An Interview With Dr. Rumi Roy [Assistant Professor at Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi]

Dr. Rumi Roy, is an expert in the field of Political Studies with a specialization in Indian Government and Politics and International Relations, joined Vivekananda School of Law and Legal Studies, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies as an Assistant Professor. She earned her Masters and Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Delhi University. She completed her M.Phil. from Jawaharlal Nehru University and has been awarded her Ph.D. from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Her area of research includes Ethnic minorities, Peace and Conflict Studies, Citizenship and Constitution of India, Migration issues with special reference to North-east India. She has authored several research papers and chapters in renowned National and International journals and publications like Routledge USA, UGC care listed journals. She has been invited as a speaker in several international and national conferences/seminars and forums on Model United Nations. She also writes content for the Master’s Program(Political Studies) at Gauhati University and the University of Delhi. She also writes articles on social and political issues on online forums and newspapers. She has participated in and successfully completed workshops conducted by WISCOMP, New Delhi, IIT Delhi, JNU, Delhi University.  She is a member of several think tank groups like WICCI, FSLE.

She was a member of the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) from 2020-2021. She is also the Convener of a Value Added Course on International Relations, Law and Politics at VSLLS, VIPS.  She is an active organising Faculty member at VIPS. She has conducted and organised many events at the institute. She also worked as the Faculty co-ordinator for Model United Nations and Mock Parliament Society( Magnum Concilium) till 2020 at VIPS.  She has also worked as a Faculty Coordinator for Dispute Resolution and Client Counselling Committee at her law school. She is also the Faculty Co-Ordinator of NAAC at VSLLS. She is also the Faculty In-charge of the Syllabus Revision committee at VSLLS.

1. Hello Madam, Please Tell Us Something About Yourself to Our Readers.

To begin with I would like to introduce myself as an enthusiast learner. I am always on the lookout for opportunities to learn and develop new skills to excel at things I do.

I have completed my graduation and Masters in Political Science (H) from the University of Delhi. I completed my MPhil from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. I have been awarded a doctorate degree from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

I am currently working as Assistant Professor at Vivekananda School of Law and Legal Studies, Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (Affiliated with GGSIPU, New Delhi).

To my credit, I have authored several research papers in reputed international and national journals. I have a passion for developing content for readers. I have worked as a content writer for the Master’s Program (Political Science) at Gauhati University and the University of Delhi.

I write articles on political and social issues whenever I get time and opportunity. I like to indulge in extracurricular activities to gain insights into new concepts, new skills.

I have been associated with organizing Model United Nations and Mock Parliament at our Law School. I am pragmatic in my approach. During the lockdown period, I refused to sit and relax. To continue with the teaching-learning process despite the challenges encountered I conducted an Online Value-Added Course at our Law School on International Relations Law and Politics. The response was overwhelming.

During my leisure hours, I offered my assistance in the Congress of Nations and States (CNS), Center for World Indigenous Studies, United States of America.

2. You Completed Your M.A (Political Science) and BA(H) Political Science from Delhi University. Please, Tell Us About Your School Journey and Experience.

Well, as the saying goes “School life is the best time of our life. Every student should try to make the best use of school life because once over, it never comes back again.”

I also had a fair share of my life at school. I learned my first alphabet at my school.  The skills, extracurricular activities at school taught many new skills for which I am grateful to this day.

I discovered the real meaning of cooperation, teamwork, and leadership skills from my school days. The overall school experience was a significant learning experience for me which helped me shape my individuality. School life’s experiences which were a combination of good and blunders taught me to face the challenges of life.

3. Tell us a bit about Your Study Time during College Life and University Life.

My study time at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University was a game-changer for me.  I never realized how important time management along with studies is until I first started my studies at the University of Delhi leaving my hometown.

As time passed, I faced new challenges living far away from the care and protection of my parents. It was a roller coaster ride for me with a lot of ups and downs. There were times when I suffered from anxiety because of deadlines for submission of assignments, semester exams, presentation of seminar papers, grades, adjusting to the new climate and environment, and making new friends. The sheer level of confidence of my classmates, my new friends during lectures was intimidating for me coming from a small town. I took time to cope up.

My Professors at Delhi University boosted my confidence level to participate in intellectual discourse. Eventually, I was able to get rid of my inhibitions and learned to think, speak critically, question the existing norms and raise pertinent queries.  I owe the courage to face the adventures of the world outside the University to my formative years at Delhi University.

The University introduced me to the world of seminars, workshops, symposiums which helped me build my communication skills and boosted my confidence. These are the platforms which not only help one to gain new perspectives, insights but also encourage a new way of analyzing things and encourage one’s performance and productivity. These platforms provide a unique experience outside the classroom.

4. Madam, Please Tell Us a bit About Your M.Phil. and Ph.D. Experience at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

I left Delhi University to pursue my MPhil and doctoral research at Jawaharlal Nehru University. JNU, the premier institute in India is the hotbed of political debate, discussions on a spectrum of topics ranging from existential issues to civil services, politics, economy. The importance of interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary studies began to make sense when I enrolled at JNU. I began to understand the idea of cooperative learning witnessing the Professors and students engaged together in the pursuit of knowledge. Informal discussions inside the classrooms and dhabas outside became a part of my educational experience at JNU.

My experience at JNU taught me that confining oneself to textbooks does not enhance one’s knowledge. My professors never prescribed any textbooks around which examinations take place. They encouraged us to refer to the prescribed reading materials to indulge in self-study and visit the library regularly.

