Ever thought if only Learning were fun? Ever thought of implementing what you think is impossible? Yet, learning while testing all your might, you enjoy it so much that you lose track of time. I never had as much fun in school or college as I did at King’s. Learning has never been easy. But that may have changed since I became involved in the “That’s Not It” program.
We were invited to this program; I call it bizarre because the topics we were supposed to choose were lame (or so we thought). On the day of the program, Udgum sir introduced us to the program and all the speakers, mentors, and organizing committee. Vedika Muraka, the co-founder of Educase, came as a guest to give us a taste of what design thinking is all about. She and her team created a portable multipurpose bag that could be converted into a desk. That demonstration of foldable bags drew me in and made me curious and excited about the program. Following the schedule, we were given an icebreaker that proved this was a strange program with no boundaries to what we do.
Before beginning the program, we were given a paper to sketch ideas and designs. I had no idea we had to pitch our ideas in front of the whole mass. I was horrified by that idea as I feared talking in front of people. To speak in front of people was very scary, with all the eyes pointing at you. The program challenged me from the beginning as I had to come out of my comfort zone to deliver my design. On top of it, those designs were getting rated, and the pressure while pitching the idea overflowed. I trembled while speaking and could not give my best to pitch my idea. Eventually, my designs were not conveyed to the audience, and I had to collaborate with another group of strangers. The challenges kept on coming throughout the session. It took me a little push from my coach, Suzzeet da, to talk about myself and my views on the event. I introduced myself to my team, and our three-day journey began.
We were lucky because we had two coaches in our group, Suzzeet da and Raunak da, who took turns to guide us and question our idea. Answers to those questions were themselves a challenge for us. The design thinking process was so engaging from the beginning of the program that it pushed me beyond my boundaries of fear of speaking in front of someone. We made our first two prototypes and put them to the test, for which we had to talk to the respective audiences and gather their feedback. It was a challenge for me to speak in front of someone, but maybe for the first time, it was not as scary as it used to be, and I went up to take people’s feedback. This was the beginning of overcoming my fear of speaking in front of people. Many such events arose where I had to talk and pitch the idea behind our design.
Accepting all the challenges and facing them with lesser and lesser fear, I made many new friends and bonds between my teachers and coaches. Talking with our audience about our prototype and gathering their feedback, we made another twelve prototypes. The conversation between our audience and my teammates taught me the importance of communication while creating new things. I was allowed to talk my heart out on my design, and no one judged my idea. Instead, we combined our ideas and the audience feedback to make our final prototype.
The final day was one of the most significant challenges of the whole event. On this day, I had to speak in front of the crowd from the first day, and they’re also were some guests and judges who were invited to the event to judge our design. It was challenging to speak in front of an enormous mass, but my coaches and teammates were very supportive. I was trembling the moment I entered the hall. I was very excited and nervous at the same time. But things were different this time. I was overflowing with stuff I needed to say, and more than fear, I had excitement in my heart to pitch the idea behind my prototype. At the moment of pitching, I took my full time to speak and didn’t have the fear I had on my first day speaking. Even though our team could not win the competition, we were very proud of our achievement.
This program was a game-changer for me; I did things I never did before. Learning had never been so fun as it was throughout the event. The most outstanding achievement from this program is that I can now speak in front of the masses. It was the best experience I have ever had—shoutout to all the participants, mentors, and facilitators who made such a great program. My experience in this program was beyond imagination. It was like facing my fear and countering it. So, that’s it from the program, but that’s not it from me, design beyond the obvious.