What inspired you to found Take A Step?
After speaking with my cousin, I decided I wanted to learn more about the education system in India. I began to question and ask my parents more about what their life was like in India. I also began to take the initiative myself and research many of the corrupt aspects of Indian education.
Who is your role model and/or inspiration?
My dad would have to be my biggest role model. He is the definition of “rags to riches.” Growing up, he was one of the kids in India deprived of great quality education due to his lack of family income. He did not have the right materials to buy many of the resources he needed for school. However, he persevered through it all and worked his way up and got into the second-best engineering school in India. Because of his experience with his lack of money for his own education, he made sure my little sister and I would never have to struggle like he did.
What is the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you be successful?
The best piece of advice I have received is to not compare myself to other people ever. I learned I cannot compare myself to anyone when it comes to education, looks, lifestyle, and more. For computer science, it becomes really competitive as kids have been programming and practicing from a very young age. It can be very discouraging knowing you may not be at the same level as so many students. This competitive nature can take a hard toll on one’s mental state too. When I stopped comparing myself to others, I noticed an increase in my productivity. I was able to express who i really was and find people who stood by me for me. Learning this piece of advice shaped who I am as a person today.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
My theme song would have to be the “Butterfly Effect” by Travis Scott. It’s about the concept that small causes can have large effects. I compare this song to how I move through and think about my life. It’s like everything I do with my life, even to the smallest detail, will have a larger impact in my future.
What motivates you?
What motivates me is the thought of being independent of my family and getting to the point where my job doesn’t feel like work rather just a hobby/passion. Secluded in my neighborhood for so long has given me the urge to want to explore new cultures and places and expose myself to new traditions and values. I want to travel every opportunity I get and the only way to do that is to make my way to the top.
How has your life and daily routines changed in regards to Take A Step?
Since my non-profit is located in India, I’m not physically able to be there and work with the students physically which is why whenever it was my time for the class for the students, I would host a video call so I could explain to them the lesson plans I created and give them some guidelines for the day. Every other week, I Skype with my cousin where he would give me updates on their improvements, weaknesses, and suggestions for the next lesson plan. Before creating plans, we speak with our domain experts in order to make sure our lesson plans will be effective. Because of COVID-19, many of the schools have needed to go online which puts us back because many of the students don’t have sufficient technology to do online work. As of right now, we are raising money to help student’s families afford electronic devices. When it comes to my role, my lesson plans have to become a lot lengthier and descriptive because some of the students are working on their own due to the lack of technology. Since we can’t physically be with them, it is our job to make sure our instructions are fool-proof and descriptive.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
I would want to know everything the government is hiding from us. I’ve read so many conspiracy theories about what the government is hiding to the point I just need to know. The transparency of the government would be revolutionary!
What advice do you have for fellow or younger students?
Take everything one step at a time. Life can get hectic and overwhelming. Often times, for me, I am bombarded with work and projects that I begin to shut down. It’s always best to break everything down and stay organized. It’s a good idea to pick out your priorities and solely focus on that before you keep on moving. This way you can feel more accomplished while also moving in the right direction.