The word ‘media’ always reminded me of bridges. The most essential job of a bridge is to connect two separate regions. Centuries ago messengers would have to travel for months to carry messages from one part of the world to the other. Today that is possible with a tap on our mobile devices. All because there are several bridges built, bridges that are intangible but yet are the most powerful tools in the history of human evolution – Communication. I began working in films at an early age and hence I was introduced to the inner functioning of the media industry. It seemed alluring how messages were being created and distributed, these messages have the power to create perceptions that can change the world. Uncle Ben (a character from the Spiderman comics) had stated that “With great power comes great responsibility.”
When it comes to the responsibility, the biggest role here lies in the hands of the institutes. Institutes are the bridges that create media professionals after exposing them through the various aspects about this industry. Hence when I had to decide which institute to go to, it was a very important decision. I researched online and found out about Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication. It was one of the top ranking colleges and was based in my home town, Pune. But that wasn’t enough to convince me, since I was living in the same city I decided to visit the college to be sure.
Remember how Alice felt when she entered wonderland? Surprised, shocked, curious, that’s how I felt walking through the corridors. There was a humongous studio/Green room with lights and equipment that I had seen all my life on film sets. Sound recording suites which were just as well equipped as the dubbing rooms I had dubbed for all my films. A computer lab which had pictures stuck up of all the work of the students who worked on software like Photoshop, In- design and so many more, Library which had books and research material available on every topic right from Religions to World Wars to Independence. Also my favorite- the screening rooms. There were several screening rooms, each had a projectors, speakers, cushioned walls that were designed for the best audible experiences. I was more than assured that this was the best option for a media institute.
I began preparing for the SET or the Symbiosis Entrance Test. It wasn’t a walk in the park since we had to be updated with the current affairs, re visit logical reasoning and get our language skills on point. I prepared for them with the help of a coaching institute that helped us not only for the Entrance test but also prepare for the second round of the selection process that would include a Personal interaction and Written Ability Test.
Also there were live webinars conducted by the Director of the institute that helped us ask queries and clarify whatever doubts we had regarding the course or the selection process. We had to register online and collect our admit cards. Honestly I never read the news papers but now we had to be prepared and well equipped with the news and current happenings, from Politics, to nuclear deals, to entertainment industry, sports and so much more.
Soon the test locations were designated to all of us. The date and the time too, each second of those few days felt like a ticking time bomb. I never wear a watch since nowadays we check time on our smart phones but now I had to keep the track of time, planning which answer needs how much time, I had to also begin to improve my hand writing for the W.A.T because my handwriting resembled scrambled noodles . One of the saving grace was that there was no negative marking hence incase I would have to make a random guess for the questions that I did not know the answer for it wouldn’t be at the risk of losing marks.
The First round took place, so many students all sitting together in these classes. All of us were hoping to get through to the second round. The time passed rather quickly and I couldn’t get to answer some of the questions. I was heavily disappointed since I did not take full advantage of the time. I almost lost all hopes.
The day the list was supposed to be announced for the ones who could appear for the second round, I asked my friends to check whether I made it through because I was scared to go through the experience directly and watch my dreams all crushed up on that computer screen. But guess what? I made it. I don’t know if I had ever thanked God as much. Now I had to prepare a C.V. For most of the students this would include their achievements, both academics and extracurricular and highlight their skill sets. I had an experience of three films, and several commercials. I included the details of my experience and made a thick C.V.
For me this whole process symbolically felt like a bridge in itself and I had made it through half way. Now the other half was left. I arranged for my formals. Ironed my clothes, shaved my newly popping out beard and combed my hair.
I reached the centre half an earlier, I did not want lack of time to be the cause of my disappointment unlike the first round and hence made sure I complete my W.A.T in the time that was allotted. They had provided a picture and we had to create a story around it. I used all of my creative potential and also made little drawings to explain the visuals that came up in my head while writing the story. I complete the W.A.T perfectly on time and left the hall with excitement. Next was the Personal Interview (PI). Imagine, the person who would interview me would decide the course of the next few years of my life. I wanted to look my best, I had researched a few basic questions that people ask in Personal Interactions such as “What will you do if you aren’t selected?” I created a positive answer for this although the truth was I would be upset.
