Hey everyone, welcome to my blog. Hope you’re all safe from COVID-19. Today I’ll talk about Asad Ahmed, my friend, co-worker and undoubtedly one of the best personalities I’ve ever met in my life. Asad was a unique character who stood firm against all odds and managed to bring out the best version of himself. he is currently in pre-final year and in his three years of college life, he has set up a Machine Learning research group named “Nevrónas” in the campus, has published two research papers and founded a start-up named “Annokriya“. Here are the 10 things I learned from Asad, which I feel should be followed by all the people who want to explore themselves in their lives.
Follow what you love
Thanks to the Bollywood movies like ‘3 Idiots’, ‘Zindagi na milegi Dobara’, we’re quite aware of the benefits of following your heart, your passion. But when it comes to replicating the same in real life, most of us step back. From the first year onwards, Asad had a dream of working in the field of Computer Science. Based on his all India rank he was in the branch of chemical engineering, but it couldn’t stop him from following his passion. While all the first-year students were busy exploring the campus, Asad started to contact Computer Science professors to do small projects. He eventually found his passion in the field of Machine Learning and devoted his time to studying and understanding ML.
Out of curiosity, he joined Innovation Garage, the maker-space, and kinda the coolest place in our college, and eventually formed his Machine Learning research group “Nevrónas” along with his four friends (I was one of them). Every day, I saw Asad sitting in the Innovation Garage maker-space trying to train his models, or studying a research paper in depth. Right now, he’s in his pre-final year, chemical engineering has taken a toll on his GPA, but he beautifully managed to excel in his own domain.
Arrogance is never appreciated, but, a little bit of self- confidence is always good for you. When I first saw Asad in his first year, the most striking quality he had was his self-confidence. He was fully aware of his capabilities and was ready to work accordingly. It’s his self-confidence which helped him to publish a research paper in his second year, to lead a research group and a start-up even before completing his Btech.
Learn to handle failures
Like everyone else, Asad faced multiple failures in his life. Like everyone, he got tense in those situations. But, I’ve never seen him give up. His approach towards failure, help me understand the words by George A Custer:
“It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count. It’s how many times you get back up”
In his second year, Asad was having a tough time. He wasn’t getting a research internship even after applying to multiple profs. The situation became worse as the first paper of Nevrónas got rejected. But he took it as a challenge and fought till his last breath. Finally, he ended his second year with an accepted paper and an internship offer in National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore !!
Attention to Detail
Being one of his close friends allowed me to notice a certain pattern in his studies. He always used to take notes while reading a paper, didn’t overlook a single point, and tried to grasp the knowledge completely by reading his notebook again and again.
Even in a meeting or while handling a managerial task, I’ve seen him carrying a small notebook to write down each minute detail. This quality should be learned by each and every one. Unless you focus on the details of other’s work, you can’t understand it properly, which affects your work as well.
Manage your Time
It was just his second year when Asad found tons of work around himself. He had to take out time for his research work, had to train his juniors, apply to profs to get a summer internship, forget about the pressure of the chemical syllabus on him. Surprisingly, he couldn’t ignore any of them. That time I noticed him managing his time beautifully. He allotted different time slots for various tasks.
Punctuality is a rare quality in this age. Especially for the engineers, who love to wake up at night, only to sleep till noon. But it’s always beneficial to fix a routine beforehand so that we can manage our tasks, responsibility, and relations.
Never Ignore Mental health
Mental health is a serious issue that needs to be taken seriously by the youths. Often our ignorance towards mental health causes our failure. In general, Asad was a very calm, composed and smiling guy, who used to take matters seriously, but didn’t let them ruin his peace of mind.
But, like everyone else, he had to go through a rough time in 2019. During his internship in Bangalore, he suffered from mild depression due to the extreme pressure of the research work and other stuff. But unlike everyone else, he took it very seriously and fought against it. Even in that critical situation, he completed his intern project quite efficiently and prepared for 3rd-year industrial internships.
Make your point clear
Conveying your message is equally important as listening to others’ opinions. You don’t need to be rude for that, you can simply make your point clear in a polite manner. I’ve always seen Asad stating his points of view firmly, even if the person is in a higher post than him. His ability to have a firm conversation in Nevrónas helped us a lot in building industrial collaborations.
Set your priorities
Once you have a bunch of work to do, the best thing you can do is set your priority order. The order may change from time to time based on the circumstances, but sailing on two boats is not good for you and your organization. Once you set your own priority list, you help your 24 hours to be used properly. This is a unique quality of Asad which helped him to manage all his tasks better than anyone else.
Help others to Grow
I’ve always seen him guiding his fellow workers and juniors to get their work done. He used to spend months getting a junior’s project done, even if his name was not associated with it. The more you help others to grow, the more they will help you in return. Once you start working on strengthening your relationship with others, you actually start to help yourself to escalate in the Hierarchy of Needs.
Learn, Adapt & Explore
Asad spent the majority of his college-life exploring his own self. In his second year, he founded his research group to pursue and embrace the research culture on the campus. To understand the market better and penetrate it, he founded his start-up “Annokriya”. In Innovation Garage, he involved himself in technical tasks in his second year and slowly started to adapt. A year later, he devoted most of his time in a managerial role. He’s one of the few people, who love to come out of their comfort zone every time to explore himself, that’s what makes him different from others.
He is currently in his pre-final year right now and still learning, adapting, exploring and improving himself continuously. Definitely, he’s not in his peak but is escalating at a high rate. I’m quite fortunate to meet a person like him, am trying to follow the qualities I’ve learned from him and hopefully will learn more from him in the upcoming days.
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