Shadhika Shadhika


My friends and I have stayed closely connected and speak regularly to check on each other.

When She Leads: Geeta

By Kendra Nicolai, Program Officer & Sabah Siddiqui, Donor & Program Associate

September 18, 2020

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more.

Geeta is a rising Shadhika Scholar who plans to pursue a degree in Business Management. She is a program participant with our partner site Vacha in Maharashtra. Geeta was interviewed by Program Officer Kendra Nicolai and Donor & Program Associate Sabah Siddiqui.

Press play to hear Geeta’s introduction.

Hi Geeta! What inspires and interests you about Business Management?

I was introduced to organizational management studies during 11th and 12th grades, and since then I have enjoyed studying this subject. Until that time, I had almost made up my mind to pursue a degree in Commerce. I wasn’t quite sure about any other subjects and felt very confused. I am thankful to the staff at Vacha and my school teachers for giving me some proper guidance.

Along with the pressure of finishing my 12th grade exams, people around me also started asking if I had made up my mind about college. That’s when I decided to speak to my teachers because they know me so well. They advised me to pursue a Bachelor’s in Management Studies. After that, I attended one of Vacha’s career counselling sessions and that helped me to firm up my decision.

After I complete my BMS degree, I want to do a Master’s in Management Studies before taking a job.

How did you spend time during lockdown along with Class 12 preparation (aka exams)?

I had almost completed my 12th grade exams with the exception of my English final before the lockdown was announced. Apart from my studies, I have recently been learning more about cooking. Before the lockdown I never took any interest in cooking, and my family never pressured me to learn. Now that I have a personal interest to learn cooking, I feel happy about teaching myself something new.

What did you miss doing during the lockdown?

I was my school’s head girl and had the responsibility to act as a school ambassador and role model on a daily basis and at whole school events. I really miss going to school and hanging out with my friends. I also had plans to attend a computer course which has been postponed. I was very involved in Vacha’s English classes and other in-person activities. During lockdown, I have attended Vacha’s online activities. I love doing creative arts and crafts, so I have dedicated more time to create and gift my friends some handmade cards.

What was your experience with delayed final exam results and the college admission process during lockdown?

Every week there would be news that our 12th grade final exam results would be out soon, but then they wouldn’t come. I ended up being disappointed each time. It was very stressful for the results to be delayed, because I wanted to know my final performance grades.

I was also reading everywhere about how students were experiencing a strain in their mental health with increased stress and depression caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Schools have been closed for a long time. When the exam results finally came out, many students I know felt their results were not as good as they had expected, and they didn’t have anyone to speak to.

My friends and I have stayed closely connected and speak regularly to check on each other. A few girls from my grade were unable to submit all of their final exams, and felt very depressed. My friends and I were able to speak to them to help motivate and encourage them to re-appear for their final 12th grade exams.

The college admission process was altogether a new process for me, and I hardly knew anything about it. It was difficult and confusing. I didn’t know which was the correct website and there were no clear guidelines or instructions on how and where to apply. Each college had a different procedure, so I had to spend a lot of time researching. Due to the lack of clear instructions and some poorly updated college websites, I also missed  some of the college admission deadlines.

Geeta helped document families in the Vacha community who needed basics during lockdown.

Have you taken any online classes so far?

I have mixed feelings, anxious yet excited. I feel excited because I am able to continue my studies in college, and I feel anxious due to the unstable situation around me with COVID-19 and the lockdown. I am worried about my daily commute to college since the local trains are still not operating at a full scale, and my college is a way further from where I live. I may have to rely on other public transport, but practicing social distancing on crowded buses is near impossible. I am hoping my college will begin with online classes, but I may require extra support as I am not very used to virtual learning.

Like Geeta and many other college freshmen this fall, students in India are facing colossal challenges that sometimes feel out of their control. With the support of her friends and peers, she is learning to navigate a new environment and the confusion of the current circumstances. Your financial gift will give Geeta the emotional lifeline she needs to stay motivated and focused on her educational goals.

You can make a difference by giving to our COVID fund right now.

monthly donation of $50 gives one of our Shadhika Scholars the opportunity to buy a personal computer and access computer literacy to pursue online learning.

single donation of $150 allows one of our Scholars to have a more stable wireless connection for a year to access her teachers and stay in touch with her peers for academic support.

$1,500 scholarship pledge sends a young woman to college for a year, alleviating the economic hardship that may have befallen her family and could stunt her educational goals.

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