I used to participate in a lot of events in my hall, especially the tech events, which fascinated me a lot. When I saw how the events were being conducted in the gymkhana, I too got a desire to personally organize them as they would help me improve my communication skills.
As the Strategy Cup Secretary, conducting the Open IIT Data Analytics and GC Data Analytics events was my responsibility. I had to arrange the problem statement and the judges. There are numerous things which you have to do to organize the event smoothly. You need to prepare a budget for the expenditure you might incur in the event and get approval for the same. Secretaries also help each other organize the events. To manage time for all these, you need to plan the whole timeline that you will follow. This will help you to conduct the event smoothly as well as manage academics along with it.
I learned how to manage my time effectively, which is very important since you start courses from your department in the second year. Since I was the only one responsible for the particular events, I got some sense of responsibility and took extra care not to make mistakes. You also learn multitasking since you may need to do several things at a time, like meeting a deadline and contacting a company to arrange the problem statement. It improves your personality as well.
Advice to juniors: There are several positions available, so before choosing one, take guidance from previous secretaries, hall seniors, etc. and make an informed choice. It would be helpful if you get the know-how of what happens in that particular event. Don’t contest just for the sake of POR; you will be organizing an event in IIT Kharagpur, and you will have the power to implement changes to improve things from last year, so use it well.
Devaki Nandana Kalam
Being an active part at multiple places, I understood the value and importance of Gymkhana. It motivated me to contest for Gymkhana elections. Being part of Gymkhana gives you exposure to deal with administrative activities and student activities on campus. And elections itself is a great learning experience through which you get to know a lot of seniors, and you make “connections” that will stay with you forever.
I still cherish my election memories with great joy. Right from door-to-door campaigning, Facebook campaigning, and the last day campaigning to getting back from batchmates during the entire process, it has been a wholesome experience that gave me great exposure and transformed me into a better and stronger person than before.
Being the Knowledge Cup Secretary, major responsibilities include
- Conducting Technology Sub-committee meetings (for the freshers who may not know this, these are the meetings attended by the Gymkhana GSecs and secys and GSecs from all halls of residence, where important decisions regarding the events are made)
- Organizing Open IIT and GC events
- Supporting the Inter IIT Tech Contingent
You can easily balance the work of the Gymkhana secretary with your academics when you plan things well. Getting the funda from the previous secy and planning the things well can help you save a huge deal of effort and time.
This was an entirely different experience where I was supposed to be constantly in touch with Gymkhana officials for smooth functioning and organization of events. Dealing with them and getting the things done at the right time has been a roller coaster ride. That also taught me discipline and the value of time.
Advice to juniors: Be sure with “Why you want to contest for a particular post?” Have a proper plan and vision before contesting. When you are clear with these things, everything will fall in place. Whatever the result may be, enjoy the experience and take the learnings from it.
The push to contest for the elections came from my hall itself. I came to know about the secretary position from my seniors and contacted the previous secretary Amritash Bharadwaj, who told me how to work. The work was mainly related to the management side. I used to love doing management, and my motivation was to develop leadership skills and some sense of responsibility.
The work is defined in two or three parts. There will be a subcommittee where the events will be finalized. You need to arrange all the logistics for that event. Being the Application Cup Secretary, I had four events – one Open IIT and three GCs. The subcommittee meetings were very exciting; there were 13 seniors of respective halls sitting in front of you, and you needed to defend your statements in front of them. I don’t think it’s difficult to manage time. For an event like GC, if things go well, you will have 2 or 3 subcom meetings, and then it is up to how quickly you can take the signature of people in authority. We had to give about an hour a day, but we used to give about four hours a day on the day of the event.
The experience completely transformed me. Management gives you leadership skills. The way you talk, the way you learn, change a lot. Since I was the Application Cup Secretary, I made contacts with some consulting companies, with people in director positions, when I used to call them to be a judge. This is very helpful; you can even get career guidance from them.
Advice to juniors: I would advise you all to try to contact previous secretaries to know about the work, whether it’s in your interest or not. Secondly, you should also focus on making strategies for winning the election, like social media marketing, telling your friends to post pics with you, etc. The experience will transform you, that is for sure.
In my first year, I participated in an Open IIT Product Design competition, where I noticed the then secretary, Vipul Tomar, managing the whole event, from coordinating with judges to managing all the teams. This intrigued me a lot. I later learned from seniors what a Secretary does and the benefits that come with the post, like communicating with managers of reputed companies, personality development. Managing events builds your leadership ability. Also, the prospect of being one of the office bearers of Gymkhana was a huge plus for me.
The primary job of the Secretary is to conduct the whole event at the Institute level. This event is solely your responsibility. As the Innovation Cup Secretary, there were three GC events and one Open IIT event, which came under my responsibility. For a particular event, we first contact companies for the problem statements and hold meetings with the managers. Then to finalize a company and judges, we organize a subcommittee meeting comprising all the general secretaries and gymkhana office bearers. On the day of the event, we coordinate with judges, manage teams, and look after result disclosure.
The post is exciting but hectic, so you need to plan well to balance the time with academics. You need to be present for all subcom meetings; they generally wrap up within an hour. If you are attending classes daily, making notes, and keeping up with academics daily, you will do just fine. Also, all activities from Gymkhana are closed 14 days before the exams.
Being a secretary helped in developing my communication skills and overall personality. I am able to schedule my tasks very precisely now and can handle pressure situations in a better way. I was able to develop a lot of valuable contacts too. Also, I am pursuing a career in consulting, and PORs give you an edge during the selection process.
Advice to juniors: I would advise freshers not to bundle up all their academic tasks and do it on the last day, because if you can manage academics well, especially considering continuous evaluation, then you’re good to go. Contesting the elections and managing meetings will be easier, though, since you don’t have to run here and there on the campus.