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‘Venting out helps in case of meltdown’: Young professional on living alone in a new city

“Have a friend or a family member with whom you can talk. If not, get counselling,” says Apeejay alumna Ananya Bhanja Deo

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Raised in Odisha, Ananya Bhanja Deo was naturally overwhelmed when she moved to Mumbai—the city that never sleeps—for her first job at Adfactors PR. “Living in Delhi was easier because I had so many friends,” she says, talking about the time she studied at Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC), Dwarka. “Odisha has a certain pace of life; Mumbai is very different,” she adds. But as the new city threw challenges at her, she became determined to face them head-on to move ahead. In the process, she has had her lows, but she has also learned to cope with it all. Read more to know about her journey:

You moved to Mumbai recently to start your professional journey. What has the experience been like? What have the challenges taught you?

As someone hailing from Odisha, I would say it was really unnerving to come and live in this busy city. While the work environment is good, the real struggle is travelling for more than 1.5 hours, facing the crowd, and reaching the office on time! To be honest, I was not really prepared for these challenges. That said, the city is teaching me real survival skills, which are so crucial. I am learning each day. 

You pursued a course in Corporate Communication and Event Management. What made you opt for a PGDM at AIMC?

After completing my graduation in Mass Communication, I wanted to pursue a career in Public Relations (PR). I found AIMC to be the perfect platform to enhance my skills after I went through their courses, placement opportunities, salary package, etc.

Also Read: What makes AIMC an attractive destination for studying mass communication?

How did AIMC prepare you for the PR industry?

Although it was a short course, AIMC provided a lot of learning opportunities in that short span. At the college, we gained practical experience by organising events, media calling, cold calling, and so on. A fine mix of theoretical and practical knowledge is always very helpful. Not to mention the constant support we got from our professors right from the beginning. They were very approachable and gave us important suggestions for every project or assignment. They guided us throughout to help us grow. For instance, I was also selected to represent my college as a speaker at one of the conferences at Apeejay School of Management (ASM); I am grateful for the exposure.

Even for the placements, our mentors shared previous year questions, and arranged interactions with industry experts, and alumni, where we could discuss things on a one-to-one basis. It was a wholesome experience.

Can you tell us a little more in detail about your work?

I work for clients in the social impact sector. For now, I am doing all the documentation and research work, which includes study of their potential business, advocacy, etc. I am also involved in Media Relations where I speak to journalists, write pitches, cover events, and so on. Along with this, we also have a continuous learning programme at office to upskill ourselves. Overall, it has been a good journey so far.

What have you learned?

I have learned the importance of doing thorough research about your client’s business before and after the meeting. Second is time management—finish your tasks before the deadline.

In PR, networking is a must. If you don’t build a network in PR, then the job is not for you. You have to build a strong relationship with not only your internal stakeholders but also journalists—you have to build rapport with your team members and outside of it.

With so much to handle at office and balancing it with household chores while living in a new city away from family, does it all get too taxing?

I have meltdowns twice a day (laughs) when the schedule gets too hectic, and I realise I haven’t been able to meet friends or de-stress. But I think these meltdowns are normal. What reassures me is the fact that I have started a journey to reach my goal. There is no hack to skip the challenges; you have to walk through it all to achieve what you want.

How do you cope with these meltdowns and take care of your mental health and overall well-being?

I talk to my mother daily. I talk to my friends whenever I have a meltdown—I tell them not to tell me anything but to just listen. When you vent, you feel lighter and calm. I think that is very important. Have a friend or a family member with whom you can talk. If not, get counselling, and I say this from experience. Counselling helps the best because when you are talking to a stranger, what can go wrong? Nothing!

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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