In T5E’s brand new series, correspondents have a closer look at the institute’s ‘PoR Culture’. This five-part series, based on extensive interviews with the PoR-holders across different verticals in the student body, tries to identify the factors that drive the craze for PoRs in the institute.

In Part 1 of the series, Sruthi Ranjani provides a primer on the basics of the PoR culture: Is it difficult to balance PoRs with academics? What can I learn from taking up PoRs? Are there any myths surrounding PoRs that I need to know?

Read on to find out more!

MEET THE PORS

Can I balance my academics and other interests if I take up a PoR?

1. Yes, you can. It’s usually difficult when one is new to the team, but everyone learns to adapt.

2. Different PoRs have different time frames; the work is usually intermittent, which makes the job easier. Also, most PoRs do not demand work during stressful times of the semester such as quiz weeks.

3. Prioritisation is paramount. Trade-offs will have to be made – so choosing your battles wisely is of prime importance.

4. Most importantly, choosing a PoR that aligns with your interests or strong beliefs will make the work more enjoyable and easy to fit into your schedule.

Have plans for taking up a PoR, but worried about your academics? You’re not alone.
One of the major factors behind students’ disinclination towards taking up PoRs is the perceived toll that PoRs are said to take on one’s academics. However, balancing academics and other interests along with one’s PoRs is much easier than it is often thought to be because different PoRs have different time frames. The work is therefore usually intermittent, which makes the job easier. Also, most PoRs do not demand work during stressful times of the semester such as quiz weeks.

This usually difficult when one is new to the team or PoR in question, but everyone learns to adapt sooner or later. To be able to accomplish the perfect balance, effective prioritisation is paramount. Trade-offs will have to be made – so choosing your battles wisely is of prime importance. Most importantly, choosing a PoR that aligns with your interests or strong beliefs will make the work more enjoyable and easy to fit into your schedule.

What do I gain from taking up a PoR?

Networking and organisational skills are the most common set of skills PoR holders gain from their work. Besides, making friends, dealing with people and understanding how to work with bureaucracy are some of the other positive sides to PoRs. They also help you in making decisions faster. Knowing what to hold on to and what to let go of is a valuable skill most PoR holders often take away from their work.

Myths

1. ‘PoRs are a scam, da!’

2. People with PoRs are cool.

3. It is difficult to manage multiple PoRs – taking up too many results in academics taking a hit.
The Myth Disproved: PoRs usually keep you quite busy, so productivity actually increases and a lot of time isn’t wasted.

4. PoRs are directly useful for placements and help one secure both internships and jobs.
The Myth Disproved: Not necessarily. Certain kinds of PoRs help you in securing certain kinds of jobs.

5. People take up PoRs only for their CV value.
The Myth Disproved: Not really. Many people take them up based on their hobbies, beliefs or interest in learning a skill. Sometimes monetary compensation is also a driving factor.

6. Moving horizontally from one team to another is not possible.
The Myth Disproved: On the contrary, it is very much possible in most teams (like EML, for instance). Having the relevant basic skill sets is all that is required for most PoRs.
Within teams such as IVil, there is no vertical ladder to climb. Flat-structure bodies such as these only have volunteers and anyone can be one at any time.

If you’ve heard of one or more of these myths about PoRs, we’re here to break them down for you based on the responses we received from PoR holders across insti’s various teams. Firstly, the common conception that it is difficult to manage multiple PoRs without letting academics take a hit is untrue. PoRs usually keep you quite busy, so there is actually a net gain in your productivity and a lot of time doesn’t end up being wasted. It is also not necessarily true that PoRs are directly useful for placements and help one secure both internships and jobs, because it is only certain kinds of PoRs help you in securing certain kinds of jobs. This leads us to the next myth – that people take up PoRs only for their value on the CV. This is also not quite true, because many people take up PoRs based on their hobbies, beliefs or interest in learning a skill. Sometimes monetary compensation is also a driving factor.

Moving horizontally from one team to another, too, is easier than you’d think. For most teams, all that is required is that you have a decent set of basic skills and you don’t have to climb a vertical ladder in order to get to one of the higher positions. You can also hop from one team to another without having to start from scratch in the new team.

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the series! Write to us at t5e.iitm@gmail.com for any suggestions, clarifications or feedback.

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