Marketing Internship with Ambuja Neotia Group

What I gained while interning at the biggest Real Estate giants of Bengal.

I was about to complete my post-graduation in Mass Communication and Public Relations from St.Xavier’s college when I heard about The Telegraph You Internship Programme, 2016. By now the anxiety and dread of applying for internships and jobs had caught up with me and I was looking for opportunities that would help me kick start my career. Also, I had previously applied for The Telegraph You Internship Programme, 2015, but as luck would have it, I wasn’t selected. Determined to get through this time, I took extra-steps to ensure my answers stood out while filling the online application form. Although the chances of getting selected were not very high, I didn’t have much to lose. The final list of the selected candidates would be put up on the Telegraph YOU page. During this time, I started interning at another company although my mind kept reverting to the Telegraph Internship Programme.

Fast forward to June, I see my name on the list of selected candidates who were to appear for GD and then PI. I was ecstatic, to be extremely honest. But the anxiety didn’t end there. I still had a long way to go. I received a call informing me of the venue for GD and PI and the relevant documents that I had to carry.

I started early for my big day (If i can call it so), but since the universe likes playing with my emotions, the taxi driver took a detour and I reached late. I didn’t think it would matter much but boy oh boy was I wrong. On reaching Conclave Hotel, I saw everyone already seated , the names of the groups for GD  were announced, the process about to begin. Saying I panicked would be an understatement. “Is this the time to reach?” was the reply I got when I inquired about the group I was placed in.  I deserved it.

Pro tip: Never ever reach late for interviews. Punctuality is the key.

While we were seated, I looked around to find most students frantically searching for topics and reading the latest news to prepare themselves for GD. I panicked, again. I was not prepared for this; looking back it makes me laugh but at that point of time, it felt like a matter of life and death. As predicted, I took out my phone and did the same. Slowly, the groups were called and the process began.

The topic for GD revolved around freedom of speech (the infamous snapchat story of Tanmay Bhatt) which further transitioned into a parliamentary debate. It was interesting to see how we as students were ready to do anything to get our points across. Shouting and screaming was the order of the day. We had to stand out, you see, even if that meant going against the whole notion of “let’s agree to disagree”. The panelists were patient throughout with occasional nods wondering which part of the world we had come from. The group discussion ended with all the parties in complete disregard to the opinion of others. I was satisfied.

Pro tip: During group discussions instead of talking down others try to come up with rebuttals. You’ll earn brownie points. 

Since there were 10 groups consisting of 10 members each, I still had a lot of time to pass before the names of the candidates for PI was to be announced. I took the time to get to know other candidates. It was interesting to note that there were people from multifarious academic backgrounds. Science, Humanities, Commerce, you name it. Learning about their subjects, their ambitions, their interest in the internship broadened my horizon. Telegraph had managed to bring people from different academic interests under one umbrella.

It was finally time . The list of candidates for PI was announced. I got through. The personal interview was intimidating, a lot of questions were asked, the interviewers didn’t seem remotely impressed by my answers. After the interview, I was very sure I would not be selected. My interview lasted for less than 5 minutes.

To cut the story short, after a lot of waiting, the final list of 20 selected candidates was put up on the Telegraph YOU Facebook page. I WAS SELECTED FOR THE INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME. I danced a mini dance and celebrated in the most cliched way. At this point, I still didn’t know where I would be interning since Telegraph YOU had partnered with 5 other companies; The Telegraph, Ambuja Neotia, CESC Limited, 91.9 Friends FM & J.Walter Thompson. I got an email stating that I would be interning at Ambuja Neotia Group but before that I would have to go for another interview round conducted by Ambuja Neotia. I was in a daze. I had my fair share of interviews already and being grilled by the biggest real estate giants of Kolkata wasn’t very appealing. The date for the interview was set and I was nervous. Firstly, I come from an arts background. Secondly, I got selected for a marketing Internship. Thirdly, I didn’t know anything about Real Estate. I still decided to give it a shot. I had come so far and going back wasn’t really an option.

Pro tip: Grab any opportunity where there is scope for knowledge. You’ll learn as you go forward. 

