HeyMath! Scholar: Shambhavi
In many ways, your first job or internship is like a baby's first sure step. It's your first bite of reality. A departure from a fairy-tale college setting to the the world, per se. Yeah, you are expected to grow wise overnight. Chuck all the carelessness out of the window. Take a jab at all those nurtured lazy habits of the yesteryears. You are expected to flush all the irresponsibility from your system. Okay, may be it's not so grim but one can't help but admit that you enter the corporate world with your own set of fears and with this sense of anguish that your old ways are no longer going to cut ice with the system.
When my college stint was over and all the brouhaha of farewells had receded to the background, this wave of an imminent transition set in. Frankly, it was unnerving and I remember having told Mom (much to my mom's delight), that I would rather stay put at my home and enjoy the delicacies before I left India than to keep my nose to the grindstone for three months with someone watching my back all the time. I don't remember how I convinced myself- perhaps this strange dread of staying somewhere for three continuous months took the better of me. Anyway, if life were to be hard, three month was a real bargain. I was anticipating a milder treatment than my friends at other places. Primarily because Heymath! was taking care of every little thing--tickets, pick up from the station etc. It's something we tend to ignore
It's these little things that culminate into a company's stronger rapport with its people. A company must care. It must watch your step-literally. It must not stifle that sweet freedom of committing mistakes that are borne out of a new transition or nervousness.
Everything about Heymath! turned out to be as good as the beginning. I got a wonderful project manager- Deepa-- who loved me enough to ignore my occasional lapses. It was that love that propelled me to work so effortlessly and consistently toward a noble purpose. I am certain that if I had not been able to reconcile myself to the rationale behind my work, I would not have been able to sustain three months doing it.
To top this, I got a wonderful seat and a smooth system that allowed me to take usual detours (read: mails and chats). I loved the fact that Heymath! acknowledged that at the end of all this- we were still human and needed vents and joys through other channels as well. I had a wonderful bunch of people who worked in tandem and managed to enjoy along the way too. I loved the fact that a usual day was punctuated with luncheons and birthday treats. However, these never went on to eclipse the primary cause. We were all there to deliver-- to the people who were at crossroads. We had this onus of inhibiting a child from stereotyping himself or developing an unwarranted aversion to maths--all this because he had no access to a teacher or facilities that could veer him to the real joy that lies at the heart of the subject.
Now that I am at Duke, I do shuttle to that magical periods often. Not only to recount the fun and relive the experience that I had there, but also to remind myself that a noble cause and a perfect setting is all that you got to have. Then you won't ever feel disillusioned by the work you are doing.
Someday, I intend to get back to Heymath! and contribute toward the fulfillment of their dream. It's a dream that I share with them.