Engineering text books don’t teach you how to write your resume, how to present yourself in an interview or to structure your thoughts and put forth an oral or written argument. The importance of these skills is rarely realised until one comes out of the cocoon called college.  However, for Siddharth Nishar, a student of Sardar Patel College of Engineering (SPCE), Mumbai, learning these skills was of utmost importance. Placements were just around the corner, and he didn’t want to miss the bus by lacking these skills. Siddharth, thus, decided to spend his hour long lunch breaks in imbibing these skills as well as imparting them to his fellow students.

One hazy afternoon, four years ago, Siddharth tagged along with one of his friends to attend a seminar on English Speaking Skills at Sardar Patel’s Institute of Technology (SPIT), Mumbai. SPIT and SPCE are a part of the same group of institutions, located in the same campus. Siddharth realised during that session that there were no such guidance seminars conducted at his institute. “I thus decided to begin the Speakers Club. I personally went to every class on campus to invite students to learn the skills that I picked up from the SPIT seminar,” says Siddharth. Unfortunately, the response was so tepid that only 2-3 students from his college turned up for his first session. His initiative later came to be known as the Speakers Club in SPCE.

Over time, the benefits of this club spread through word of mouth and the club expanded to 40 student members. “I began by conducting debates, elocutions, showing them how to write their resumes, and eventually went on to even conduct mock interviews for placements. This was exclusive of what the Training and Placement cell conducted.” said Siddharth. The faculty plays no active part in the functioning of this club. The students will now be approaching one of their English language professors to help run the club more professionally. 

The sessions conducted by the Speakers Club have helped quite a number of students in developing their confidence. One particular student, who hails from a vernacular background, credits his English speaking skills to Siddharth’s Speakers Club. “After speaking in front of an audience of 35-40 people in the club, I overcame my inferiority complex. I can now converse, not so fluently, but at least I don’t feel awkward in front of people.” says a student in his third year. 

College life ended for Siddharth two years ago, but that did not mean the end of the club at SPCE. His protégées have taken over the mantle to pass on whatever they have learnt from Siddharth. Though he has been invited to personally visit and share his experiences with the students, he has found enough time to only go twice to his college since his graduation two years ago. He tries to compensate his absence by being available to students over phone and social media. He is currently a Business Manager at Zimmber and will soon fly to the US to pursue his MBA dreams from MIT next year.

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