Getting those feet inside the door

July 25, 2017

Posted: May 8, 2017, 11:41pm

This article is for all those newbies, who are struggling to get that one opportunity to learn/practice/hone their skills, but due to a limited exposure or expertise are facing a difficult time achieving that

In one of my previous articles, I mentioned how VR fascinated me to my core and I had this immediate desire to learn everything about it. But gauging my own interest as to whether I want to pursue this as a hobby (which is difficult if one is a grad student) or do I foresee a career in it, took its own toll. So I started looking at the online resources and understood the potential and promise that this sphere has. I became a full-time member of VRSC and started attending all of their events. I started reading from the online resources and understood what skills are desired for this industry. Newsletters were subscribed and people were followed. However, I was still looking for chances to practically experience things in Virtual Reality before really making it my priority as a career goal.

One of the most important skills I’ve learned in USC is how to network. So, in all those events that I attended, I found several talented people of the community and it is talking to them, requesting them for their valuable time that I got a great insight into how things work here.

One important lesson that I learned here is that if you’re thinking about pursuing something, do it fast. Real fast. The sooner you practice it, the sooner you fail. The sooner you fail is the sooner you succeed or realize where your interests really lie. But that is not what happened with me. I kept looking for volunteer options to learn/contribute in developing content but to no use. It’s the chicken and egg problem altogether. You need the experience to work or volunteer and sadly, vice-versa. I chased students, projects, professors, companies, but to little success. The semester ended.

Fortunately, my efforts did not. As the spring began, I doubled my efforts and got recommended for working on any of the on-going projects in the MxR lab. However, that wasn’t easy either and I was asked to wait for two more months. My patience now started flailing. But I waited, not for two months, for around two weeks.

It was then that I knew that I had to change my strategy. The more difficulties I faced, the more it encouraged me to pursue it further. I needed the lab, the equipment, and that essential guidance and I could not have mustered all those together inside my little laptop in my little room. At one moment, I did feel alone.

A friend of mine once told me,” To get your feet inside the door, either bring a breakthrough, a powerful mind-numbing idea OR stay consistent with your passion with the hope of one day proving yourself right. Only that, the second approach seldom works.” I had no breakthrough idea in my head and did not know what to do.

Then one day I sat down and introspected quite a bit; thought about the issues that my education is helping to solve. I thought about the causes I really care about, those that even give me sleepless nights. I thought about the purpose of doing what I’m doing or why I’m chasing something. It is in those moments of epiphany, I made patterns of the ideas from literature that I really liked and the issues I care about and how this amazing technology provides a platform to solve them. Joining all those dots, a created an idea and penned it down. The next day, I emailed the directors of the Lab with what I had come up with. I was uncertain. But to my surprise, I discovered that I indeed got the breakthrough I was waiting to have unraveled all this time. From then on, there was no looking back.

Back to the title, to get your feet inside the door, as far as I believe, one must go back to the basics. It is important to answer ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. It is consistency and purposefulness that eventually gets us through that door.


Published on July 25th, 2017

Last updated on August 10th, 2017