“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”
I was extremely interested in doing an internship at this NGO called Deepalaya. There were various fields within it, and due to my fascination with psychology, I obviously chose the special unit for differently-abled. And so it began.
I don’t know which country you belong to, and perhaps situations are better there, but in my country internships aren’t common among high school students. Most colleges have cutoffs, which is basically a minimum percentage that you have to secure in order to get into the college. No other activities or such will aid you in college admissions, and thus incentives to do them are often reduced.
In order to get the internship, I didn’t simply have to convince the NGO to take me, but also for my parents and school to let me go. My father was especially hesitant about letting me go on this internship, considering my class 11 results weren’t what he expected them to be. He was adamant that I intern during June, when I had some holidays. However, I had already planned to prepare for my SAT during that time period. He was extremely dubious about my ability to manage and cope with the school work I’d be missing. None of the other children were doing it, and to take the less traveled road always is difficult. There’s more uncertainty, but I believe there are also more rewards. He had never seen me work as hard as I claimed I would, and the lack of evidence certainly does compel one to doubt. As a parent, he eventually relented to my request, and I do feel a pressing need to surpass his expectations of me. I suppose after the disappointing class 11 results, I owe him that much.
The school was probably the most difficult party to convince. They were unwilling to let me go; the idea of a fifteen day leave was unimaginable. If it was just leave that I required, I’d have skipped classes without a second thought. But the internship required an internship letter from the school, complete with the principal’s signature. First I talked to my class teacher, who said that it wasn’t possible. Then I submitted an application to the principal, which was seen by her and then given to the coordinator of classes 11 and 12. I talked to the coordinator about the internship, and she was initially reluctant. There are going to be exams from 24th April to 28th April, one exam each day, and the school would not allow me to skip that. The exam would be of ninety minutes, so I worked out a compromise where I’d appear for the exams on their respective dates. This was an agreeable compromise for the school, but it gave me another problem. On those particular days when I would be having, I’d be arriving late at the NGO. And this point was included in the internship letter.
I hadn’t even been selected and already I had a liability attached to me, late arrival. I talked to the people at the NGO and explained that I’d be coming on time everyday except the last five, when I’d be arriving about an hour or so late. They must have found that acceptable, because when I called them today, they confirmed that I had been selected.
It took a great deal of exhausting work, and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for an opportunity to work. I wouldn’t be paid, or so they think. They’d be paying, all right. Just in a different currency, one called contentment. I have a feeling that I’d be getting truckloads of it.
The internship involves full time hours, which are about eight or nine hours a day, I think. It’s off on weekends, so those days are the only ones in which I’d be able to study for the exams. It’ll take me about an hour to reach the NGO by Metro, and maybe I could squeeze out some time to study during that journey as well.
I plan to wake at four in the morning and study till five thirty, hit the gym from five thirty to seven, get home and do the essentials before leaving for internships. A thoroughly packed schedule, which I do believe will keep me on my toes.
Oh, the feeling of glory I’d get if I managed to do the internship and ace my exams simultaneously. This is going to be one awesome journey. I’ve never genuinely believed I had any limits. Now I get to test that hypothesis.
Stress is marvelous. It’s one of the most wonderful things, as long as it’s not chronic, of course. It forces me to work, pushes me to my limits and beyond. Stress is that boiling water. By the time April ends, I’d know whether I’m a potato or an egg.