‘I have known I wanted to study in an interdisciplinary and global learning environment since a very young age. When I started researching for undergraduate degree programmes JGU was my top option,” shares Ashwin Nair, winner of the Best All-Rounder Award at the Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH).
Just 21 years old, Ashwin has always been fascinated by the contemporary education systems being followed in India and abroad where studying is not only limited to books and classrooms but is also about real-life experiences. “I always wanted to study in a university which gives full liberty to its students to explore, experiment, and learn,” says Ashwin.
While his research for colleges began when he was in Class 10th, Ashwin agrees that his mother played a major role in taking the decision to choose JGU. “I applied to several foreign universities but my mother always insisted on checking some Indian options. When I heard about JSLH I was amazed not only by its programmes but also the faculty members who are pioneers in their respective fields of study,” shares Ashwin excitedly.
Even after doing all online research, Ashwin believes that it was visiting the campus physically that gave him more confidence to join JGU, “My parents and I attended several open house sessions and campus tours. Each visit and event just reaffirmed my decision.”
“B.A. (Hons.) Liberal Arts programme was my top option not only because of its open curriculum that would allow me to delve into more than just classes but also provide space for me to explore other interests. With the option of diverse electives, there is no risk in taking classes outside your concentration; JGU really is supportive of a holistic education that encompasses many interests,” shares Ashwin as he talks about his journey at JSLH.
When asked ‘What makes JGU special?’, Ashwin’s answer is very clear ‘the people’ and for him, this includes not only his friends and faculty members but also the admissions staff who helped him at every step to ensure his smooth application to JGU. While Ashwin’s academic journey began at JGU in 2019, most of it went online due to the COVID19 pandemic. “What began as a 2 week off, turned into online classes for almost 2 years. Though the transition to online classes was a bit new for me, the JSLH faculty always ensured that there is no compromise in classes or their quality,” shares Ashwin while talking about his experience of attending online classes.
When Ashwin came back to campus in March 2022 it felt like the first day. A lot of things were changed- the classes, the flagpole area, and the new location of the food court. “It felt different but for good, we had so many connecting sessions that the gap of two years never felt like it existed. I participated in faculty-student cricket matches, interacted with students, and made friends for life,” says Ashwin.
While winning the ‘Best All-Rounder Award’ was a surprise for Ashwin, it was an easy choice for his teachers, not only is Ashwin good in his studies but is also actively involved in student activities – he was an elected student representative of the Committee on Gender Sensitisation Against Sexual Harassment (COGSASH) at JGU and helped create ‘Safe Spaces’ for students to share their concern and together come with solutions. While he is connected to all faculty members, two special ones are Prof. Mimi Roy and Prof. Abhijeet Banerjee who has mentored and guided him throughout. It was under Prof. Abhijeet that Ashwin worked as a Research Assistant and authored an OPED titled ‘The Burden of Marine Plastic Pollution – Who is to blame?’.
A major in Environment and Sustainability, for Ashwin ‘JSLH’, is a community – A space to freely express yourself, share ideas, get diverse perspectives and grow as a person. In his recent achievements he has also secured admission at the University College London for the MSc. in Environment, Politics, and Society programme.
We wish him luck for his upcoming journey!