The year that was

As the year is almost over and I look back at the year that was, I can remember many great moments, some not so good ones and feel like I have grown so much. The year began with great enthusiasm and adventure. I made by best friends in the intro week in August and had a series of firsts. My first international flight (which was coincidentally the most luxurious Airbus A380!), my first swim in a lake, my first day in school, my first time camping among others. The intro week was really amazing and many of my friends have signed up to be part of the intro week committee that would arrange events for the coming batch. When I look back, I can clearly remember how I felt, really excited and nervous about what was ahead of me. Right from the beginning, I loved the place, the school and the course. Over the last year, I feel I have become more and more comfortable with people and things around me and have been able to express myself and be myself with more ease.

I feel like my life is still gaining momentum and I am still on my way to the destination. In terms of achievement I feel my high point came in spring, after a long, cold and dark winter. I gave a talk at TedxSSE after I won a student competition for the event. It was quite an amazing moment, and we are still waiting for the video to be processed. I’ll write a blog about it when the video comes online. The point relevant to this post though is this: I would not have had the confidence or support I needed to pull this off anywhere else. Thats crazy. ‘Cause I remember how I felt when I left the stage after giving the speech during the student competition. I felt I had forgotten a large chunk of the speech and made many mistakes. But the people who listened to it loved it! They were so supportive about it, they understood that the message behind it was way more important than the little things I forgot. This support system in Sweden is addictive and infectious.

I found the teaching and courses mostly fun. Most of the responsibility is placed on the students for their learning. This was alien to me, but something I totally appreciate and love now. I also faced some tough times, I was juggling 3-4 projects at the same time, especially just before December. After the winter break, I took a really long time to get going. It was very difficult for me to focus and gain momentum. The winter really got to me. I didn’t have the same energy to juggle so many projects or to keep sending out applications only to be rejected again and again and again. I remember, I had an interview with a dream Icelandic company which I bombed in the first minute! I mean imagine spending the summer in Iceland! So it was a tough time, I kept failing.

I also heard a million voices and opinions about Sweden. It made it very difficult for me to take one person and one moment at a time. I felt like I had to have an opinion on everything and needed to pass a judgement on the quality of the country. Such irrelevant endeavors, I believe now. I mean its such a big thing and I have never been in a hurry to make such judgements. I am still processing my life and work in India even though I left the country a year back. I can’t ever imagine there being a day when I say “This is it, this is my opinion on the country, and now nothing can change it.” As you may have guessed, I tend to float, meander and let things happen to me. I am pretty open minded that way, and also confident that I’ll manage.

Around this time I also started missing home quite a lot, so I decided to visit. Things started to change, the sun started coming out just before I left for home. This was when things started coming together again. The Ted Talk happened, I had a fantastic group which was very easy to work with, started working on some interesting projects and finally got a job for summer! I feel like my life has started gaining momentum again.

To be honest, it would be naive to expect a year (or life) without its ups and downs. I feel very lucky to be with people who are around when you are struggling. I think its so important, especially when you’re all alone in a foreign country.

Image: The first picture I clicked in Stockholm. It was all so new to me 🙂


Written by Raghuraman

24 May 2015