I reached EcoSpace on time (learning from previous disasters, ha!). Other candidates who were to be my co-interns had reached before me. One by one, the interviews began. I was interviewed by the Marketing head of Ambuja Neotia group; A man with high competence, dexterity and passion for his work. The questions he asked were relevant to the present scenario of Bengal, the pros and cons of living in the city, what I thought about job opportunities for the youth of bengal  and the changes I could bring in the city, if given a chance. I answered with utmost sincerity and honesty. He seemed unimpressed and I wasn’t even surprised. Once again, my interview lasted for less than 5 minutes.

The following evening, I received a call by the Brand Manager of Telegraph, stating that my interview went well and I would be interning at Ambuja Neotia from 11th July. I sighed a sigh of relief. I was still apprehensive about the internship.

11th july, 2016: My office is located in EcoSpace which is in New Town and is the smart city of  Bengal. It is a beautiful place with multiple facilities, vast expanse of greenery and several eating joints. EcoSpace has also been built by Ambuja Neotia Group. On stepping foot in ecospace, I knew it would be a lifetime experience.

Since we were complete noobs when it came to Real Estate, our first few days were spent understanding the concepts of Real Estate. The other co-interns were also from different backgrounds. One of them had studied engineering from Heritage Institute of Technology, one was in the third year of college pursuing Economics from Scottish Church and the third was from St.Xaviers studying B.com. The marketing managers at Ambuja were always very helpful and who were our mentors throughout the internship. We were taught about the basics of RE , the market trends, how to compare the prices of different housing projects, our competitors & how to talk to realtors of established companies. Our main job was to research on the upcoming as well existing housing projects in New Town & Rajarhat along with E.M Bypass. Since there were 4 of us, we were divided into two teams. My co-intern and I were to cover the entire Rajarhat & New Town area, talk to the marketing managers of the housing projects, compare the prices and make a presentation. The job required us to visit the housing projects. It was a daunting task since there were around 15-20 projects in Rajarhat alone and we had to cover almost all of them.

Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Doesn’t matter if you did not understand a concept.

Days went by quickly, each of us busy working and preparing presentations. After two weeks had passed and we had learnt a little about RE, the marketing manager then proceeded to teach us how to deal with Developers. We were given the contact information of a number of consultants. Our task was to interview them and collect as much information as possible. I realised, at this point, that all of the interns were working out of their comfort zones and were putting in their best. None of us had any idea about Real Estate but we were ready to learn. We got the chance to visit the construction site of, “Uttalika”, the upcoming luxury housing project by Ambuja Neotia. The experience was surreal as we saw the working of a real estate housing project.

One particular working day, one of the marketing managers spent a considerable amount of time talking to us about his experiences and his journey. The entire evening was spent talking about the struggles of life, about the little things that matter the most and how determination and love for what you do is rewarding. We were grateful for him to take out time from his otherwise busy schedule to teach us valuable life lessons. These lessons are engraved in our minds.

Pro Tip: Stay humble, no matter where you are or what you do. 

We had to redo our presentations more than 7 -8 times because the marketing manager was not happy with the result. The final presentation was to be seen by the boss- The Marketing Head , hence, we were striving for perfection. By the end of the month , our final presentations, were to be reviewed by the entire marketing team. It was nerve-wracking as we had to explain our workings and cite examples of how we reached a particular conclusion in front of corporate professionals, highly competent, in their fields. On the final day, we gave our presentations and to our surprise the mangers were quite impressed. By now, we had picked up on the market trends and were able to address the questions asked by the Marketing head. After all, we spent an entire month brainstorming. We were happy. Our hard work had paid off.

A month flew by in a jiffy. We packed our bags, thanked our mentors, received the internship certificates and were ready to leave. It felt good. The kind of good that is sure to stay with you, something that you’re going to keep referring to, a journey you did not  anticipate but one that has changed you.

 

 

 

 

My Quarter life CRISIS.

When you realize, whatever decision you take right now will have serious repercussions on where you want to go and what you want to become in future, you change.

