A DECISION THAT CHANGED MY LIFE!

August 1st, 2019, I knew my world had changed, for one thing, I loved biology with all my heart, and the other was I was standing at the admission center of Sahyadri Engineering college. I was put into a whole different world from what I had previously planned up for myself. Till that day of my life, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to be a Doctor.

Maybe because all my life, I was around my cousins who were doctors too. But when I genuinely asked for their opinion, they asked me one thing, Studying MBBS and being a doctor is no joke, there will be times where you will be frustrated because there will be too much to study, you won’t be able to get proper sleep or even time for yourself, Do you still want to be a doctor? Well it was at that time something clicked in me, so even before I knew it, I had suddenly backed out. I wanted to do something different, at the same time I also wanted a bit of freedom, where I had time to concentrate on myself too. So now one thing was sure that, there was no turning back, no matter how hard it gets I will have to stick up with my choice of stream.

In A New Place And New Environment

It was a bit hard to open up with strangers, but the Induction program gave me a chance to speak with people, where I came to know some were in similar condition as mine. Then I met one of a senior, and she turned out to be my biggest blessing there. She introduced me to her friends. One of the many things we had in common was dancing, so she introduced me to a dance group from our college. I met some amazing dancers there. All the rehearsals kept me busy and didn’t give me a chance to think twice as to why I chose engineering. Without even knowing I had already blended in and made some friends. And formed our small group of friends of five people. Those who still are close to my heart.

An Unforgettable Experience

In the following month of October, we saw a notice was put up on the notice board of each class. It was a chance for us to go, participate, and attend events that were being held at different colleges in a different place, while with full attendance in each subject. Our class people were soon divided into two teams. One to go to BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, and the other one to Thapur University, Punjab. I was in the first team, of Hyderabad. We were a total of twenty-two people along with two mentors to guide us. Our team was named ‘The Hawx’. We had around two weeks to prepare all our bots. We stayed at college late nights, for work. It was a new experience too. Along with work we bonded and enjoyed while having dinner together in college.

I also caught a glimpse of what a team and teamwork actually were. Because in this field you can do things alone, but when in a team, be it the idea or the end product it comes a lot better than what you usually do alone. You learn to be understanding of each other and respect their opinions too. And also learn that some misunderstandings or problems can be solved by simply sitting and discussing, what and where things went wrong, then brainstorming ideas, and come up with an even better solution. And even then if things seemed very unsatisfying, we knew there was always someone to guide us, like our mentors who have already gone through with all the process and also know how to make the best of the worst situation that we may face during the competition.

Taking The Initiative

As all these events were going on, simultaneously every first-year student had an additional more practical subject called SIP – Social Innovative Program. Where we were divided into teams of five, every class was given a topic to work on, as for our class we were given the topic of ‘Horticulture’. We were asked to form a problem statement by asking them, what all problems they faced, as well as come up with a project as its solution. We interviewed farmers, shopkeepers, chemists, lecturers, This program taught me to be alert and also increased my level of curiosity. As it was teamwork, it also improved my team-building skills and initiation-taking skills. As the interview was to be done in a formal manner, it also helped me improve my soft skills, and my teammates also helped me boost my confidence.

Overall the whole year, I discovered my new sides that I didn’t even know existed. I had a great year filled with both sweet and some bitter memories. Even though I don’t know what the future holds for me, this time I will be looking forward to it!

COMMUNICATION – A MODERN POWERFUL TOOL!

Have you ever been in that awkward situation with someone where you couldn’t get past the short talks? Starts with the greetings and then a complete full stop? The root cause of all these problems is improper communication skills!

WHAT EXACTLY IS COMMUNICATION?

Well, the textbook may define it as ” the act of giving, receiving, and sharing information “ But it is much more than that, and when put into simple words, it’s basically exchanging ideas and thoughts, being open-minded about each other’s perspective and being a little vulnerable enough to trust the person that you speak to.

HOW TO GET BETTER AT COMMUNICATION IN THE PROFESSIONAL SECTOR?

Some people may face issues when they need to start up the talk, they are usually blank in the beginning, don’t know how to start the conversation, but once they get into it and open up, they find no issues in continuing the conversation.

  • Have some ‘deep’ conversation starters on hand : 

You can’t expect topics to simply click in your mind, so maybe it is better to prepare yourself beforehand. In order to do that, you must first need to assume that, the person you are talking to also matches the same enthusiasm as yours. Even when unsure, take the initiative, it may end up blowing your mind!