My learning experience was not confined to the academic assignments at JNU.  I along with my classmates shared a distinct aspect of the relationship with our professors who treated us at par with them within well-delineated boundaries. They gave us the freedom and opportunity to express any dissenting opinions with them without fear or inhibitions.

JNU taught me to strive hard to remain intellectually and academically relevant at all times. Having said this, I will credit JNU for motivating me to become a constant learner not because I was compelled to learn and attend classes out of attendance. The pedagogy undertaken by Professors taught us to look beyond the conventional syllabus. My learnings at the university taught me how to question, break the stereotypes, understand the real meaning of equality, justice. It taught me to be a better human being and contribute for the greater good of my country, the society of which I am part.

“All students are adults” the pedagogical principle which JNU follows is an important lesson learned at the university which I try to implement in my classrooms today.

5. Why Did You Decide to Take Up Teaching as Your Career Option?

My Professors at Delhi University and JNU exhibited what difference a teacher can make in someone’s life. Every person born on this earth belongs to a different background, culture, unique personal skills, strengths, and weaknesses.

The teaching profession gives one the opportunity to make an impact in a student’s life. A teacher can be a great influencer in a student’s life. I felt the same during my university days. Watching my own Professors, teachers at school, I felt it can be a rewarding experience to inspire and mentor the future generation and make a noble contribution to society.

As I am a constant learner, I felt this is the profession where I can learn more from the students whose inquisitiveness will allow me to constantly strive for excellence and acquire new skills and become a lifelong learner.

6. Where Do You See Yourself Five Years from Now?

We are living in unprecedented times. The pandemic was an eye-opener on many fronts. Every morning the moment I get up from bed, I offer prayers to God for thanking the Almighty for keeping me and my family safe.

At this stage, although I strive every day to excel in the assigned tasks, where I see myself five years from now is indeed is difficult for me to answer.

Being optimistic and believing that this shall too pass, I have set for myself a few goals that include more academic engagement within my position.  I believe I will be able to achieve my career goals. I will be working to explore and expand my research work. I am excited at the prospect of getting more experience in my research works. I am passionate about the work I do. In the coming days, if I get an opportunity to mentor others I would passionately work to support and influence them.

7. Do you think students should behave with the professors like friends, or is it necessary to maintain a disciplined environment to create a good classroom environment?

Some delineated boundaries are necessary but like the motto of the University where I have imparted the first teaching lesson, professors should be approachable. Both should be able to engage together in the pursuit of knowledge. The relationship between the student and the professor must be based on mutual respect, patient listening, accommodating dissenting views, opinions and trust. A disciplined environment is necessary but extreme forms of rigidity and discipline can cause distancing which might be an impediment in creating a good interactive classroom environment.

8. Madam, Could You Please Give Young Readers Certain Tips on Excelling in Academics? As A Teacher What Tips Do You Give to Your Students for Proper Understanding of a Subject?

The first rule in academics is prioritizing the academic course, the syllabus, and the assignments. Don’t get anxious. The timely completion of assigned tasks is very important.

Pay attention to the lectures, record the lecture, note down the important points, listen later if you are not able to grasp it the first time. Be goal-oriented and have a positive attitude.

Even if you do not achieve the desired results after the first attempt, don’t be intimidated. Look forward to learning once again.  Have an inquisitive mind. To understand the concepts of your subject, be curious about it. Review the concepts, read, re-read the subject unless you get the desired solution to the questions related to it. Read in-depth and read between lines. Make skeletal notes, explore the practical application of the concept. Get rid of the biases and preconceived thoughts and judgments.

Knowing a subject is different and adapting to it is different. Every professor has a different style of teaching. Attending lectures regularly and actively listening to them will help you in excelling over the subject rather than understanding it. Set a realistic schedule to read the subject and remain calm and composed. Always remember your instructors are there to help you.

But as the saying goes “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” try to spend time with family, hang out with friends. Indulge in extracurricular activities both academic and non-academic to retain the enthusiasm towards learning. Procrastination is the greatest hurdle in academics. At times it is very difficult to overcome it. If you ever feel demotivated or stressed, speak to your teacher. Get help whenever necessary.

9. The Best Experience and Success Habit You Would Like to Share with our readers to Encourage Them. What Is The Golden Rule That You Follow In Your Life?

There are no shortcuts to success. Struggle, pain, disappointments, failure are part and parcel of one’s life.  I have learned it from my own experience as a student and am still learning. Self-motivation and thirst to learn will help you scale the ladder of success. Even if you fail, remember you are not alone. Many have failed and started anew to reach greater heights in life later.

A positive attitude is the fuel to self-motivate oneself.  Never fall prey to the notion that intelligence is a trait that only a few possess. Always remember some are fast learners, some slow but that doesn’t mean that one cannot triumph over intelligence.

Consistency, concentration, and self-motivation are the attitudes one should adopt to achieve success in life.

10. Lastly, What Would Be Your Message to People Who Want to Take Up A Career in Teaching?

First, ask yourself why do you want to take up teaching as a career path? Try to find the answers. Get the necessary academic qualifications to fulfill the eligibility criteria for becoming a teacher.

A kid may approach you with his/her flaws. How you can be the catalyst for rectifying the flaws and how you can be the agent of change is an inner calling. While choosing teaching as a career path, try to embrace the struggle and failure and guide them to see the better version of themselves to make it contagious. Be the role model which the kid was previously looking for. Speak with your seniors, take their learned guidance, network, interact with educators from across the world through the programs on teaching-learning pedagogy. Always remember, everyone is born with some potential. All you need is to harness that potential in the right direction.

A good teacher can make a significant difference in a student’s life.

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