Stoa Digest #31: It's Your Life,
What are you going to make of it?
✍🏼 From an Alumni’s Editorial Desk ✍🏼
Do you remember how letters were read in movies in the 80s and the 90s?
You’d see a version of the writer’s face in the letter. And the reader would react while the writer’s echoing voice narrated the letter’s content.
For the next 5 minutes, turn off your notifications, forget about your ex, let your work stress come attack you another time, breathe in, breathe out & come take a seat by me.
You’ve got a similar one-on-one coming.
For as far back as I can remember, I never was the best at anything and I never strived to be.
From grades 1 to 12, I was always among the top five students, and frankly, I was quite alright with that arrangement. I mean, thanks to my marks, I rarely was pestered to study. Which meant I had free reign over how I spent my time. Time was therefore spent judiciously reading stories and playing games.
My hypothesis on how such an upbringing shaped me, is that it made me really content with where I was. The only place where I got moderately competitive was sports. When I got to college, I found that you could sail through engineering with almost no effort. Time was therefore judiciously spent at the bar and on the beach.
Here’s what I missed though- I assumed that if I could sail through life without putting in a lot of effort, imagine what I could do after putting in the work.
It didn’t help that I got into consulting right after engineering. That narrative of immense potential I’d sold to myself never got a sanity check. Until I finally got off the consulting bandwagon and started building stuff.
Turns out it is incredibly hard to be the best at something and quite easy to be slightly better than the majority. Also, it gets increasingly harder to get better at a certain thing after a particular threshold.
By the time I joined Stoa, enough reflection sessions had taken place, for me to want to simply sail through it.
I decided to go all-in on the program.
Which translated to being present during the sessions, paying attention to prompts (even if that meant going through them all at once on a Friday night), being active in the community, bantering on the Discord - I’ve done it all. Basically showing up every day without fail (except maybe during the legendary C3 Goa trip).
And it felt like 🪄🧙🏼 magic. 🪄🧙🏼
Putting in the effort for the very first time translated into a phenomenal learning experience and some absolutely kick-ass relationships.
My ask of you is to give the Stoa experience an honest shot. My ask of you is to feel that Magik!
Whether that means doubling down on certain skills you already possess or building a generalized understanding of several things, you’ve got to become comfortable with discomfort.
Didn’t have enough fun in college? Make time for Mafia nights or organize charades, find your jam.
Think you are terrible at communication? Host events.
Always brimming with ideas that never see the light of the day? Build products, get feedback, improve the build.
Not great at organizing? Plan a meetup.
Now that you’re in the community, you’re free to do what you want with your time here. What are you gonna make of it?
Our fellows log their experiences in the Stoa Digest. Sign up for more, every Monday at 7pm!
Birthday Parttaaayy! 🥳 🎂
17th - Mohammad Azeem, Anish Kumar, Ruthvik Reddy, Sasanka Kashyap, Reema Khendry
18th - Siba Prasad Samant, Gautham Shenoy, Poonam Vernekar, Sumanka Goli
20th - Dhaval Chaudhary
23rd - Ratnadeep Deshmane, Bijit Deka, Abhinandan Pande
24th - Rengarajan Gunasekaran
🔦 Fellow Spotlight 🔦
What did you end up studying in college?
I just went to a good ol’ Engineering college. Nothing very different.
Did you like engineering?
Yeah, for sure, I mean I enjoy working in Tech, and I definitely want to stay in the sector, but I'd love to have more contributions to projects and work, in general.
I remember when I finished studying UnderGrad, I thought of applying to UPSC cause I thought I would like to work in that sort of role. Very quickly I learnt, that it was my least favourite thing to do at the time - sit in those coaching classes.
The ability to rote was what was judged in those classes, and I definitely didnt enjoy it at all - so that meant scrapping those plans.
So I eventually ended up doing an M.Tech in Networking
Is your day job where your passions lie?
