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A Young India Fellow’s Tale at Ashoka University

The adage, "if you are confused before fellowship, you would be confidently confused post fellowship," resonates with my journey.

I’m Priyatham Kedarisetty, a Young India Fellow from the 2020 cohort, hailing from a quaint village near Visakhapatnam, a coastal district of Andhra Pradesh. My father, a humble jaggery trader, exemplifies resilience and instilled in me a steadfast work ethic from a young age. Breaking from the technical education tradition in my extended family, I became the first to pursue a postgraduate diploma in liberal arts.

Despite being immersed in the sciences throughout my schooling and pursuing engineering, I yearned for exposure to social sciences and the opportunity to broaden my horizons. This longing found fulfillment through the Young India Fellowship (YIF) at Ashoka.

The YIF, an unconventional programme, brought forth uncertainties about career prospects and the challenge of managing finances. Reflecting on my journey, the 100% financial aid from Ashoka emerged as a pivotal enabler. Without it, the transformative experience at Ashoka would have remained beyond reach.

My time at Ashoka marked a significant personal transformation. Being part of a diverse group of 300 individuals, each with their unique ideas and interests, was a revelation. The majority of my learning transcended the classroom, occurring through engaging discussions that refined me as an individual. Post-fellowship, doors opened to a 3-year venture in management consulting with Euromonitor and ZS Associates. Six months ago, I took a deliberate step to reorient my career, returning to Ashoka in the Strategic Initiatives Office of the Pro-VC.

The adage, “if you are confused before fellowship, you would be confidently confused post fellowship,” resonates with my journey. The fellowship endowed me with the confidence to think critically and make decisions, shaping my distinct career path.

For those navigating a crossroads in their careers or yearning for change, Ashoka’s fellowship provides an ideal space for exploration. The generosity of the financial aid programme ensures that opportunities are not thwarted by financial constraints. Conversations with fellows offer a nuanced understanding of the fellowship, and for those facing financial barriers, reaching out to the Financial Aid Office is paramount. Many friends, through proactive discussions and presenting their concerns, secured exceptional aid.

In essence, my journey is testament to the transformative power of reaching out to the right people. If it happened for me, there’s no reason it won’t for others. Ashoka, with its unique fellowship and accessible financial aid, offers an enriching experience that extends far beyond the academic realm.

(Priyatham Kedarisetty is an Ashoka alum from the Young India Fellowship batch of 2020)

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