What made Upasana Mahajan, a powerlifter and former techie, turn to teaching? A series of incidents combined with profound life lessons. In her own words, Upasana went through some tough times during her school days. She faced bullying and was on the receiving end of fat-shaming. But the strong woman that she is, she rose above all challenges and turned her life experiences into her one true mission.
Ahead of Sarojini Naidu’s birth anniversary — celebrated as National Women’s Day across India — we bring you the story of Upasana Mahajan, who is inspiring thousands to never give up and keep learning.
“I was qualified enough to teach in colleges and universities but I wanted to influence young minds and decided to join a school. I wanted to be in a position where I could share my experiences and help students who are dealing with bullying and fat-shaming,” says Upasana.
Becoming a teacher wasn’t her primary goal, though. “I studied engineering and then did my MBA. After working with an MNC for several years, I considered a change as I was never satisfied with my role. So, I left the high-paying job to pursue teaching,” she adds. This was a turning point in her life. “I learned a lot from the experience, discovered my passion for teaching, and also chanced upon the BYJU’S way of learning.”
“Many of my students were familiar with BYJU’S and were already using the learning platform to brush up their concepts and to revise. This intrigued me immensely, and I wanted to become a part of this new way of learning and teaching,” adds Upasana.
Her dream soon took root. In August 2021, Upasana became a part of the learning revolution, joining as an Academic Specialist in our Student Experience team.
Upasana’s decision to turn to powerlifting stems from the most difficult phase of her life. Grappling with body image and mental health issues since childhood, Upasana, at one point in her life, even dealt with suicidal thoughts. Incidentally, it was powerlifting that helped her cope.
“I decided to give one last shot and joined a gym in Jammu. Here, I started my transformational journey. I was put on a diet, which was not drastic and I started lifting weights as part of the exercise regimen,” shares Upasana. Her trainer realised that she was a natural with the weights and encouraged her to apply to a local powerlifting competition.
“I actually won the first competition,” she gushes. Later, she participated in her first national competition in 2018. “In 2019, I even went to Japan to take part in my first international competition,” adds Upasana.
“One thing I have understood from being a teacher is that it is a lot more than taking classes and delivering lessons. We need to understand the child’s psyche and help them out when they need us the most,” quips Upasana. More so, because it’s a learning experience for teachers as well. “When I started teaching Physics, I got to learn, unlearn and relearn. There’s so much to explore — I want to know how to design the curriculum and learning strategies,” she adds.
But what does Upasana love most about the new role? In her words, it’s the support from her seniors that made her fall in love with BYJU’S right away.
She says, “While there was a learning curve initially, my seniors stepped in and alleviated all the problems. I felt accepted and realised that I could approach anyone with my problems. In fact, what has also helped me in this journey is having an option like BYJU’S YourDost programme, where I have access to counselling and mental health resources. This is particularly helpful when you are working remotely, and are possibly isolated from your colleagues and peers.”
Joining the learning revolution, explains the BYJUite, has enabled her to not only improve her teaching skills but also her personality. As she continues to work on her passion, figure out her professional journey, she hopes to continue spreading awareness and keep pushing her own limits.
If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts or mental health issues, contact an expert on www.yourdost.com after registering with your official BYJU’S id. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HELLO to 741741.
Bidushi took a left turn from journalism and landed up in the corporate world. She is a foodie and considers eating good food amongst the greatest joys of life. Keen on travelling and exploring new places, Bidushi has spent the last four years of her life in three different Indian cities. But she has also learned that her bedroom is her happy place. Screens relax her greatly — whether it's watching a movie or a TV show or reading a riveting bestseller on her e-reader. A cheerful person, she prides herself on making friends easily. When not working, Bidushi can be found spending time with her parents, talking to her friends over a call, or browsing the internet for that one lipstick!
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