Don't take failure to heart: Sunita Williams to children

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New Delhi, Oct 1 (UNI) ''Life will give you lots of opportunities. Don't be afraid to step out and do something new,'' is the message of US astronaut Sunita Williams to students.

In an interaction with Delhi school children here today, Sunita, an astronaut of Indian origin who spent a record 195 days in space, said she was not a bright student, but took advantage of the opportunities that came her way.

''I was not the smartest person in school.... College was very difficult, not very easy,'' she told students at the American Information Centre here.

Sunita, who went to US Naval Academy, said she wanted to be the diving officer but couldn't make it as there was already a smarter person in class.

''Since I had a 20:20 vision, I was offered pilot training. I thought that was something unusual, why not try it out, and I started flying,'' she said.

''But I became a helicopter pilot, not a jet pilot.... I was OK, not at the top,'' she said. ''However, as a helicopter pilot I brought something different to the space mission.'' Indicating that her experiences held lot of lessons for the students, the 42-year-old astronaut said if one did not get what one wanted in life, then one should not take it to heart. One should do well and take advantage of the opportunies thrown up in life.

''Life will give you lots of opportunities. Do not turn your back,'' she said.

Sunita flew into the country on September 20 and went straight to Ahmedabad as her father hails from Gujarat. Thereafter she left for Hyderabad to attend the concluding session of the 58th International Astronautical Congress (IAC).

She arrived here on Saturday, and met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

During her stay in the Capital till October 4, she is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and prominent dignitaries, among others and school students among others during her stay here.

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