may disagree but I think if you want to be good at one thing, you have to bear the pain the becoming bad at other things.
- If you want to contact someone at a higher post, always choose to mail him/her at first before reaching them out in person. There is a high probability you may get a reply.
I can keep on writing the whole day. The learnings are endless.
Do you feel your current role fills you with pride and gratitude? Illustrate how the experience gained will help you going forward.
When I heard so many beautiful comments from the members and juniors when my tenure was over mentioning how I made the difference and how the society was transformed over the year. That day I patted on my back. I heartedly thank my faculty advisor, Dr Amit Garg who guided at each baby step and upskilled me at such a level. I can never forget the team I worked with. I guess they are going to be my life long connections in the future.
As far as I have explored the Industry level jobs and when the quality of becoming an entrepreneur is concerned, the experience one gains during a post of society comes a long way. After I worked on this post, I can confidently say I am employable. I partially understood what is required to ace higher in the world of entrepreneurship. So, I kind of got a clear path towards my career. There is a difference in what you do in your class making notes and trying to learn things and on the other hand when we experiment with kit/equipment just with some basic tutorial and do mistakes and then learn. Moreover, when I will be applying somewhere for a job, this experience which I got over a year will definitely be an added advantage.
As when we talk about leadership we have a whole team with us. How do you persuade others to accept your ideas/ways?
I always kept in mind there is a whole team around me. I noticed that egos are often why clubs and societies fall apart. Asking my team to accept my ideas was a bit easier for me because I was higher on a post. But still, I always followed the protocol like writing a good proposal with both pros and cons. It was not like my ideas were always accepted because I was president, I now feel happy that wasn’t. At the beginning of a responsible post, everyone does stupid mistakes, So did I. Now talking about when I received any ideas for the society’s welfare, what I used to do was I welcomed them all. And before forwarding it to execution I refined and polished it myself. And this is what one should do considering the available society fund.
What is your message to students, aspiring the same or a similar role to do?
If you received such an opportunity. Just go for it keeping in mind what are your priorities. Before answering this question, I should also consider those who aspired to be at such roles but couldn’t make it for some reason. So for them, I would say that becoming a good team member is an art. There are some people in every organisation without the contribution of which society can hardly function well. You can be a good anchor, you can be a good content writer or you can be of good technical support to society. Just find out what the society you aimed to has a dire need of.
How can we (Friends, Family, YI Fraternity) encourage young students such as yourself to engage with co-curricular or extra-curricular activities?
I would say if you can ask colleges and universities to pave some extra scheduled time for such students who want to involve themselves in the extra-curricular activities. Because everyone knows entrepreneurship/leadership can only be diversified if we jump out of the textual content in the book. Instead of webinars prefer videos with some live question-answering sessions, in the beginning, to pass on these values. I am saying this because not all can manage time at your scheduled time. Or you may choose to record it but still interactive videos making should be preferred.
Anything else would you like to say to the YI learners who’ll be reading your experience?
Thank you so much if you read that far. I guess you have a very good interest in becoming a leader. Let me know if my experience helped you. I would love to solve any of your queries. To know more about me and the society I talked about so far you may contact me here (www.princesharma.codes). You can also find my email ID there.
We at Young Influx would take this opportunity to thank Prince for taking a leap of faith and sharing his impeccable story. We are humbled and grateful, your efforts mean a lot for the youth seeking growth and development.
And hello, dear readers, we welcome you to explore the platform with an open mind. Help yourself gain most out of the experiences and opportunities listed here.
And before you bid us adieu, we would like you to know that you can read more such student stories here.