As someone who had been living pretty much on the internet since I got my first laptop in 8th grade, Linkedin wasn’t new to me. But back then, it was the “adults’ website” (no, not that kind) - a place where people with jobs went to meet other people with jobs and talked about their very adult lives - opportunities, openings, networking and the rest. It wasn’t until the first week of college, when professionals coordinating our orientation program mentioned how it was the most important place for students looking to get jobs that I actually went and created an account of my own.

It was still bare. Nothing for me to add except my educational details.

After some thinking, I slowly added my two year stint as ‘Senior News Reporter’ and ‘Member of the Editorial Board’ at LightHouse, to my profile - very serious names to describe the only fun I had during my last two years of high school, running around interviewing teachers and students, photographing and preparing reports on all the events my school decided to conduct, and later recruiting a new batch of juniors to do the same.

It took me a year more to get the account into better shape, prompted by Arya when I got selected to be a part of the first cohort of girls for the Women In Tech program by Rethink. By then, I had a few more experiences from college to add to my profile. Atthri (who was a senior, mentor figure, and the student chairman of ISTE GCEK at the time) helped me spruce it up with all the right words.

Over the course of the WIT program, I had to reach out to a number of excellent women in tech, and I know now that having a well maintained Linkedin account definitely helped in establishing my credibility. I knew then as I do now that if anyone were to search for me, Linkedin would pop up first, and they would discover a face to put next to my name along with a neat list of organizations I have been a part of. Over the vast expanse of the internet, to know that the person who reached out to you does exist as she claims - that would definitely put people at ease. I banked on it over the course of the next two years, while I reached out and connected with people for various events in college, adding people I had met at various phases to my network.

But I was discovering more of me along the way, recharting my directions and figuring out new paths to take up. If you had told me in my first year of engineering that in the end I would decide not to sit for any placement interviews at all, I would have laughed at your face at the impossibility of such a statement. And yet… here we are.

One day not too long ago, I took a good hard look at my account. A neat list of items, too sanitized from their history. My Linkedin would tell you I was Chairperson of ISTE GCEK between Aug 2018 and 2019, but not that I lost roughly 12 kgs during the same interval of time, without me even realizing it. It would tell you I was Curator for a TEDx event in 2018, but not that I had to take to the stage as hostess at the last minute, shaking and stuttering under the spotlight that literally blinded me as I stood under it for the first time. If you scroll some more, you’ll see close to the bottom that I was briefly the Technical Coordinator for Robocek - probably my first responsibility in college: managing workshops, teaching juniors how to code, all while trying not to feel like an imposter myself.

I know I’ve come a long way since then.

My profile hadn’t been updated in a long while, definitely not since 2019. Nothing there to speak for my last two years, beyond role titles and dates. I stared at the byline on my profile, one which I didn’t remember adding - ‘Lead Student Coordinator at SHE’, it said. The words weren’t entirely enough to describe everything I had been doing under SHE, and yet I couldn’t think of anything better to encapsulate the nebulous, all encompassing ways in which SHE had grown to be a huge and unexpected part of my college life in its very last months. And with graduation looming, that was ending too, wasn’t it?

The more I stared at those neatly summed up lines, ones that contained too many sleepless nights and restless days within them, I couldn’t help but think - is this it? I know it’s my disillusionment speaking, my fatigue that makes me want to hold on tight to the past, to imbue it with meaning, to convince myself that perhaps it was all worth something.

I know Linkedin is an integral part of your online presence, more so for a recent engineering graduate. But right now, I feel it doesn’t represent me accurately enough, or all that I stood for. While I stand at these crossroads facing a gap year, trying to figure out where I want to be and ready to experiment new things, I want to feel a little less constrained to the identities of me that exist outside of me, a little less pressurized to follow a certain course.

Having made the decision to delete, I couldn’t help scrolling through my homepage. I saw some familiar names after a long long while. It was nice to see updates from people I had studied with in high school, people with whom I’ve been long out of touch - updates telling me where they had finally decided to land after graduation (or to take off from - we are fresh graduates, after all). Updates from seniors in college who I hadn’t heard from in a while. I was happy to see all the posts from college clubs I had led at some point or been a part of in some capacity, to watch how new student leaders were interacting with these pages, updating them diligently and making their own presence felt. It filled me with warmth to see them embracing their achievements, something that still feels taboo to a lot of us.

I’ll be back someday soon (a week? a month? several months? who knows?), when I am ready to navigate the rest of whatever is in store for me - with a much fresher outlook.

But until then, I guess it’s goodbye.

Until next time

If you’re reading this from the future, I started a new account 6 months from writing this post when I joined WITI in March 2021.