25-03-2019

Beyond my City Life- An Article By an NWE Alumni, Harjeev Ahluwalia

I learnt not only how to adjust to staying alone with people I didn’t know, but also to make lasting friendships.

Harjeev in 2012

I’ve been to Negi Sports’ camps thrice as a student and twice recently as an Intern.

I first heard about NWE (2008) through a handout my father brought home after a visit to my then school, St. Johns’ High School. My parents had hoped I’d find some pleasure in a program designed to push me out of my box. I too was excited to learn that I would be away from home, with friends, for almost a week!But I soon found out that I would be spending 6 days outdoors, camping. That was where I was worried because I had never been camping, nor had I ever traveled without my parents. I did not know what to expect. What I did expect, was to sleep in tents and try not to be too afraid because my friends were there.

“However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. NWE was so much more. Unbeknownst to me then, it was to become one of the most defining turns in my life. “

Now, I’d always been a nature enthusiast, and arriving at the more than picturesque camp-site (that I would later come to call campus) I was already comfortable. Over the coming week, I learnt so many things about the environment ─that being in Chandigarh, I probably never would’ve known.I learnt how to identify geographic features, trees, navigate my way through the wilderness, and most importantly, how to keep safe in the wild.

Though I didn’t have the resources that kids these days have back then, today, in our city life we have a GPS, Google maps and the internet.We see no use for knowing which way the sun comes up or what the weather patterns are. Honestly, even a nature enthusiast like me never really cared for the environment that much and did not pay attention to it back then. Today, it’s even easier to not pay attention to any of these things with the kind of technology we have constant access to (and dependence on). This is where NWE stepped in and expanded the horizons of my imagination. Being away from technology for a week really enables you, and I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said it enhances your senses. Now that I have spent weeks with the true nature as my home I want to take care of it more.

picture from 2012

The most important and most memorable part of the whole experience was the friends I took back from that place, and the memories of my first campsite are still fresh as if it were only yesterday. I was one of the only people in my course who had never stepped out of home all alone and never even slept outside for even one night. I learnt not only how to adjust to staying alone with people I didn’t know, but to make lasting friendships and respect everyone’s differences. Not just my knowledge, but my people skills and leadership skills expanded greatly during my course.

All of them are still friends. Picture from 2012

This course also helped me to find ways to work with people. I had originally enrolled to push myself to become a leader with a group of strangers and to interact with new people as a team member. I learnt that being a leader comes in many ways and I feel that I learnt to be a leader in the truest sense, taking a back-seat when needed. At first I was distant and reserved and did only what I had to do. However, as the course went on, I started taking more initiatives which to me is more of what a leader is. I may not have been the perfect student but I just got better and better as the course rolled on. I now feel confident saying that I am a leader.

After taking this course I can confidently impart my learnings on wilderness education, leadership, risk management and communication within teams. My course had a visible impact on my personal and professional life. Much of what I learnt at NWE has stayed with me because it is vital to my working in groups and risk management. Today, just recently having completed my Masters in Human Resource Management from XLRI Jamshedpur, I can definitely look back at the time spent at NWE camps both as a student, and as an instructor and say that a lot of what we learn in Business School, is what I’d learnt already at NWE campuses.

Thank you NWE for providing a caring and nurturing learning environment where I could effectively learn skills I use daily to make my life more purposeful! And most importantly, thank you for enabling me to discover my love for the woods, the rain, clear skies and mountains. If I’m ever out of reach, my friends know it’s probably because I’m out somewhere, exploring nature. I belong in the woods!


About The Author

Harjeev Ahluwalia is an NWE Alumin from 2008, 2009 & 2012. He worked as an intern in 2017 & 2018 is now pursuing Masters in Human Resource Management from XLRI Jamshedpur.

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