When I think of a time where I grew and evolved the most, what comes to mind is my time in college. I had come to US from India, not knowing much of the place or culture, of people or practices or even myself. All I knew was that I was there for a purpose … to learn and to share. And honestly, college turned out to be the most fun time of my life. I made friends, we worked hard and we had a lot of fun together …. just like these past fews weeks have been in Ankara with the team from Symantec Service Corps.
It has been so much like college that the analogy almost writes itself 🙂 The team came in, fresh off the boat, with no experience consulting, let alone for a non-profit. Just like over the course of a semester where you learn, ask questions, make mistakes and take tests, we have done the same. We have evolved our projects, learnt from our clients, developed some solutions and presented small iterations. We’ve been overwhelmed at times, yes, but only to help each other out with our projects and get back on track, just like we used to in college with homework 🙂 Before I get any further let me introduce the student body!
We have Patty and Rachel, who are like those students that seem to know everything on day one of class and wreck the curve! Well, at least I am glad we are on team Doga together.
Then there are Mirabel and Travis, who define work hard and play hard! Way too much fun to hang out with. I still don’t know how they manage to trek a mile every morning to get a good cup of coffee, run up and down the rocky stairs and get all their work done 🙂
There is the resident dreamer, Archana. Kind and extremely driven. And the incorruptible Mr. Niceguy – Amitoj.
Now, remember the lanky genius in college who just seemed to be able to pick up everything naturally and never had difficulty in any class? Well that is Joe. He speaks more than a dozen languages and can pick up and play almost any instrument!
Last but not least, there is the smart foreign student who’s accent isn’t the easiest to understand. I used to be that in college (sans the smart part), but here it is Sohini. Is it ‘mole’ or ‘mall’, ‘race’ or ‘rest’ … I can never quite tell 🙂 It is a terrible stereotype … but her SA accent is still fun!
The place we call home, Ontur Butik Otel, seems less like a hotel and more like a dorm! We hang out in the lobby, the breakfast area or each others rooms! We’ve even had a movie night after a long Monday at work … and no you don’t want to know what the movie was 🙂 Breakfast and dinner tend to be together and is always a blast. And just like in college, I have my morning running route, Ontur to Kocatepe Mosque, a favorite cafe to sit and work – Kafes Firin, a favorite take out place – Cigkofteci, and a favorite bar.
Most of all though, in 3 short weeks this place has become like college because the team came together with open minds to help our clients and forge friendships. And in that I think we have succeeded. Not only will we be delivering on our projects, but simply by being in their offices and exchanging ideas, I hope we will leave behind a fresh perspective for them to build on. As for friendships, a birthday celebration, an opening week party at Num-Num, playing Heads-Up on the way back from Cappadocia, winning quiz night at the British Embassy, reciting Rumi and thanking the academy late at night in the empty amphitheater, wading out into poring rain to find a missing passport (mine, thanks Joe and Travis), watching House of Cards and traveling together, only a few ways in which we all became friends.
Trying to characterize the team with college attributes was unfair … sorry guys 🙂 you are a great bunch and I am glad to have met you.
Thanks Symantec and Pyxera for letting me re-live college!