In about 2-3 weeks, I will have completed my post-graduation and will be steering myself into another chapter of life. It still feels like yesterday when I was accepted into University and although the diploma was only going to continue for a year, it occurred as a routine and something that had meaning. Fast forward to 2016 and here I am questioning what’s next?

No, I am not having any ‘crisis’ and I’m not typing this while drowning in a sea of tears. All is good. But then again, nothing seems like it. I guess this is that stage where you thought you would have achieved a lot but you’re no where closer to it. Remember when your 16 year old self would dream about having a life to look forward to by the time you were, say, 23 or 25? Well, now that I think of it, I’m only going back in reverse.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that we as kids have big goals and ambitions and when it’s time to put our dreams into reality, we kind of get lost. We suddenly question everything about ourselves and while most of us fight all odds, some aren’t able to cope. It’s not really about running from responsibilities but realizing you don’t have enough time. Not enough time to do everything you’ve wanted to.

The whole thought process behind a quarter life crisis makes sense to me now. Transitioning from being a teenager with serious hormonal issues to being a dysfunctional adult who has absolutely no idea what’s happening is difficult. I think the hardest thing about reaching a certain age is when people start expecting things out of you. Like hell. You start expecting things out of you. You want to have a meaningful life for yourself and you want to give something out to the world. Living in a world where people younger than you are doing unimaginable things, working towards their dreams, it strikes you hard. And THAT is a point of no return.

When I entered my 20s, I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride and I knew while things wouldn’t be easy, they would be achievable. I still hold on to that belief but somewhere down the line, I’ve realized, it’s way more harder than I had anticipated. You’re living your life but is it how you imagined? You wake up one day and suddenly you’re 23

If quarter life crisis wasn’t enough to bring down your energy levels, then being in an identity crisis would make matters even worse. The weirdest thing is figuring out what you’re really meant to do. Whether what you’re studying is the subject for you or the job you’re currently doing the right one for you? The doubts are endless.

When you realize, whatever decision you take right now will have serious repercussions on where you want to go and what you want to become in future, you change. You start to weigh every outcome like you have never before, your horizon on life undergoes a huge transition, you start accepting things the way they are and you become more careful. This is that phase where we really hustle. You know getting our shit together? It’s a different ball game.

I don’t know about you but I have days where I feel if I don’t do this now, I won’t be able to do it ever. And that is the single most frightening thing. To be unable to do things you want to. There is this constant pressure of accomplishing goals no matter how tiny. We keep saying I’ll do this when I grow up or I’ll take a 6 month vacation after college. Well, that time is here and most of it has gone. THIS IS CRUNCH TIME.

Your 20s is the most liberating yet confusing period of your life. Even though this is the phase where you will experience maximum upheavals emotionally, physically and psychologically, it is still worth every second. The uncertainty might get a little intimidating at first but learning to embrace it is winning half the battle.

So to everyone who’s having a hard time,

“Open your heart, mind and soul, and look forward to your future.Celebrate the little things life offers and stay humble with your achievements and successes. Spend more time on knowledge and memories and pay little to no attention on materialism. Be proud of how far you’ve come and know that you’re capable of nothing but the best.”

 

7 things a reader goes through after finishing a book.

Even though the story has ended on a happy note, the reader is left with a sense of loss and sadness that can never be measured in words

Who said endings are always happy? Even though the story has ended on a happy note, the reader is left with a sense of loss and sadness that can never be measured in words. Feeling empty or hung-over after finishing a book is quite obvious to book lovers. It’s almost like losing a friend or a loved one or saying goodbye knowing you’ll never meet again. You are left in the dark, isolated, wanting for more. If you’ve read a book that’s stirred every little part of your body, mind and soul, then these are a few post-reading blues that you’ll be able to relate to:

  • Book-hangover: It’s like you’ve been drunk on that last story and even though you tried sleeping on it, you can’t seem to get over the heartache. There’s a strong need to keep reading the book even though you have completed the entire series. To re-read the series again or to read something quite similar? The struggle is real. No matter how hard you try you’re left with a void that can’t be filled. You’re stuck in the story and you can’t find your way out.

