Thanks to SINDA’s ITE Leadership Programme (ITELP), Sangeetha Sounderarajan evolved from a reserved individual to an outspoken and thoughtful leader. From 2016 to 2018, she took part in ITELP as a participant, mentor and an organising committee member. However, she had her fair share of challenges. “Before joining ITELP, I wasn’t confident or keen to share my opinions. People I knew looked down on me for studying in ITE, which made me feel I needed to only study and not join any programmes. During presentations, I was nervous to speak – that nervousness prevented me from speaking up during ITELP.”
Sangeetha’s turning point came when she realized she had to conduct many presentations during ITELP. “I realised that I must change my mindset and get over my fear of public speaking – or else, when would I?” She came out of her comfort zone over time, learning to socialise with others. “Networking is important, especially when we enter the workforce. We need to build rapport with colleagues so we can be aware of opportunities to improve ourselves personally and professionally. The skills and knowledge Sangeetha learnt through ITELP gave her an advantage in school. She was able to create higher-quality proposals, manage her group-mates efficiently and plan school-orientation activities and camps.
Sangeetha says that her mentoring experience inspired her to continue guiding future generations of youth. “They remind me of my younger self. At their age, I wish I had someone to tell me that studying in ITE wasn’t something to feel embarrassed about – I had to change that mindset myself. But I’m glad I can be that person for others.”
“After the programme, I get messages from the participants, thanking me for my time and guidance. From my experience, I want the youths out there to learn that they should seize every opportunity they get in life. Never stop trying.”