Oh no, not at all. Like, I enjoy working on side-hustles, the learning curves are huge and you get to make decisions for things you wouldn’t normally.
How/what side hustles have you ended up having on the side with your job?
I’ve ended up working on side hustles just through my friends. Back in ‘20 there was a friend who wanted to open a restaurant, I helped him with that.
Another opportunity I’d had a similar way, was working on Pados.
Would you give up your current job to go all-in on side hustles?
I dont think so, no. Not right now, at least.
I remember seeing PRDs and wanting to learn how to write them - that was my reason for wanting to do a Masters.
In an alternative universe, what job would you pick?
I’d pick something I haven't taught myself/learnt yet, that’d be my compass to choose, I think.
Actually, when I was in school I used to properly think that “being a politician” was a career path, and that I could somehow choose it, but then I grew up & learnt how it works, and I guess that was that.
Where did Stoa fit in in this whole picture?
This one time, I ended up watching a few of Stoa’s YouTube videos, and finally when I saw Raj talking about the expectations they had of fellows applying to Stoa, and that’s sort of what tipped me into applying.
Since I was working on a side hustle that was wanting for more processes in place to run as a business I thought, what better time to learn - and Stoa was my way of finding this education.
What books have you been reading recently?
Well, I have a few coming to mind at the moment.
We are the Nerds, and
If someone were to put you on the spot and ask you to talk for 10 minutes, what would it end up being about?
Just my stories through life, to be honest, I have a lot.
What hobbies/interests get you talking?
Well, like most humans, mine keep changing.
I’ve been going to ComicCon for a while, so I collect like these animé figurines of mostly One Piece so far, but also have a couple first generation Pokémon figurines as well.
A considerable time ago I told myself I’d learn to read sheet music, and I did start, but the pandemic had other plans, so I’ve not really gained any expertise there.
What ends up getting you out of a bad mood at work?
Well, I’ve mostly been lucky that I’ve not had particularly bad days as such, but when I do have a slightly more stressful time, I just take a nap.
That’s my coping mechanism.
You’ll find Akshar here: On LinkedIn / On Twitter
Want to learn about more fellows from the Community? Sign up here!
📣 📣Announcements📣 📣
This Tuesday we have Twitter maven Rakshit Agarwal running a session on Triumphing Twitter Threads. If you’re new to twitter, want to learn how to write great threads, or just build social proof on Twitter - this is a good session to attend.
And as if timed with serendipity, two of our greatest enthucutlets Shonik & Ishaan are running a session on being Community Connoisseurs. This one is for all you C5 folks,
all the lurkers and
even those who are not entirely sure what Discord even is -
These two powerhouses will give away some trade secrets on how they became engagement geniuses within our Community.
You’ll find the link to all events to join on your Community Calendars, or on the #Announcements channel on our Discord server.
Feel free to hit the bell icon to receive a reminder before the events start.
Best Discord Messages
What have your favourite ads of all time been? Tell them to us!
Last week's fellow-led releases
Master Roaster Mr. Ujwal Ratra was on a podcast this past week talking about Cyber Security. Give him a listen!
What’s been brewing? ☕️
Saxena saheb, the man from our Editorial this Monday, has also started putting out content on Twitter that’s Crypto-focused.
Siyara has got on the Twitter Train finally!!
How do you end up separating work from life? Kevin took some steps for his own self recently, and wrote all about it.
Renga’s back with perspectives!
For Stoans by Stoans ✍🏼📚⏯
Weekend Binges 🥤🍿
If you’re looking for a way to improve your no-code chops, you can check out 100 Days of No-Code here
Looking for the best things in a range of fields? Every week, find us right here!
Meme Wars 🥲
This week’s shiny new winner of Best Meme goes to Mr. Sweepstakes himself …………
To end, we’ll leave you with this:
There’s enough & so much more happening in our Community,
🚶🏻♂️🚶🏻♀️Pace Yourself & ✨Be Gentle! ✨