A poetry aficionado, music enthusiast, ardent speller, dynamic debater, passionate artist and an aspiring professor, Anwesha Mukherjee is all this and a lot more. The ICSE Topper last year has a long string of honours and awards including bagging the K.S. Varkey Merit Scholarship for two years, the GEMS Academic Scholarship for three years not to mention being a finalist at the UAE National Spelling Bee. The second runner-up in the advanced round of ‘Infinity’, an international mathematics competition, she was also the second runner up in ‘To Nature, With Love’, a poetry competition and was adjudged best speaker at the Emirates Debate Championship.
Excerpts from an interview with the Dubai student:
Which are the top 3 awards/honours you cherish the most, and why?
The award I hold closest to my heart is the Dr. Radhakrishnan Pupil Teacher Award as teaching has always been one of my most treasured hobbies. In this competition, I adapted modern pedagogical practices to deliver a guided lesson on The Fibonacci Sequence. It was a delight to know I had been able to actively engage so many students in extended learning beyond the curriculum.
Another honour I cherish is winning the National Essay Competition on ‘Vishwa Hindi Divas’ organised by the Consulate of India. I feel conceptualising an essay on the developments and challenges encountered by India in 75 years of its independence provided me with an amazing platform to acquire detailed knowledge about the cultural and historical journey of an independent India. The Principal’s Special Award for Outstanding Intellectual Achievement for my accomplishment in the World Scholar’s Cup is also something I cherish.
You hold several positions calling for good leadership and public speaking skills. How did you hone these skills?
One way I have acquired leadership skills over the years is by taking responsibility and investing in activities outside the curriculum. This has helped me evolve a situational understanding of the circumstances, which in turn has taught me the importance of taking good decisions. I believe that these, coupled with self-discipline, have helped me hone leadership and public speaking skills over the years.
Three tips for students to improve their public speaking/debating/leadership skills?
Be confident in yourself and your thoughts.
Have a strong opinion on a matter supported by conclusive substantives.
Listen to others’ perspective to ensure you have a holistic knowledge of the topic.
How do you juggle your extracurricular activities with your academics?
I believe sincere hard-work and single-minded focus are the ingredients that will effectively help anyone to manage a salad bowl of activities and academics simultaneously. I think it is also extremely important to keep time aside for our hobbies and cultivate our passion to the fullest.
You are also the lead editor of your school magazine. What skills do you think helped you in the position?
It is instrumental to believe in empathetic leadership, and understand and identify yourself with others’ experiences and requirements. Additionally, I believe it is also important to listen to everyone’s opinions before presenting yours, communicate your thoughts effectively, ensure everyone understands the significance of the tasks, establish the importance of adhering to deadlines and, most importantly, take responsibility for any mistakes or errors. I am confident that these skills helped establish a thriving work ethic and augment performance outcome within the team.
What is your dream career? How are you working towards it?
I aspire to be a professor and researcher in the field of Biochemistry or Neuroscience to have a profound and sustainable impact on society. I recently completed a project in Physics titled ‘Wonders at Nano-Scale: Thermoelectricity and Other Effects’ with a professor at Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, India. I sincerely believe this year-long project gave me a profound insight into scientific questioning and research and I am sure this will be an immense help in my future career.
Over the years, I have come to realise that it is imperative to cultivate a growth mindset. I strive to be a socially-aware leader to fashion impactful change. To redefine our perception of education, to challenge its nuances, and to reimagine its subtleties.
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