My (Success) Story
        The dictionary defines success as '... favorable termination of a venture...the degree or measure of attaining a desired undertaking that succeeds or confers success...succeeding fully or in accordance with one's desires' (Babcock, 1993). When I received request regarding my success story for the Alumni News Letter of AVCOE, I was stint for a minute. All successful people don't write success stories may be because they are either too shy or too humble or too busy. But I found an opportunity to interact with my seniors, juniors, batch-mates and teaching staff after a long time. This is the motivation behind this story. Although the article is titled as success story; I am mainly focusing on the failures in my life. George Bernard Shaw quoted as 'A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing' and I think, we learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
       I would like to introduce myself in brief. I, Pravin Kolhe, born and brought up in Sangamner and belong to the farmer's family. I graduated from AVCOE in 2004 as a Civil Engineer. I entered in AVCOE in 1999, and enjoyed the college days in such a way that I had got the 'gift' of backlogs and finally I was listed in the super-class category of 'Ex' students! That was my first failure, which forced me to think seriously and positively towards the life. In the 'rest' period of one year I realize the mistakes that I did during first year and most of them were common such as not realizing the self-capacity and lack of confidence. I figured that I had failed because I had no interest in some subjects like electrical and electronics engineering. I had not applied myself because I couldn't see how it would help me in my work as a Civil Engineer. But then I changed my attitude. I said to myself: "If the university authorities demand that I pass these subjects too, before I obtain a degree, who am I to question their wisdom?" So I enrolled again. At the same time, fortunately I came in touch with some angels who appeared in front of me, my friends called them as- 'teachers'. Their guidance helped me to concentrate on the study. I think it was the turning point in my life. This time I passed because instead of wasting my time in resentment and arguments about how hard it was, I studied diligently and worked hard.
       After failure in first year I found inspiration from a marathi book 'Amcha Baap Aan Amhi' by Dr. Narendra Jadhav - currently he is the vice chancellor of University of Pune. This book inspired me such a way that, I become class topper in Second year. That was my first achievement in AVCOE. I believe that success follows success and in third year I become a college topper and finally I received a Gold Medal for being University Topper in final year. That was my greatest laurel in life till that time. Whenever I look back I found the journey very tough, and there were some disappointing events in my life. But I think the disappointment is necessary for the life, which gives the reason to proceed and ultimately a reason to succeed. Thus I completed four-year degree course in five years and I never feel bad for wasting one year, because that year shown me the field where I can improve. To fly, we have to have resistance...Isn't it?
       Apart from academics, I enjoyed the college life by participating in social and cultural activities. Prof. Kakade was the first person who activated me to participate in cultural activities and I worked with Prashant Thorat and Nilesh Kate for Sahitya Sharada as a student coordinator. That was my first extra-curricular activity. Then I became a NSS secretary and enjoyed 10 days winter camp outside the college along with other regular activities. Gradually I started taking interest in extra-curricular activities and I became busiest person when I entered in final year. I was coordinator of Sahitya Sharada, NSS secretary, Chief Editor of college magazine and finally General Secretary of college. While handling these responsibilities, I realize my limitations which enhanced my creativity. I believe that, 'Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations; the latter like the river banks forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to succeed in the life'. That year was the most successful and enjoyable year. Whenever I see those photographs, I get back in those golden days, which we enjoyed in the AVCOE campus (as well as outside the campus!)
       My batch was very fortunate because we were trained under the guidance of four principals in the five year period. The first of them was Dr. Raghuveer Singh, who tried hard to bring the discipline in the college and according to me he was successful in that. Then Dr. A P Valvade accepted the charge as a principal of AVCOE; he was very nice person and always focused on the overall development of the students. The next principal was Dr. J P George who was very punctual and gave due preference to other's time. He was my source of inspiration and helped me lot. Last but not least, Dr. Patil was the principal when I was in final year. I think, this is the reason why I said that my batch was fortunate. We learned lot of things from our 'principals' and trying to inculcate their 'principles' in the life.
