Monday, November 14, 2011

Nostalgia - IIM Kozhikode

“I want to know each and every one of my batch mates and befriend them all, it may take a month or two, but I really want to develop this culture of learning within a community here.” This is what was going on in my mind when we were asked by our institute’s director Prof.Debashis Chatterjee to let the mental chatter come out on a piece of paper, on the very first day at IIM Kozhikode.

This sense of bonding with the fellow students and colleagues probably comes due to my upbringing in a village, where I know most of the people, not just my neighbors but people from one corner to another.

Creating and moderating online social groups for my batch at IIT Kharagpur is something which is not mentioned in degree/certificates obtained but the experience is very much valuable.

The spirit of building a community continued as I was elected to Alumni Committee at IIM Kozhikode. The opportunity to talk to my seniors from different batches and the stories of their time in the Kampus has been something which I didn’t imagine that I’ll get before coming here. The excitement of preparing to organize our first ever International Alumni meet, Sangam’11, cannot be described in words. The pleasure of seeing two alumni of PGP01 batch meet for the first time after leaving IIMK is something which I’ll cherish for long time.

As the days of stay at the Kampus are in double digits, there are many important things to happen, appearing for placements being one of them, but the focus is set on Nostalgia 2012 – the on campus alumni meet. It’s just two months away now, and we are back to work to make it even better than all the previous meets.

It’ll be the 10th year of PGP2002 batch and I’m sure all of them would like to come together and enjoy the New Kampus, which was ready only by their juniors admission. For all of the alumni it’ll be a much needed break from their busy corporate schedule to enjoy and relive the two years of their college life in just two days during 14th-15th January 2012. The 2nd edition of Cultural fest Echoes is definitely going to be another attraction and will surely bring back the excitement of the carefree youthful days.

For me, personally, it’ll be another chance to work in a family like setting with my batch-mates and juniors and strengthen the bond with the God’s Own Kampus.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Intoxication Free Campus - A Crazy Idea

Laughing at this idea is encouraged - your lungs will get some fresh air :)

It’s very clear from the studies on smoking practices that most of the people start smoking while they are living their school or college life. The easy availability of tobacco products in and near the campus increase the chances of students trying to smoke and being habituated subsequently.

A person's friends help in starting the bad habit of smoking, sometimes unknowingly. On the other side, no one can be a better help than a dedicated group of friends who are committed to help their smoker friends in the process of quitting the habit of smoking. The social support along with the alternatives to tobacco products is very much needed in effectively countering the menace of smoking in the youth.

The biggest fear for the early smokers is to get caught by their parents, partners or close friends who care for their health and well being. However it’s important that the caring person come to know about their  smoking problem before they get addicted to it and it’s too late for them to quit.

There is need for anti-smoking campaign targeted on parents as well, so that they can talk to their kids about the harms of smoking and prepare them for the unwanted habits which they might be getting in their school/colleges otherwise.

There is a need for Intoxication Free Campus Campaigns across the world. To begin with we can start the anti-smoking awareness campaign on the social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, where most of the educated youth socialize. The online forums for helping the addicted people in quitting are also there, but they are not as effective as the regular as the personal attention by the close friends. The online pages/forums and groups can help people in smoking cessation by providing and sharing useful information, however the smokers keep avoiding these as long as they are not self driven and determined to quit. The social help can only support them, but the determination to quit has to come from the within.

Helping a friend or partner in quitting can be as much difficult as quitting your own, hence it's very important for the friends to be emotionally strong. To quit smoking is one of the hardest things to do. The importance of not nagging and making their life stress free is very important. For example a friend can join its friend to a quit class, so that the friend can understand the process of the quit and be more supportive. 

When a friend forces something on the smokers, it makes them back away from the quit and makes it much more stressful process. One thing we need to remember is that nobody is going to quit anything unless they want to. Forcing them to quit and bothering them is very different from being supportive.

Rewarding the smokers in quitting process is important. Reminding them that you are proud of them and acknowledging that it's a very hard process and it takes a very strong person to go through that process and you are always going to be with them

The institutes of higher learning and the public schools in cities, where the administration is relatively better than in schools and colleges in small towns, can kick start a campaigning for intoxication free campuses.  The strict implementation of government directives in the educational institutions is needed to stop smokers  from influencing other students who have not yet started smoking.

[ This post is based on a report submitted in Consumer Behavior Course at IIM Kozhikode - PGP/14/123 ]