I can confidently say that the whole child education project journey over the past year has been an amazing one. And more than anything this has been a journey into my soul and finding myself better. It has been a journey of re-discovering what I like and I love doing. It has been a journey of reinstating the faith in oneself and one’s skills in photography and design. It has been a journey of fulfilling a dream. A dream, which I have been working tirelessly since the past couple of years and mostly during the past year and fulfilling it to a large extent at the end of this journey.
Apart from the learning whole experience has also been spiritual. It has made me realize the value of service as a designer and putting service before self. Identifying the group that most needs the service of me, as a designer has been another satisfying experience. I have come to realize that there are a lot of others who need the input of design and that design can play a huge role in changing the society for the better. Design thus now to me expands beyond the computer interface an in an essential component in almost everything.
The project has led me to define and then redefine what being passionate about a particular thing is all about. The very ideologies on which I base my projects and work was questioned at the later part of the spring 2008 and early fall 2008 semester. I had to make a decision between doing a project that would give me a job, or a project that I was really passionate about. Thanks to a professor here, I am glad that I made the decision to choose the passion over anything else. It has led me to have faith and the confidence in my work and my ideologies more than ever. I grow in confidence every time I speak about the project and every time I make a presentation about the project.
This newfound confidence has now inbuilt in me a belief that nothing is impossible if done with sincere effort and with dedication. When asked about how the ‘Pick Me, Click Me, Educate Me!’ project will succeed, I am often unaware of the answers. But the confidence that I gather out of the capstone experience and also from the support shown by others in the school makes me believe that the project will succeed.
I have often wondered how often do people have an epiphany that their life is not meant to be wasted just like that and without doing any good. I am glad that I have had that epiphany early in life and not having to spend an entire life wondering what to do. I have realized that I do not want to be just another dust in the cosmos, but a shining star whose legacy lives on forever.
I have often grappled with questions from all fronts on the possibility of working somewhere else. On the possibility of earning and being secure first and then looking to pay back. But as I mention, from my point of view it has been a question of putting my services before self. Letting go of materialistic pleasures has been another key learning from this project. It has been a question of taking the decision of saving a dollar on drinks so that monthly fees for children in rural India could be paid. It has been a situation of sacrifices and newer inspirations that would help children in rural India be a fraction fortunate of what I have been in life.
I started my sojourn at Indiana University with my statement of purpose in the application letter. I clearly remember mentioning how a smile motivated me and that I take joy in the simple things of life. In the end the whole capstone journey has been about spreading smiles and the message of doing only things that give you immense joy from within.
As I head back to India for good, with all the wishes for my project and a life ahead, I know that I will succeed. I have the smiles and the wishes of all the people I have known.
The journey has only just begun.