It’s official!

It all winds back to a random October afternoon in 2012. Meena and I were driving around in Chennai finishing up some printing errands when we have this discussion on students, schools and graduate programs. We were trying to figure out tier A, B and C schools for a student whom her dad was counselling and midst that discussion, I happen to mention I should apply to schools just for the heck of it. The moment freezes and she gives me the typical ‘Meena-look’ and says – ‘Let’s do it!’.

We drive back home and speak to her Mom and Dad to pick  their brains. Both are thrilled – to say the least. I’ve always wanted to complete a Master’s but for a long time wasn’t really sure which specialization to major in. We deliberate on how Actuarial Science is such a wonderful fit for me and why now is a good time. For the last few months we’ve been in a flux with Meena’s grad school admit, the immigrant visa situation and a slew of other things. This would only add further complications or rather – “Happy Problems” as the Bhaskars put it (and something I’ve come to really appreciate now).

That very day, we sit down to look-up universities and admission deadlines and even before I knew I’d applied to five schools – all in a span of 2-3 days. Days roll by and late February 2013 as I sit staring at coconut trees in my maternal grand-mothers house in Trivandrum the admit from Columbia creeps in. As I call and inform Meena and her parents of the admit offer, they’re electrified! I knew Columbia was a good school, really liked their electives but honestly didn’t really know that this was a great deal.  I’d received an offer from another good university a few days back but chose to go ahead with Columbia for its obvious network benefits and city-location.

Summer 2013, I eventually start the program and from then on – it’s been a great mix of experiences and surprises. Getting back into student-shoes after six long years has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Mottled with assignments, classes, internships, examinations, deadlines, projects, presentations and seminars – The last year and a half has been a great fire-up! Having the opportunity to meet some incredible people and take classes with some really great professors by itself was a huge learning.

All that said, to me personally If my $100,000 education was any worth it, it was because of a statement that one of the professors’ I really look up to kept mentioning –

“If there’s one thing I’d like you all to take from my class it’s this – It takes years and years to earn reputation of integrity, but just a second to lose it.

This sounds cliché – but just to hear it from somebody who you consider a role model, mention it every semester class; totally drives home the point. And for that I’m truly thankful to everybody – family and friends who’ve been instrumental in getting me here to where I am now.

With the Masters’ taken care of, the next short-term career goal is to earn my fellowship credentials in the next few years. It’s a steep up-curve but I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride and am more than thrilled to have chosen this path. Exciting times ahead!

12 Responses

  1. Raghu Kalyan Reply to Raghu

    This is good stuff Srikanth

  2. sougandhi Reply to sougandhi

    Nicely expressed ! Good write up. God bless

  3. Geetha Reply to Geetha

    Appakku thappatha porandha pullai!! U r too inspiring!! Great going!! Keep it up!! Writing is in all of your blood!!

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