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10 Amazing Opportunities I Got As A Psychology Student At Christ University

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By Kshitij Singh:

When it comes to the amount of academic inputs, nothing can beat Christ University. With tremendous amount of opportunities along with its comparatively ‘strict code‘, it gives a thorough academic experience. This is my second year, here, studying course in Humanities – triple majors in Psychology, Sociology and English. It has been a wonderful ride so far with many countless memories and experiences outside the classroom which encompass friendships, frolics and learning.

The psychology department of Christ University is a reputed one in India. With a special thrust on academic excellence, it does take effort to produce well-rounded individuals with various skill enhancement activities like workshops, alumni talks, certificate courses in plethora of sub-fields of psychology, fests, competitions, clubs and paper presentation. Christites studying Psychology and prospective Christites should look forward to these wonderful opportunities especially if they want to learn through experience:

1. Service Learning Semester: The fourth semester of UG Psychology mandates a minimum of twenty-hour exposure to social work. Unlike volunteering with Centre for Social Action or any other organisation, service learning is a part of the credit course. It is advisable not to wait until the fourth semester and join an NGO of your choice and field of interest to apply what you learn in class. My personal experience of volunteering at Social Service Complex, NIMHANS has been by far the best experience of personal growth as well as social activity. I work with men who have mild to moderate mental retardation and conduct activities to progressively improve their motor and cognitive functioning. Volunteering is highly recommended as it is the closest you get to practicality in psychology during your undergraduate course.

2. Diploma in Life Skills, Sexuality, Gender and Personal Safety Education: This is by far my best experience with studying psychology and I am currently pursuing it along with my second year UG studies. This is a one-year evening course by Christ University in collaboration with Enfold Proactive Health Trust. This course aims to open you to various fields of psychology and most importantly its about understanding yourself and the world. It explores concepts ranging from relationships and emotions to gender identity, sexual orientation and neuro-linguistic Programming and much more. This course is a blessing in disguise. The best part about it is that people from various fields like psychotherapy, gynaecology, law, child rights and transgender rights take sessions with you. You also have therapy sessions like art therapy from the field of anthroposophy. After teaching, learning and sharing, students of this course are taken on field trips to schools to conduct sessions on sexuality. The classroom is a diverse one because students in this course are not just UG or PG Christites but also people working as engineers, recent graduates and adults with the keenness and curiousity to learn more.

3. Continuous Internal Assessment (CIAs): These are a part of Christ University’s unique curriculum. Each semester has two CIAs for each subject. These aren’t usual tests, but creative assignments. To quote a few, they can be anything and everything like theatre performances, paper submissions, cosplay, presentation, formulating games based on theories, exhibitions, documentary making, etc. These are just a few I have done in my one-and-a-half year ongoing duration at Christ University. They make University life quite hectic yet quite fruitful. These CIAs are great opportunities to showcase your talents and bond with your classmates or at the least: learn something new. During internships or interaction with students of other colleges, these CIAs gave me thorough experience and made me realise I was much ahead of them.

4. Fests: Apart from our massive inter-college fest – In-Bloom – each deanery and department conducts their own fests all year long. As a student of Psychology, Sociology and English, the departmental events are Silhouette, Sambandh and Jabberwocky respectively. These fests are organised by student-run associations on an annual basis. The Literati (English Student Association) organises Jabberwocky apart from its poetry sessions and movie screenings conducted by its various wings. These fests seem to be an add-on to the overall hectic Christite life, but these are opportunities to create memories with your classmates. These fests come up with innovative and intellectually-stimulating themes which run across all its events and competitions. All classes of the department compete to win the Best Class trophy.

5. Research Opportunities: India definitely lags behind in field of psychology with very little indigenous literature. Despite this fact, Christ offers many research opportunities. With a moderately equipped Psychology Laboratory, practicals and research becomes part of the curriculum in the third year of UG studies. This is in addition to research-CIAs and competitions like Young Psychologist Paper Presentation and intra-departmental video and research presentations.

6. Affiliations with NGOs, Organisations and Internships: Apart from limitless MNCs, colleges, companies and Universities abroad, Christ has also collaborated with reputed organisations like Make A Difference, U&I, Headstreams, Dream-A-Dream and many more. Interns and volunteers in these NGOs who are Christites are given special timings and durations so as to accomodate it with the college curriculum. Internships are much more than decorations on CVs. With the right one, you can follow your passion and have a pragmatic and an enriching experience. A classmate of mine interned at Tata Steel Rural Development Society in Orissa where she prepared a survey report on the quality of schools and education in nearby suburb and rural areas. This is just one instance among limitless opportunities.

7. Minor collaborative events in University: Various departments collaborate with other departments or organisations to come up with guest lectures, international conferences and competitions. Some that I checked out or participated in are – Media Meet’16, Social Responsibility Week, International English Conference etc. These small events won’t have a very major outcome but one can always win prizes by showcasing their talents.

8. University-level Clubs and Teams: One among them is the University Cultural Team, popularly called the Cul-Team. Top winners of Darpan, an annual intra-university talent search fest winners, form the Cul-Team. They become the face of the university and participate in fests of other colleges across India. The management body of students is the Student Welfare Office (SWO) which has various wings like organising volunteers, the creative team and the dance team. Another beloved student group is the Christ University Choir. Hundred students strong, the University choir enchants the campus with its melodies and songs unlike any other music groups of other colleges.

9. Enactus Christ University: Enactus of Christ is a young yet progressively developing body. Its currently working on Project Pragati which aims for the inclusion of people with transgender identities in the Indian economy by employing them in the manufacturing process. The recent product it launched was Aradhna – a lip balm offered in variety of aromas. The Enactus body is still in construction growing in strength and impact.

10. The most important opportunity is the one you find yourself: If you are passionate about anything, follow it. Possibilities are limitless. Start your own dance group or conduct a star gazing session with telescopes. The college will offer what it has to. You may not always find it interesting but what you find interesting, you can make it happen for yourself. Even though I study Psychology, I am currently leading a student program and an international initiative of environmental awareness in my University. So find what you like, and follow your dreams.

These are few things in which I have worked and learnt in my journey at Christ. There’s so much more that I haven’t touched upon but all this has been extremely fruitful to me and has equipped me with skills, knowledge and memories. Truly said, “Being a Christite is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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