  • Ask questions about topics the other person is interested in :

One of the best ways to continue the conservation is speaking on the topics the other person is interested in, so in order to do that, you must at the least know somethings about him/her, which can either be done a small background check, if the person you are speaking to has direct influence over you, then it is better to know things about him/her in order to impress. Else you can pick up by their body language as to where their interests may lie.

  • Don’t push people to see your perspective :

All of us are unique in our own way, also mindsets vary from person to person. When you are talking about a certain topic make sure you are just pointing out your thoughts and opinions but not pushing them. They will have their own perspective, listen to it, not all of our facts need to be correct as sometimes when you go deeper into the subject you may realize that there is a possibility to look into the matter differently too! So instead of pushing your thoughts, keep the conversation light and end with “What are your opinions about it?”

  • Avoid talking about the weather : 

The topic of weather simply means that you are either not interested in the conversation or don’t know what else to speak about. So I suggest you not take up this topic.

  • Don’t stick to a script :

You may have planned on how to carry on the conversation, but sometimes it may not go so accordingly. The more natural the better, just go with the flow! It doesn’t matter unless your conversation is interesting!

  • Reveal something slightly personal about yourself :

Instead of directly jumping to the point, you can talk about your own experience as to why you have the opinion that you have. When you tell them more about yourself they get a clear idea too! Instead of asking them questions and expecting answers, you can ask for their stories, instead of asking questions like, “How was your weekend?” or, “What’s up?” try asking “What was the best part of your weekend?” or “What are you looking forward to this week?”

Three hands hold up signs reading “Take the initiative” against a sky-blue background with copy space.

Never back down, feeling you may make mistakes or that you speaking or that your accent isn’t good enough. You need to make mistakes in order to learn! Take the initiative and go with the flow!

BEING YOUNG AND STUPID!

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would you like to change?

I wouldn’t change a thing, because all the choices I made in the past, made me the person I am today. I am still a work in progress and have much to learn and grow. Who doesn’t? Therefore I’m no better than any of you. It’s when you fall is when you learn!

You mess up sometimes and that’s ok! you can learn from that mistake. You may hurt people unintentionally or intentionally and you let yourself get hurt too in the process, just so you know how it feels when you fall, and avoid it happening again. You wake up to mornings that succeeded a night you would rather forget. You wake up to mornings that succeeded a night you wish you could remember. You say words you wish you could take back after you start regretting. You wish you had said words you’ll never get the chance to say again.

Being here, in the present, you don’t want to stop believing in yourself.
You think it was worth it, right? Hey, it probably was. It’s OKAY if things don’t go as planned! It’s OKAY to cry and move on!

But is being young and stupid a good enough excuse?

So now, I would like to share an experience of my own, It was during the 12th when I and my best friend decided to go to the same college, away from home, so we became hostelites. But it was during that time, we had a minor argument and misunderstanding, so we both stopped speaking to each other. I had a really bad mental breakdown, It was during that time my dad spoke, saying I was always too dependent on your friends, and I need to let things go and live on! After all, everything happens for a good reason! but people change, when time changes and they grow. But if even after all of those misunderstandings, the person still manages to come back into your life, then he was meant to stay. Now, I and my friend laugh, thinking back as it was such an inane situation.


It was after that time, I realized I needed to be more self-dependent. I also realized communication is the key to solve most of the misunderstandings.

I have met different kinds of people who taught me lessons that changed my perspective.

Here’s a small part from,

“The Little Boy and the Old Man” by Shel Silverstein

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.” Said the old man, “I do that too.” The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.” “I do that too,” laughed the old man. Said the little boy, “I often cry.” The old man nodded, “So do I.

We probably behave stupidly because we don’t think, period. And maybe those who turn out to be wise were always full of the wisdom that we weren’t. Sounds philosophical, it’s not.

I’m a big believer in learning from mistakes. I do reflect on my past experiences that carved me into the person I am today.

ANTIBODIES – Our Body’s Military Force!

ANTIGENS:

These are the foreign bodies that have the capability to bind with the immunogen and also induce an immune response from our body.
The majority of antigens are made up of protein. But some can also be made of carbohydrates, lipids, or nucleic acid.

ANTIBODIES/ IMMUNOGLOBULINS:

An antibody is a protein molecule that is generated in the living being by the plasma membrane of the cell. The majority of antibodies are produced in the blood, hence the name immunoglobulins.
Each antibody consists of four polypeptides– two heavy chains and two light chains joined to form a “Y” shaped molecule.
The amino acid sequence in the tips of the “Y” varies greatly among different antibodies. This variable region, composed of 110-130 amino acids, gives the antibody its specificity for binding antigen.

Antibodies are divided into five major classes, IgM, IgG, Iga, IgD, and IgE, based on their constant region structure and immune functions.

