Studied just enough
I realized from the onset that kids would probably have to study under lanterns if I became a mining engineer. So, I took one for the world and gave up the idea. But ‘3 Idiots’ aside, grades are important.
I went the classic engineering route of studying right before exams. It worked fine; I graduated with a respectable 8.56 and bragging rights from passing by cramming up the chits my friends would prepare hours before the test.
But that would’ve been pointless if I hadn’t invested the saved time into stuff that interested me more: communication, organization, politics, and analytics. I never skimped on efforts; I just put them elsewhere.
Took no position for show-off
College PORs are only as effective as the person holding the position. I decided early that if I had to slog through without getting paid for the work, I’d only do it if I felt strongly about the job. And it worked out wonderfully.
That explains my attention in only two places. Building meaningful stuff with a good team is more rewarding than paper certificates. I’ve met some of the best people in college while working through shared challenges, and when I look back, I take pride not in the positions but in the experiences.
Also, no recruiter ever fussed over PORs. It’s a myth.
Created something new
Everyone has ideas and is morally obligated to pursue them to the best of their abilities.
Creators have a mindset that is altogether different from that of consumers. The creators are free to think, execute, and create what the consumers can only wish for. The pursuit of creation is inherently empowering.
Toward the waning days of my last semester, I had the good fortune of initiating a career development program at my college. It was industry-funded, engaged thousands of students, and was executed end-to-end in two months. Everything from raising a team to the last-minute fund anxieties was rewarding.
The reason for my enhanced confidence is not that it happened but that I discovered something new I was capable of, something that was valued, and something I could do better going forward.
The sweat was worth it.
Kept myself genuine
Faking is futile. Firstly, it kills your confidence in your existence. Secondly, everyone can tell anyway.
My unabashedness with my personality had nothing to do with perfection. I’ve got my fair share of flaws, but I have enough good people around to understand the benefits of being genuine.
No one expects perfection; people get alerted if you seem too shiny. And not everyone will like you anyway; cribbing over that is unintelligent. The endeavor of universal likeability has nothing to do with being good.
Make space your yourself before you cede some to others.
Punched back when necessary
There’s a difference between avoiding confrontation and running away from it. The first is wisdom; the second is cowardice.
If the other person wants something legitimate, compromise and get over it. But if they insist on a confrontation, don’t disappoint them (not talking about childish fist fights here).
Confrontations are a part of life and won’t disappear because you don’t like them.