Vaishnavi Vishwanath – Youngest employee of evam, trained Bharatnatyam dancer, naturally talented laugh track and foodie.
Just like every other kid who finishes her 12th standard, I went through the confusion of, “what next?” and decided to not go to college. This was a shock to many. My family supported my decision to start working and learn things as I work. I love what I am doing, but there are standard questions that I keep getting asked.
Here are my answers to these standard questions for everyone out there.
- Do you miss the idea of a college life?
Initially, when I started working, I sometimes had the feeling that I was missing out on college life. But on the other hand, knowing myself, I figured that college would’ve been very stressful. I am the kind of person who learns by doing and not through text books. I do have friends from my school with whom I am still in touch. I realize that college life is not just about the degree that you are pursuing, but an initial exposure to adult life. Making new friends, having new experiences, being independent – If these are enrichments that come with college life, I feel like I’ve found the very same even without attending one.
- How comfortable are you hanging out with people older than you instead of your peers?
I started working at evam as an intern after finishing a 6 month internship with a design and photography studio. I have completed a year with evam now. When I joined, I was the youngest in the office and continue to be so. Even when I was in school, I had always been comfortable with people older than me. I continue to have a lasting relationship with teachers from my previous school rather than my peers. Older people have somehow recognized and encouraged talent and merits in me that my peers have not seen.
- How do your school friends react to you working when you meet them? Do they talk more about college life or want to know what work life is about?
Few of my friends knew that I did not want to go to college. The others kept saying that I would miss out on college life and all the fun it entailed. I was not too bothered because I knew I would be in a place where I would be learning at my own pace and many different things at that. Initially their messages would be about asking me about what I was doing. When I replied saying that I was in office, they would think I was a show off. But when many of them saw me working at an event they knew that I was happy and enjoying what I was doing. This made them curious and sometimes jealous because they thought that I was having more fun than they did in college.
- If you had to make a choice all over again, would you still do this?
If I was given a choice to change things; to take the decision between work and college, I would still choose work. People learn in different ways. Not every person is cut out for a college life. I am glad that my family and I recognized this and encouraged me to not choose the obvious path. So yes, I would do this all over again. But having said that I am pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature through IGNOU. This is not because I am in love with English literature, but a degree is a very practical and useful thing to have.
- What does work, therefore mean to you? Is it a substitute for college or do you have the passion to work and learn?
Work for me has been a place where I have learnt so many things that I would not have understood by watching a teacher teach. Being in the arts space has taught me how to break small inhibitions that are within me. Simple things like picking up the phone and talking to a person, booking a ticket, knowing how to be formal in a particular space, writing a formal email. All these things can be small things for a person in general, but for a person fresh out of school these are very, very valuable things to learn. It is a substitute for college that I chose for me as I am still learning and will continue learning. :)