Hometown: Des Plaines, Illinois
Currently: Studying abroad in Japan / weekly blogger for Temple University in Japan blog
Self-described: Loyal, responsible, sarcastic
Enjoys: Reading, watching anime or Korean dramas, laughing, and listening and singing along to music
There's nothing wrong with being ordinary. Even ordinary efforts contribute to the extraordinary.
Tell us about yourself!
I'm a twenty year old English major, who's currently studying abroad in Japan. I'm from Des Plaines, which is about 30 minutes northwest of Chicago. My parents are from Kerela, India, but I was born in the United States. I'm a first generation college student. I have two younger sisters making me the first in my nuclear family to go to college. I go to Davidson College in North Carolina. As for the more fun stuff, I'm currently on a Korean drama kick, but I would binge watch Brooklyn 99 over and over again (you all need to watch it). Favorite books are too many to count. If I could go back in time, I would read them all over again for the first time because there's no feeling quite like reading a book as it proceeds to blow your mind. I absolutely cannot live without music so I need the music function of my phone.
Currently, I work as a weekly blogger for the Temple University in Japan blog. If you'd like to read my posts about studying abroad, feel free to click on the link: https://templejapan.wordpress.com/. My work study job at Davidson is working as a reading tutor for underresourced elementary and middle school students at Ada Jenkins Center.
Greatest source of inspiration
Sometimes, I don't really know. I think it's because there's so many people out there who had high expectations for me when I was younger and now I have to fulfill those expectations in order to not lose face. The deeper reason is that I know what I'm capable of and I know I can graduate. There's no reason I cannot and that pushes me forward.
How did other people help you get to where you are today?
Every person I've met in my life must have pushed me in some way to get to this point in my life. Some of the more obvious people are my parents, the Schuler Scholar Program (the scholarship program I'm a part of), my high school friends, my cousins, my best friends, and all my college friends. Whenever I doubted myself, they pushed me and reminded me what I am capable of. Thank you to all of them.
Major / Minor
My favorite thing about college is the freedom I have to make my own choices. It definitely makes life harder because I not longer have a set path. On the other hand, it means every choice I make is a reflection of me. I feel that it becomes easier to live with my choices knowing that in the end they'll lead to a path that I want.
Least favorite thing
Definitely the work. I have a love-hate relationship with writing papers. As an English major, I have plenty of papers to write. I don't particularly enjoy writing them because it's a long process and I feel that I am a terrible writer. On the other hand, I also enjoy writing papers. It gives me a chance to really dissect a work and figure out what the author is trying to say (and that's how I know I chose the right major).
I set aside a certain amount of time for work everyday. I stay focused and this allows me not to have to go beyond the time I set for myself. I stay focused by thinking about all the extra time I would have to spend on my work if I slacked off now. Fear of failure is a pretty good motivator as well.
Tell us about a challenge you faced. How did you overcome it?
One thing I struggle with in college is feeling like I'm less than the other college students. Rationally, I know this is not the case. I worked hard to get where I am and I deserve the education I'm getting. However, every low grade I receive feels like a reminder that I don't belong or that I'll never be great, just mediocre. I wouldn't go so far to say I've overcome it. More like, I now have mantras to remind myself of how deserving I am on really bad days. I also have an amazing support system with my friends, both in college and back home. There is no cure but everyone has their strong and weak points. Just because we aren't graded on our strong points doesn't mean they aren't there.
How did you find your sense of belonging?
I found my sense of belonging with my residence hall and my work place on campus. I honestly got lucky with both of these places, since I was assigned to both by my college. However, just meeting friends in both places wasn't enough to create a sense of belonging. I had to make an effort to meet up with people outside of our normal settings and get comfortable with making compromises (everything cannot be my way).
What campus resources do you use?
I definitely use the writing center (not surprising, considering my major). My grammar needs work and my ideas always need an extra push. I've also used the counseling center when I was struggling with family issues. I was a bit worried at first because I felt like I didn't have a real issue to present to the counselor but I was quickly reassured. The job of a counselor is not to work with just those with serious issues but with everyone who is facing a problem, no matter how big or small.
What advice would you give to your freshman-year self?
I would tell myself to pick an extracurricular and stick with it. I wish I had something like dance or playing an instrument in my background. Now that I look back, the amount of tutoring I did during my high school and college years just might count as something I've stuck with. As for strategies for success, I think that as long as you always work with your end goal in mind, things will naturally fall into place. I don't think you need to have a specific end goal. As long as you have something in general, like graduating, that's fine.
Also, I remember a lesson from a book that I still carry today: There's nothing wrong with being ordinary. Even ordinary efforts contribute to the extraordinary. I remember this when I feel like I'm not doing enough and I feel a little bit better.
What's your secret for time management and productivity?
I don't know if I have a secret for it. I'm just really good at it? That's not me bragging. I just have a pretty good memory and I like to stay on task so I've never really struggled with time-management or being productive.
How do you de-stress?
I listen to music really loud or I shower. Sometimes I draw comics to calm myself down.
How do you stay motivated?
I try to remind myself that all my efforts will pay off, but if that's not enough, I look back at all the times I've succeeded and let that feeling fuel me to strive to succeed again.
My short-term goal is to enjoy being in Japan and to learn some Japanese. My next goal is to graduate as an English major. I guess my long-term goal would be to find a future that yields the most happiness. I don't necessarily want to be successful or rich, but if I could live every day happy with my choices, that would be enough.
I don't know what problems you may be facing now, but I just want to remind you that there is no reason to be facing problems on your own. People want to help you, so let them. It's scary to let people see the weak verson of yourself but I promise you, it's worse for people to see the defeated version of you. Feel free to contact me if you need help! I may not know all the answers, but I'm always willing to listen.
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