IgG antibody function :

IgG provides long-term protection because it persists for months and years after the presence of the antigen that has triggered their production. IgG protects against bacteria, viruses, neutralizes bacterial toxins, triggers complement protein systems, and binds antigens to enhance the effectiveness of phagocytosis.

IgM antibody function :

IgM is involved in the ABO blood group antigens on the surface of RBCs. IgM enhances ingestions of cells by phagocytosis.

IgA antibody function :

The main function of IgA is to bind antigens on microbes before they invade tissues. It aggregates the antigens and keeps them in the secretions so when the secretion is expelled, so is the antigen. IgA is also the first defense for mucosal surfaces such as the intestines, nose, and lungs.

IgE antibody function :

IgE bind to mast cells and basophils which participate in the immune response. Some scientists think that IgE’s purpose is to stop parasites.

IgD antibody function :

IgD plays a role in the induction of antibody production.

IMMUNE SYSTEM IN OUR BODY:

The main role of the immune system is to recognize the pathogen, respond to the foreign antigens, and memorize them.

LYMPHOID ORGANS:

These are the organs where the maturation and proliferation of lymphocytes take place.
These are further divided into two types:

  1. Primary lymphoid organs: This comprises of bone marrow and thymus, where T-lymphocytes and the B-lymphocytes mature and acquire their antigen-specific receptors.
  2. Secondary lymphoid organs: It comprises of lymph nodes, spleen, and Mucosa Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT). After maturation of the T- lymphocyte and the B-lymphocyte, they migrate here via blood vascular and lymphatic system, where they undergo differentiation.

VACCINISATION OR IMMUNISATION:

A vaccine is generally a half-killed or weakened disease-causing pathogen that is then given to the healthy individual through injection or drops, which has the ability to generate an immune response but not cause any disease or doesn’t have the ability to spread in the body. This causes acquired immunity against the disease-causing pathogen. This is called as vaccinisation or immunisation.
The concept of vaccinisation is based on the ‘memory’ of the immune system. Our immune system has the ability to recognize the pathogen if it has once been already spotted and antibodies have been created by our body.
So when the same pathogen enters our body, it is immediately spotted by the lymphocytes, and the antibodies are produced almost instantly given a quick response.

ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION:

It is the process of replacement of diseased tissue with healthier ones. Various factors are involved in transplanting an organ from a donor to a recipient such as tissue matching, immunosuppression, the immune response generated in the recipient. T-cells play a major role in the process of rejection.

CONCLUSION:

Antigens are the substance majority made of protein that has the capability to stimulate the production of antibodies. Antibodies are protein molecule that inactivates the antigen. They are also called immunoglobulins. Lymphoid organs are the place where the maturation of lymphocytes takes place. Vaccine is introduced into our body to prepare antibodies against certain pathogens. While organ transplant has its own pros and cons.

IMMUNITY – A WAY OF DEFENCE!

Our human body is continuously exposed to microorganisms that may or may not be infectious. Millions of microorganisms exist in our body that includes our mouth, eyes, ears, and the other various part of our body.
But in the same way, our body is also exposed to disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoans, etc. So in order to keep us healthy, there is a certain process that our body undergoes in order to defend ourselves from such microorganisms, this is done by our immune system. The branch of science that deals with the components of the immune system are called Immunology.

NOW, WHAT EXACTLY IS IMMUNITY?

It is the ability of an organism to fight against disease-causing agents.
It is further divided into two categories :

  1. Innate immunity.
  2. Acquired immunity.

INNATE IMMUNITY :

It is a non-specific type of immunity that includes all the defense elements with which an individual is born. It is present at the time of birth and is genetic i.e, it is passed down genetically from parents to children.
This includes skin, mucous membranes, and blood cells along with the white blood cell which forms an important component of innate immunity.

The different types of barriers to innate immunity are :

1) Physical barrier: This includes skin and mucous membrane

2) Physiological barrier: This comprises hydrochloric acid, bile, cerum, lysozyme, and our body temperature.

3) Cellular barrier: Certain types of cells called leucocytes(WBC), neutrophils and monocytes, natural killer cells (lymphocyte) as well as macrophages constitutes this barrier.

4) Cytokine barrier: There are certain cells which once infected by a virus, release a glycoprotein called interferons (IFNs). This causes the nearby cell to get alert, as it is a signal which basically says pathogens have been entered and have infected it.

5) Inflammatory barrier: This is a type of barrier that causes redness, swelling, pain, and the production of heat from the infected tissue.

ACQUIRED IMMUNITY :

This type of immunity is found only in vertebrates. It is also called adaptive or specific immunity. It enhances the protection of the innate immunity as it is generated in response to the exposure of pathogens.

