Bhanu Sai Teja Marisa was born in a small town to a contractor father and a stay-at-home mother.
His childhood was not as easy as that of other people. From anxiety to low self-esteem, he was surrounded by things that made his life terrible. That went on for many, many years.
But, he never gave up. He got some hope at Masai and worked hard to become a Software Engineer. After 30 weeks of hard work, he finally got the job.
We recently spoke with Bhanu about his experiences at Masai hoping his narrative may inspire others.
What kind of student you were back in the school?
Until the fifth grade, I was terrified of school. I used to be in the top ten or such. I had zero interest in academics. However, I like the school culture. I adored my professors and felt extremely connected to them. However, during tests, I used to become anxious and scared.
At the time, I met a fantastic teacher, my class counsellor, who was really helpful and shaped me into the person I am now. I gained an interest in studies and performed well in 10th grade because of her encouragement and consistent efforts. So, despite being a dedicated and hardworking student, I was never very self-assured.
Why did you choose science? What was the goal?
I was quite excellent in mathematics; I wasn't a genius who could win Olympiads, but I had a firm grasp of the subject. So, of course, I chose science.
When I was in 11th grade, I did well and got good grades. However, I lost interest in academics again in 12th grade. Still, I managed to do well in JEE. They accepted me at SASTRA University.
When I was in 12th grade, a professor from a nearby institution visited us and informed us about Mechatronics. I had resolved to enter that branch since that day, and SASTRA, fortunately, possessed those facilities.
How was your college life?
I wanted to gain experience and learn things outside of college. My father agreed since he, too, had left his town and had been exposed to a whole different world.
The first year did not go so well. I was not pleased with the environment. Furthermore, there were a lot of constraints in college, which I didn't enjoy at all. Even though I skipped several classes, I still managed to pass.
However, such constraints took their toll on me and finally led to depression. I grew critical of myself. Because of my nervousness, I began avoiding tests and missed 24 attempts. I began to avoid people. Those were the days when I couldn't even sleep. My parents were completely unaware of this. My close friends were aware of this and were quite helpful, but I was pushing them away from me.
Things changed only when I finished Masai's full stack web development course. During my time at the Masai, I received counselling. I was still going through it. But there are mentors to talk about it.
When I reflect on those terrible days, I realise they were a learning experience for me, and they strengthened me.
What about campus placements from your college?
I avoided it because of my depression, and for various reasons, I returned to my hometown. The unfortunate thing is that I was unable to explain my situation to anyone, even my parents. Simply put, no one could make any sense of it.
How did you come to know about the Masai?
In the eighth semester of my college, we were free to pursue whichever topics we wanted. That freedom allowed me to pursue my interests. I did well that semester because I am the sort of man who excels when there are no constraints. That similar mentality served me well at Masai.
I needed a break from college life so badly that I took a ten-day vacation. The pandemic began at the same time.
My brother told me about the Masai and asked me to take the entrance exam at the time. My original plan was to attend a data analysis course in Hyderabad, India. However, I ended up taking the Masai admission examination. And now I'm so pleased I made that choice.
How was your journey at the Masai?
Everything new fascinates me at first, just like everyone else. So, I'm pleased to say that my first unit went very smoothly. My carelessness developed as a result of my tendency to breeze through exams. I couldn't finish the second unit since my emphasis had shifted.
However, I became unwell soon after. Later, I was diagnosed with a condition known as prostatic inflammation (extreme pain in the Pelvic area). Along with it, I had back pain due to stress. It took me almost two months to fully heal.
The Masai's supporting staff had advised me to attend therapy sessions in order to overcome the trauma I was experiencing. That too was big assistance. My therapist was wonderful; she gently pushed me to the edge of what I thought was possible. That was a key factor in my ability to successfully complete the course.
I was relieved when the course was over. Now that I was just expected to concentrate on placements, I felt more at ease.
What is your opinion about the teaching methods of the Masai?
Instructors like Swanand Kadam, Prabhanjan Padhye are exceptional in their work. Although I have never attended an IIT, I got the impression that these people are on a level with their peers. Their method of instruction is distinctive and simple to grasp.
Getting preoccupied and failing the second unit was entirely my fault. Aside from being helpful, the teachers also push their students beyond their comfort zones. They help you realise your full potential, which you may not even be aware of. They are, without a question, the greatest teachers I've ever had.
How was your placement experience at the Masai?
As I already stated, it was a really tough period for me. I had restless nights and was constantly worried about practically everything. But my days at the Masai, where I was practising for interviews, helped me mature as a person.
My teacher was honest and tough. She taught us the true meaning of discipline. In every way, she was very strict. She had rigorous standards for everything, from writing our resumes to responding to interview questions. And it helped mould me and prepare me for the interviews. This was useful during placements.
At first, one or two interviews made me nervous. However, once I had a firm grasp on it, the training began to bear fruit.
I took five different companies assignments and was interviewed by two of them: Zemoso and Syngenta. Both firms hired me. I accepted Zemoso's offer and began working for them as a software developer. I lost my job at Zemoso owing to a variety of concerns. I took a break and began hunting for work again after one and a half months. This is when I received an offer from Janaspandana Solutions and was hired. I eventually received another offer from Jasper Colin Research and decided to join them.
How did you feel after cracking the interview?
Instead of making me happy, that news completely shocked me. When I found out I got placed, I started to cry. At the time, I couldn't believe it at all. I had anxiety and depression, and I was still going to therapy. My whole life was miserable. I always thought that happiness would never come my way.
It took me almost a month to get used to the idea that I can also get a job as a software developer.
What is your message to the hustlers out there?
My miseries stopped. After a number of sleepless nights, there came finally daylight. Those nights helped me become stronger and made me who I am today. That period of my life helped me become a better person.
I never gave up, and that's what made all of this possible. So, never ever give up.