Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Professor who...

Though testimoinials are supposed to be eloquent, I fear I can't make this one any bit so due to the tearing hurry I am in.
Yes I am supposed to  pack my bags and well, before that, give final touches to my ppt file(I am leaving for my first ever paper presentation day after tomorrow will keep you updated, keep coming back). But my punishing superego tells me not to bend before my ego and go ahead with the 'thanksgiving'.
Well I am talking about my Social Psychology Professor, Dr. Preeti Kapur (the one in saree, below).

If in two days I will be received as a research delegate in an international conference of psychology and management, it is largely due to her interest and initiative.
It was she who first suggested that I should send my abstract, when I wasn't even aware of what the acronym NAOP stands for.
The geek in me has always been enchanted by all that comes with good marks (probably my only mainstay in life ;)) and I was not very confident that I could manage my exams as well as project simultaneously since there was to be only a week's gap or less than that between the end of exams and the commencement of the conference, which meant I had to finish all my project related work before the exams (yes pressure often brings out the best in me, but I don't like taking uncalculated risks), and it was Dr. Kapur who gave me the confidence that I could handle both.

Still not convinced, I expressed my fears as to how my father would react, who would never accept any excuse for not-excellent marks, and she replied with: I will be very upset if you don't go and if your father denies permission to let you go, I will talk to him.

Now that egged me on like none other force. And to add to all this, if I have been lax in any subject this year, it is social psychology. Initially I took it too lightly, and then, after the remarks on my home assignments, I was afraid to prepare my notes all over again. God knows I was thoroughly under-prepared for social psych, but the fact that I was thoroughly prepared in  the rest of the subjects, gave me oodles of gumption and I kept working on my project till a week before my exams with the faith that I was doing a pretty good job of preparing for both exam and conference. 

Thank God, the exam was satisfactory or else, I would have had to cut a sorry figure since I have shouted on rooftops that i find 'jannat' in social psychology lectures! 

And now the project. 
On every step she has been with me. Showing infinite patience, not being bugged up by my thousand corrections and the thousand times I consult her to see if this time I got it correct and encouraging me throughout, she has been a pleasure to be guided by. Though she is of the age of my nani, I have never felt 'generation gap', with her.

Oh I see I had intended to write a testimonial! And like all other posts of mine, this has become like a page from my personal diary. Oh! I had even intended to post the link to this page on her fb wall, but now no, certainly nothing of that sort :D

The extremely approachable and thoroughly amicable person that she is, students find it easy to lay bare their vulnerability in front of her(at least I do :D).

 (This pic was taken a year ago when the whole department was on a day long picnic. Those in the back row are some of our professors and those in the front are our seniors- the 4 toppers incidentally)

Ok, to carry on, her response in such circumstances is what has endeared her to me. She makes you feel comfortable, encourages you to tell her in plain words that you couldn't come up with something of the level she expected and then guides you again without spoon-feeding you.
Yes, she never hesitates to answer any query, yet never gives the complete answer herself.
She implores the psychologist in you to think a little harder, go beyond and appreciates and encourages you on every small step, reminding you all the time how far you could go.

One particular instance, a month back, when I was low on confidence regarding my paper presentation due to the voluminous data which I had to analyze in a short time, and her memorable dialogue (with dancing eyes) then, has become etched in my memory: in class, you all might feel that you are pretty average, but go outside, outside DU, and you will know where you actually stand. This line never fails to pick me up and get me going whenever I am afraid that my project may not be very good.

In the classroom, she is graceful. Yes, I mean it when I say graceful! She is all alive with interesting anecdotes and live examples from all walks of life, be it literature, history, politics or media. Her lectures are by far the most interactive I have ever been a part of, and that is extremely pleasing for somebody who just can't keep quite for a very long time in the class. She understands people like me who want to share all that they know regarding the topic, and she even encourages us to discuss what we read in DT or HT City if that happens to be relevant to the discussion. No holds barred discussions. Engaging debates on anything and everything under the sun that we try to analyse as social psychologists. Lively atmosphere. Jannat, as I said.

There are few teachers who work so hard on her students as Dr. Kapur does. She just needs to get a glimpse of the unpolished diamond in you and interest on your part to learn and improve(her words these are, btw ;)), and lo! she devotes all her energies in an effortless manner to make sure you realise your potential.

I just hope my work is appreciated in the conference and I see that lovely smile on her face due to my efforts. Working hard has never been so much joy!

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