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  • The look:   We’re all familiar with being asked questions by non-readers that only make us cringe even more. It goes something like this: “So you finished reading the book in a day?”  Seriously, I can’t roll my eyes any further. Of course, I did. It is not rocket science.

 

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  • Inability to start afresh: They say you need closure to leave behind what can’t be and focus on what can be. As true as it might sound, it’s not the case with book lovers. You just can’t seem to let go because you’re so emotionally involved in the magical world of the last book.

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  • Empty head syndrome:  You have finished the book and you have no idea what you’re going to do with your life. You feel empty, your stomach churns but there’s nothing you can do except maybe get lost in another book.

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  • Obsessing over fictional characters: Do you ever have those days where you start comparing fictional characters to real life people? You’re so in love with the characters that you can’t help but bring them into life through your imagination. You’ve laughed at their idiosyncrasies, cried your heart out at their death and empathized with them at their endeavours. Curiosity takes the best of you as you want to know what happens to the characters after the book ends; do they live happily? Do they even survive? Do they continue being as fearless and brave till the end? The possibilities are incalculable. Hallucinating about a particular character is part and parcel of being a reader and if you’re lucky you might find your favourite fictional character in real life.

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  • Desire to meet the author in person:

It’s amazing how when you read a book, it makes you question about the world in general and you wished the author was a dear friend of yours so that you could meet him/her in person or call them up to let them know what their book meant to you or hound them into writing another sequel. Sigh, the world isn’t a wish granting factory after all.

 

  • Urging other people to read:

Nothing satisfies the soul better than discussing a book over a cup of coffee. Having someone describe or narrate their experiences of reading the same book as you and getting to know their version of how the book could have or should have ended is like a step towards recovery. You’re introduced to novel concepts, different perspectives and point of views that you might have missed.

ALSO, YOU’RE GOING TO SUFFER AS MUCH AS I DID.

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Some losses are irreplaceable and it’s only natural to feel this way. What matters is that you’ll live with the story and characters all your life and you can always go back to re-reading your favourite book and re-living everything you seemed to have lost.

 

Do you ever feel hollow from within after having read a book? Which book has made you feel this way and why?

 

 

It’s OKAY to be lost.

Figuring out life, one step at a time.

“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

If there was anything I could tell my eighteen year old self, it would be this; IT IS OKAY TO FEEL LOST. IT IS OKAY TO NOT KNOW. EVERYTHING (almost everything) HAS A WAY OF FALLING INTO PLACE.

You’re about to appear for your final exams and then starts what they call “The real world” where you’ll leave the school life and become a college student. Everything will change. You won’t have the same friends you went to school with, your body along with your mental state will undergo timely transitions and you’ll find yourself enjoying things you disliked and disliking things you loved. It’s common. It only goes to show you’re evolving.

By now you must have decided on the course you’d study, where you’ll apply or whether you’ll study abroad and all that stuff. But what if you don’t know what you want to do?  You still aren’t sure about the subjects you’ve studied or where your strength and weaknesses lie. You hear people throw around words like ‘passion’ or ‘dream’ and you can’t help but question your very existence. What were you made to do?

To be honest, you first have to understand that not all of us are always sure about what we want from life and that’s absolutely fine. (On some days, I can’t even make up my mind about what I want to eat.) There are some who have it all figured out. Kudos, good for them. This doesn’t mean you’re not sincere about having a career or if at all you’ll have one. Life is about exploring yourself and the world around you.

Don’t adopt the ‘herd mentality’ by doing what everyone else is doing. There’s room for all of us. Figuring out what makes you “happy” is the key. If you look forward to a particular subject or you had full attendance in a specific course, it only goes to show your interest in it. It’s important to ascertain the easiness that comes with studying a subject. For instance, if you love memorizing facts you might want to consider studying History or if the human behaviour fascinates you, then psychology is the subject for you. If putting things together and organizing is your forte, Event Management awaits your arrival. (These are just hypothetical examples). What I’m saying is notice when your enthusiasm level accelerates and when the idea of studying a particular subject makes you look forward to studying or even attending class for that matter. This is PASSION to me. Anything that excites or makes me feel confident is passion. You can have passion for multiple things. You might be excellent as a manager but also a competent chef. Best of both worlds? Hell, yeah!

