Tuesday, 23 June 2020

i4C Blogathon - First Runner Up Prize Winning Entry by Ms. Aishwariya Elangovan | Theme - SIH

How Smart India Hackathon (SIH) participation has helped me to strengthen my competency and enhance my skill-sets

First Runner Up Prize Winning Entry  | Theme - SIH 

 Ms. Aishwariya Elangovan
4th Year, Electronics/Electrical
St.Joseph's College of Engineering

I would definitely tell you that Smart India Hackathon has created priceless moments and achievements in every participant’s life. It is a lifetime memory. It has moulded me in to what I am now from then. 

No idea of what Smart India Hackathon is?

Smart India Hackathon, a nationwide initiative brings out smart innovators across India to solve technical challenges.. It is a great time for students to showcase their talents. 

In my experience, it is a 36 hour long competition, that takes you through a roller-coaster ride with twist and turns, joy and fun, good times alternating with difficult times.

You win or lose, experience leads to success” is all that I learned from the journey of SIH. Not only had it enhanced my technical skills but also my interpersonal skills through the exposure I gained. I would relate various types of emotions that I experienced with the qualities I earned.


             “Sufferings taught me to be patient, Motivations made me more efficient;

Challenges taught me my strengths, Support gave me more confidence.

Fear taught me to become creative, Efforts turned the results productive;

Confusions made me nervous, As a team it was adventurous.”

So, isn’t it really exciting?

It is not a cakewalk to land up for this big event. But if you are into the play, I am sure that it will transform you to another level.

Here I share with you some of my experiences that helped me strengthen my skills.

1. Collaborate to Enhance Learning

One has to be open minded to collaborate. I strongly admit that I never loved to collaborate until I realized through this experience that how combined skills of several individuals contribute to greater success.

I learnt a lot as a team.

4 Major things we do when we collaborate:

  • Setting a goal: It is not easy to accomplish a task as a single person. A team is like a machine where multiple parts work simultaneously to perform an action. That’s where collaboration helps you achieve your goal.

  • Exchange of ideas: As we were a team of six from different departments, each possessed a unique skill that helped me to expand my learning. When you collaborate, learning becomes fun!

  • Acquire learning: Each one of us has different approaches when it comes to thinking. Consequently, one among the team comes up with an idea that others might have never thought of.

  • Working effectively: It is very common that we go through misunderstandings when working as team. Yet, we learn from our mistakes and work more effectively.

2. Communication as an Effective Tool

One of the best things that happened to me was the opportunity to connect with some really awesome people. If you want to connect with people, you must communicate well.

Most of us take a step back when we are asked to communicate. We feel nervous, we panic, we slip up and what else…We land up embarrassing ourselves.

To establish a rapport with the team and the jury, communication is very important.

So, how do I communicate effectively?

I still remember how nervous I felt during the first round of evaluation. But, the key to good communication is confidence. You can be technically strong enough yet you have to be confident while presenting your ideas. Also, be clear and responsive when you communicate.

 The more we collaborate, more we learn to communicate.

3. How to Deal with Conflicting Opinions and Ideas? 

'Competitions' are the best platforms for students to gain better understanding of how to deal with conflicting opinions and ideas.

A task becomes more challenging when conflict arises.

What do you do when a conflict arises?

The first thing we tend to do is the “Don’ts”. We argue and defend our opinion. Does it really make sense?

Absolutely not. I always viewed conflict in a negative perspective as it was hard to resolve. But my mentors taught me that conflict has to be managed rather than being avoided.

 After every round of evaluation, conflicts arose about how tasks have to be performed based on the jury’s feedback. The goal of the conflict was to bring a solution to our problem. In fact, I would compare conflicts with addition and subtraction as it adds innovation to your solution and subtracts dissatisfaction. Also, it helps you enhance your communication skills.

4. Knowledge through Practical Experience

The ‘Why’, ’What’, ’How’ questions arise only when you experience learning practically. We learn from various sources. But, do we practically implement what we learn? 

The Smart India Hackathon is one large platform that helped me acquire knowledge through brainstorming and practical experience. It got me exposed to various other skills that cannot be achieved through theoretical learning. 

It doesn’t mean that theoretical learning is of no use. 

Before you play a game, it is important to know how to play it.

It is the base of practical learning.

5. Explore Beyond the Nutshell

We all create, but only very few build over it. Exploring is an adventure. It will teach you beyond what you learn.  

The passion we had towards robotics helped us to bring a solution for the ministry we worked for but it was not exactly what they expected. The judges were amazed by the innovation that each team brought about for the problem statement, but neither of the teams achieved the expected solution. It was one such experience that triggered me to step ahead. At first, I thought it was all about winning that would bring success. But am sure, losing has more power than winning. I started to explore from where I left. When we explore, we learn a lot in a very short span of time.  

Never give up. Just start from where you left. Compete with yourself. You will succeed.

Didn’t this give you some inspiration to chase your adventure? So, whatever it is, get through it, learn from it, explore beyond and share your experience for others to learn from it.