- Assistant Professor, Counsellor, Researcher, Keynote Speaker, Artist, Content Creator, Homemaker, and a doted full-time mother. With a Ph.D., M.Phil., Masters in Commerce, and a MBA.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
As an academician, I focus on discussing life skills in conjunction with updates to the syllabus. I hold the title of Assistant Professor, Counsellor, Researcher, Keynote Speaker, Artist, Content Creator, Homemaker, and a doted full-time mother. I am married and have a son, and I am a native of God’s Own Country, Kerala in India. My mother's profession as a Teacher naturally instilled in me a passion for teaching and learning.
What are your fields of interest and your education background?
I hold a Ph.D., M.Phil., Masters in Commerce, and MBA. My interest in understanding the intricacies of the human mind inspired me to pursue an M.A in Applied Psychology and an M.A in Counselling Psychology. Currently, my passion for literature has led me to enrol in an M.A program in English Literature. I have primarily worked in the education sector and counselling.
What led you to pursue a career in education, and how has your passion for learning and personal growth shaped your approach to teaching and research in the field?
The start of my fulfilling journey was 20 years ago, as a fresh graduate. Inner resilience and a drive to prove myself was the prime source of motivation. With unwavering support from certain people, places, and emotions, I spread my wings, learning to fly even after falling many times. I knew the cutthroat competition was not for me. My interests lay in the intricacies of human emotion and interaction, making people far more intriguing than machines. Armed with this awareness, I opted for a field that would allow me to work hard, enjoy, and excel in equal measure, leading me down the path of education. Clearing the National Eligibility Test in Commerce on my first attempt instilled me with confidence to push forward. And being selected as a Major Research Fellow for University Grant Commission Major Project sparked my interest in Research as well. Over time, a passion for learning grew within me, and my pursuit of qualifications was not driven by a desire for career advancement. Instead, I focused on fields that piqued my interest, such as Psychology and Literature, with a deep desire to expand my knowledge and grow personally. This approach allowed me to combine my passion for learning and interest in these subjects, resulting in a fulfilling journey of personal growth.
How have you grown, and what have been some of the key lessons you've learned along the way?
I have learned, Transformative growth stems from self-reflection during difficult times of pain, loss, and failure. I have absorbed the truth about the Mortality of life. It reminds us to act, grow, and be our true selves to leave a meaningful impact. I have realized that embracing our limitations without manipulation gives us a perspective to be okay with being disliked, which makes us unstoppable and helps us make the most of our time with passion and optimism. Accepting one's weaknesses and working on them leads to self-progression. Learning effective communication, being open to feedback, and being mindful of constructive criticism provides clarity in decision-making for both personal and professional growth. I have understood that taking responsibility for our own lives, planning early, and developing healthy habits can lead to contentment and peace. Living with passion, love, and free will is much better than living by obligation and duty.
Can you tell us about a time when you faced a major setback or failure in your life, and how you overcame it?
Since childhood, I have been a chronic asthmatic patient, which prevented me from fully enjoying my school days. My parents were always anxious and overprotective of me due to my medical condition, leading to a sense of dependency and a lack of confidence in myself. It acted as a barrier while planning and making life decisions. Unexpectedly losing my father shortly after graduation was a devastating experience that shattered my confidence. Coping with this loss and regaining control over my mental and physical well-being became my biggest challenge. However, I persevered through pure grit and resilience, ultimately overcoming the obstacles in my path and acting on my narrative of life.
How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals, especially during challenging times?
I believe that women can truly be empowered when they look at themselves, and their journey so far, and feel proud of it all - their strengths, flaws, learning, and achievements. It is essential to own every aspect of ourselves. We must practice the science of Self Care. Engaging in counseling has allowed me to make a positive impact on the lives of students, and as an academician, this gives me an innate sense of satisfaction. The art of painting has allowed me to capture fleeting moments and preserve them for eternity. It has given me the ability to express my thoughts and emotions in vibrant colors and create something beautiful that will stay with me forever. Reading has opened doors to creativity, improved my understanding of the past, present, and future, and has helped me to grow and develop as an individual. A consistent balance between work and personal life has allowed me to cherish and witness my son's growth into a vibrant and kind young boy. It brings me immense joy and a sense of fulfilment as a parent. Learning and acknowledging my own ignorance has been a powerful tool to push my limits and expand my knowledge and understanding. It helps me to stay curious and open-minded, and encourages me to seek out new experiences and perspectives.
