#GraduateStories – The Economics Survival Kit by Lipsa Mohanty
Lipsa Mohanty is a part of the Undergraduate class of 2021 and majored in Economics.
Being a CBSE science kid, my last two years in school were miserable. I had just changed schools and found myself in a place with an extremely unhealthy level of competition. People would not share notes or discuss ideas for the physics project in the miserable hope of trying to outrank others. Naturally, I adapted to the solitary form of studying.
Cut to my second semester, I was found – almost having given up on my oncoming Math for Economics exam – in the Student Hall 4 Commons by two knights in shining pajamas: Prerna and Sanskriti. They very generously took me under their wings and we started studying together. The next few days involved getting up early to grab the best class room, dump our bags, and hurriedly finish breakfast to begin our almost 14-hour long study sessions. And I actually could not believe I had once thought group study sessions were inefficient. Everyone was so willing to pick up each other’s slack or explain patiently when any one of us did not understand a word. The next year, we were joined by Divisha, who immediately dived in to save us in our time management. But, a particular incident stood out to me and I will always carry it in my heart.
I had joined a very time consuming theatre production, Dalchini in my second year which started at 9 pm and never ended. When I mentioned this to this group, I was scared that I would be asked to manage myself or make a choice between the two. After listening, Sanskriti commanded, “Okay then, we need to start studying now and prepare a time table so that we wrap up everyday by 8:30 pm.” Shook, I wanted to know why particularly at 8:30 pm to which she replied, “You also need to get dinner, Lipsa.”
And that was all it took to unlearn years of unhealthy competition entrenched in me.
Compassion and friendship. Divisha, Prerna, and Sanskriti have been my survival kit for these three years. They have helped me when I slacked while also making me feel like a worthwhile addition to the group. A lot of my learning has happened in our discussions at ungodly hours, both academic and otherwise. This is my only ‘advice’ to the incoming students: please reach out to people. People at Ashoka are willing to help and most importantly, you do not have to do it alone.