This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Hely Shah. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Decoding MBA Entrances: The Anxiety You Will Go Through Before Each Exam

If you are an MBA, or are studying MBA, or are preparing for entrances, you must be familiar with the rigorous pothole filled routes that you need to pass through before getting an admission in a good MBA college. Firstly the concept of ‘a good MBA college’ is so subjective that it screws up with the mind of an aspirant throughout the preparation. I am pretty sure, even quantitative concepts asked in entrances are not that difficult to understand, than deciding which college to apply for.

And to the people who say, “Apply to every college. There is no loss in applying”, nobody here extracts oil from Saudi Arabia and makes money out of it. Hence the kind of money required to fill out forms of all the colleges can be manageable if you can convince a bank to give you a loan for filling out forms. But that again would be a good idea only if your role model is Vijay Mallya.

Now if you are a commerce student, chances are that you will hate engineers during the quant lectures. They will become an unexpected anathema to you who will shatter all your confidence and walk on the pieces of it. Their speed and accuracy is so envious that you, in fact, picture them doing an evil laugh after solving each sum. But if you are an engineering student, you get to sit on the other side of the table during lectures for the verbal section. You probably would have visualized commerce students doing an evil laugh when you went on to search the meaning of the word, ‘anathema’ that was written in the second line of this paragraph.

Before the exams season starts late in October, you’ve already given too many mocks. For each MBA entrance exam, you have appeared for at least five mocks. The exam season comes with mixed feelings. At some days you are in ‘bring it on’ mood, while the rest of the days you are in “Duniya mein aaye hai toh jeena hi padega (If you’ve come into the world, you must live)” mood.

You feel anxious and nervous because you think your preparation is not sufficient. You feel frightened because you did not score well in a few mocks. You feel guilty because you’ve spent way too much money in filling out forms. You feel excited because you know one of these days, would be your day. Although so many exams leave you distressed, some part of you is enjoying this enigmatic phase.

The last phase of your journey is the stringent never-ending group discussions and personal interviews. Questions like “Why MBA?” and “Tell me about yourself” have been asked so many times that you start giving out idealistic structured answers even to the relatives who ask, “What’s the plan after MBA?” This is the time, most of you will regret not getting a proper CGPA or not participating in any extracurricular activity. This is the time where your puraane paap hit you back in your face.

After all the phases are cleared, a new guilt and set of expectation emerge when you check out fees for different MBA colleges. You might have hated Arvind Kejriwal personally, but in this phase, you yourself become an Arvind Kejriwal and ask where exactly do they spend this kind of money? When you tell people that you spent such a sum of money, their reaction leaves you questioning your own decisions. The most common reaction would be, “Why spend this much money on MBA? Get a job, after two years, your worth will be the same.” God forbid if you get into a college far away from your city, you get to witness the over dramatic side of your friends.

Ignoring everything you finally end up in a college but the debate of ‘a good college’ still doesn’t end. You could have ended up in the best college possible, there’ll always be people who will be more opinionated than Arnab Goswami and will tell you that some other college that you didn’t end up in, is better than the college you are going to. But you’ve, by this time made peace with yourself. You are satiated and excited for the new journey that you’re about to start. And, although the journey of entrances was rolled up in disappointments and anxiety, you’ll always cherish the learning, the jitters of the result, the mystery every interview carried with it and most importantly, how you learned to deal with rejection.

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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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