As youngsters, we are often confused and unclear whenever we are called upon to make important decisions, whether it be the choice of a career, college, school, friends or anything.
Although we cannot bypass that stage of our life completely, what is in our hands is to gather as much knowledge as we can, think about it and make a decision.
When I was faced with the decision of making a choice about my career, I too was very undecided about what I should do.
Since I had studied Commerce during my intermediate education, I was rather inclined to pursue CA as a career option since all of my friends were doing it.
However, fate had some other plans for me.
When I researched the tourism industry, I was convinced that this was just the career for me.
As I had studied at O P Jindal School, I had to face some negativity from my relatives and friends who seemed to think that I was throwing away a good school education for a career in the hospitality industry.
Such common occurrences often become extremely overwhelming when one has to make a decision, especially about the career.
At that moment, I was supported by my father, who supported me in those crucial moments by believing in me.
I would not say that I was an extremely hard-working student, who studied all day and all night.
However, I do believe that talent does play a role in success, and I do believe that the vocation of Hotel Management (Restaurant Skills) was meant for me, for which I did quite well in my course of study.
I studied in CV Raman Institute of Hotel Management in Bhubaneswar.
The first time I entered the kitchen, and saw the equipment, ingredients, clean surfaces and the fire, I got hooked to cooking.
In the 3rd year of my course, I became the institute topper with highest cumulative average across 3 years.
It was a gratifying moment for me and my family, all of whom were very proud of me.
When it was time for our campus placement interviews, I was interviewed for Mayfair Hotel Management Trainee position.
It was the day of truth for me, when after 5 rounds of interview I got selected for the programme.
My family, and especially my father, were beyond happy.
It was then that I came across India Skills competition while reading the newspaper one day.
All of my classmates were participating in it, which is why I decided to give it a go, although I wasn’t very interested in it as I had already landed a job.
When I won the district-level competition and entered the State-level fray, it spurred me on to greater heights.
When I won the gold medal in the state-level competition too, the Odisha Skill Development Authority supported me to go for the regional level.
In the regional level competition, I got to interact with a lot of my peers and the pressured-contest environment pushed me to give my best, and explore new heights of my creativity.
Mayfair supported me for the competition, and gave me leave to prepare for it, for which I managed to win the gold medal at the regional level, and qualified for the India Skills final round, in which I would compete against participants from across the country.
The OSDA and my college sponsored my training for the final India Skills competition.
I was given a small lab at my college, where I would train daily from 8 am to 11-12 pm at night.
Every day, I would buy my own vegetables and groceries, then return to college and train. Many times, I would fall asleep on the bench in my training room.
Competing at the final level of the India Skills competition was a life-changing experience for me.
I would not be the person I am today had I not gone through those hours of training and those days of competition.
They not only honed my skills and made me better at my craft, but also allowed me to interact with great minds of all age groups, from across India.
Although my performance there started off a bit rocky, I made it to the end and I was shocked beyond words when I won the Gold Medal in the India Skills contest for Restaurant Services.
Odisha participated in the India Skills contest for the first time in 2018 and secured the second-best medal tally amongst all Indian states.
Winning the India Skills competition is an extremely cherished moment of my life.
More than the reward, the experiences that I gained by interacting with talented young people from across India were very enriching and useful for me.
Currently, I am at the helm of a coaching center that trains young people for the various entrance exams in the Hotel Management industry.
I also offer counsel to confused parents and students, who cannot decide if the Tourism and Hospitality Industry are a good career choice.
My dream is to set up an educational institute that will train/coach young people for the India Skills competition, hone their skills, and eventually contribute to a successful life for them. I believe that education should never be exploitative, it should be nourishing and enriching for all.
Through narrating my story for LocalWire, I hope that young people will be inspired to achieve greater heights in their own academic/vocational careers.
The views expressed are solely that of the author. LocalWire does not endorse/represent any facts/information presented in this article.
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