How do you balance your personal life with the demands of a career?
Being conscious and aware of my priorities and boundaries helps me to create a healthy balance in life. I make sure to carve out time for myself, to love and pamper myself, which in turn translates to positive energy and relationships with those in my inner circle. As a social animal, it can be difficult to exist in isolation. I feel blessed to have a supportive system of family and friends. They have been there to back me and stand by my side whenever I needed them. My mother, my husband (my best half), my son, my brother, my sister-in-law, and my father-in-law are the individuals who have played a significant role in shaping the person I am today. My students serve as great equalizers in my life. Pursuing both my career and passion becomes incredibly rewarding when I realize that I have made a positive impact on their lives, shaping their minds and being there to listen and support them. These factors help me to achieve a fulfilling work-life balance.
What are your plans for the future, and how do you see yourself evolving?
I have a strong desire to contribute to women's education by sharing my knowledge and engaging in open conversations. To further this goal, I am actively seeking collaborations with organizations that align with my values. In my personal life, I have reignited my passion for painting by attending classes and immersing myself in the works of great poets like Shakespeare, Milton, and Keats. Additionally, I intend to pursue my dream of earning a D.Lit in Commerce from a foreign university. In order to achieve balance and well-being, I prioritize my physical health through fitness and mental health through daily meditation. These pursuits bring me joy and a sense of fulfilment, allowing me to lead a purposeful and meaningful life.
If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Although I may have wished to rewrite some past experiences, I now understand the significance of taking responsibility for my life early on. If I could offer advice to my younger self, it would be to remember that you are enough and that making mistakes is okay, and to give your best effort towards pursuing what you love without leaving room for regrets.
What is the most unconventional thing you've done to grow, and what was the result?
I find a deep sense of fulfilment and well-being when I follow and act upon my inner interests, rather than adhering to a conventional career advancement strategy. Being able to positively impact others' lives and witness the tangible results of my actions empowers me.
What's the most important lesson you've learned from a failure, and how have you applied it to your life?
Life is a journey of continuous learning and personal growth. Every experience, every encounter, and every obstacle we face presents an opportunity to gain new knowledge and insight about ourselves and the world around us. It's important to remain open-minded and receptive to these lessons, and use them to become the best version of ourselves. True success cannot be measured by titles, qualifications, or material possessions. Rather, it lies in our ability to listen empathetically, to have good intentions, to restore faith and trust in humanity, and to positively impact the lives of those around us. I've come to understand that co-dependency should never be the foundation of a relationship. Instead, healthy relationships should encourage growth, trust and companionship. In my interactions with people, I've realized that there are many shades of grey and that nothing is black and white. This makes life interesting and keeps us open to new possibilities. I've learned that striving for perfection is a futile pursuit. It's better to focus on progress and personal growth rather than trying to achieve an unattainable ideal. Lastly prepare for life's uncertainties, as change is the only constant. In the end, nothing endures except for the impact you have on others' emotions and well-being.
What's the most meaningful compliment or feedback you've ever received and why did it resonate with you? A student once told me, 'Ma'am, you helped me see another day with hope.' This line has stayed with me over the years, as it reminds me that smiling faces do not necessarily indicate good mental health. We all desire to be seen, heard, loved, and cared for as we are, without conditions or expectations. Balancing the thin line of life is a primary duty for us as humans, and I believe that it is our responsibility to not only live but also to help others live.
What are your strengths as a person, and how do they contribute to your ability to create positive experiences for those around you?
As an emotionally rich person, I find value in my existence when I am able to make those around me smile and feel good about themselves just the way they are. I recognize my strengths as being understanding and accepting of others without judgment, which creates a sense of freedom and allows for moments that are worth cherishing.
Find Dr. Archana on Social Media:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/aravindan.archana/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/archana.vimal.184/
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