Table of Contents
Let me introduce myself, I am Rohan Kumar, born and raised in a small village called “Laxmipur” in Bihar. I am proud to have started my educational journey at a government school in Bihar. I graduated in Physics from Patna University and pursued Post-graduation in Tourism and Travel Management from Banaras Hindu University. I am pursuing my PhD in Tourism Management from Pondicherry University, having cleared UGC JRF in my first attempt.
My childhood hobby of reading educational magazines led me to aspire to IITs, but fate had other plans for me. Just after clearing the Super 30 exam (an entrance exam preparation centre run by Anand sir) for JEE Mains/Advanced, I was diagnosed with a medical condition that required two major surgeries and a year-long bed rest. During this time, I spent a lot of time reading and developing myself intellectually. Despite the setbacks, I completed my Intermediate in Science, scoring second-highest in Physics in my state. I went on to appear for JEE Mains and Advanced, but unfortunately, I only secured admission to IIIT Jabalpur, which I declined as I was more interested in IIT than any other Engineering degree.
Instead, I pursued a B.Sc degree in Physics from Patna Science College, where I stayed in a hostel for three years. I took the ragging by my seniors as a challenge to improve myself, and it turned out to be one of the most interesting experiences of my life. My time at the hostel also helped me develop my communication skills, turning me into an extrovert from being an introvert. During my first year of graduation, no one was taking me seriously as I had some difficulties in English. I took this as a challenge and started reading novels and newspaper editorials.
During this learning season, I watched all the seasons of the Big Bang theory. Someone has very truly said that learning never goes in vain. In the 4th month of my first year of graduation, I won a state-level quiz competition organised by The Times of India. That day I was at the top of the world. After winning the prize a lot of media people were coming to the stage holding their cameras and asking me how are you feeling sir. In the background students from different states were cheering for me, Rohan Rohan Rohan….. That incident changed my identity in college. I was getting all the attention and respect that a hero of the college gets. Further, I represented my college in many events and won a lot of trophies. After graduation, I started writing editorials for an English newspaper, which led to my articles getting published on the editorial page. One more good thing happened after graduation, I cracked the CAT examination.
Admission in BHU
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I received two admission offers – one from IIM Rohtak and the other from Banaras Hindu University. Despite family and friends conflicting advice, I chose to pursue a Master’s degree in Tourism and Travel Management from Banaras Hindu University, as I believed that education should serve society’s least developed and suffering sectors. This decision was met with scepticism, but I remained calm and confident in my decision. Because tourism was going to boom after covid. Everyone knew it. I left science because I realised it will not be a good idea to pursue a master’s in physics without having the access to laboratories.
The idea of sharing all my achievements is not to show that I am very intelligent or wise, rather it is to show that if a student from a government school in a village in Bihar can achieve this much, anyone can. I have always believed in the fact that if you can imagine anything, certainly you can accomplish that. Each and every day should be productive. If you are feeling that you are lagging behind your colleagues, start working on your skills and prove that you can also stand by anyone. You should always stand by your decision and have faith in yourself. I had the chance to go to IIM and get a good salary but I chose tourism management from BHU because I wanted to be in the program. And yes I proved my decision right.
My Life at BHU
My experience at BHU has been transformative, especially in adapting to online learning. I am grateful to have had great professors, including Professor Shyju, who have positively impacted my life. I believe that success lies in taking up challenges and insults as opportunities to improve oneself. In my master’s, I participated in a lot of activities. Once I, along with one of my colleagues, represented my university and gave a presentation on accessible tourism in the presence of eminent personalities from foreign universities on the occasion of World Tourism Day. During the preparation of the presentation, I went to the field for the data collection, I spoke to many administrative persons related to Varanasi tourism and I realised there is a lot more to be done in tourism. This was the birthtime of the generation pursuing PhD in the framework of my mind. But I thought of joining the industry before going to PhD as it is very essential to understand the tourism industry.
Life as a corporate employee
In 2022, I completed my master’s degree. There was no good job in the tourism industry, my batchmates were joining the tourism organisations at very low salaries. I decided to wait for a few months. In between, I wrote a number of emails to a number of companies and I also got a number of offers from reputed companies but I was not getting the role I wanted. One day fortunately I got an offer from Easemytrip.com. I started working as a content curator. I was preparing the academic content for their courses. Easemytrip runs an academy where they provide degrees of diploma or postgraduate diploma in tourism. I did this for only two months. Actually, my idea of doing a job was to work in many possible different roles within 8 months as my UGC JRF examination was scheduled to be conducted at the end of the year. Next to this, I worked with an NGO as an HR for 2 months. At last, I was working with a UK-based tour company. This was quite interesting. I was the relationship manager for the South East Asia sector. I trained guides from 11 different countries so that they could do their business in a great and more effective way than earlier.
Everything was going well then the day of the examination came. I wrote a letter of resignation mail to my organisation and they accepted my resignation saying that they were looking forward to working with me for a long period. I got flight tickets and a 7 days accommodation facility in Delhi as a token of appreciation from my last working organisation. Well for the first time I was flying as well I was going to Delhi for the first time.
My study space in Varanasi
Most awaited ‘JRF’ morning
I wrote the JRF examination and was waiting for the result to be published. One random day I woke up and freshened up. After that, I was sitting in my room in Varanasi and chopped the vegetables. As I always love cooking and food cooked either by my mother or by me. Suddenly my elder brother called me saying dude you cracked JRF, it’s a moment of celebration. That day I cooked the food with affection, emotion and extreme joy. I called up to my parents. My friends started calling and congratulating me. All my professors were very happy as it was the rarest moment for the department to have their student qualifying for JRF in his/her first attempt. I talked to my favourite Shyju sir and I felt extreme happiness in his voice. At that moment I wanted to hug him. Whenever I feel low, I just remember his words. “Rohan, every person has their own ethical values and they act accordingly. Always stick to your own ethics no matter what is happening to you in your surroundings. You will be at the top.”
Admission to Pondicherry University
I applied for admission to Pondicherry University. I was asked to submit my research proposal and give a presentation on the concerned proposal. I made the presentation without anyone’s help. Because if you do something on your own, you become confident. And I proved it, I got an offer letter from Pondicherry University. That’s it. I made it happen because I wanted to and I prepared myself for this. Currently, I am enjoying my research days at Pondicherry University.
Taking up your weakness as a challenge and an opportunity to improve will always put you ahead of your competitors. I had a little stage fear and there was a free time of two months in the process of admission. I started doing stand-up shows in Delhi and Varanasi. Later I did great shows and enhanced my skills.
Message to Juniors
At last, I would leave a few messages for my juniors, and friends.
- Have an idea, and work on the skills which are required in the execution of the concept.
- Each day should be progressive, learn new skills and implement them into your idea
- Eat well, Sleep well and have fun also
- Most importantly have faith in your idea, you may be late but certainly not fail.
- Do all the things which you feel productive for your future
- Travel solo as much as you can
- Attend workshops and seminars
Something to think about! What’s stopping you from pursuing your passion?
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