BE Ambassador of the month: October 2022
The BE Ambassador program is a group of previous and current BE students who applied to be part of the ambassador program. The ambassador program gives students the opportunity to work with BE in developing it's programs while building a strong community space for ambassadors.
Thank you to Shreya Shah, a BE Ambassador, for helping edit this interview transcript as well the other's in this series!
This time, though, we are getting a chance to learn more about Shreya, check it out below!
Editorial & Community Manager, BE
YouthBoard & Ambassador, BE
BE Student Story Features Shreya Shah sharing with us the book she’s written and the thought that goes behind it, including her experience with BE with Community Manager Rouxbin Smit
Hello! Are you ready?
Let’s begin this highlight with you sharing what your name is and where you are from?
Hi Rouxbin! My name is Shreya Shah and I’m from India! I’ve been living in Gujarat for 2 years, in the Green City of the state – Gandhinagar. I was born and brought up in Mumbai – the city of dreams.
So Shreya, you’re already aware of how this goes, but to be sure, in this first segment we’ll be talking more about you, getting to know you, and then in the latter half focus more on the behind the scenes of your thoughts and BE.
Starting off, what is one word you’d use to describe yourself?
I say optimistic, mainly because I believe that is something I actively try to be. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my life and especially in my mental health, which is also mentioned as part of my book, and if that has taught me one thing, it’s that there’s no point dwelling on the negative, and so I always try my best to see the better side of things.
That definitely is one optimistic approach I’d say:)
Next, if you could have the voices of any 3 people inside your head, who would they be?
My grandmother, Min Yoongi (BTS Member), and my best friend.
The one main person who’s voice I’d want in my head, if I could, would be my grandmother and mainly because she is kind of like an anchor to me. She passed away last year, but there is so much I have yet to learn from her. My grandmother was the only one in the family who could keep everyone connected, without even trying, that’s the kind of person she was!
I’d say Min Yoongi next because he is a huge inspiration for me. I am a proud ARMY member and yes, I do get a lot of grief about it, but the one thing that keeps me going is my admiration for these 7 guys and the message of self love they advocate. They made it to the absolute top from nothing except their love and passion for music, hard work, determination and grit, overcoming every insecurity and obstacle. Especially him, Min Yoongi, and that’s why, his voice in my head would probably serve as an effective motivation, because someday, I want to be there too, at their level, as their equal!
My best friend’s voice would be in my head solely to fuel all the crazy thoughts I have, after all why remain sane when you can always be insane 🙂
Beautifully put! I guess in the end, it is essential to balance out the motivational thoughts with a little bit of crazy too 🙂
Next, what is your favourite book/ movie/ TV series/ social media account right now?
My favourite book is – Attitude Is Everything by Jeff Keller.
Mainly because I believe it encourages one to have a positive mindset but in a rather practical and realistic method rather than an ideal, opportunistic way. We all hear motivational speakers constantly tell us to have a positive mindset to succeed you know, to keep working hard and to never give up, whereas the difference I found in this book was that it showed us how we can attain success while remaining optimistic, while also highlighting the importance of having such a mindset. In all, I believe it highlights a more holistic approach to pursue a goal.
That is indeed true! Having a realistic approach for the idealistic dreams we dream, seems like an irony but when you think about it, it does seem logical.
So Shreya, what is the one thing about you few people know?
A very few selected people knew that I’m a writer, to be honest.
Now that the book is out for everyone to see, I can’t say the same for now, but before that, my writing was something very personal to me. Something raw and vulnerable, and it was something I’d always kept close to my heart. Mainly because it was the one place I believed to be a true outlet for my emotions. To be honest, I’m not really a person who tends to look for other people to share my emotions with, be it happy or sad, mostly because it kind of makes me feel vulnerable but also because that is the kind of environment I’ve grown up in. So every negative/positive emotion I had, went right into my poems. And so, when it began with random, undecipherable scribbles in my book to eventually consolidating it all into a book, save a few people, no one really knew that I wrote.
The approach is definitely interesting, to be able to deal with your own emotions on your own rather than depending on other people to help detangle them for you, does seem sensible.
So for the last question of this segment, what do you want to see less of in the world?
Well, as of late, I think I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about the climate. I recently travelled to my hometown and returned and I observed so much wasting happening. There was so much waste, plastic waste, paper waste, food, water, literally anything and everything, everywhere I went, whether that be going on trains or going to restaurants, and so, if there is something I would want to see less of in this world, it would be wastage. I mean, I’m not even at the point where I’m saying, ‘There’s so many people who don’t have the same privilege as you’, it’s simply the fact that if you’re able to afford something like clean food and water, why waste it?
