How to Go About the GHC Application

Now that you know how by chance I stumbled across the GHC scholarship, let’s move on to the application and the do’s and don’ts with regards to the application.

The application process for the GHC student scholarships is pretty simple and hassle free.

First of all, all you need to do is click on “apply” button on the GHC website. You will be directed to an application portal where you can create an account, fill out your application form and submit your completed application when it’s ready.

Once you create an account with your basic information (name, email address and a suitable password) you can start filling out your application form.

Here is the link to a sample student scholarship form:

So before we dive into it, let’s take a look at what the scholarship offers to the students:

Student Scholarships Include:

  • Individual registration for the three-day conference. (Getting a ticket is a very competitive process and to put things into perspective, tickets got sold in 20 minutes when the registration opened up this year!)
  • Flight to Houston to attend GHC booked through an AnitaB.org travel consultant (For most international scholars, this is a very important perk as flight tickets can be really expensive.)
  • Hotel accommodations arranged by AnitaB.org (Student scholars will be assigned a roommate and this is a great chance to make new friends and forge new bonds.)
  • Visa Processing Fee — (GHC will take care of your visa processing fee which is an added bonus for internationals scholars.)
  • GHC Stipend — (If used wisely, the stipend will cover transportation costs to and from the airport, baggage fees, meals, and other travel incidentals.)

Moving on to the application, make sure you meet the student eligibility criteria.

Student Eligibility:

  • You must be a full-time student enrolled in an accredited degree program at a college or university at the time of the celebration Those graduating prior to the celebration are not eligible unless accepted to another related degree program (such as an M.S. or PhD program).
  • Show satisfactory progress toward a degree such as, but not limited to, electrical engineering, human-computer interaction, math, physics, or management information systems.
  • Be able to demonstrate an interest in computer science.
  • You cannot have been an AnitaB.org-GHC Scholarship recipient in 2017.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age by September 24, 2018.
  • You cannot accept more than one scholarship to GHC. (Other companies offer scholarships to attend GHC including Facebook, Twitter, Yext etc. More on this later!)
  • If you receive a scholarship and do not notify AnitaB.org that you cannot attend prior to the celebration, you will not be eligible in future years as this takes a scholarship away from another student that could have attended.

Applicant Information

Here all you need to do is fill out your basic information including full name, address, institution name and email address. This will hardly take you 5mins!

Demographic Information

Anita Borg Institute is committed to bringing in a diverse audience and promoting diversity and inclusion.

Here you need to specify your age, gender and answer details about your background. (You can also decline to answer this)

You need to specify your citizenship and U.S. Residency status as shown in the sample application form here.

Education and Career Information

Details including student type ( Freshman or 1st year, Sophomore or 2nd year, Junior or 3rd year, Senior or 4th year), type of degree, graduation date, institution name, area of study (branch) and technical areas of interest needs to be filled out here.

Pro tip: Indian institutions will most probably not be listed in the form. You will have to make use of the option names “other” and manually type out your institution name.

Pro tip: For the question “Does your university use a GPA system?”, opt for the no option as it will disable the option to enter your GPA. You can upload an unofficial transcript of your grade cards to show your grades in the upcoming section in the form.

Attendance and Scholarship Information

Here, information regarding whether you are a previous scholarship winner and or an attendee needs to be entered.

For a first timer like you and me ( when I had applied for the application), just select No to all the questions and move on to the next section.

Essay Questions

This is by a large margin, the most important section in the whole of the application.

According to the application guidelines:

What are we looking for in a student scholar?

Student scholars are active in their community including being involved with campus computing/STEM clubs and working towards the advancement of women in computing.

An understanding of how attending GHC will have an impact on the scholar and any messages/key learnings they take back to share at their school.

The essay questions include:
Q1: Tell us why you want to attend GHC, what type of impact will being at a conference focused on women in computing have on you? (maximum 200 words)

The GHC website guide says:

We strongly encourage you to share any experiences with overcoming unique, personally important, and/or challenging factors in your background. While not an exhaustive list, some examples of unique challenges could include: the quality of your early educational environment, your socioeconomic background, culture, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, having a disability, and other life or work experiences. Please discuss how such factors have influenced your goals and preparation for your career as a woman in computing.

Pro tip: Keep the essay as personal as possible and bring in stories, personal anecdotes, incidents which helped you realise your path in life. Also include hardships and obstacles you faced in your life, be it monetary problems, societal restrictions or behavioural issues like lack of confidence, imposter syndrome etc.

