Name: Pooja Yadav
Trust me, the way I am writing and sharing about my life right now, it never used to happen ten years back. During my adolescence and college years, I was quite introvert, did not have much confidence to talk with people, had low confidence, self esteem, juggling with the changes inside related to emotional and physical aspects, initiating and handling relationships, shyness towards opposite sex, questioning about my own identity, and somehow willingness to do something to stand differently in crowd but lacking that courage and proper guidance to take a desired initiative. The only positive thing that gave me confidence was the faith of my classmates in me, they found me trustworthy with whom they can share feelings and were sure that I will listen to them. But I would always seek for someone who can listen to me, give me proper guidance that would help me in understanding my issues and help me to develop my skills to deal with challenges of life. The time kept on moving, during this phase of turmoil, my mother always stood by me and somehow helped me in dealing with the problems but apart from that place of a guide or mentor was lacking.
I was relieved as I have completed my graduation, but that relief was temporary one. My mother was hospitalized; I could not clear my entrance exams for post graduation. God is omnipressant, this time he came to me in the form of counselor, you can say it was my destiny or by chance, when I was too much stressed, that person offered me guidance, helped me in dealing with stresses that I was going thorough. She introduced me to life skills training course that was conducted by “Expressions India “- The Life Skills Education and Wellness Programme”, every year. I still remember, when I attended their first session, my no question was left unanswered. This give me a clear thought about what I wanted to become, that was the moment where I realized that I want to be the same person whom I lacked in my life- the counselor.
By this time, my post graduation had started and opportunities started knocking at my door one by one. I joined “Expressions India “, project headed by Dr Nagpal, by then and got a platform to enhance my skills and knowledge. I was the part of technical team “Expressions India” for the “Adolescent summit” in which around 50 schools of Delhi participated to voice their opinion about their needs and concerns. To my surprise, I was in the front. I was an extrovert and was the helping hand for many students.
Other series of opportunities and exposure helped me in understanding diverse issues of adolescents and gaining confidence in dealing with them. The big turning point of life came in 2007, when I got to work for WHO India Country Office draft a toolkit for GSHS and to do documentation of Global school based student health survey in India along with development of India specific training package. I did know the importance of workshops by then, the importance of such sessions for developing youth who are waiting for guidance and support like me during my adolescence. The memories of youngsters sharing their story are still afresh in my mind. Since then I keep on trying to provide myself as a cushion for their issues.
Today's youth is able to bring about change in their communities, but many young people still do not have access to the most basic information about how to make informed decisions regarding their own health. I realized that if we have to bring a change, there is a need to work with stakeholders :” Expressions India- The life skills education and wellness programme”, gave me a chance to engage myself with various government projects.
Apart from being associated with Expressions India, I am working as Counseling Psychologist in a school, catering to the developmental needs of different age groups. My role here involves Counseling and guidance sessions with students, teachers and parents on individual level, group sessions, conducting various seminars for parents and teachers, holding life skills and career workshops for students, developing reading material, awareness camps, advocating for special need children etc. It gives me an immense pleasure, when I am able to bring smile to someone, when I can help someone in trusting oneself, when I try the parents or teachers to understand the changes their children are going through, when I answer the questions I receive in question box related to ARSH(Adolescent reproductive and sexual health) and help someone to be confident about self etc.
I try my best to bring a difference in someone’s life. I feel that everyone has the power and its possible for everyone to make a direct positive impact on someone’s life but it all depends on your perspective..In my opinion , the best I can give back to this world is by making someone happy, by helping other person to share his loneliness by talking to them, by making them realize that they are important for me , to accept them unconditionally and lastly to help them in bringing positive changes in themselves to lead a happy life.
The girl whom I left ten years back, still come to my dreams but this time with a smile! And I would like to conclude with the famous lines by Robert Frost
“The wood are lovely, dark,and deep,
But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep..”