You did an internship almost every semester. How did you get those and what did you learn from them?
My family cannot afford a vacation.
I had a bad CGPA.
I knew that the only way to compensate a bad CGPA is doing internships. But to get one you have to apply to companies and they ask for your CGPA. So it’s kind of a deadlock.
I did not apply to companies for internships, except GoComet in my 6th semester.
Many of my internships were non-technical.Though for technical internships – follow this formula – One semester -> 1 Subject + 1 Good Project / Paper. Submit them to competitions and mail partner companies. Or consult the TPO. Focus on implementing knowledge.
Internship Formula –
First Year – Make connections work in – College Startups
Second Year – More connections apply to – Startups
Third Year – Don’t do an internship. Work on your own idea. LEARN marketing and team building.
Fourth Year – Prepare for GRE/Placements if everything fails. Make sure to revise at least 2 subjects to the point where you can score a 10 pointer in them. Apply to related companies.
If that fails too, keep making projects. Don’t steal them.
Q. What do you encourage your juniors to try in college?
Everything. Do not let your schooling interfere with your education. Try everything you can, if you don’t know where you fit. There is no problem in failing.Don’t let the syllabus define what you should study. Go beyond the curriculum. If you find it uninteresting keep trying other things.
It is important that you start thinking. And multiple types of experiences really help in formulating new ideas. At some point, you’ll be stuck. Oh! There is some problem here. Great! That’s what we want. Problems. Now what?! Find a solution. Now think. Can you market that solution? Is it monetisable? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.
Q. What were the difficulties you faced in taking a different path? How did you tackle them?
I don’t know why is this termed as a “different path”. It’s normal for engineers to be academicians. And even money is not an issue.
In 2012, I gave my school a list of things they needed to implement so as to improve academic performance. Their reaction was – Meh. Obviously, I was very young back then, and the solutions required improvement, but the response was unenthusiastic.
Q. You have been very active on Quora. How has Quora helped you develop?
Yeah. In my leisure time, I used to be very active in 2014-2015. I got 2 internships because of the answers I wrote on Quora. Team Krishna in June 2015 and Next Education in Dec 2016. I usually answered questions related to education. A Quora answers page featured my answer and one of the engineers at Next Education contacted me after checking my LinkedIn profile. Similarly, for Team Krishna, they had to make an application to teach rural kids basic letters and numbers.
Q. What makes you so passionate about education? What is your idea of an ideal education system?
Doing miserably in the IIT-JEE entrance exam.
I was a very bright student. Well, that’s what my teachers said. After enrolling in a coaching institute, I realised maybe this was not meant for me. But it was too late. The ship had sailed. I love learning. However, here I was just focused on getting a good score. That was sad. I thought I was stupid. But there were people who went through worse.,Students committing suicide because of academic depression. Is this what we are trying to accomplish?!
I was maybe 17 when I thought that I should work in education because I didn’t want anyone else to go through the pain that I have been through.
A customised education system that runs on platform mechanism instead of a batch system. Changing grading mechanism to multi-dimensional grading instead of 1-D grading like CGPA/Percentages/Letter Grades. Use peer-to-peer teaching strategy, include only 20% of theory and written examination. I can go on.
Q. You have a YouTube channel named 6.5 CGPA. What is the channel about and why is it named so?
Ans. Because my CGPA is 6.5!! 6.49 to be precise. YouTube was the best source available to put forth my ideas out there for the people to see and help as many students as possible. And I named it so because that number was like a mark of shame for me. My engineering education did not interest me. I studied only to clear exams. But that does not define the extent of my knowledge. I studied educational psychology, cognition, education sciences, cognitive psychology and allied subjects which will help me in the future.
That number is me being proud of myself, that I am a scholar in Education Sciences and my score is 6.5 CGPA. It basically means that this number means nothing and represents nothing of what I am and what I can be. And the people who believe that their life is defined by a number should see past that.
P.S. I changed the name of the channel to ‘Abhijit Zimare’
Q. What are your future goals?
I have short-term goals. One of them is developing my channel to cater most engineering and college students. Second is to draft a solution based on the same as an ed-tech startup. I did think of doing a Masters in Educational Research. I am sceptical about it though. It is my dream to formulate a perfect education system. So far I can say that I have a head start. There is little chance of me ending up in a corporate setting. And yes, fiction writing is also something that has been with me since 1st grade. Maybe I’ll try writing some novels. But that is all for tomorrow. The immediate goal is to connect educationalists in the country who can help me make my dream possible.