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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