It was our second weekend in Stockholm, and the first one after the classes had started. I and my friends had gathered at my apartment with a hope of figuring out how to do the lab assignments that we had been burdened with during the first week of Masters. But, when there are half a dozen guys in a 28-meter square apartment, you can’t really expect them to be productive. Half of the time we were talking random things, the usual way of getting to know each other, and half of the time we were scrolling through Facebook and youtube on the new found super-fast broadband. In the middle of all this, my flatmate Abu who looked quite immersed in his laptop screen, casually announced: “Bhaiiyo, kisi ko KTH blogger banna ho toh aaj last date hai, apply kardo” (If anyone wants to be a blogger for KTH, today is the last date to apply). My first reaction was: “KTH Blogger, what’s that?”. Another friend in the apartment quipped, “Haven’t you read Prasanth’s blogs, wait I’ll send you a link!”.
I spend next half-an hour reading Prasanth’s blog (I later realized that he was probably the most popular guy among the Indians of our batch). He had written great posts with a lot of info and I remembered reading a blog from his trip to Åland Islands, that was the point which triggered me. I had been planning to write about my travels for a long time, but like other procrastinators, I had a long to-do list which just kept on getting new additions. I thought maybe this is an opportunity for me to unleash those ambitions of writing my travel tales. I spent rest of my afternoon making a fancy CV and writing a sample post with my experience in Stockholm in the past couple of weeks; and like a typical engineer, I sent my application few minutes before the deadline.
Another eventful week passed, and we gathered again at the same place for the same purpose, and like a recap of last week, we were doing everything but the assignments. During our conversation, the topic of blogging again came up. One of my friends asked me if I heard back about my application. I nodded a no (yeah, the Indian nod with multiple meanings). I, then sent a follow-up email to check the status of my application. A couple of days later, when I was trying not to fall asleep in an 8 AM class, I got an email that my application had ended up in the spam folder for some reason and they found my application because of my follow-up email, and if I could come for an interview after a few hours on the same day. I suddenly realized that my 8 MB CV, that I had made in Photoshop for the sake of trying new things was the culprit for turning my application into a spam. I replied affirmatively, raced back to home to wash off sleep from my face and went for the interview. In that one hour interview, I realized how easy-going and comfortable is the interview process in Sweden, this belief got reinforced in my future interviews in the next two years. During the interview, I somehow knew that I’ve got a good chance here. After I left from there, as I was walking towards the metro station, my phone buzzed, when I tapped the email notification, there was an email titled “We want you!”. I had been selected to be a KTH blogger.
The two years since this interview passed really fast, and now I am sitting here writing my last blog post as a KTH blogger. I must say these two years working as a blogger have been the highlight of my time at KTH. I have met some really amazing people just because I was a blogger and frankly, writing blog posts worked as a de-stressing mechanism for me during my masters. I started with just blogging, a month later I became the curator of KTH Faces, which remained my pet project till I moved to Gothenburg. I also managed the social media accounts, which led me to meet the people at KTH Information and service department, they were a great help in reviewing and helping me with some blogs with critical information.
When I started writing, I had no idea what I was going to write about, I was totally clueless. I neither had very happening weekends nor I had too much of thoughts to share as I was still quite new to the place. But I had been traveling, so I started sharing my travel tales, and the things I was involved with at KTH.
As the application period for Autumn 2016 started, I started receiving a lot of queries regarding the same. I thought maybe I should utilize my skills of giving advice here, so I placed myself in the position of a person who is starting his application in October, and went on writing about the stuff a person needs to know at each stage of the application process. By the response I got to those blogs, I had finally identified my audience, so I kept on writing those blogs. I didn’t know if I was doing it right or just writing senseless stuff, until, the day I was working at the airport arrival services, the new students personally thanked me for all the blogs and how they helped them. The best thing that someone said to me was “Your blogs helped us to psychologically eliminate the fear of unknown”. I was happy that I had finally justified my selection as a blogger. Since then, my blog has been less of a blog and more of an information pool for KTH students and I hope it was effective and helpful for everyone out there. The audience I’ve got on my blog has been overwhelming and has been a constant motivation to keep on writing. My apologies to those whom I put to sleep with my super-long blog posts; I know some blogs were too long, but I didn’t want to split the info into multiple posts.
Since offering advice has been my USP in the last couple of years as a blogger, I’ll offer the last piece of advice for the friends who have just started their school.
Try to grab each and every opportunity that you see. KTH gives you one of the best platforms to interact with people, be it the career fairs or the parties, seminars or the sport/hobby clubs. You are not here just for study, you are here to be educated, and education is not confined to just classes and books; try to expand your vision and develop your personality. Don’t segregate your circles on the basis of language or nationality, you are missing the perks of being in such an international environment. Your professional success from now will be hinging on your ability to network and communicate, so step out of your comfort zones, and don’t live a monotonous life, the best way is to be involved in extra curricular activities, this is where you’ll meet best of your friends.
Try to balance everything, in short LIVE A LAGOM LIFE.
In the end, big thanks to my family, that has been a support mechanism. All the people whom I’ve met in my time at KTH, especially my awesome friends Abu, Hassan, and Aditya who made my time at KTH worthwhile. My cool bosses Caroline and Daniel who have been instrumental in my blogging career, not to forget my all time troubleshooter Robert and the person who hired me, Louise. Anne, who was a constant reviewer for all my blogs and shared some ‘epic’ times. Hui, Åsa and everyone else at KTH AFS have been a great help. And most importantly all the outstanding bloggers and ambassadors who were a constant source of inspiration: Isabella, Divya, Satu, Prasanth, Johanna, Tomas, Tina, Quentin, Siyu, Daniel, Yusi, Stefania, and Nishita.
However, this is not the end of my “blogging”, I have started my personal travel blog this week: “Flight, Camera, Action”, you can visit it at www.abhineet.se. At present all my blogs are indexed on the home page and you can browse through them pretty easily (I’ve been told that my blog will be on KTH server till the end of 2017 for sure, if it remains there after that is questionable, that’s why I’m in the process of mirroring this blog to another WordPress)
Feel free to drop your feedback in the comments, I’ll be happy to answer any questions, find me at abhineet (at) kth (dot) se.