Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Times of Sheffield (2009-2010)

At the beginning of this journey in September 2009, very few would have envisaged the end because for the majority it was a step into the uncertainty. With the completion of classroom life and arrival of June 2010 it can be acknowledged that this phase has set the platform for us to aspire for bigger goals.

Before leaving our respective countries, we had dreamt and visualised of a certain kind of a lifestyle but the initial weeks presented the biggest challenge of cultural differences as 80% of the batch consisted of international students. Being in an alien environment triggered us to come up with ways to get along and form social groups that enabled us to communicate and share over the period of our stay. A 68% turnout for the icebreaker party in October was an indication of every one’s willingness to use this once in a lifetime opportunity to integrate into the global village. However with time, the classroom timetable dominated the pattern of camaraderie as more relationships were built over the financial accounting and operation management assignments. The Information Commons turned out to be biggest night club of the city for obvious reasons.

Christmas 2009 presented the toughest test of this journey. Great Britain’s worst winter in the last thirty years became the nemesis and created blankness in the environment as the city got deserted. It was a mental trial and the motivation levels continued to descend with every passing day as activities were curtailed and staying indoors was the only available option. In a few weeks time, the overpowering of the virtual world over the real world started intimidating us as staring and fiddling with our Facebook profile became a hourly affair. The habit raised a few back slapping questions and every lonely walk to the University was an unsuccessful attempt to find those answers. All of a sudden the emptiness got filled with mixed thoughts and led us towards deeds for which we may or may not feel proud. However it all came as a package and enabled us to think critically beyond the top layer or our mind and stretched us ahead of our limitations. All the hardships we underwent now look so beautiful in the hindsight. Spending time alone and doing various things for the first time in our life, made us mentally much stronger and eventually boosted our learning curve. Wherever we go in life, ‘experience Sheffield’ will continue to inspire us.

Tomorrow as the nostalgia settles down and the reality takes over, we will realise the importance of brand ‘The University of Sheffield’ on our resume as new avenues will slowly start opening up in the corporate world. The global network that we managed to form is the biggest takeaway out of these 37 weeks. Social networking sites give us an edge over history and now the onus lies on the individual to leverage the maximum out of these relationships.

The base is now set and the world is our oyster. Though different directions await each one of us after September 2010 yet the memories and learning’s of season 2009-2010 will keep us connected forever. As we get ready to walk out with much more confidence than ever before let us wish each other success, the way we have defined it.

The next meeting of ours might well be inside a board room for a multi billion deal in some remote corner of the globe. The day is not that far away when the city of Sheffield will be proud of us and for that we should thank both the teaching and non-teaching staff of the University for having played a major role in creating ‘experience Sheffield’ for us.

Sidhanta Patnaik
Msc. Management (Sports & Leisure)
The University of Sheffield.

P.S – Below mentioned are a few responses to the question – What has been your biggest takeaway/learning from this year?

•“To know how to operate within complicated group dynamics at a professional level without hampering the personal relationship.” – Leo (Taiwan)

•“Communicating with the world is fun :)” – Alex (Malaysia)

•“Different people have different expectations and the ability to manage them under trying conditions instead of giving up comes from self belief and confidence.” – Elisabet (Cyprus)

•“Though we were sarcastic through the entire journey but these course works and international socials have eventually helped us to grow and given us a chance to make friends from different parts of the world. “ – Ariana (Israel)

•“To prioritize independent work and team work at different times of the year.” – Sherry (China)

•“The best thing is that I have learnt how to cook.” – Shariz (Srilanka)

•“I have had many great experiences in the past year, but what lies closest to my heart is to have really experienced what it means to be living in a global village. Making friends from literally across the globe just reminded me that in the end, it's always about human connection. I can say that I have successfully broken free from the shackles of stereotyping!” – Rohit (India)

•“I take a lot of things with me from this course but if I have to choose one then it is the friends that I made from across the globe!”– Amir (Iran)

•After 8 hours of waiting at the airport, 2 transit flights, 5 hours of idle time on the runway in the flight, flight going off the runway just before takeoff and 8 hours of flying time, it just feels great to be back home.  - Vaibhav (India)’s Facebook status message after reaching home.

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