These are further divided into two groups:

1) Active immunity.

2) Passive immunity.

ACTIVE IMMUNITY :

It involves the active functioning of an individual’s own immune system, which leads to the synthesis of antibodies.

Types of active immunity:

1) Natural active immunity: Natural infection by a pathogen generates antibodies and specialized lymphocytes.

2) Artificial active immunity: Vaccines are administrated to the body which generates antibodies.

PASSIVE IMMUNITY :

In this case of immunity, the antibodies from one individual are passed into another individual. It also gives immediate protection. But this type of immunity is short-lived, generally lasts for only a few weeks.

Types of passive immunity:

1) Natural passive immunity: It is gained naturally, for example, antibodies from a mother can cross the placenta and enter her foetus.

2) Artificial passive immunity: Here the antibodies formed in one individual are extracted and are then injected into the blood of another individual.

CONCLUSION :


We have an immune system in our body that help us fight against the disease-causing microorganisms or pathogen. Some Immunity may be passed to us during our birth and can also be passed to our next generation, this type of immunity is called innate immunity. While the immunity that is acquired after birth that has the ability to recognize and selectively eliminate a certain specific type of pathogens is called Acquired immunity.

WANDERLUST

In this pandemic, what is the thing that we miss the most? Afcourse, it’s getting out of our homes and socializing. Travel! Who doesn’t like traveling? Exploring new places, getting to know new people and their culture sounds pretty exciting to me! It’s fascinating to watch their lifestyle and understand it during the time of staying.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT!

I, myself, have traveled a lot of places during my summer breaks and have learnt a great amount during those travel. Traveling isn’t just always about the fun elements, but also studies have shown that exploring new places can do wonders for both physical and mental health.

HOW DOES TRAVELLING BOOST OUR MENTAL HEALTH?

  • IT’S SUCH A STRESS BUSTER :

From working at home and working at the office to students focusing on their studies, can create a lot of tension and stress.

Doing workouts might be one of the best ways for stress release, but I’m sure most of us are either just too tired or lazy to do so! So what’s the best alternative? Just pull out your car or bike and go out for a long drive! Traveling need not mean going on international trips or vacations, but sometimes, going to your favorite place or spot can help a great deal too!

  • A NEW WAY TO REINVENT YOURSELF :

People talk about new starts and beginnings and everyone likes to be independent but honestly it’s easy to love others but harder to love yourself. You might be surprised when you travel to a new destination and find out what might be your insecurity is just a way of living of people there.

These days many of us have become so subconscious regarding all the diet and fitness. They calculate the amount of calorie intake and avoid oily foods, but I remember when I traveled to Punjab, India, and their people eating oily foods and never insecure about gaining weight and just enjoying their life, so apparently when you travel north, the temperature drops, and you need to have more calorie in order to have a normal body temperature and sustain. Traveling widens your horizons of possibilities of life.

  • A SOURCE OF GREAT HAPPINESS :

What is better than traveling with your friends and family? It gives us so much joy and excitement. We forget all about our personal life and drama, and just live in the moment!

Your emotions are directly or indirectly linked with the people you are close with. So when you travel with them your mental state elevates and you feel a great amount of love and happiness. Emotions are a very powerful thing. Once under its influence, you do things that you normally would never dream of. Happiness is one such emotion, it can give you a great deal of self-confidence.

  • IT MAKES YOU RESILIENT :

Every one of us likes to be in our comfort zone, and keep things under control, so when faced with some strange and peculiar situations, we tend to panic and lose control!

With traveling to new places, where you know nothing about the people or their culture, basically diving into an unfamiliar place will help you get resistance to panic and once you master your emotion and become confident, you also try to push yourself out of your comfort zone. So believe me when I say ‘Normal is Boring‘! Be creative and push your limits, it’s never too late to learn new things!

BIODIVERSITY – A WAY OF ENSURING OUR SURVIVAL

WHAT IS BIODIVERSITY?

Biodiversity is the term used to describe the tremendous variety of life on earth. It includes all the varieties present from the ecosystem, species-level to the genetic level.

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If we take an example of a forest, it may seem like it is a permanent fixture, but it may be likely to collapse if only one type of species tends to thrive in there. In order to maintain stability, there need to be diverse species, as one species is dependent on another for survival.

HOW ARE CLIMATE AND BIODIVERSITY INTERTWINED?

SOLAR ENERGY :

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Sunlight plays a major key role in this system. The leaves of the plants and trees need sunlight for the process of photosynthesis to create oxygen and energy in the form of sugar. This energy is stored in various parts of the plant, and when the herbivores being the primary consumer, consume the leaves, the energy is passed on to them. Followed by the secondary consumers, the energy is passed on to them and so on. This is the ENERGY FLOW. It follows the 10% law, where only 10% energy will be passed on from source to consumers.