I entered the room, there were two teachers seated who asked me several questions, about my experience, about my life, perspective on various things, events and of course “What would you do if you aren’t selected?” I thought about giving the super positive answer that I had thought about but I told them the truth, I told them that I would be upset but I will not lose hope and continue pursuing my dream of being a media professional/Film maker.
I came out of the room and realized it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I left the centre with hopes that the fact that I answered every answer honestly might have worked in my favor instead of lying and guess what? It did. I was selected at SCMC. This time I checked the list by myself because somewhere I got this feeling in my gut that I would make it to the other side of the bridge.
Today I am a graduate from this institute. Standing at the end of this bridge I am extremely happy about the decision I made. For all those who are standing on the other end of the bridge (the start), work hard, keep a track of the time and be honest.
This journey has been extremely special and what made it so enriching were the course design and the faculty.
Course design – Let me explain this via using an example of a map. In order to get to the final destination (which in this case was becoming a media professional) one has to start from the basics. All of us wanted to be Media Professionals but each of our destinations were different. Hence this Map (Course design) helped us recognize our destination and lead us towards it while giving us an overview of the landscape (The working of the media Industry as a whole) This course design was divided in such a way that we learnt about both the bigger picture as well as the intricate details about the field where our individual interest lied in.
Just like a map helps us in understanding which direction to head in, how is the terrain, how far is the destination. The course design in a similar way helped us explore our way through the four major divisions in the field of Mass Communication.
- Audio Visual
- Public Relations
Once we went through these basic modules we got a clear picture about the destination each of us wanted to reach to. For some it is heading towards Production of fictional and non fictional Audio/Visual content such Individuals would move towards the Mass Communication modules of the second year, and the others who were interested in the Marketing, Advertising, Events and reaching the customers/Audiences would head towards Marketing Communication modules of the second year.
As we went forward this design helped us to understand in which specialty our interest lied in. In the Mass Communication modules we got clarity about whether we wanted to move towards Film Production or towards Journalism.
Similarly in the Marketing Communication Modules students got clarity about whether they were interested in Advertising or Public Relations.
In the Third year our assignments shifted more towards practical application of the theory and the basics that we had learned in the earlier years. In essence it almost felt like this was a mini version of the media industry in itself. Students were literally making Products like professionals. Some of us were shooting films, some were recording their own music, some were creating computer animations, some were covering local news happenings, some were anchoring, some were publishing their research and covered stories, some were shooting advertisements, dealing with the demands of the teachers (just like they deal with the ‘client’ on field), some were managing major events that took place in the college, some were handling celebrities who visited our campus during these events.
Faculty – Let me explain this with an example of a guide. The faculty helped us in recognizing which direction to head in (Just like the map) but here we could ask questions that would help us gain clarity. The Media industry can literally be compared to a wild forest and the lessons that these guides (teachers) give us will be extremely helpful once you working in the industry just as much as during the academic years. The faculty is extremely approachable. I remember times when I would have hour long discussions with some of them even post college hours in the activity lounge. That’s the specialty about the faculty rather than telling you the right or wrong they show us the pros and cons and help us decide for ourselves which makes the learning way more impactful than just teachers asking us to ‘ruttofy’ the books or the PPTs.
As I have complete two years now in the industry and working on several projects I can never be thankful enough to SCMC for the teachings and the guidance. There are days where I still fall back on those learning experiences from college and find my answers whenever I get stuck while writing a script or preparing dialogues. It’s almost like a compass that the guides (teachers) from SCMC have gifted all of us to navigate through this media ‘jungle’. Hope the students looking for guidance to get to experience this journey and by the end of it carry their own compasses that will help them in their journeys.