Q2: How will you share your experience at GHC with others? What type of impact will your experience at GHC have on others in your community? (maximum 200 words)

The GHC website guide says:

Please tell us why you would like to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration and how you plan to share your experience with others (including your school community) after attending the conference. This is your opportunity to share any information you believe will have an impact on being selected as an AnitaB.org GHC Scholar.

Pro tip : Here you can focus on giving back to society, coming up with avenues to share your knowledge with others, seeking opportunities to empower women with skills to take on their male counterparts.

CV / Resume and Unofficial Transcript

Here you need to upload your resume and unofficial college transcripts.

Pro tip: Make sure your resume is only 1 or 2 pages long, doesn’t include your pic and lists out all your important projects and positions of responsibility. Start working on your resume as soon as you can. There is no hard and fast rule that needs to be followed. Just make sure you do what interests you and make it a point to include your love for Comp Sci through your resume! 🙂

Recommendation

One recommendation is mandatory for all student applicants. Only one recommendation may be submitted. AnitaB.org highly suggests that you notify the recommender prior to their receiving the request for your recommendation.

It is mandatory that the recommendation is provided by a faculty member.

Pro tip: Get in touch with your faculty member, preferably meet with them to tell them about GHC and the scholarship. Furthermore, inform them how GHC offers faculty scholarships too.

Acknowledgement

And the final step includes agreeing to all the rules and submitting your application for the review!

Yay! That is all!

Seems simple enough, right?

I genuinely hope this post inspires you to apply next year. And there is no better time than now to start preparing!!!

Please feel free to ping me if you have any doubts or queries, I’d love to help you out.

Next post: The Final Verdict — A short piece on why we need to “Apply Apply and well…Apply” (To be updated soon)

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Chance Encounters!

Part 1 of “Everything you need to know about GHC” series

It all began when Sharon Rachel Manu a.k.a Iddivettu* Rachel made her way to the cooja (a small earthenware used to store water) which was situated right next to my room.

“Also, don’t forget to apply for GHCI!”

“Mmm hmm…”

She had just left my hostel room a few seconds ago after having finished our weekly talk sessions where we got together to rant about our mundane yet oh so happening lives. It was half past eight and she was still in her uniform.

And I knew she would have to come back in. She was my senior at college but she was more like family to me.

“I will let you know when the submissions open”, she said as she put her head round the door and stretched out her hand as I handed out her Id card back to her.

“I will be sure to check it out, ma’am!” I replied, winking at her.

“You better!” she said, as left for her room. Sharon was one among the 200 students who were awarded the prestigious GHCI student scholarship. Basically, I dared not to defy her.

The scholarship was an all-expense paid trip to Bangalore which let you take part in the Grace Hopper Conference which was held annually in the state. To know more about GHCI, check out the awesome GHCI Rethink Wiki

It happened to be one of those Fridays where you knew you had assignments to complete but you would rather google random stuff than finish your work. Since I had some free time on my hands, I decided to learn about GHCI and how the submission works.

And… that is when it happened!

I stumbled across the magnificent GHC conference. (Thank you Google!)

So what exactly is GHC?

The Grace Hopper Celebration is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. It is produced by AnitaB.org and presented in partnership with ACM. GHC 18 will be held from Sep. 26–28 in Houston, Texas.

Honouring Anita Borg, a pioneer in the field of computer science, the GHC conference is conducted annually to celebrate and empower women to pursue careers in technology.

Reading into it, I found out that the receiving the scholarship meant an all-expense paid trip to attend the conference and boasted of a chance to participate in a career fair where reputed companies and firms all over the world would take part in.

Frankly, that’s all I researched about it.

I knew, for better or for worse, I just had to apply!

Here is another brilliant article which really got me all excited to apply for the scholarship: 11 Reasons Why You Should (Definitely) Attend GHC 2018

The Takeaway here!

Coming back to the quote posted above, J.F Kennedy rightly pointed out that every accomplishment starts with a decision to try!

It was my curiosity and decision to give it a try which ultimately led to where I stand today — with a GHC scholarship in my hands!

More about the scholarship and the application process in the next post!

*Iddivettu — Malayalam for lightning. Sharon Rachel Manu acquired this unique name owing to her impeccable athletic skills in addition to her academic accomplishments. She was an all-rounder indeed!

Whispers of the Heart

How long can this go on?
Standing up for myself,
I know not how!

