Quite a few of my students – CAT, GRE as well as those hopeful of taking up jobs have asked me about my views on Trump’s victory and the impact of this on their goals. I am penning what I had told my students a couple of months back during a class discussion, on then hypothetical scenario of Trump becoming the President.
There is a way to remember everything. Be it a face or a name. If so, is there a way to dunk a dictionary of words into your brain? You don't need those many words as attempting or even the thought of attempting to learn those many words can cause acute brain hemorrhage (not literally). Yes! There is a way: MNEMONICS.
Recently when I visited a kids’ play area, I have observed three interesting behavioral traits that most of the kids present there manifested.
1. Willingness to Try: In a span of one hour, they would have experimented with at least 10 different play-stations – enjoying some, frowning at some, but surely trying everything. Neither did they engage with only what they liked or with a play- station they first started playing nor were they reluctant to try something new. They never complained against trying something unusual and tough. They were only enjoying every trial of theirs.
It was Year 2009- when my younger brother completed his Masters from SUNY Buffalo University in the US and was vigorously searching for a job- and that happens to be the Recession Year. One day he gave me a call anxiously and said, “I only have 1 year (under OPT) to find a job, else I will be thrown out of the US, for the market is bad here. I should have not come here. I should have not written GRE”. Thankfully later, before the deadline of 12 months, he could get himself a job and today he is a successful NRI, throwing all his then worries into History.
Today in 2016, with the US Presidential Race heating up, we Indian students are blessed with Good News- news which would make many young students like my brother aspire for a career in the US- news which will provide many Indian students completing their Masters ample time to get themselves a worthwhile Job.
So, what is this Good News? Students enrolled under F-1 visa for US Universities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields are now allowed, to work for as long as three years under the Optional Practical Training (OPT). The new guidelines came in effect from May 10 this year.
Now why is this good news? Because this will give students more time and more opportunities to get themselves a job and if required be selected for an H1-B visa (the work Visa) in the annual Visa lottery.
So all my dear students preparing for GRE or pursuing your Masters in US Universities brace yourself for your dream career, for now, this Land of Opportunities, is living to its name and it’s time for you to make your Dreams come true.
Read more about this News at:
“Reading is a wonderful habit. One should read books to develop good English skills”- the most clichéd phrase I heard as a student from my parents, my relatives, my teachers and many other experts visiting my college for seminars. As an Engineering student, I was never confident of my English Comprehension or writing skills for I never read books beyond books suggested in my academic curriculum or the Tinkle books. Though, I was told about its importance, I never got the interest or the desire to read a book and more importantly to complete a book. The first time I got inspired by a good English speaker and tried my hand at a Philosophy book suggested by him: ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand, I could run through only 3 pages before something more interesting caught my attention and I never returned to that book for a while.
I seriously hated reading and this aversion continued till my final year of Engineering and it got worse when I started preparing for GRE & CAT- two examinations which base their entire verbal section on an important skill called as ‘Reading’ and its by-product ‘Comprehension’. When we detest ‘Reading’, obviously, the ‘Understanding’ goes for a toss and thus my Verbal scores in GRE & CAT. During my preparation I kept asking the experts for a solution to overcome my misery and the routine answer I always heard had been “Start reading diverse books, newspapers and one day you become good at reading”. I felt like shouting aloud “Reading is Boring and I hate reading. Give me an alternate solution”. But, no expert could provide me with an alternative- the reality being there was NO other mechanism to become better at Reading Comprehension. Accepting this reality began my tryst with books.
During my Engineering final year, I went to Bangalore for a presentation along with friends. While my friends stayed back for a couple more days, I was travelling back alone. It was the same time when I decided to seriously push myself into reading- for I was preparing for CAT and to crack the Reading Comprehension section of CAT I had no choice but to read books. So, boarding the train in Bangalore, gave me the perfect opportunity to engage myself into reading, else I would be bored travelling alone (it was close to 20 hours of journey and those days we never had Mobile Phones and Facebooks, to while away time). While searching for a book which could excite me (apart from Tinkle- my otherwise first choice), I somehow ended up with this book ‘Da Vinci Code’- the title itself sounded complicated. Even today I don’t understand how I ended up choosing this book- never heard about it earlier (to be honest I’ve never heard many books earlier, apart from some random books mentioned by English trainers, during Reading Comprehension classes, that never got registered in my memory). Possibly, something on the cover of the book pulled my attention or mere lack of enthusiasm to choose a book, made me buy this one. Holding the book in my hand, I boarded the train- my first target was to break my previous record of 3 pages. But, 16 hours later, Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ happened to become the first book I ever completed reading. Yes! I have completed reading a complete book and that too in a single shot- without any break apart for nature’s call.
What this book made me realize is that reading is not ‘Boring’, like I assumed all these days. In fact, sometimes it can get interesting if you choose the right book. But the trick is that you need to ‘START’- and that night from Bangalore, on Prashanthi Express, I ‘STARTED’ my journey into the world of books and it took me only 16 hours to realize that I can read and read without giving up. This confidence given by Dan Brown (author of ‘Da Vinci Code’) made me take up reading more seriously. Initially, I stuck to Dan Brown series for the fiction in his books interested me and I felt comfortable reading them. Then I slowly expanded my range to other fiction writers, and then to other genres. Finally, I adventured into Philosophy and completed reading ‘Fountainhead’ as well, for that was my some 20+ book I read, so by then reading has become a habit- and the good thing about habits is that once they are a part of you, you will stop judging them and will only follow them.
I have started reading, not because I love this habit. I have continued ‘eclectic reading’ (reading from diverse genres) not because all these books interested me- but for my final objective to become better at Reading Comprehension and eventually crack CAT- which thanks to my rigorous and disciplined reading of books for 2 years- I could finally. Post CAT, I continued reading, not as voraciously as I used to before CAT, but reading only those books which I felt were interesting. When I started reading, it was a compulsion of examination, but later it is a compulsion of a habit- a good habit. The ONLY benefit I had in my mind to brace this habit, was to improve my reading speed and ability to understand Reading Comprehension. However, over time I realized that reading comes with a package of gifts- the best one being FUN. After sometime, reading becomes FUN, for you will start enjoying it.
I’m not here to educate the importance of Reading. In fact, this is a habit which cannot be pushed onto someone. To be honest, even today, I don’t read a lot (like many other avid readers). I pick and choose my books, because for me reading was not a natural habit, but an acquired one. But, the bottom line is ‘I read’. I never gave up on reading nor will I ever, for today I don’t read because it helps me to crack a RC section in an exam. I read because it exposes me to various cultures, to shrewd business strategies, to innovative formats of story- telling and to incredible fantasy worlds. I read because it is FUN and these books teach me something beyond “How to become good at English?”
In fact, for all those trying to develop reading habit, my suggestion, do not see books as your guides for “Better English” or “Simple ways to crack Reading Comprehension”. Read them because they tell you a story and because they teach you lessons beyond English language. Especially, if you are an ardent movie watcher, trust me, when I say, books are more engaging story-tellers. For example: ‘Da Vinci Code’, the book is a bigger success than ‘Da Vinci Code’, the movie.
And for all those who are yet to read the first book, choose your first book wisely and I’m sure you will never give up on this habit.