Telling a Story

Though it isn’t the first choice for many stu­dents (and their par­ents), a de­gree in mass com­mu­ni­ca­tion helps you gain per­spec­tive and prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence

India Today - - BEST COLLEGES - By Amal Shiyas

AMONG ALL THE CHANTS THAT par­ents re­peat­edly whis­per to In­dian stu­dents, ‘me­dia stud­ies’ is rarely one of them. ‘En­gi­neer­ing’, ‘law’ and the in­fa­mous ‘medicine’ don’t leave much room for other con­sid­er­a­tions. So when stu­dents do pick me­dia stud­ies, it is al­most al­ways a quiet re­bel­lion against the norm, fu­elled by a fierce hope of chang­ing the world. That is what I re­mem­ber most of the batch of as­pir­ing me­dia pro­fes­sion­als I met on my first day at the Sym­bio­sis Cen­tre for Me­dia and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (SCMC), in Pune.

At Sym­bio­sis, there were days I re­mem­ber fondly, when lec­tur­ers spoke pas­sion­ately; other days were dif­fi­cult, when the real­ity of the pro­fes­sion would hit home. On yet other days, the thrill of cre­at­ing some­thing would make up for all the scep­ti­cism. What I don’t re­mem­ber is a day on which noth­ing hap­pened—there were no quiet days. Twelve sub­jects a se­mes­ter, five in­tern­ships over­all and as­sign­ments that stretched the bound­aries of what I con­sid­ered pos­si­ble con­sumed all my en­ergy. I have felt emo­tion­ally ex­hausted af­ter projects. I have run around the heart of Pune city shoot­ing a news piece for an as­sign­ment. I have wit­nessed my

STU­DENTS PUT IN OVER 100,000 HOURS A YEAR VOL­UN­TEER­ING WITH NGOs AND COR­PO­RATE CSR DI­VI­SIONS AS INTERNS IN THE DE­VEL­OP­MENT SEC­TOR

batch­mates break­ing down when we had open dis­cus­sions on pa­tri­archy. I once spent two weeks read­ing United Na­tions res­o­lu­tions for a his­tory as­sign­ment. I have made doc­u­men­taries with my jour­nal­ism batch­mates, cre­ated ad­ver­tise­ments from scratch with my ad­ver­tis­ing batch­mates and wit­nessed my pub­lic re­la­tions batch­mates man­age an event based on what they had learned. As for my own fel­low film and tele­vi­sion batch­mates, we shared our strug­gles un­til our grad­u­ate films were com­pleted.

I also don’t re­mem­ber a lot of va­ca­tion days. At the con­clu­sion of each se­mes­ter came an in­tern­ship. I have taught English to un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren while vol­un­teer­ing at Teach for In­dia, worked with chil­dren with spe­cial needs at a school in Dubai and iden­ti­fied and pro­posed so­lu­tions for en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues at WWF-In­dia. I in­terned with a two-year-old startup called Pa­per Planes in Mum­bai, pick­ing up me­dia skills in the process, and also worked with in­ter­na­tional brands like McDon­ald’s and Kiri at ad­ver­tis­ing giant Leo Bur­nett. These wide-rang­ing ex­pe­ri­ences were thanks to the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able at Sym­bio­sis, and the ed­u­ca­tion that al­lowed me to do jus­tice to them.

The memories of the many treks I took with my batch­mates to the forts pep­per­ing Pune’s ge­og­ra­phy, the much-loved in­ter­ac­tive ses­sions at Panch­gani (an SCMC spe­cial), the de­ten­tion hours spent at the li­brary, the be­hind-the-scenes of our col­lege fes­ti­vals—these (and more) are memories that will stay with me for life. My batch­mates are the sam­ple

group upon whom I project the real world. While this may be a skewed and naïve propo­si­tion, their vigour, am­bi­tion and pas­sion are my as­sur­ance that there is hope. That quiet re­bel­lion against stereo­type make SCMC stu­dents a refined co­hort. This is a legacy here, too. I re­mem­ber the first seeds of in­spi­ra­tions sown by our seniors to help us be bet­ter stu­dents, a ges­ture we have at­tempted to em­u­late with our ju­niors.

SCMC of­fers stu­dents a chance to make de­ci­sions ev­ery sin­gle day. Much of life here is about weigh­ing choices, grab­bing op­por­tu­ni­ties and mak­ing some­thing of them. In that sense, it is a re­flec­tion of what the me­dia in­dus­try is in dire need of to­day—in­de­pen­dence and the courage to take up chal­lenges.

DANESH JASSAWALA

DANESH JASSAWALA

STU­DENTS AT THE SYM­BIO­SIS CAM­PUS IN PUNE

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