The Teacher Who Likes Being A Student & Travels The World
With 19 countries already covered and counting, Palak Kapadia’s goal is to visit 25 countries before she turns 25. Yet, Palak is not the quintessential vagabond. She is a student, a teacher, and a freelancer charting her own path with confidence and her “ability to dream big, scarily big”.
A freelancer with SHEROES, Palak is 23 years old and currently pursuing her Masters in Copywriting (Advertising) in Mumbai. This may not seem unusual until I tell you a little more about her journey so far.
Graduating in Mass Media and working as the branded content lead at Terribly Tiny Tales immediately after, Palak quit her job when she was selected through a program organized by Alliance Francaise along with the French Ministry of Education to teach English in France for a year.
Being passionate about learning languages and having learned French for over a decade, Palak who calls herself an explorer by spirit, realized that she could take a gap of one year to do what her heart fancied without any major consequences.
With a teaching job in Europe along with the opportunity to be able to travel on weekends were only a few reasons among another million why Palak decided to take the plunge. But teaching a class of 30 kids was no piece of cake!
Palak knew and I agree that private tutoring is a very different ballgame from teaching a class full of students. Yet, she admits how much she had underestimated her task at hand.
Keeping up the interest of her students along with being able to add value to their lives were her topmost priority. And the gamble paid off. Today she describes her teaching experience as the most rewarding.
“I don't think I will ever get over the joy of having little kids constantly say “Hello, hello!” to you every time you pass them in the corridor. Or the grins their faces burst into when you compliment them for doing something right. In an odd way, I feel a sense of responsibility for these children I barely know. They are fascinated by me and look up to me and it is my job that they enjoy, learn and grow.”
Would she like to get back to teaching if given a chance? ‘Absolutely!’ comes her prompt reply.
Is Time Really Important In a relationship? Palak asked this question and boy, did you share your thoughts on this! If you haven’t then you can do now. Check out this article with real couples sharing their take on time in a relationship.
So with a year in France and travelling to many adjoining countries and cities, Palak is back in her home town, in Mumbai again. I jokingly asked her to start a travel blog, especially since she enjoys travelling so much.
Couple that with many of her solo travel experiences in Europe and she has the perfect launch pad to take on the travel blog space with a storm. Where most people would want to flaunt their experience and post their happy travel pictures all over the social media, Palak has a very matured and pragmatic approach.
“I make a little scrapbook of bills, ticket stubs and little things I collect on my travels. So I document it in a very personal manner. I also post some pictures on my Instagram handle @Poetryandpostcards. But I don't really want to do a blog, mostly because there simply are too many of them now. Also, I feel travelling is a very subjective thing and what worked for one might not work for another. It's not a one-size-fits-all. So I'd rather have people talk to me and ask for recommendations that way I can give them tailored recommendations based on what they enjoy.”
Well, her response touched a chord somewhere and was a refreshingly different take on travel stories from those that usually flood our walls and browser histories.
In Mumbai and doing her masters, I ask her why Mass media and advertising? She says she has always had a way with words and knew from the very beginning that she wanted to be a writer.
And yes, becoming a writer was always her childhood dream.
From being the kid whose essays are read out in class, whose favourite subject is English, who has a love for reading, to finding solace in writing from a young age, Palak could see herself writing for the rest of her life. It made her happy! And understandably Media and advertising seemed to be a nice way to make a career out of.
Yet from an awesome paid experience in France to getting back to the mundane activity of studying? A shift in many ways we all know is difficult to make and Palak admits that it was certainly not easy. The hardest thing according to her was compromising on financial freedom but she definitely wanted to work before her masters.
Palak’s academic choices are pretty much reflective of her generation. More and more students prefer to juggle work and higher studies together.
But How Realistic Is It To Give Equal Importance To Both?
Palak dissects this with clarity, saying,
“As much as we'd like to say we can balance work and study 50-50 that never happens. In a best-case scenario, it is like a 60-40 and more realistically, a 75-25. So I'd just say, you need to pick what is the first priority and keep that in mind always. Because you'll always have to make some sacrifices when you juggle multiple things - push a freelance deadline because you have exams or bunk some classes for a work meeting. Those are hard choices that have to be made but when you know what your top priority is, it makes it a tad bit easier.”
Did you read Palak’s comprehensive guide on how to become a writer? Don’t tell us that you missed it!
Palak currently is a freelance writer with SHEROES. She also continues to write with Terribly Tiny Tales, edit books and does some translation work freelance. Translation the key word here, prompted me to wonder how many languages was she proficient in?
It turns out that Palak is fluent in French, learning Spanish, and get by in Portuguese. This is in addition to English, Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi. Wow, is frankly all I can manage, considering my disastrous reputation with learning languages. She is also, of course, learning the ropes of the advertising world.