Another key factor is the presence of a hot and humid climate. As the humid climate is very much needed to add another essential to rich diversity i.e water.

HOW DO THE AREA AND SOIL AFFECT BIODIVERSITY?

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The size of a habit plays an important role in greater diversity. As the area increases, the niche increases, which is now able to support a greater variety of species.

Soil also being the key factor, has its own biodiversity. Soil biodiversity includes all the bacteria, fungi, earthworms, and termites, etc. A tablespoon of topsoil can contain a wide range of different species and up to 6 billion microorganisms.

The agricultural sector and environment, both need the proper maintenance of soil biodiversity.

  • Soil is the most biologically diverse matter on Earth, essential for plant growth and its nutrient
  • Soil contains a large variety of organisms, which is essential for global cycles, including the carbon and nitrogen cycles.
  • Soil is the habitat for millions of micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, as well as insects, and other organisms.

INTERDEPENDENT OF SPECIES – A REQUIREMENT FOR BIODIVERSITY

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In the case of a larger ecosystem, like the Rain forest, all the species are interdependent for survival. If any one of the minor species is eliminated, it may not as much affect the whole stability of the ecosystem, because of the rich volume of species and genetic diversity causing rich biodiversity.

It need not be true in all cases. Consider the Coral Reel Ecosystem. Because of the diversity of life found in the habitats created by corals, reefs are often called the “rainforests of the sea.” Many organisms in the reef are dependent on the coral, as it provides, habitat as well as the breeding ground for thousands of species of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. It also forms a symbiotic relationship with the alga. This makes corals the keystone organism. So what if, due to extensive fishing, pollution, or ocean acidification cause the loss of corals? All the species that were dependent on the corals face the same loss, causing the destruction of that entire ecosystem.

CONCLUSION:

Ecosystem, Species, and Genetic diversity are intertwined to give us the biodiversity that is vital for the survival of organisms on Earth. We, humans, are also a part of this system, if few strands of this link are removed, our own survival is threatened, cut off too many of them, may cause destruction of our own ecosystems. Biodiversity is the Earth’s own safety net, an insurance policy for the survival of us all.

When things don’t go as planned!

“Most things don’t go as we planned it to be, but it’s within our hands to make the best out of all the situations that we face!” It’s the most common dilemma when you are a 12th-grade student and start dreaming of a particular kind of future for yourself, but then you end up in a strange and unfamiliar place. But that may turn out to be better than what you had planned earlier, or, maybe not, you never know until it happens!

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Life isn’t always sugar and cupcakes!

Speaking from my own experience, I was purely a NEET aspirant, dreamt of being a doctor from a very young age, but ended up in the field of engineering, in which neither I had any interest nor did I possess such good skills. I was completely unfamiliar with the setting and felt like an alien here. I remember feeling so strange yet somehow welcoming.

In the beginning, I thought I would regret joining this field, because it’s the era of technology and clever people, and I felt so inferior because firstly, I had zero knowledge of coding, and, secondly I was pretty weak at math. Also, it was hard to understand all the basics, without any foundation.

But over the period of one year, not just the field of computer science but also people who I fondly call my good friends now grew over me! They became my strength, lifted me up when I thought about quitting. They encouraged me to great lengths. “Finding good friends is hard but finding true friends is rare like a diamond!” At least I was lucky in that department!

What would you do when things go out of hand?

  • When you accept the situation and fight for, rather than against it, you can see the change in yourself. When you embrace your flaws and work towards them, is the time when you actually grow as a person! So rather than running away, Why not stick around and fight for it? You may find that the end result is much better than what to had earlier planned.
  • Do not regret any of your choices, you only get one life to live, so why live in regret? When you can go with the flow and see what life has in store for you!
  • Give your best, in the end, it’s your happiness that matters the most. Who would have thought I, who loved biology with all my heart would end up in computer science engineering and actually fall for it too? Never restrict yourself, explore what you can have and maybe it grows on you too!
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YOU are in charge of your life!

Always remember it’s these backlashes that make you stronger, braver and boosts your confidence. Just like antibodies, as it stands upright with full arm force, if the disease-causing pathogen that once caused havoc in your body dares to enter again, it’s the antibodies who will be the first to strike this time! Why? because it is prepared for what’s to happen next! and it wins!

So failures, small backlashes are all but a part of life, and know that, everything that happens is for a reason, that is to prepare you for the worst because the next time you will be expecting it and it will be you, who will be the first to strike!