But at the same time, I do know such issues are not something I can tackle all by myself, no matter how many protests or campaigns I sign, so I tend to do as much as possible by myself. And when I say so, I do not mean, not making an effort, because when you look at it, there’s a really thin line between, ‘I can’t do it alone’ and ‘others aren’t doing it, so why should I?’. So I’d like to think what I’m doing is trying to change that equilibrium by actively trying to maintain the effort of causing as little waste as possible and hope people who see me doing that are motivated to do the same.
So, as you already are aware of, this next segment will be more about an activity you’re doing or wish to do that we’re trying to highlight through this interview:
So, what will you be talking about today?
This is totally going to sound scripted but I assure you, it is not 🙂
I know I’m technically supposed to highlight the book I published, but I also wanted to highlight the work you guys at BE are doing. I did the BE Confident course with Beyond Education (BE) and to be honest, I’m not sure if that was the push I needed or was it the circumstances around me at the time I did the course, but I do believe, doing the course, in some way, has given me the confidence to actually publish my own book, you know. Before I’d actually submitted my manuscript, before clicking on the submit button, there was a period of time where I’d been feeling super inferior. Especially when I come across the written works of my friends and so many other people on my social media, like:
‘How can I publish a book about my poems, when there are so many more people out there that I know that are much more deserving of this than me.’
I still have that feeling sometimes, there’s still this itch to always go back and correct it, to point out flaws, but now it’s out there, now I can’t do anything, even if I want to, but helping me attain that courage and confidence, helping me click the submit button, I think that is what BE has given me.
Haha! I’m glad we could be of help to you on your journey!
So you mentioned also wanting to highlight your book, right, so would you maybe want to talk about how writing your own book or the journey of writing your book challenged the way you view the world?
Like I briefly mentioned earlier, writing came to me like an outlet, like a journal or diary for some, and if there’s anything about outlets/venting that is common around the world, it is that it usually tends to be negative. That was when I’d realised just how much negativity I’d surrounded myself in. I realised how my negative emotions were so much more easier to tap into and draw out whenever I wanted to write a poem with darker themes, but only that much more difficult when it comes to writing about something happy or positive. Whenever I showed my mom, or my friend my poems they would always comment on how ‘beautiful, but negative’ it was, and somewhere along the line I guess it just clicked, ‘why do I never write nice things?’
Still, the process of getting there was much harder because there still are a lot of bottled emotions in me, that could literally pop anytime, but I can definitely say, writing this book has helped me view the better side of the world a little more easily.
So, when you say you published a book, did you have any influences/people/inspiration that helped you stay motivated or gave you the goal to have your book published? And if so, who are they?
I’ve never particularly looked up to someone in my field or someone similar to who I am, yes there is this certain level of admiration for some people, but never enough to actually influence me. When it came to publishing this book, it was all based on gut feeling. I’m not even kidding! Recently, a previous teacher of mine had told me, after reading one of my poems that, ‘you’re not one to give up and you don’t give up mainly because you don’t care about the results!’ And somewhere, it is true. I had actually come across an Instagram post by, who are now, my publishers about how I could enter a contest and get my own book published, and mind you, this type of stuff, I most often ignore, mostly because I never thought I or my poems were ready for that kind of an exposure, especially through something like Instagram Ads, but somewhere I just had this instinct, this gut feeling that I had to register. And so I did.
And honestly, I’m still not completely ready, I still believe, they’re too personal and too raw and just not really ready for everyone to see. That I’m not ready, for everyone to see that side of me yet, to maybe handle the criticism, but honestly, even if I could go back and not publish the book, I would never do that. I wanted to have my name out there in the world, and now it’s there, and I’m going to have to deal with whatever comes with it because I still have so much more to achieve!
Well, I think you’re going to do just great! From what I’ve heard the book definitely sounds like a must read!
So, bringing the point back to BE before we wrap up, we have 12 competencies we focus on here at BE (Collaboration, Curiosity, Creativity, Communication, Growth Mindset, Critical Thinking, Courage, Mindfulness, Resilience, Leadership, Ethics, Metacognition), which of these do you think you have:
- improved on and would like to improve upon, by working on this book and why do you think so?
If I have to choose one competency I’ve improved upon, I’d say – Growth Mindset. Mostly because, when I compare myself now and just two years ago, I’ve come from having absolutely no goal and being completely lost to having a goal and actually achieving a milestone in my goal. Every day, I’ve begun to reflect back on my daily goals and my long term goal and find new ways to see how I can reach there, how can I achieve it, and I believe that in itself is progress, but of course, there’s still a lot to do.
