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‘My school teachers were my second parents’

The alumna from Apeejay School, Saket says that having studied at this school makes her stand out in the crowd



She is at present, pursuing her engineering and specialising in Agriculture from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology in Bhubaneswar-College of Agriculture Engineering and Technology. Shreya Mahoptra, the 2nd year student who began her educational journey at Apeejay School, Saket, says that it would be tough to choose one single memory from her school since there are so many.

“I joined Apeejay when I was in the nursey and completed my schooling from here; never having changed my school. So, it would be extremely difficult to choose one or even a few. I had so much fun in school and participated in all the co-curricular activities it organised,” Mahoptra said.

Excerpts from an interview.

You are from Odisha. How did you end up studying in Delhi?

My father, who is a Chartered Accountant, moved to Delhi when I was a toddler. When it was time for me to join school it had to be Delhi. Even now, while I am here in Bhubaneswar, my parents are still in Delhi.

Share some memories from your school.

It will be extremely tough for me to choose even a couple. I was in Apeejay from nursery to class XII. I have thousands of these. Besides academics, I was part of all the activities that the school would hold. Be it music, dancing, poem recital, dramatics, and any other competition being held. The school was a home away from home. All the teachers, over the years, became a family to me. When I was in school, it was like I moved from one home to another.

I recently visited the school after the Covid-induced lockdown and met all my teachers. It was like coming home; all the teachers hugged me. It was such a heartfelt moment.

“I had so much fun in school and participated in all the co-curricular activities it organised”

Shreya Mahoptra, Pursuing BTech, University of Agriculture and Technology in Bhubaneswar

Is there a teacher who played a big role in your life?

Yes, my English teacher, Amreen ma’am. She was just not a teacher to me; she was my mentor and guide. I would say she was my mother when I was in school. Besides teaching English, she gave me life lessons and how to move ahead in life. She used to encourage me to not only do well in my studies but also take up extracurricular activities. She always pushed me to better myself and inculcate human values in me. I love her and miss her.

Was it tough to be good in studies and participate in events?

If a person makes up his/her to pursue something, it is always possible to make time for things that you want to pursue. Even though I was from the Science stream, I ensured that I was part of each function/event that the school held. I follow what I call the 9-8-7 rule. Nine hours of study; eight hours for various activities and seven hours of proper sleep. I found that if I took these breaks and played an instrument, I was able to concentrate better while studying.

Why did you choose to pursue Agriculture Engineering?

Actually, for as long as I can remember, I had wanted to become a doctor and my life was geared toward preparing for NEET. But destiny played its hand. When I cleared class XII, I had a change of heart. I knew that I wanted to do something that few pursue and give back to society. I had not heard of Agriculture Engineering and sounded interesting and something that I would love to explore. I, therefore, sat for the Indian Council of Agriculture Research exam and had an AIR rank.

What does this field entail?

The field has practical applications in a country as vast as ours. We know that 80 per cent of our population is engaged in farming. But it also means that we need to use technology to better our farming methods instead of using the old traditional ways. Take an example. Large fields can be fertilised with drones. It not only saves time but the fields can also be evenly fertilised.

Take another example – the air pollution in Delhi due to stubble burning. We produce so much crop and with it comes residue. One project that I am working on is how engineering can help to reduce this waste (waste management).

What difference do you see between your peers and the values you were taught at Apeejay?

There is a huge difference. Besides, the fact that I studied in Delhi and they in Odisha or another state, there is a whole difference in how we behave. At Apeejay we were taught to be courteous toward our elders. I know how to tackle issues that I may face; I am confident. I am away from home, but I know how to stand on my own and fight my battles. I feel I have an added advantage for having studied at Apeejay.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.