Why I love the Undergraduate Programme at Ashoka
Meera Anand, a third-year undergraduate student lists down her top three reasons for loving the UG programme at Ashoka University.
As I write this, I have two years of Ashoka under my belt and now I think I can safely say that pursuing the Undergraduate Programme at Ashoka has impacted me in an unexpected, life-changing sort of way. Looking back, like many others, going through the college admissions process alone as a high school student had me lost and confused. Uncertainty, panic and incapability to eliminate choices resulted in me applying to more than fifteen colleges, Ashoka University being one of them. I had heard about Ashoka from a friend who spoke at length about her experience there. Although it seemed like a great university, I was not completely sure if it would be the right fit for me at the time. But boy am I glad I chose it! There are so many reasons to love Ashoka (every student might have a different story) but I have tried to list down my top three reasons which truly resonated with me and my experience.
1. The flexibility of a liberal arts education: What surprised me the most about pursuing liberal arts at Ashoka was how it put a lot of emphasis on students taking charge of their own learning. The structure of the programme is designed for students who are unsure about where their passion lies. As someone who was confused about what major to pick, I was able to spend a whole year playing the field, experimenting with courses and choosing disciplines that made sense to me. The number of course options to choose from empowers students to learn about a huge variety of subjects ranging from Performing Arts, Sociology, Politics, Economics to science related subjects such as Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Through the foundation courses, I was taught to view problems from different viewpoints pertaining to social, economic, environmental, ecological, etc. Moreover, because of the interdisciplinary pedagogy that Ashoka follows, I did not have to choose between majors and was able to undertake my education in two disciplines. This allowed me to expand my horizons by combining two or more interrelated disciplines. I was able to create my own learning pathway resulting in a truly integrated education.
2. Opportunities are endless: Ashoka opened doors to a hub of opportunities for me which I never considered in school. There are a lot of things to do at Ashoka; I never felt dejected if I did not get selected to be a part of some student-led club, event or society. There were so many other things I could be a part of that it never worried me. One can gain quite a few skills at Ashoka – whether it is learning a new language by doing a co-curricular course or learning skills from other students by joining student-led organisations. These skills are certainly very beneficial but having the opportunity to apply these skills made my university experience even more well-rounded. As someone who had no work/volunteering experience before joining Ashoka, I was able to land some wonderful internship programmes through Ashoka which helped me understand a work environment, apply theoretical knowledge and boost my confidence. With the Career Development Office working endlessly to ensure that students gain work experience, our student inboxes are a plethora of opportunities!
3. Ashoka challenges its students to push their limits: By giving me space to make mistakes, ponder open-ended questions, and work under strict time constraints, Ashoka helped me realise my own capabilities. The professors at Ashoka empower students to think outside the box and question the status quo – something that we were never taught to do in school. Along with my five academic courses, when I also joined two clubs and took up a leadership position, I was worried that I had bitten off more than I could chew. And I would be lying if I said I handled it all with ease. There were days when the pressure got to me and the workload felt too overwhelming. But at the end of it, it was one of those accomplishments that I can look back on and say – wow, I did that! It put me to the test and made me realise that I can in fact handle much more than what I gave myself credit for. Before I knew it, my time management skills had improved so much that I was able to juggle my academics, internships and extra curriculars without having to sacrifice my physical and mental health in the process. Thus, though my time at Ashoka was limited, my learnings from it are boundless. Ashoka gave a wonderful can-do attitude – a valuable quality I never possessed before. It truly acted as a catalyst in my transition from adolescence to adulthood. By empowering me to spot, understand and assess my own skills and capabilities, it made me a much more confident, mature and responsible person. And I am grateful for it.