Clutching on to my heart
I tiptoe all around 
Walking on glass shrapnels
Broken, scattered on the ground

How long can this go on?
Standing up for myself,
I know not how!

Scared to raise my voice
As one wrong word
would cost me everything
For your joy is my happiness

How long can this go on?
Standing up for myself,
I know not how!

My dragons are but my own
What if I let them devils out?
Will they see the light of day?
Engulf me in guilt and pain?

How long can this go on?
Standing up for myself,
I know not how!

The truth is often bitter
Compassion is but
my middle name
Torn in strife, I wonder
If there really is a right
to every wrong? 

How long can this go on?
Standing up for myself,
I know not how!

The world around me, 
Spinning round and round
As I cling on to
what little is left of me,

For, how long can this go on?
Standing up for myself,
I know not how!

The Walls Speak…

And over there, two people (wink wink) held their hands for the first time. It was so adorable!”, She cooed.

“Not to mention the corridor next to the staffroom, students have waited there for so long, I felt like I would crumble down with exhaustion just looking at them.”

“Thank god, you didn’t. That would have been quite a situation”, I shrugged as I muttered under my breath.

“Oh, all the shifting between classes and the running up and down the stairs. That is always fun to watch. Young adults gasping for breath and clinging on to dear life sure makes for a very pretty spectacle.”

“Yup, I still get to do that!”, I replied.

She howled with laughter. I closed my eyes for a split second. I knew she wouldn’t stop anytime soon.

photo6152269678194567141

We have all been utterly disappointed when we first set foot in our college campus. A tiny structure mimicking the design of Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, certainly did read well on paper. But in reality, it was far from what one would expect from a college campus.

All we have at our disposal is a small building with 5 floors decorated with faulty switches, fans which barely work, broken chairs and desks – the scribblings on which will put Michelangelo to shame if he ever did get to see them!

But once you accept the fact and realise how this is it; there is just no stopping you from falling in love.

You learn the most important lessons life and experience could ever teach you, right here in college. The most important of the lot is the ability to adapt. Life is all about adapting to new environments!

Little do you know that soon enough, this building where you have been at your best and your worst would be your most cherished safe haven.

Fooding!!!

Bunking of classes for long lunches at the canteen, sneaking out for water breaks only to return the next period, arriving just in time for roll calls are few of the tricks you pick up along the way.

The Friday lunch breaks provide for jolly episodes every week for quick bites around Kochi owing to the 2 hours long recess time. Oh…how we have all daydreamed picturing the buttery rotis and spicy curries from Mallus Dhaba.

And the strategic placement of LuLu mall was a welcome moment for all of us!

Be it Kismet’s hot steamy chicken biriyani or Paneer butter masala from Saravana Bhavan, Friday was the best day of the week without question! 

And the stingy ones settle for the handy snacks available at the Sweet Palace aka Zam Zam. Royals is our comfort place when we wish to beat the scorching heat with a soda serbet or an uppu soda.

And the deal with the classes…

Classes would go from interesting to meh to boring to “I can’t stand it”. But such is life.

The corridors resonate with the whisperings, cries and laughter that have shaped the beautiful bonds forged between classmates, batchmates and amidst juniors and seniors.  They stand witness to the relationships and friendships that have transcended time and space.

To add to the fun, the quick dashes to NetSavvy is always encouraged because you can never run out of photocopies.

The trips to the library right before the sem exams and the big excavation of books that ensue because issuing of library books is a prerequisite to scoring a 9 pointer.

Yes, the all-seeing walls of the institution know it all.

The Extracurriculars

The thrill of staying in college after 7. The flickering of the dim lights to make you question yourself how on earth you ended up here. You wonder if your life could get shadier than this. But, when college ends, you wish if you could witness the divinity in those lights just once, again.

College arts and Excel, two mighty occasions where you realise the true potential of the building and realise how beautiful it becomes when you actually spend time glamorising it.

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And of course, the power and vigour on display when all the students come together to celebrate technology, engineering and art is extremely delectable!

Drama, drama and more drama!

The fights in the classrooms, all the arguments, the bashing and finally the making up.

And where would we be without drama! Everyone and everything needs a little bit of drama, even the walls!

The scribblings, mud and dirt bear testimony to this. Well, that’s what we told ourselves before we got money to paint the building. Now, it looks just the way it should – yellow, proud of its heritage and ready to inspire and innovate the generations yet to come.

In Conclusion

This is where we learnt to live life.

There is where it began and this is where it will end.

