“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Chinese Proverb

The quote above quite vividly describes the experience I had at Indian Institute of Science. Finally after 8 weeks (May 11 - July 10) of work within the lab, our internship concluded on 10th of July with a report submission, followed by a presentation on the 15th of July.

A first page of my 12 minute presentation delivered to a group of professors and students at MRDG seminar hall at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

The final week turned out to be much more hectic than I had imagined, partly because of being a victim of planning fallacy where in, I grossly underestimated the time it'd take to write the report, despite being aware of the situation (ironic, huh?). The final week saw several rounds of data review, graph redraw and extensive literature review to collect appropriate and verifiable references along with relevant information. I'm, however, glad of the fact that most of the report compilation was done independently by me, with Pradeep (my mentor) offering some key inputs across the report. Finally to top my excitement, it was very well received by my adviser Prof. Sandhya, who also happened to glance across my website (shorts!) and grew fond of it.

Once the report submission was made, we had a picnic arranged to a nearby place called Lepakshi, where we co-interns along with our mentors and other bioengineering students had a lot of fun. It seemed like there is a lot of time left for making a small presentation, until it came to the evening before the presentation day and tension got to my nerves. I sat for around three to four hours and finally prepared my presentation along with a demo transcript for presenting the content. Only after sending to Pradeep for a review and getting no corrections, that I could slip cozily into my bed.

Next morning, I'm cold and nervous as seven people have already presented their work and it's my turn next. I get up, walk up to the podium, put down my transcript and forget everything for a second. I look up at my slides and begin explaining as if it's coming naturally to me. Minutes later, I'm done with presentation and answered all audience questions. Later, I was told by Sandhya that all the professors loved the presentation - good content combined with professional style of presentation. I took a sigh of relief.

In short, I'm not just taking back a reports and certificate from IISc., but a whole bunch of memories and inspiring experiences. I have learned to be more curious and enthusiastic about things around me, observe things closely and constantly ask Why?, do vertical research, do smart work, interact with peers, build connections, be independent, and lastly assume humility. These are the fundamental skills and attitude that will reflect throughout my life and help me become a better person and researcher, with the ability to navigate a life path on my own.

Thank you Indian Institute of Science! I'll miss you. I hope our paths will cross sometime soon.

blog by Vivek Rai