16 June. A new academic year has just begun. As usual, I always look forward to a new year – more than a calendar year, I await academic year, for it brings in new energy, youth, zeal, ideas, and challenges.
And this June, too, our new academic year at St Josephs College Bengaluru has begun in all earnest. Fortunately, I was not part of any admissions process (though was called upon to do some undocumented works last minute, a few times). And gave me some long needed time to do some good academic work.
Not being involved in admissions has its own merits and issues.
On the one hand, it is easy to negotiate pressures and lobbies. All that you have to say is, I am not involved in admissions, please! Both to the prospective students and their parents, and friends and the ‘influentials’.
Secondly, you don’t know which students you get to deal with for the next two to three years! It’s a surprise pack! Ignorant thrill. As far as my own students (who I would be teaching), it is complete suspense. And that is quite a fun to unpack it. And I love that challenge, love those kids.
On the other, you recruit students without knowing them. Knowing your clientele is essential in any working atmosphere. In my earlier experience, I know, students who had come with wrong expectations were clarified. Many such left for better pastures, happily and thanking me for the enlightenment, from the interview board. Those whom you admit, you can debrief them in clear terms what it means to be in a given atmosphere. Definitely, any particular department faculty can unfold for a student, that department’s agenda and programme in no uncertain terms. And if they are wrongly informed for lure, students can take them to task, for misleading them.
In my own department of Communication, it has worked brilliantly well.
It works both ways. Many stand to gain in different ways.
My new students for masters in Communication and Journalism arrived last Saturday, and this week, regular classes started. The senior students are seriously engaged in their internships; at least that is what many of them keep telling me. And if that happens, the purpose of internship and a year long goading is achieved.
Here is wishing all my students a very fulfilling year ahead. I am happy to be part of a new age, new generation, new milieu. Look forward to the year with much optimism and hope.