“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful”, said Sigmund Freud once. I'm not the sort to wallow in nostalgia about the good old days and so, understandably, could never get the essence of this quote. Until some recent happenings like the Alumni meet, news of my batch mates getting hitched and their images flooding my social media timelines and current batch students pinging for advice regarding the “placement season” took me back to my ‘year of struggle’ at Great Lakes. What a year it was!
Let’s begin at the very beginning, shall we?
You reach the campus, register and are ushered into your rooms where you dump your belongings and barely have time to exclaim in delight when you are called in to collect your books (oh, only six for the first term by the way!), submit your certificates and complete other formalities. On your way to one of the numerous lakes (the classrooms and auditoriums here are named after lakes!), you meet others with similar dazed and confused expressions (who turn out to be your online chums), get together and an era of awesomeness begins!
The first ten days are aptly termed as the ‘Honeymoon’ period. And you decide to make the most of it as your seniors advised you to. And indeed, I remember nothing as vividly as my first week in the sprawling campus! Some words of advice for the prospective students - have all the fun you can during this phase, for the rest of the year will be a haze of passing days with you running helter skelter trying to complete the PPTs, the pre-reads and what nots the degree demands!
And as you try to adjust to the super hectic schedule, you bond over case studies and late night coffees, strategize and come up with those Big-hairy-audacious business plans, fight over whose turn it was to make the presentation or who was supposed to do the ‘committee work’, sneak into the beach in whatever time you can muster in between or just leave everything aside and get lost in the midnight jamming session and in the process find those crazies you’ll be spending the rest of your life with!
But that’s not where the beauty ends. You also get to meet some of the most wonderful professors, entrepreneurs and business leaders who shape your life. You listen to their stories, their experiences and wonder, if they could, what’s stopping me? The defining moment of my year at Great Lakes was meeting Dr. Philip Kotler and attending his Master Class at Great Lakes – a dream come true for every student pursuing marketing and wanting to make a career out of it. How inspiring and humbling actually meeting and interacting with people of this stature is can’t be described in words. You have to experience it for yourself.
Now that I think over it, apart from the course, what this year actually taught me was ‘making choices’. There’s so much to do and you know you can’t be omnipresent so you choose. Working on the presentation that’s due at 12 or attending that b’day bash, helping the villagers uplift their lives or preparing for competitions and acing them or giving up your social life and doing both. And there is a price to pay for each decision that you take. So, calculate the ROI of your decisions and act accordingly!
While it lasts, there is absolutely no method to this madness with each batch bringing in its own uniqueness and craziness. But the fact remains, that even when the days are long gone with you struggling to get a wink of much needed sleep and trying hard to keep up with the work pressures, there are days when something triggers the memory and you drop anything and everything at hand to go back into what is just an wonderland now. That’s when you jolt out of the reverie and realize there’s a client presentation due in the morning and you get back to it with a satisfied smile on your face!
- Sushree Panda
A Mighty Mamalla
(Great Lakes - Class of 2013)