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Why should you join Clubs and Societies at Ashoka University?

An Interview with Sandhya Garimella, a recent graduate from Ashoka University with an Economics and Finance major. Sandhya was part of theAshoka Behavioral Insights Team, Navrang - the film society and also the Ashoka Business review clubs. She will be joining Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago this fall to pursue her postgraduate studies in Public Policy.

Many students apply to Ashoka University because of its exceptional faculty and the opportunity to study a variety of disciplines—also known as liberal arts. However, just a few people understand why Ashoka is viewed as one of India's top universities. The peers you surround yourself with and learn from, as well as the cohort you join, are what will most likely make a difference. Sandhya Garimella emphasised the value of getting involved in clubs and societies at Ashoka University in order to meet amazing individuals with similar passions and interests and learn from them.

Clubs and Societies are a crucial part of many Ashokan's memorable and entertaining times at the university. It is the cause of many long-lasting friendships. Not to mention the abilities one acquires and brings with them after graduating from college. In fact, for some people, these interactions help them determine their future course and provide them the tools they need to stand out as candidates when they apply for further study.

We spoke with a former student who actively participated in the Ashoka Behavioral Insights Team to deepen her enthusiasm for economics outside of the classroom. In this interview, Sandhya discusses the clubs and societies she was a part of, steps she took to join them while attending Ashoka, and the lessons she learned from them.




Could you please provide us with a brief introduction of yourself?


I am Sandhya Garimella, and I graduated from Ashoka University in 2022 after completing the Ashoka Scholars Programme Programme and BSc. (Hons.) Economics and Finance undergraduate major. .



What clubs and societies did you participate in while you were a student at Ashoka?


At Ashoka, I was part of the core team of the Ashoka Behavioural Insights Team, and the editor-in-chief of their flagship publication - The Nudgelet. I also wrote for the Ashoka Business Review. I have a keen interest in films, hence, I was also lucky to be part of the Navrang - the film society, in their production team. I also used to occasionally attend Eeshto (the board game society’s) open meetings to enjoy some old school fun and meet new people.



How can someone become a member of any of the clubs or societies at Ashoka University? Is there a selection process in place?If there is, could you briefly describe the selection processes for the clubs you were a part of?


Most clubs and societies participate in the Clubs and Societies Expo held during orientation week/first few weeks of classes at the start of the new academic year. The expo allows new students to learn of the different clubs and societies at Ashoka, what they do, and what sort of roles they are inducting for. Around this time, clubs and societies also email the student body outlining their induction process and timeline, and are usually accessible to clarify any queries via email. The induction process usually includes filling a form explaining why you want to be part of the club, why you are suitable for a certain position, amongst others. It is usually followed up with an interview with core members of the society. Additionally, some clubs/societies just allow you to mark interest in their events, which are open to all so you can just walk-in and attend.


The selection processes were similar to what I mentioned above. I filled in a form indicating interest to be an editor/writer/production team member and answered some general questions where I could express why I liked the idea of being part of the club/society, how much time I could dedicate, and past experience that might help me take up the role (they understand you’re fresh out of school so don’t expect you to show too much experience, and also they love inducting enthusiastic and passionate people who are willing to put in the work). They would also ask some specific questions, like editing a paragraph, to see if you can adequately do the work you would be required to do. After this, there was an interview, which for me was quite a fun interaction with some of the senior club members and it wasn’t too intimidating or serious.



Which clubs or society, in your opinion, is the most popular among students?


When I was new to Ashoka, the film society Navrang was a hot favorite because they held many interesting events like their weekly film screenings and their short film festival. There are many diverse publications, and most students get to combine their passion for a certain subject or their own personal interests with a platform where they can publish articles or edit them. Several students love being part of publications based on the type of writing they enjoy.



What role did you play in each of these clubs/societies?


Editor - Ashoka Business Review

Production Team Core Team Member - Navrang (The Film Society)

Editor-in-Chief - Ashoka Behavioral Insights Team.



What is the most useful lesson you have taken away from participating in these clubs?


The clubs were a wonderful way to interact with peers you may not run into your classes. It can be quite an enriching experience to actively work in a team with many talented peers who are all passionate towards one subject/activity. So, I think I learnt how to be part of a team, and also navigating the challenges that come with it.


The club/socs can also be a great way to try pushing yourself to take on a leadership role and discover more about what sort of leader you are.

Lastly, taking on the responsibility in a club/soc is the ultimate lesson in time management - where you learn to balance pursuing your pet project for the club/soc with academics, your social life and taking the time to take care of yourself.



Is it challenging to balance your academics and club involvement? What was your experience with balancing the two without compromising on either?


It can be challenging, but at the end of the day you are working alongside other Ashoka students who understand how grueling the workload can be. So the club/soc’s calendar also works around the academic year, letting off some steam during the mid sem and finals week so you can focus on your academics, which is most students’ top priority. Also, most people will be understanding if you have genuine reasons you need a break or need to push a deadline. The club/soc’s prioritize being fun or interesting for all the people part of it, which isn’t necessarily true about academics ;)


I would advise anyone new to try out many different club/socs but not to feel pressured to be an active part of all of them but to choose a few they really like so they do the work justice.



Any last words or messages for students interested in joining Ashoka?


Ashoka is filled with plenty of opportunities to learn, in the classroom and outside it but most importantly from the people you surround yourself with! Get ready to transform from feeling like you know everything about the world to recognizing that there’s much to uncover. It’s a challenging ride but it’s a place that promises exponential personal, academic and professional growth!



Therefore, if you plan to enroll at Ashoka University soon or would like to apply there, keep in mind to get involved in the school's clubs and societies to get the most out of your time on campus.

Comment below which Ashoka clubs and societies are you interested in joining?

If you wish to learn more about Ashoka University and hear about the firsthand stories of Ashoka Alumni, please visit our social media pages, YouTube and Instagram. Feel free to contact us at garima@evolvingbeing.org if you need assistance with the application or admissions process.





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