Describe your senior year in three words.
Variable. This is an easy one given the unprecedented times we were in. Grateful. For my future, for the people around me, and for the in-person ending to senior year. Foresight. It’s the time to look forward to life beyond college.
What does being valedictorian mean to you?
Being valedictorian means having pushed myself to the limit. I knew what I was academically capable of, and I would strive unapologetically for nothing short of that. The consistency was key for me, and achieving this shows me that I truly do define my own limits.
What’s your favorite Lafayette memory?
My favorite memory is serving as a peer adviser for International Orientation at the beginning of my junior year. This experience is a highlight of my college career because I felt in my element as a leader while helping incoming students with their college transition and forming meaningful bonds with the team.
What’s the most impactful class you took?
While this is not strictly a class I took at Lafayette, it is a class that I took because of Lafayette. Through Lafayette’s engineering study abroad program in Madrid, I took a class called Latin Rhythms and Dance. Because I chose to do a dual degree, my course schedule for the last four years has been quite dense, occasionally involving six STEM courses. However, with my semester abroad, I was able to go in a completely different direction and step outside of my comfort zone. In that, there was inherent growth. I built a sense of confidence and adventure, and a skill set, that truly will last a lifetime.
Who was the most influential person during your time at the College?
I don’t think I can choose just one person. For that matter, I cannot pick an adequate answer at all, since every individual I chose to surround myself with at Lafayette had such a unique impact on me and my life. This is a beautiful community with so much to offer, and it is impossible to choose just one person.
What will you miss most about Laf?
As the cliché goes, I will miss the people. More specifically, I will miss that key characteristic of a small college, where it is impossible to walk from one end of campus to the other without bumping into someone you know. Being surrounded by friends and familiar faces wherever you go is a major support and motivating factor for an extrovert such as myself. Looking forward, I am excited to move to New York City. While there will be no shortage of people around me, it will certainly be a transition to be around so many unknown faces.
Describe your biggest challenge and how you overcame it.
Over this last year, the job search has been the greatest challenge during my time at Lafayette. The job market was, of course, unfavorable, and as an international student, the immigration climate was no help either. Most companies I would be interested in, network with, and apply to would not even consider me as a candidate due to my need for immigration sponsorship. This struggle is not unique to me since every international student endures this. The entire process is extremely taxing, and it required a solemn resolve to steadily wade through that uncertainty in pursuit of a meaningful career.
What do you wish for your fellow graduating classmates?
While many students have likely availed opportunities to study abroad during semesters or interims, I hope my fellow graduating classmates can continue pushing their curiosity to see the world, experience different cultures and peoples, and round out their understanding of the global society we live in.
What advice would you give to your first-year self?
To find the right balance between your worlds inside and outside Lafayette. Both of these are so important in forming your collegiate experience. Everything you do at Lafayette through clubs, activities, teams, etc., molds you as a person and teaches you soft skills that you’ll carry for the rest of your life. At the same time, it is important to focus on what exists outside of college and where you want to take this person that you are becoming. No matter how early it feels, start pursuing professional opportunities, with an emphasis on exploration and development.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with upcoming seniors?
Largely the same advice I would give to my first-year self, but tailored more to the end of your college career. At this stage, I think it is easy to get lost in the search for what comes after college, especially when you’re surrounded by other seniors in a similar mindset. While you should maintain focus on your post-graduation goals and the pursuit thereof, it’s important to enjoy the end of your college journey and think about what and whom you will take with you as you leave Lafayette.
How has Lafayette changed you?
I came into Lafayette as a diehard engineer, having applied to numerous engineering schools. After all, I was good at math and science. Through the Lafayette liberal arts curriculum and the opportunity to pursue a dual degree, I was able to realize my simultaneous passions for economics, data analytics, and problem-solving, which led me to the field of economic consulting. Undoubtedly, my chemical engineering experiences and time management skills will serve me well, especially given my intentions to go into energy and sustainability. However, I am glad to have found my passion in economics and consulting through my time at Lafayette.
How do you hope to change the world?
Who knows what the future holds and how it will manifest, but I hope to have an impact in shaping the global energy landscape and facilitating the transition to a sustainable future.
The most important thing you learned about yourself at Lafayette is:
Before coming to Lafayette, I grew up in eight different countries across five continents, moving every three to four years. Interacting with a diverse set of people was always key in my life, and I was certainly worried what this would look like at a PWI like Lafayette. Unlike my childhood, the diversity I experienced at Lafayette was different from the conventional definition regarding race, ethnicity, nationality, etc.
Being at a liberal arts school, I enjoyed the opportunity to talk to students in various majors, learning from each different perspective. Throughout my time at Lafayette, I naturally gravitated toward splitting my time between various groups on campus because I enjoy a diverse collection of interactions in my life. I learned that the diversity of opinion, expertise, and experience I saw from different majors and groups on campus enriched my life just as my childhood experiences did.