       After graduation, I entered in the professional life. As a my first job, I joined as Junior Engineer in a private construction company at Pune. While working at site, I realize the importance of higher education. Education develops the intellect; and the intellect distinguishes man from other creatures. It is education that enables man to harness nature and utilize resources for the well-being and improvement of his life. The key for the betterment and completeness of modern living is education. So I decided to prepare for GATE and pursue the higher education. Fortunately Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) announced an Engineering Service Examination in 2005. I applied for both the examinations under the guidance of Prof. J P George and Mrs. Manisha George. I remember the day, when I asked to George sir about the fees and he said "Don't worry about fees, only concentrate on your study". His statement boosted my moral at that critical phase of my life. The GATE result declared in March-2005 and I scored 95.55 percentile in first attempt. The next step for the admission at IIT's is to attend the interviews at respective IIT's. First time in my life I crossed the boarder of Maharashtra and reached to IIT Kanpur and after interview, I was selected for MTech admission. I was also selected at IIT Bombay, but the academic and infrastructural culture of IITK impressed me and I decided to join IITK. After spending one and half year at IITK, I am happy with my decision.
       When I started my academic career at IITK, I have gone through tough competition. Most of the students were toppers during their graduation and hence competition was quite tough. But my competition was not with my batch mates; I was competing with myself. I always tried to prove that today is better than yesterday and I believe that the excellence is a journey and not destination. As a fruitful result I stood second in Transportation Engineering. 'To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe yourself.' The success at IITK helped me not only in building confidence, but also to improve thinking process for gaining in depth knowledge in a subject. Here, I came in the contact with the some of the great peoples in the world. Prof. K Deb is one of them who inspired me and created interest in the field of Genetic Algorithms. I choose his course 'Optimization in Engineering Design', which is supposed to be evolutionary topic in the world. Prof. K Deb received 'Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar' award from Hon'ble Prime Minister of India in 2005. Being the busiest person he never missed a class and never refused to explain the things again and again.
       The next person who impressed me is Dr. E Sreedharan, 'The Metro Man', MD, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The informal session with Dr. E Sreedharan at New Delhi during summer camp was very inspiring. He spends two hours with us and motivated us to light a candle than to complain about the darkness. He is the person who encouraged us to work for the development of our country. I found myself very comfortable to participate in the development of my country. That is the culture of IITK.
       20th June 2007 was the most memorable day in my life. I visited Rashtrapati Bhavan as a apart of Summer Camp organized by IIT Kanpur. Further, we interacted with the then President of India-Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. His journey form Rameshwarm to Rashtrapati Bhavan was result of his dedication and hard work as a scientist. He inspired us to work for the society.
       It was great co-incidence when I got the opportunity to work for my nation. The result of Maharashtra Engineering Service Examination declared and I stood first in the Maharashtra state in Water Resources department. I joined as Assistant Executive Engineer in Water Resource Department, Government of Maharashtra. That was my biggest achievement and I think it was possible because of the strong foundation laid at AVOCE and positive attitude at IITK. At this stage, I would like to say "I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed"
While enjoying at IITK, I always miss the golden days during the stay at AVCOE. As an alumnus, when I look back, I found that the strict rules imposed in AVCOE are essential for improvement of students. The training that I got in AVCOE was the lifetime experience and now it serves as a foundation for my life. Honestly speaking, I think my college is one of the best colleges and I feel very proud to be alumni of AVCOE. But there are some issues which require to be addressed. One of the issues, which I think is very important, is student-alumni interaction. An alumnus not only provides financial support to the institute but also provides personal guidance to the current students. At IITK, I found that the alumni are the integral part of the institute and institute arrange the alumni-student interaction session once in a month. There is need of active alumni association in AVCOE, which will act as a bridge between college and the alumni.
       I congratulate to all the students, teaching and non-teaching staff, management, trustee and the principal of AVCOE for trying hard to make our college as the best college. The journey of 25 years is very fruitful and I think the dream of the founder Hon'ble Bhausaheb Thorat came true!
       I have told this story, not to brag about my own fleeting accomplishments, which can't possibly interest anyone else. I have told it wholly with the hope that it may give renewed courage and confidence to some poor boy who is now suffering from the worries and shyness and feeling of inferiority that devastated my life in past.
       This story will be incomplete without a proper acknowledgment of the debt to many persons, who made it possible. First, I wish to express my gratitude towards my grand parents-Sitabai & Ranganath, my parents, Shivaji and Rohini, my uncle Raosaheb & Radha, and my brother Prashant who sacrificed a lot to give me a good education. I am deeply indebted to my teachers for insisting in me the drive to work hard and for inculcating in me the discipline to think clearly. Finally, I would like to thank my classmates and all those who helped me directly and indirectly and contributed for my success.
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© 2006~13 Pravin Kolhe
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