Would She Like To Change Anything That Specifically Relates To Women In Advertising?
More so because she herself is an independent free thinking individual who is going to be a part of the communication business?
“I feel like as communicators, we do have the power to initiate important conversations in society. Brands like Dove that talks about Real Beauty deliver powerful social messages and I'd love to be able to do that myself.
On the other end of the spectrum is to ensure that wrong messages don't get sent out into the world. Often times, there may be something wrong with an ad that a room full of men wouldn't be able to notice, absolutely unintentionally, because of the patriarchy that's drilled so deep into our psyche. I hope we see a world where there are enough of us so in every room there is at least one woman who can point that out and say, "Hey, that's problematic”.
Did you ever wonder why extramarital affairs happen? Palak shared her take in this article, feel free to share your thoughts too.
Palak The Person
To get to know her better, I had to ask her about her biggest challenge. A personal tragedy struck Palak when she lost her younger cousin in an accident last year. She still believes that she has been unable to overcome this loss, especially because she lives in a joint family where they had all grown up as siblings. This was a serious blow and she has been since trying to deal with it in her own time and way.
Here is Palak, free-spirited at heart whose dream is to have a location-independent job so she can travel without having to worry about money. Yet, she is attached to her roots, her home and family deeply and this perhaps clinched for me, amongst many other things why Palak is indeed a woman of substance. In her own words, “As a person, I think I am someone who is very passionate. Whether it is my work or personal relationships, I put a lot of heart into everything”.
Someone who loves reading, binge watches Netflix shows and is a ‘super social person’ catching up with family and friends on weekends, Palak looks up to her cousin as her role model who is an architect and runs her own café.
She doesn’t like easy and comfortable and constantly takes baby steps by working hard to achieve her dreams. That she dreams really big is her first biggest strength, the second being that she keeps the faith.
“I know the universe has got my back and is constantly conspiring to make me happier. In darker times, it is this faith that keeps me going”.
You can’t miss reading the small scale business ideas to spark the entrepreneur in you.
And how I wish everyone took a cue and inspiration from Palak on this one. To believe that you are meant to be happy no matter what is reason enough to be smiling and spreading happiness.
But is there anything she would like to have done differently in her life? Nothing really she replies.
“Even on days when life is an absolute mess, it still is my mess and it's glorious. It took all those mistakes to bring me where I am now and make me the person I am. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. While I still have a long long long way to go, I am pretty proud of how far I've come”.
For youngsters, Palak is an inspiration for her approach to life, her acuteness in matters relating to education and career and her brilliance in her various skills and talents. Her holistic understanding, her thirst for exploration and wandering and her sheer capacity to be able to multi-task all her interests with unflinching passion make her someone look up to.
What she plans on next? Soon to be jetting off abroad for her internship, Palak always says if she were an object, she would be a paper plane. “So let's see where the winds take me!”
Turns out Palak is a die-hard romantic too! If not, a damn good writer then. Holding hands is the key to a healthy relationship, we now know that!
Well, I am sure with her faith, the universe will indeed conspire for her to pave newer paths and to explore the unchartered territories while exploring her inner self too. Here is wishing you Palak the very best in your journey. Stay happy, stay blessed and of course, #TakeCharge
We are kicking off the Know Your Writer series with Palak Kapadia’s life journey. Know Your Writer is our attempt to shine the spotlight at our writers who bring you amazing and inspiring stories of women and helpful tips and life hacks via their articles on SHEROES. We thought, why not celebrate these SHEROES who make a difference with nothing but a pen in their hands. Here’s the first article of the series. Stay tuned to #KnowYourWriter!
S*****I too love to explore and m fond of travelling...good job!
N*****Palak mam,, u r really awesome,, i can't believe u r traveled 25 countries into so short age ,,, congratulations,, love u mam,,
N*****Palak your articles are amazing and so are you! Full marks to you Tasneem for crafting this impressive piece.... Congratulations to you both for kicking off the first article of know the writers series with such aplomb.
S*****Way to go, thumps up
S*****Palak you are truly an inspirational personality! Loved reading about you! And Tasneem, you have very well crafted the entire article😊❤ Wish you both good luck!
L*****Love reading your article, Palak keep up the good work. My personal favorite is one period article you had written. Also, the recent one, is time important in a relationship. Keep writing and shining!
R*****Hii....Let me knw Whts the work abt...I'm looking for a freelancers job
S*****I am looking for women who want to work from home. I want to start some work for the by the women. I have lots ideas jobs needs to implement. I am finding.
L*****Hi, Moumita you need to cross check and be aware of where and how you are applying. Any place which takes money to give you job is a big no- no. There are still many more factors to keep in mind. Head to our Careers community to know more and be armed with knowledge to take steps accordingly.
M*****Hi! Can u please tell me about that is there any genuine online work are available..i m looking for a freelancer jobs