The four walls of MEC have numerous stories to share. The onlooker, the silent spectator to every little thing that has materialised in college, adorning the memories of every student that has walked around the corners of this mighty structure.

When you get the chance, stand in the middle of the amphitheatre, for I’m certain the walls will speak to you!

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Dedicated to the 2014-2018 batch of Govt. Model Engineering College. All the best for all your future endeavours. 

And a special shout-out to all the X-mecians out there! Hope this article brings back sweet memories!

Special thanks to Sharon Rachel Manu for the splendid idea and MG Krishnan for all the help!

Pic Credits – Gokul Harikumar

As simple as ‘Give and Take’

Broken promises. Now, lessons learnt!

They say; What doesn’t break you, makes you stronger.

People come and leave for no reason.

Too late to understand, we wonder

as we lose ourselves in that spiral of emotions,

we ask; was it even worth it in the end?

Remember how it’s easy to learn something when your friend or buddy teaches you as opposed to when you try to painstakingly wrap your head around the same subject on your own. You begin to understand the concepts with much clarity and things just seem so simpler.
That’s where psychology comes to play.

The same applies to life too I guess…

People teach you all kinds of stuff. And you get to impart your life lessons too.

  •  I taught someone to let go. (Or so I believe)
  • Another friend of mine had an interesting way to get something really simple across – All you need is yourself to be happy.
  • That we are all weird in our own way. Thank you! @lens of a lunatic
  • Hope keeps you going despite the odds! 🙂
  • If things don’t work out, well… it’s for the best.
  • And last but not the least, those sometimes squishy hugs are the best solutions ever!!!

We are all in it together!

Life is all about learning and teaching others what you learnt. A sort of a give and take process, a barter exchange if you will.
All those unanswered questions eating at your soul, you now have found an outlet to let them go.
Unfortunately, we realise them too late; the harder you try to unravel the mysteries of life, the simpler it gets.
 
Here is to everyone struggling to find their paths in life, because I would love to know that there are others who are trying to embark upon this journey too!

Just like the Harry Potter series; every incident, every spell, every minute detail…

…..it will all make sense someday!

And there you have it!

As much as I would like to say no, your experiences shape you. They mould you into who you are going to be as far as the not so distant future is concerned.

And yes, it is all worth it in the end!

17 Reasons Why 2017 was a Rollercoaster ride!!!

Disclaimer: Okay! I know the title sounds like a click bait and well it is one! 😛
And yes, you guessed it right, I did struggle to tally the number of reasons to 17! 

I’m pretty sure 2017 was as crazy a year for you as it was for me.

Here are my 17 reasons why 2017 was a rollercoaster ride!!!

#1   The journey

Christmas celebrations at the hostel are fun!

When everyone comes together to eat plum cake and move their hips to ” Kaala Chasma” in front of the awestruck wardens, it really does feels like pure bliss!

And then my warden Sister Anjana got on the stage to deliver her short but sweet speech Christmas greeting (so glad she kept it short! Teehee!! )

“This Christmas strive to be a better version of yourself, that’s the greatest gift you could ever gift your loved ones”.

“Yup, I can’t believe it. She just blurted out my new year resolution!”, I chuckled to myself.

And 2017 couldn’t have ended on a lighter note than this!

#2   Tears and Hugs

 Last week I made someone cry!

Yes, you read that right.

Don’t judge me just yet!

I made Sharon Rachel Manu, my hostel mate and senior friend cry tears of joy! (or so I presume).

I gifted her an early bday gift, 52 reasons why SRM rocks. One for each week of the year! And she loved it! 😬

Well, it’s the least I could do for the lady who is partly responsible for who I am today!

 #3   Woohoo…We did it!

 TEDxMEC happened! The memories I made, all the meetings and the deadlines and the yummilicious celebratory treats!

Thank you, Ankita for letting me be a part of the TEDx team and on that note letting me be a part of your life too!

For further clarification: Chill guys… She is just my friend ( *wink wink*)

To find out who Ankita is and learn more about TEDxMEC, check out: In conversation with the TEDxMEC team! 

#4   Turning 20 in Europe

I happened to be in Europe on a trip with my parents during my special day and I got to celebrate my birthday in Germany. It was truly a magical experience for me and the birthday cake was to die for! I couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting for my 20th birthday!

Thank you, Amma and Anna for this beautiful gift!!! IMG_4936

#5   A Whirlwind of a Sem!

