The well known proverbial phrase “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”, means to encourage optimism and positive attitude during a time of adversity or misfortune. This phrase defines my journey accurately.
During a recent Netflix binge, I heard a peculiar modification to the classic phrase that I prefer: “When life gives you lemons, don’t just stop at lemonade, bake an entire lemon meringue pie too!”. I resonate with the second version much more because it’s not just about making do, but going above and beyond to make the best out of a bad situation.
It was the beginning of March 2020, almost two years since I had relinquished my software job at SJ Innovation Goa. I was halfway through pursuing my master’s degree and the experience turned out to be all I had hoped.
The best part was I always had a career goal in mind and knew what my next step should be. During my last semester, I got an offer from Mr. Shahed Islam (CEO at SJInnovation) who always believed in me and my potential. He proposed that I work on their initiative called Community Outreach, which was to bridge the gap between universities and industry by organizing informative seminars. The whole plan was well structured and ready to be executed.
I was really excited about this opportunity and the prospect of a new beginning until things went downhill. I was vaguely aware of the increasing outbreak of COVID-19, but I had no idea that it would soon turn into a worldwide pandemic. I also couldn’t anticipate the severity of what was coming next.
Within a blink of eye gyms, restaurants, parks, and universities were all closed with people dying at an alarming rate. Soon a global lockdown was announced and staying home had become the new reality; my previously vibrant social life had been reduced to the confines of my flat.
My mind was full of questions and concerns. What would this “new normal” look like? What would happen to my academic experience? What about my goals? What about my new beginning? The passing days felt increasingly strange and left me feeling unproductive at the end of every day.
The stress was building up and my mind was getting frustrated, I knew I had to do something to help me to deal with this situation, and one day a thought came to my mind. There have been situations in life that I didn’t expect or plan that went askew, yet I survived. That’s when I realized that the only solution to my frustrations was resetting expectations and identifying what I can do rather than focusing on what I can’t.
That’s when I decided to reach out to my company and restructure the community outreach process since they always had confidence in me and believed in my idea. It was now mandatory to WFH (working from home) therefore we decided to conduct the seminars online and make it a webinar. This way we could reach not only to one university in the state but to several universities and students all over the world.
I planned everything with great enthusiasm, from reaching out to our audience to hosting the event and trust me, the journey was amazing! An experience worth living.
My first webinar session turned out to be so successful that all my frustrations had dissipated. I was fortunate enough to interact with around 48 participants who attended the session. The participants were so enthusiastic to ask questions and begin conversations that show how everyone wanted to learn something new this pandemic and utilize their time for new opportunities.
I look forward to conducting more webinars and engaging students in discussion. Many felt lost during the pandemic, with no one to turn to and nowhere to go. I’m glad my webinars could provide them with a sense of direction.
Some of the precious feedback from our webinar participants