CAS Essay [Abhishek]

I am truly grateful to the opportunities that the CAS component has provided me with and proud that I’ve worked towards them with sincere efforts. It has offered me the motivation to implement what I always wanted to.

Because CAS was sort of a compulsion, I’ve put myself in circumstances I would not have naturally been. As a result, I’ve expanded my comfort zone to a great extent, and developed essential skills for life. If I could broadly sum up the key features of the CAS experience, it would be :

Reality exposure – Beginning from understanding people – their beliefs, intentions and actions – I particularly made a big stride in this aspect. I was exposed to people who shook my mind and gave me the taste of reality. They taught me how people are not who they present themselves to be, how people swing their behaviour according to circumstances, how people exploit relations to their benefit, what politics people are capable of playing, but on the other side, how people portray integrity, how people are willing to take that extra step/extra effort for friendship, and how people forgive without a thought of vengeance.

In addition, I got hands-on managerial and organisational experience which would not have been possible without being a part of these CAS activities. I also developed specific skill-sets in the journey, and the sense of pulling of a bigger and better initiatives in the future.

Soft skills – Since most of the activities required working with people, I cultivated many of the social/interpersonal skills. I learnt to be sensitive to others’ emotions and needs, and became more analytical about people’s behaviour in order to act appropriately. In general, I was able to understand human psychology in many cases.

Under soft skills, the most important skill I developed was communication. Going for sponsorships, coordinating with team members and authority in various initiatives, persuading, negotiating to maximise benefit, networking and building contacts, approaching organisations – all have played a part in improved my verbal communication skills, personally an area which needed work. All that practice which took place without conscious efforts has made me a more confident communicator.

Unravelling myself – In different situations, I was able to uncover and identify myself as a person. I understood what kind of attitude I wore in tough/stressful times. I found out my inclinations such as grabbing growth opportunities and my disinclinations such as working under certain type of people. I also got to know the place of values and principles that I practice, and where I fail to do that. Due to the reflecting process, I recognised my approaches to managing people and circumstances, and also been able to find loopholes. CAS constituted a significant path to analysing myself and others in the process. I am grateful for Riya’s support in this journey for her invaluable insights and guidance to many perplexing situations, and I would never forget many of the learnings from her side.

Obviously my project work was the biggest highlight for me. It was sort of a game-changer in many ways for me too. I would always remember this event because this was my first city-wide initiative and because I had put immense hardwork, which had translated into success. I went trough dozens of emotions from hope to tension to joy to satisfaction, which make it very special for me. Although I’m not really a memory guy, I can ‘almost’ remember every bit of this event. It is a personal story that still motivates me to aim high.

Being more about myself, I was unable to meet the learning outcome of demonstrating engagement with global issues. I had to make deliberate efforts therefore. Now this was again helpful because it put me in a different situation such as Learning camps which I would not otherwise do. But the pleasant outcome was that I developed empathy for the needy and appreciation of the resources I endow. Such new situations also offer something interesting to learn.

The CAS component fuelled me with a mindset of engaging in extracurricular and other non-academic activities because that is where the real growth is. Although CAS might end this year, the fundamental is what I am going to take with me for the rest of my life. Many genuine thanks.

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