I remember the first day of my 5th semester and whoosh, the classes ended, the exams got over and here I am finishing up my registration for the next sem.

Time sure flies past quick!

#6   The Truth.

I learnt that at the end of the day, your parents are the only people who will always be there for you through thick and thin.

#7   KTU ROCKS!  #justcollegethings

I got to take part in my first ever strike. Thank you KTU!

For the first time in years, my college which has stayed away from politics ever since it’s inception got off the ground and took part in the protest march for student rights.

And we got back to how things were, the very next day! Thank god for that! 😛

#8  Over and Over Again

I learnt that people who make you possess the power to break you too.

Period.

#9   Being the Bad Guy

I ended up hurting a few people and causing them great pain. I didn’t mean to but it just happened to be so.

This taught me an important lesson;

Not all things are under your control.

#10  Hope

And however ugly and cruel the world out there might be, there will still be angels present to restore your faith in humanity.

SHWE, this one is for you, for all the fun and the “not so fun” times that we have had. 

Dips_bucket – you are my bucketload of love and memes!

And all my peeps back in class, you are my gems!

#11   The Joy of Winning

I don’t win things. Always been unlucky that way! But this year that finally changed.

I won my first ever prize albeit at a non-tech event called Alhomora. It was really fun. I somehow ended up in a team with random strangers, who went on to become great teammates. I went treasure hunting all across Kochi, sold 2 rupee pens for 10 rupees, ran around Broadway and finally ended up winning a 600 rupees cash prize and a coupon to loafers cafe.

I still can’t stop gloating over it.

#12   Happiness is…

I’ve been blogging for two years now (well…intermittently! :P) and this particular comment restored my rocky faith in my writing!

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To know more check out:

Because we are all fighting every single day, to breathe, to live and to love…

#13   Rejection is what makes life sad, terrible and well…motivating!

I might have sent out over two dozen applications this year! Tech internships, content internships, contests, competitions and what not.

Rejection can be dealt with. But what do you do when you get selected and you can’t participate due to random unforeseen reasons not once but twice??

Even though I was selected for Policy boot camp and Jagriti Yatra, I couldn’t make it! I was devastated but life had to go on.

#14   One door closes, another opens!

But it’s true when they say that when one door closes another opens, I’ve been shortlisted to be a speaker at the youth speaker hunt for TEDxMACE!

Fingers crossed. I’m happy I made this far! Let’s see what lies ahead!

#15   The Evils That Lurk Around…

I was unfortunately subjected to a terrible incident, a man flashed himself at me and I was so horrified that I ran away from the spot. I felt helpless and disgusted.

My mom always used to ask me to keep a penknife in my bag and I never paid any heed to her. But that particular episode really affected the way I perceive society, now I keep my penknife very handy.

#16   Digital Detoxification is the best thing I ever did, this year!

In a world where our Instagram likes outlines our happiness, Whatsapp replies define one’s character, and FB stories interpret our lives, technology undoubtedly has broken huge walls but unfortunately had created new ones too.

Here’s what happened when I uninstalled WhatsApp for 5 days!

#17   To New Beginnings…

Excel 2017 and all the running behind content lead to the responsibility of being the Excel 2018 Content Manager being handed over to me! Thank you, Aravind for considering me worthy of filling your shoes.

This is a huge responsibility!

But I have full faith in my team; all my batchmates and amazing juniors to help me out there!

Looking forward to all the friendly fights, the varied opinions and the beautiful bonds that are yet to come my way with the help of my awesome core members.

And Now…

And Comment down below to tell me what made your 2017 special!

Ruins

The slow breaths, reminiscence
of what I have been through
Pain, agony left behind
All that had to be won; lost
and all that to be lost; won.

Apprehensions consume me
Nothing but the ruins
are, what is left behind
Yet washing away all the dirt
what lies beneath is,
in all of its glory,
my raw naked self
exposed to the adversities that lay
morphed to survive
the crooked ways of the world
As life is meant to be lived,
in all of its hardships.

Woe is me, woe is you
A gamble of sorts
The stakes higher than ever,
to be left to chance
But life is meant to be lived
in all of its depths.

Misery, my shadow
Hope, my strength
The future knows not
what it will have me entail
Despite the odds, I press on
for life is meant to be lived,
in all of its pleasantries!

As I come to terms with reality,
I see peace all around
The silence, addictive
The scars, now forgotten
Stronger than before, I rise
shattering the realms of doubt
The beginning of something new
Or is this the end
The calm before the storm!