It is, however, not compulsory to enter into academics after school. There’s no hard and fast rule to go the traditional way. Ditch becoming a CA or an Engineer if you don’t want to. Your future self will thank you for taking a smart decision. The dynamic environment has brought about a number of advances in the kind of career you can choose. Gone are the days when commerce and science were the only streams you could select. These days you can earn a living by clicking pictures or even baking for that matter.

All this sounds very doable and exciting but here’s the harsh reality; Most of the time due to unexpected reasons you don’t get to study what you want to no matter how hard you try or you don’t get admission in your dream college. Don’t lose hope. Try to find an alternative. Something that is even a tiny bit similar to what you initially wanted to study. The idea here is to not give up and persevere through your college days by not letting the spark inside of you die. Hard work always pays off. ALWAYS.

(Pro tip: Give your best even if you are not fond of what you’re studying. Good result is a very strong incentive for you to do even better. Been there, done that.)

Remember how you feel at the end of the day, whether you feel satisfied and at peace or you feel like the world around is going to collapse, depends solely upon the decision you take. Being lost helps you unravel aspects of yourself you didn’t know existed. Isn’t it a good thing? So next time you’re feeling lost, believe that you’re being redirected towards something bigger and better.

 

 

Of loving and giving

She came running towards me and held my hand tightly as if she had been waiting for this day all her life. Her eyes searching for affection, staring right through me, urging to take an action or to say anything that would break the eerie silence. Her weak fingers still holding my hands, not letting go. Like the girl who just found her favourite ragged doll after having lost it. Not knowing what to do, I kept walking behind her, going around in circles till we reached where we had left. I was baffled. That’s how I can describe my first day at The Missionaries of Charity.

Our college requires us to do a 12-hour social service at any NGO. As part of this compulsion, my friends and I opted to volunteer at an orphanage which takes care of both normal and mentally retarded children. Since I love kids , it was only legit that I enrol myself into a venture I’m good at. Little did I know, it would change my perspective and how.

The thing with kids is that they are blessed with the power to love beyond any barriers, beyond their ego, beyond artificial benefits. You don’t have to be related by blood to be loved. All you have to do is smile at them and get lost in their world., Really,it is that simple. I had studied about differently abled kids as a chapter in psychology but to be able to get to know them and spend time with them was an experience I couldn’t trade for anything else.

What seemed like Social Service to me turned out to be a huge learning experience. I vividly remember the day I entered the room where the children with disabilities were occupied in their respective affairs. The room was filled with sounds and noises of all sorts with multiple activities happening all at once. The atmosphere was overwhelming and I had to take some time out to compose myself. Tears started rolling down my eyes and I didn’t know why. It was then that the girl with two ponytails came running towards me, smiling a smile I had never seen before. We went roaming around the entire room till she got busy with other things.

Most of the kids were physically handicapped, had cerebral palsy and autism while others had speech, hearing and vision impairments. They were different. They carried out their daily activities differently. Sure they were not as fast or competent in their chores but they were as good as other kids of their age. There were nuns who were assigned different duties and who were very capable of handling the kids. Since the little ones were special, they required special care and attention. (I’m going to refer to these kids as special because there is no other word that would do justice to them) . At first, I didn’t know what to do or how to interact even though I desperately wanted to mingle with the children. As time passed, I got accustomed to the functioning of the charity. The following days were then spent playing with the children, feeding them, helping them exercise timely and watching them enjoy everything that life offered. I can proudly say that some of the kids had a very good IQ level and excellent retention power.

They say you learn compassion and empathy when you put yourself in others’ shoes. In this case, I didn’t need to. In spite of the drawbacks and hindrances, the kids taught me the meaning of unconditional love. You don’t need to be a billionaire, or have the best clothes or the latest gadgets. All you require is gratitude and a heart that has the endurance to love despite all the odds.