As to the competency I’d say I’d like to improve upon, I’d say maybe – Ethics.
The sole reason for that, especially lately, is that I don’t like how I judge people, without even getting to know them properly. I am embarrassed to admit it, but it’s not even the, ‘I’m judging you on your first impression and first impressions can be misleading’ kind of judgement. Sometimes, it’s pretty bad and I think, it’s human tendency to kind of stick with what your initial thoughts about a person are, and I don’t like the fact that sometimes, the first thing I think about someone is something negative, and I definitely don’t like the fact that how sometimes, no matter how hard I try, somewhere in the back of my mind, that judgement sticks and affects my friendship or relationship with said person and so my ethics, or maybe my moral compass is something I’d like to urgently work on.
- Which of the competencies have you noticed is valuable and why?
I’m in the science field, so it’s an obvious answer 🙂
But genuinely, I think curiosity is such a valuable asset in our lives, when we’re curious about anything, there is a constant change in our mind. We’re subconsciously always thinking about that thing and how we can add our input to it, and I believe that is something that is really essential in our personal and work lives, to have that curiosity and that spark, to constantly change the surroundings we’re in or even our own self.
There’s this one really funny incident that I do remember, it was this one day, I was walking home from college and it had just finished raining, right, and so like on the sidewalk, I saw this huge, and I mean huge group of worms, abnormally coloured, just crawling towards this one place. I walked forward and so more and more worms crawling out of their spots and moving towards that one place, like the Death Eaters in Harry Potter, and it was something so abnormal, I literally stood in the middle of the street trying to capture it all on video. There were even a couple of people who stopped seeing me and asked me if I knew what was happening, which I didn’t. But this why, this why was VERY essential. This led me to go home and look up what kind of creature it was and why they were all crawling to that central place, and I won’t go into the science of it, but it was definitely one very interesting research adventure.
It does sound bizarre, I can see why you were so interested in it!
Anyways, since we’re kind of wrapping up, let’s conclude with a couple more personal questions?
What are you most proud of? It can be your book or even anything about your life.
I think I’m most proud of the fact that I’m actively trying to change myself, every single day. Like I mentioned before, I myself feel that the person I am today is hugely, hugely different from the person I was even a year ago, and the reason for that is that I’m consciously making an effort to not repeat my mistakes, to learn from my mistakes and correct my behaviour, or to just simply be more kind and open minded. And the thing is, it’s not even as time consuming as some people think, even taking 2-5 minutes daily and thinking about what you can improve upon is massive. My dad used to say that no matter what you’ve done today there’s always a tomorrow that is full of things. So when you go to bed, since you’re not gonna fall asleep immediately, use that time to think about what you did today and how you can improve upon tomorrow.
Coming up on the second-last question for the day, who are your childhood heroes?
Well, I did mention not really having any particular influences in my early life and as such I’ve also never really had any celebrity crushes or anything, but like as a kid, the first people we always tend to look up to is our parents and so for me I’d say my childhood hero was my dad. But today, if you ask me who I look up to, I’d say it’s both my dad and my brother. There’s so much I have to learn from them, from my brother I want to learn how to have a strong mind, how to remain calm in any situation and deal with situations efficiently and from my dad, we’ll I want to learn how to manage literally everything. Because he somehow always finds the time to do everything, his personal time, work, chores, time with the family, everything!
That does sound like something I’d want to learn too!
So the last question for the day, is there anything you want to share with us apart from what was discussed? Anything you want to tell everyone?
Well, nothing really special. Just maybe that, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, in whatever way, to whatever extent. Try to put yourself out there and not be afraid of consequences, of judgement, of hate or criticism, because honestly, there’s always people who’re going to comment, whether you’re staying out and not doing anything or going out there and doing your best, so why not choose to do the best and let the rest just fall into place.
Amazing! It was so much fun to talk to you today Shreya! I know it’s a hectic time for you right now, with uni and all, so thank you so much for being able to do this highlight!
No worries! It was super fun doing this with you too Rouxbin! Thank you!
For all our readers, Shreya is now a published author, who launched her debut book on Amazon & Flipkart India, and will soon release it on the global market as well, for all international readers.
Although her book, ‘Love, Life & Teenage’ is more recommended for the young adult audience, since it contains themes more relatable to that audience, anyone is welcome to read and review the book, any review would be highly appreciated!
The links to purchase the book are mentioned below!
Have a fun day folks! 🙂
E-Book Copy (available as a global copy):