An IIM Admit & A PPO Despite Visual Impairment | Shreya Upadhyay’s Inspirational Journey To IIM Udaipur
“I had the blues because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.” – Denis Waitley
This quote depicts the importance of appreciating all the good things you have in your life. My life has, too be one of thanks and appreciation for giving me a strong base of people who helped me through my journey so far.
I was born in Ujjain, amongst the numerous temples and a loving maternal family. I grew up in Baroda (Gujarat) where my parents put me in a simple and nearby school due to my eyesight issues, but that turns out to be a bad choice as the school did not care much about the development of the children. After a few incidents of being physically hit by both teachers and fellow students, I was put in a slightly better school. With help from the supporting teachers and loving friends, I flourished in the school and even stood first in class several times.
I got admission in the top-ranked high school in my city because of my high percentage of marks in the tenth board exams. I learned a lot in the friendly but competitive environment of this institution, passing out among the top ten students. I gave the entrance exams for BBA and got selected in the first merit list, but I decided to study Psychology.
I joined the Dept. of Psychology and had the time of my life as a student and found the most excellent teachers of my life as well as made friends for a lifetime. All the while I was among the top five rankers in the class among highly talented and intelligent co-students. Never once, through my high school and college life have I ever been frowned upon for my defects. In fact, the extremely curious population at the university even tried to study my ‘different’ ability as a research topic. My friends and teachers, as well as my family, were always there to help and support me through every step of the way.
I completed my masters’ degree from the university and pursued a diploma in Hypnosis, which is a very rare course when it comes to medical sciences. Along with the diploma, I worked with another psychologist where I was conducting aptitude tests and counselling the students.
I wanted to pursue M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology and that is when I faced my first rejection, the reason, of course, was my eye condition. Despite achieving good scores in the test and the interview, I was not given admission because working with individuals having severe mental issues was deemed to be too risky for me.
The very first question that came to me was “what next?” The answer was an MBA, and I started preparing for CAT amongst constant repudiations from almost everyone I knew. My parents, friends and family, all told me that my eyes would get in the way of placements. I stayed focused and got into IIM Udaipur, one of the best B-Schools in terms of academics. True to the suspicions of others, I had a few issues, but I got an internship with a communications firm in Pune.
Pune was a wonderful experience, I was given freedom to work as I pleased, I had to set my own pace and deadlines, yet I was regularly reviewed. My research and performance were appreciated; finally, someone believed in me enough to grant me a Pre-placement offer. I was overjoyed and relieved that I got a job.
Finishing my MBA with a good CGPA and a PPO, I feel that the greatest obstacle to our success is the lack of self- trust. If we purr our heart into our goal, it is never impossible to achieve.
In IIM-U, I met a friend who has faced similar problems due to his visual impairment and often gets dejected even at the mention of the issue. Through the two years of friendship, I have managed to convince him that no one can belittle him unless he succumbs to the pressure. At last, He overcame his fears and got placed in a reputed company with an awesome offer. He also was one of the motivating factors throughout my MBA journey.
They give us many names, PWD, DA, PH or simply visually impaired, we have proved over and over, through many examples that we are as much a part of the world and have as much talent and competence as any other. Ability is not handed out by God based on physical appearance; it is a gift that everyone receives, whether they want to use it for the good of themselves and the society is always their call.
An interviewer once asked me what failure is; I told him that failure is when a person gives up. So, never back down, refuse to lay down your battle-axe and fight the world for what is rightfully yours: Respect.
About the Author
This article is written by Shreya Upadhyay, a PGP 2 student at IIM Udaipur. She did her graduation in Psychology from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda. Apart from academics, she is passionate about singing, as she is a trained Indian Classical Singer and likes to read thrillers and philosophical novels.