When I got the opportunity to be a part of Team Campus Watch, I had very little interest in student politics. I saw two major advantages of joining the Campus Watch team – having work experience as a student would make my CV shine, and getting hands-on experience as an editor. So, I took the plunge albeit with some scepticism.
I was a second-year journalism student with the privilege of studying in Delhi, the epicentre of Indian media. A month after Campus Watch was set up, I got a call from a professor in Pondicherry, a city I have never been to, asking me to cover something that had little coverage on mainstream media – it was only then that I realised I had signed up for a life-altering experience. Campus Watch got me on the path of becoming a journalist two years before I graduated!
Soon, the team started getting similar calls from students and teachers across the country. We discovered how sexist regulations plague most campuses in India from Delhi University to NIT Calicut; how Lyngdoh guidelines are flouted during every student election. We were one of the first platforms to cover the violence at Ramjas last year, and the seat cut at Jawaharlal Nehru University. On Campus Watch, equal importance is given to student initiatives like the pride parade at Manipal and smashing stereotypes like, “Amity students are rich brats with no merit.”
We tapped into the aspirations and apprehensions of an average Indian student – heartwarming stories of adjusting in a new city during first-year, the struggle of securing a government job post-college, and the journey of self-exploration that is college life. Through these stories, CW created a community of passionate storytellers and today has a following of more than 10k people online!
Being a rookie, I initially struggled to make a clean copy while retaining the writer’s style. Finding contacts in universities I didn’t even know of, was an even bigger challenge. Thankfully, much like Hogwarts, “help is always given to those who ask for it” at Youth Ki Awaaz. The seniors at YKA gave us incisive feedback and encouraged us to explore new areas like social media, video-reports and facilitated learning from established experts in the field.
In hindsight, what I thought to be major advantages of joining CW, were a tiny part of my journey. My learnings came from the wonderful seniors I had at Team CW and by understanding the realities of students across the country.
You’ll never forget the first time a ‘source’ calls you with something urgent because they trust you to narrate their story honestly. The first time a writer tells you that they’ve learnt something from you; when someone famous or someone you look up to, shares a piece you worked on. I was fortunate enough to have these experiences when I was an eighteen year old, and it is for these experiences that you must take the opportunity to join Team Campus Watch.