All posts tagged: school

The 3 best graduation speeches

Words can be ‘weapons’ of mass inspiration, especially when the right ones are found at the right moments, moments which tend to define the rest of our lives. The following three graduation speeches inspire me most as I prepare to undertake the journey that lies ahead. One. Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, to the Class of 2005 at Stanford. Two. Chetan Bhagat, an IIT grad and the author of Five Point Someone, at Symbiosis (India) Convocation 2008. Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated. The first day in college is one of them. When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are …

The Arabic Language

Arabic has long fascinated culture-seekers and artists from the west. The language is reminiscent of an ancient setting, and has a crude, poetic aura about it. Despite all the unconventional stuff I fancy myself doing, I never thought I’d be learning Arabic someday! It’s an absolutely brilliant language, though the non-artist in me can barely do justice to the creative strokes of the Arabic alphabet. I learnt my first few today (alif, baa, wow…), together with some introductory greetings (sobah-ul-khair, masaa-un-nuur) so often heard and ignored in hindi movies. Here are some interesting facts about the Arabic lingo: Arabic is written and read from right to left. In fact, books and newspapers are binded on the right, unlike conventional reading material. Check out the front cover of my Arabic textbook and notice the right-binding. All letters are connected when writing in Arabic. Unlike English, this does not vary by handwriting. For example, in print like this, the English letters are all disjointed. In Arabic, even in print, these letters are connected. There are a few …

Is college education over-rated?

As a graduating student, I’m starting to question the purpose of a college education. Is a ‘degree’ really worth all the money, time and effort? Do we really learn what they think we do, does it really prepare us for the big, bad world?  I doubt it. After 3 years in college and counting, I have started to doubt that I learnt anything ‘real’ at all in college. I’ve learnt so much more outside of classes and outside of college, and that is probably complimentary to growing older. So when I consider college in isolation, I’m not convinced it’s a value-add. I found the following video on youtube. It’s so brilliantly made and clearly illustrates the point that I’m struggling to make. Maybe it’s just me, but spending close to 3.5 years in such a grade-centric environment has almost killed my belief in education, staggered my creativity and made me reconsider any ambition for further education. It never occurred to me that in college, everyone will be running a politically correct race for grades, with …

Game theory lessons in life

In yesterday’s class of game theory, I learnt one of life’s most important lessons, proven mathematically. It is a generalization of the Shooting Game to life and business, and I’ll try to keep it as non-technical as possible.  If you’re not already familiar with the term, game theory is a subset of economics that assesses the behavior of people in situations where the result (outcome) of their actions (strategies) is influenced by the actions of other people (players). The most widely known example of a game is the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The Shooting Game is a zero sum game, implying that co-ordination is never possible. When one player wins, the other always loses. The game takes place as follows: “Each player has a pistol loaded with only one bullet. They stand 10 steps apart and walk towards each other, at the same pace, one step at a time. After each step, they can choose to fire their one bullet at the other player. The probability of an accurate shot increases with each step, as the players …

The end is nearing

This is HUGE, bigger than huge. I am graduating in exactly 2 months, 17 days. It might seem like an exaggeration, but things always look commonplace when they happen to other people. I wonder if other people have felt the same way about finishing college – overwhelmed.  It struck me recently when I happened to run my degree progress report: So there it is. I am going to be a graduate in less than 3 months. And it is huge.

7 shots: Mr Team Player

Although I’m not a fan of typical ‘team-building’ discourses that we read so often in management books and online, I found Randy Pausch’s tips for working successfully in groups rather appealing: 1) Meet people properly: It all starts with the introduction. Exchange contact information. Make sure you can pronounce everyone’s names [especially if you’re working in a diverse cultural group. I still can’t pronounce the names of some of my teammates-turned-friends because I never asked in our first meeting!]. 2) Find things you have in common: You can almost always find something in common with another person, and from there,it’s much easier to address issues when you have differences. Sports cut across boundaries of race and wealth [absolutely!]. And if nothing else, we all have the weather in common. 3) Try for optimal meeting conditions: Make sure no one is hungry, cold or tired. Meet over a meal if you can; food softens a meeting [unless you’re a vegetarian and the others aren’t. Then food just hardens it more]. That’s why they do “lunch” in …