By Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty, Global Links Scholar
After the completion of my Masters, I started working as a lecturer at Shri Shikshayatan College, which is one of the most renowned undergraduate girls’ colleges of Kolkata. Over the years I worked hard in preparing my lectures, so that I can guide my students to complete their final exams with flying colors.
Within a few years I became successful in developing my relationship with my beloved students who accepted me as their friend, philosopher, and guide. I was quite happy and satisfied teaching young groups of students, and nurturing their ideas, thoughts and values. But my mind started haunting me: ‘Am I adequately fulfilling my job responsibility?’ I want to make sure I am doing so—especially when students ask me to guide them in choosing the best possible career options. I started searching ways in which they can start their career “as a job giver rather than a job seeker.” I am grateful to my college authority for standing beside me and helping me to start an Entrepreneurial Cell in collaboration with National Entrepreneurship Network, where we started holding workshops and training programs to develop certain entrepreneurial skills of the student members.
In August 2016, I came to know about Global Links (GL) Program, which opened a book full of answers to my queries about properly guiding my students and guiding them to lead meaningful impact in their lives. I must mention that the college where I teach belongs to a trust of the Marwari community. In India, they are the community that is renowned for their business acumen, but at the same time they are very conservative—they hardly allow their women to be engaged in income earning avenues. It is for this reason that I feel the girls in my college, who are mostly Marwaris need to be engaged in a program like Global Links. I am thankful to GL for selecting me and giving me an opportunity to show the best possible carrier option to my students.
My phase I GL journey began in January 2017. It was January 14, 2017 at about 10:30am when I landed at Orlando airport to participate in Phase I of the GL Program. After facing tedious immigration process for 2hrs 30mins, I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness when I met my mentor Mary Conway Dato-on of Rollins College, Kimberly Brown and Sandy Sosa of Tupperware Brands along with two Graduate Assistant of Global Links Program, Michelle Hernandez and Yasmin Mesbah. It is only because of their grand and meaningful welcome I started feeling ‘home away from home.’
The next day, Sunday, was a relaxing day for me with a brief and enjoyable tour of Winter Park in the afternoon with Liz Cvercko, another Graduate Assistant.
My official work started on Monday with a brief introduction to Rollins’ staff, faculty, and senior management and student community. I started enjoying every aspect of my work as I received an enthusiastic greeting from each and every person. It seems to me that the whole college is actively involved in the GL program. I participated in many social innovation group-building activities organized by Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, and enjoyed developing entrepreneurial insights based on the views of the younger generation. While delivering a lecture on Indian Entrepreneurship in an undergraduate Global Development class, I enjoyed a focused interaction with the student community where they showed their inquisitiveness on the issue, as well as shared their open-minded insights.
As the days passed, by I felt more and more confident to empower a young generation and make them socially responsible to serve the community as a whole. Slowly and steadily, I am developing a sense of aplomb, which will help to face the challenges of empowering depressed and deprived women sector of India. The opportunity to participate in a program like Global Links will also provide me a platform where I can help my students to work with real life entrepreneurs and expand their horizons to rural and semi-urban areas. They will learn to empathize with women among underprivileged communities and in turn help themselves. This exercise will help them to learn of different opportunities and difficulties faced by real life entrepreneurs and how to handle those situations.