#GraduateStories – Overcoming the Culture Shock
Saransh Ahuja is a part of the graduating batch of Ashoka Scholars Programme this year. He has completed an Advanced Major in Psychology
After four years at Ashoka University, Saransh Ahuja is now ready to sprout his wings and fly away from Ashoka University to chase his dreams. He recounts the extraordinary journey he has undertaken as a student at this university.
Saransh reveals that he underwent a grave ‘culture shock’ after joining the institution, which affected both his academic as well as non-academic endeavours. He says that the academic challenges that he faced in the first semester included “choosing the right combination of foundation courses, balancing the difficulty of their course content, assessing the aims/objectives and pedagogical styles of different professors, and most importantly, adjusting to the system of self-learning by indulging in scholarly material and academic writing.”
These academic challenges cropped up in different forms in the later semesters. After changing his mind about his major four times in his first year and changing his prospective career path three times in the last three years, Saransh claims that an important lesson that this journey taught him was that “it is completely fine to try out new things, develop new interests and not be afraid of changing paths.”
In the non-academic realm, Saransh states that his role as a Resident Assistant and a Resident Assistant Mentor at Ashoka University was integral in the development of a professional skill set. At the end of the day, Saransh not only discovered himself multiple times on this journey but also embraced each of those versions of himself.
Saransh’s perception of Ashoka University has evolved over the span of four years. He says, “Being a part of the institution for the past four years, I have experienced it grow in many realms. I used to see it as an elite institution that is obscure from mainstream A-list Indian institutions at the beginning. I have seen Ashoka University create a name for itself not just on a national level but also on a global level through research collaborations, guest lectures and talks from esteemed faculty of premier institutions, and the work that Ashoka University’s brilliant alumni are doing across the globe.”
However, according to him, this competitive environment at Ashoka could, at times, be frustrating for people to deal with. In such times, Saransh believes, “It is important to have faith in your ability, back your strengths and trust the reason why you were selected to study at Ashoka University. So remain patient, keep hustling and wait for your moment.”
Although he would miss taking leisurely strolls on the lawns during snack time and watching the colours of the sunsets unfold to give us the most magical Sonipat Skies, he has greater plans for the future. Ashoka University bids Saransh a fond farewell as he sets foot into the outside world to further his studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
(Extracted from a conversation with Zoya Sayeda)