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Not Just Academics: These 11 Things That Can Set You Apart As An Engineering Graduate

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By Rahul Jain:

There are more than 4000 engineering colleges in India which churn out over 1.5 million engineers every year. However the employment scenario is quite the opposite. Having a degree is no longer enough; it is only the bare minimum these days. But colleges offer many more opportunities that could help us acquire new skills and in turn spruce up our resumes. Here are a couple of activities that one can enroll oneself in, beyond the course/curriculum, in order to stand out from the hordes of engineering students that graduate every year:

Image source: Mozilla India
Image source: Mozilla India
  1. Set your priorities straight- You might have gotten into your Bachelors without a very clear idea about your dreams and targets. However the longer this goes on, the harder it will be to achieve what you are capable of. So set your priorities and targets, and allocate resources, including finances and time, to it.
  2. Join a college club- A college has numerous clubs that you can join. The club may be directly related to your stream, which will provide you with in-depth knowledge. For instance, SAE clubs for auto enthusiasts, in colleges, provide memberships, and conduct programs which you can attend only if you’re a member.
  3. Join an organization- Volunteering in an NGO is always a worthwhile cause and helps you develop emotional intelligence, while AIESEC provides you with a genuine organizational experience along with international exposure. Toastmasters provides you with a platform to hone your people skills and meet people in position of power looking to do the same.
  4. Participate in MUNs- One of the ways to work on your communication skills and general knowledge is to participate in MUNs, and be a part of the circuit. With institutes across the country holding MUN, there is a lot of scope for building your personality through formal and informal interaction.
  5. Submit research papers- With multiple journals existing across the globe, one can send research papers to multiple journals and have their work published. It adds credentials to your resume while providing content to talk about in interviews.
  6. Attend college fests- Yes, you read that right. Attending fests can help you. Eating at the stalls won’t, but competing in events will. They cater to a wide range of interests and talents, and are appreciated by the society as holistic activities which test you on multiple parameters instead of one. Not to mention all the fellow students from other colleges you could meet.
  7. Attend a summer school- Schools can help you bolster your confidence on a subject you are weak at, immerse yourself in new surroundings, gain cultural and institutional exposure all at the same time. Also, you can pursue unique courses some universities offer.
  8. Online courses- If you want to gain better understanding on a particular topic or prepare yourself for a shift in your stream, this is perhaps the best and the most cost-effective option. One can decide their study schedule, decide on the courses they want to take and view videos multiple times, if they cannot follow the topic. Sites such as Coursera offer some of the best programs from prestigious universities. You can also opt to get certificates for the courses you complete.
  9. Play sports- Teamwork, integrity, solidarity are not just big words, but attributes people look up to, including employers and interviewers. It is also an excellent outlet for your frustrations and stress, and helps you maintain your physique at the same time. Participating at a competitive level adds further to your profile, should that be a driving motivation.
  10. Attend networking events- You meet people everywhere you go, so theoretically every event is a networking event if you play it right. However, there are events meant specifically for this purpose and they generally have a theme attached to it that one can attend such as entrepreneur meet ups, or hackathons.  To quote a cliché, “A good lawyer knows the law; a great lawyer knows the judge.”
  11. Intern- Your institute would have a dedicated time-frame for industrial training and internships, use that to get as much industrial exposure as you can, instead of working just for the certificate, and the final report.

The idea is simple- to stand out. In order to do that, one needs to offer something that sets them apart and is useful for the other party, be it another institute or a potential employer and let them know that you are better. Grades make you qualified, connections get you the job, and knowledge lets you keep the job.

Also read: For Those Interested In Creating Social Impact: 7 Diploma Courses You Could Check Out

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  1. Avinesh Saini

    Never believed in being a total sellout. Never will. But great advice for the ambitious pricks, I guess.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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