The untainted and clinging faces of the children are still imprinted on my mind, their eyes spoke more than words could have, their laughter still echoing in my ears and their touch that radiated warmth and a sense of belonging can never be forgotten.

Some children are born to go out of the way, to color out of the lines, to create their own box.. You cannot possibly mould them into trying to be someone they can never become. They are happy the way they are. They don’t have unrealistic expectations of the perfect world. They’re not interested in some rat race where everyone is trying to outdo someone, where winning a competition is much more important than emotions or even self-respect, where having expensive things makes you loved and wanted. They want to be accepted as one of us. They just want to be considered normal, for once.

The art of being true to myself without being affected or influenced by the unending demands of the world was learnt in the best possible way.Learn to appreciate yourself, your loved ones, your house , almost everything in your life because trust me, you’ve got way more than you can ever ask for. Describing the whole endeavour through mere words is challenging; it is only when you see and feel the affection, compassion and love you realize the importance of the sense of obligation towards the less fortunate, the ability to make someone feel like tomorrow is more than just a day and to be able to love unconditionally and willing to be the silver lining in someone else’s life. All you have to do is let down your guard, go out of your way to help the ones in need and learn to be happy in their happiness. It is as easy as it gets. Truly, one small act of kindness has the strength to move mountains.

” Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfilment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”– Fred Rogers

Wake up, people. Its Friday!

Morning, everyone. Firstly, TGIF . All those people who’ve been planning on partying this whole weekend and also those who have also been planning to get their much needed sleep, hope you get to enjoy your idea of a weekend. Whatever, have fun. I woke up this morning before my alarm could ring and I wasn’t really glad to realize that I still had some time to sleep which is considering how particular I am about sleeping, very abnormal. Nevertheless, college is starting from today after the tiny break ( oh, my alarm just went off) . I think I’m a little excited about college or maybe its the thought of not staying at home which is comforting. Anyways, now that I’ve got my cell phone back after a decade its relatively easier for me to constantly update my blog no matter which part of the city I am. Smartphones, blessing in disguise. The other way round, too. Since my smartphone didn’t turn out to be that smart. . I should be off now cause’ the last thing I want would be not getting attendance. They say,’Time flies when you’re having fun.’ Applies here. Looking forward to reading and writing! Good day!

Confession

“There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.”  Bertrand Russell

I have a confession to make. The avid reader in me is dying. It has been quite some time since I haven’t managed to give my undivided attention to reading or reviewing books. Blame it on my I-Will-Do-It-Tomorrow sort of an unhurried disposition or lack of initiative on my part. Time has also been a constant deterrent (Perks of studying in a horribly strict college, whose prior motive is: Drive the students’ bat-shit-crazy). No, honestly, there has been just way too much going on, with the usual ‘I have exams, OMG and I haven’t started studying, OMG” locale and the utmost interest in extra-curricular activities has to the nth degree taken over my life. Okay, this is pretty weird but I don’t even remember the last book I read. I have once again to my utter disappointment started reading Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho and this is my third attempt at completing it. Sounds more like giving repeated exams and successfully failing at it despite earnest efforts. Not blaming the book, but it does require a lot of patience and a clear, hassle- free mind to read Paulo’s complicated yet logically constructed stories. Oh, the other book that I have been ignoring is the classic Gone With The Wind. This book has been tasting all sorts of dust particles and is probably going to eat some more. However, the good news is. I have managed to recall the last book I had read. It was Rainwater by Sandra Brown, which had me glued to the plot and I fancied reading every word of it! 

Before I completely undergo a transition where the thought of reading makes me doze off, I’ve decided i’ll read atleast ONE book in a week and then post my reviews. It’ll be more like a Weekly Book Challenge. There are a number of books on my bucket list ranging from International and National bestsellers to the books that didn’t quite reach the top charts but had their own intricate and enthralling storyline. I despise reading or choosing to read a book based on its reviews or on recommendations. I make this assertive statement because I have been gravely disappointed at the hype around some (We’ll get back to this later, though). Coming to the point, I am actually looking forward to this reading spree, now that I’m running low on excuses. See you guys later!

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.” ― Louisa May AlcottWork: A Story of Experience