Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Of roller coaster rides and more at the Young India Fellowship.

Yesterday I wrote the first examination of my very first term at the Young India Fellowship. I'm here for a one-year PG diploma in liberal studies and leadership. We had three courses this term, but only one exam. Wondering how, and for heavens sake, why? Well, of course, because we're awesome! The first of the courses was the Foundations of Leadership, taken by legendary Dr. Dwight Jaggard, a renowned professor from the University of Pennsylvania. Our final assessment for the course was carried out by means of a Group Discussion. No exam policy, FTW! The second course was on Statistics and its application in the modern world, taken by another UPenn stalwart, Prof. Santosh Venkatesh. But what is a mathematical class doing on the curriculum of a liberal arts course, right? That's what we were wondering too before the course began. But over the course of the class it dawned upon us how important basic statistical understanding is to make sense of common phenomena around us, right from Pizza Hut's 30-minute-or-free guarantee to general elections and exit polls. We were graded on the basis of a number of group case studies, ending with a final report that reflected our individual understanding of the course. It may have been a rather difficult course to cope with, given the insane amounts of coursework, the American model of teaching which Indian students are not accustomed to, and the short duration of the course (3 weeks!) But it was an intense learning experience, something I'm sure most, if not all, fellows from my batch will cherish.