My Journey through IEEE while I was at College

Hello World,

This is a post I wrote for some other Blog (http://btw10.ieeeblogandtweet.com/?p=632). So it is a bit too large. please excuse. 😛

As is the case with majority of the student members, I came to came to know about IEEE when I joined in my first year of B Tech at College of Engineering Chengannur(CEC). CEC SB has a legacy in IEEE which includes Centre of Excellence, Outstanding Branch Councilor award from IEEE HQ, Larry K Wilson award etc. Awareness sessions gave me nothing more than a vague idea about what it actually was. All I understood was “For those who want to do something BIG, join IEEE” and I joined.

As a first year student, I proudly took up all the work my seniors asked me to do. My first volunteering activity for IEEE was to clean litter near our IEEE library. Our library was being shifted and there was lot of work to be done. I along with many others volunteered in shifting the books, registering the books in the account etc. Second volunteering opportunity came to me in the form of being a student team member assisting the NBA Accreditation team. Following it, I was privileged take up many such volunteering activities.

In my second year, SB Tech fest, ELIXIR 2007 came up. Everyone was excited about the event. I was put into the local area sponsorship team of the event. All dos and don’ts were explained to us by our seniors. I learned all my preliminary lessons under the proper guidance of my seniors. When the election for the SB Execom came, I put forward my desire to become the Vice chair. One of my friends also wished to be the same. An open election was conducted and I lost it by a small margin.. … Although it was a setback, I continued as an active member of IEEE. Next remarkable event was the Hub congress of Local Integrated Network of Kerala (LINK). (LINK is the student networking platform of Kerala and Hubs were the subdivision of the section). Since it was internal examination time, there were not enough student members willing to attend the event. I, along with three of my friends, got an opportunity to represent our college. The election for the Hub driver (sub section representative) was conducted there and I became one of the 5 Hub drivers of the section. Since that day, IEEE became a part of my life. Coming back to the college, our team was successful in conducting a handful of intra SB events. We represented our college for every section events therby updating and training ourselves in IEEE. I attended each and every LINK online meeting that happened each month. As a Hub driver, I worked closely with the LINK execom, collected details of all the colleges in my hub and conducted awareness at four different colleges out of which three formed the branches. Also I could host the first ever Hub congress which turned out to be a stunning success.

GINI Face to Face Meeting was held in the month of August, 2008 at Hyderabad. Mr.Balakrishnan (Special Mention and Certificate winner of LKW 2010) and I represented Kerala Section at the GINI F2F. It was an awesome event. I got the opportunity to interact with many outstanding volunteers and the event left an everlasting impression in my mind about a standard IEEE event. Most importantly, I met 3 people who changed my life, Mr. Prijoe Philips Komattu, Mr. Jaison Abey Sabu and Mr. Visan Koshy. After the meet, I was selected as the GINI co-ordinator of Kerala Section.

[Our batch at college (2010) had the dream of hosting SUMMIT which was the stamp event of CEC. My batch gave me the responsibility as the General Convener of the event.]

In my third year, I was elected as the Secretary of the SB. Our SB could successfully host 2 section level events, All Kerala WIE Forum Meet and LINK F2F during our execom tenure.

The official call for proposals for Region 10 Student Congress, 2009 was released. Our SB decided to bid for the event. It was an easy decision, but a difficult task. It took all of our effort to put up a good proposal in the stipulated time. Region 10 SAC decided to make it a join event organized by National University of Singapore and College of Engineering Chengannur (my college). I took up the responsibility of vice chair. It was indeed a challenging task to organize an event happening at a place over 3500 Km away. At this point, I should thank Dr. Mini S Thomas for the support she offered, trust she had and motivation she gave. She also gave me an opportunity to work in the Region 10 Student Activities Committee as the Student Representative of West coast (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka). Entry into R10 team gave the pleasure of working with volunteers of never ending spirit like Mr. Prasanna (R10 GINI Co-ordinator), Mr. Imran Ali (R10 Webmaster), Mr. Om Perkash (R10 SR). The result of the R10 working Committee (R10 SC, GINI and establishment of communication channels) was clearly visible in the R10 awards nominations for the year 2010.

I was awarded the Outstanding volunteer award of Kerala section for the year 2009. I also received appreciation certificates from IEEE HQ in the year 2008 and 2009. I owe a great deal of obligation to Mr. Sasi PM, Section Chair, Kerala Section 2009-10 and Mr. S. Gopakumar, SAC, Kerala 2008-09 and to my section as a whole for trusting, supporting and encouraging me to the fullest extent as it always had been doing to the students.

My final year in Engineering was also full of IEEE. Being in the R10 Execom, I continued to work with GINI. We worked as a team to push the sections by networking them. We concentrated on starting up proper communication channels, encouraging student congresses, industrial collaboration, face to face meetings etc. Almost everyday, we met online or on phone and discussed and strategized. By mid of 2010, we rolled out the first edition of R10 GINI operation manual.

On a side note, working with IEEE doesn’t mean that you have to give up anything. I have enjoyed my college life to its fullest. I was into every other activity of my college like National service scheme, was a member of the college badminton team and other organizations also. IEEE will teach you how to manage time, or rather manage yourself to accommodate all your interests into your schedule. 
All I say is, choose where to invest your Time, Effort and Money (Sentence from a slide from Dr. Mini S Thomas)

In my second year, I have heard someone asking an LKW winner, “How do you win an LKW?” I remember his answer very vividly, “Give your heart out selflessly to your SB and you will get back something someday and that will be an LKW”. It is not about initiating something, but about taking it forward with a heart full of passion and a mind full of dedication. Anyone can motivate to start something, but only YOU can keep you motivated enough to sustain it. I just have two qualities: Commitment and acknowledgment to the past. If I can do it, then each of you, who are reading it, can also do it.

For those who are thinking about personal benefits, I would not blame them, but it shouldn’t be only you who gets the priority. That’s all. IEEE can help people to grow technically, managerially and personally. You cannot buy even a second of experience with even lakhs of money. IEEE can offer you tons and tons of experience. The contacts, exposure, opportunities etc that you gain through IEEE will definitely get reflected in your personal profile.

I got the Larry K Wilson award. But that doesn’t mean that I made it on my own. There were a whole bunch of people who served as mentors, advocates, team leaders, team members, friends without whom, I would have never even dreamt of LKW. This award is for all of them who have contributed to IEEE and thereby inspired me also to do so. I take this opportunity to thank each and every one who was (and is) with me throughout this remarkable journey. I have to name a few people Dr. Mini S Thomas, Mr. Sasi P.M, Mr. S. Gopakumar, Mr. Prijoe Philips Komattu, Mr. Jaison Abey Sabu, my section (Kerala) and my student branch (CEC)

At the end, please do remember posts are mere representations as far as IEEE is concerned (volunteers are the greatest). Awards are of course appreciations for what you have done, but they also mean that IEEE wants you to carry on and stick with it. I would say, whatever I am now, it is all because of IEEE. I am still looking out how to clear my debt to this awesome organization that always gives its volunteers what he/she deserves.

 Still Continuing as a part of this Organization and pursuing even bigger dreams.. 🙂

 

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About Arjun
I'm currently running my Startup - Profoundis (www.profoundis.com). My FB - https://www.facebook.com/rarjunpillai My LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=79711386&trk=tab_pro

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