I got selected to attend Google I/O in May 2016.
Except, I had my 6th semester exams happening right when Google I/O was happening. If I choose to attend the conference, I’d miss 3 of my exams. I’d then have to write these missed exams a year later, which would delay my graduation by one year.
I was quite certain that my parents wouldn’t let me go tot he I/O if they knew I had to skip exams. But to my surprise, they were super encouraging and wanted me to really go for the conference. What was smarter was my mother asking me to give the University Vice Chancellor a request to permit me to travel and then allow me to write special exams for the ones I missed. This way, I would have a clean academic record, would graduate on time and will also get to go for the conference.
I met my HOD, Mrinalini ma’am and took her help in drafting a representation to my Principal and University VC. She also made few calls to people she knew from the university and every single person said this sounded absurd. I met the principal incharge at the time and they also iterated that this wasn’t going to work.
Few days later when we noticed that things weren’t moving, my mother and I went to the university directly. I remember the lady in EG1 section being super supportive. She did mention that such a case of re-scheduling exams had never happened before and it appears unlikely. That if my representation were to go through the chain of hierarchy, there is every possibility that it would rejected at the Examination Office. She hence recommended that we go and meet the VC directly.
And we did just that. Apparently, you can just walk in to the VC’s office and meet him. There wasn’t even a lot of rush when we went there. I took a copy of my letter and all documents and met the VC. I told him about my situation and requested that 3 of my exams be rescheduled so I can travel.
He asked me one question — “Does this mean you might get a job in Google?”
And I said, “ yes”.
All it took was one signature from him and before I knew, my request was approved. I got confirmation that my exams will be rescheduled. I was supposed to travel, come back and submit proof of travel post which my time table would be put up.
I hence skipped 3 of my S6 university exams, travelled to the US for the first time and attended Google I/O. That was the year Sundar Pichai launched Google Home and I remember attending the keynote in awe.
That’s me at Google I/O. This was the time when the world was rooting for Android N to be “Neyyappam”. The white android next to me was for people to write their suggestions and if you look closely, you’ll find that we wrote “Neyyappam”. (Closer to my face, in brown)
I came back, got my time table and wrote the 3 exams at the calicut university. Results came soon enough and I managed to pass in all the 3 subjects as well.
I graduated in 2017 and couple of months back, went to the university to collect my graduation certificates. This time, I again paid a visit to the VC to tell him that I really did get a role at Google 🙂 (The Google Role I was offered was to lead efforts for Developer Student Clubs across India. However, I turned it down. Will be continuing my work at Rethink instead.)
3 key learnings from the whole episode:
1. When you have 2 choices, you don’t always have to pick one.
2. Everything is malleable and sometimes, all you need to do is just ask.
3. Speak directly to the decision-makers to get things done.
And bonus, find people who believe in you and will be willing to help you out. It is a blessing that I had Mrinalini Ma’am!
Sharing the request I wrote to the VC for reference: