Where are you from?
I am from Cleveland, Ohio but originally from South India.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
I would use the words determined, magnanimous, and trustworthy to best describe myself.
What is your favorite color?
My favorite color is maroon.
What is one of your favorite hobbies?
My favorite hobby is to convert the melodies of different songs into notes for the violin.
What is your favorite food?
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would love to have the power to teleport. I often miss my family from India and my friends from Cincinnati and it is always tiring to travel for such long distances to see them.
What is a dream that you have? What is something that you are passionate about?
While I was visiting India, I shadowed a local gastroenterologist to observe the differences between the Indian and American healthcare systems. I noticed that most of the patients were not from within the city. Instead, they were farmers who came from great distances just to consult a doctor regarding their health problems/emergency. However, on top of their long journey, they had to sit even longer in the waiting room before they were seen by the doctor.
Farmers in India are very caring people who put a lot of hard work into maintaining their crops. They produce a large percentage of the food consumed throughout India. However, it baffled me that no one ever stopped and considered establishing small clinics closer to the farmers so they don’t have to waste an entire day’s worth of work to travel to a nearby city to see a doctor. After witnessing this problem, I grew passionate about helping underserved populations, which is why I am involved with the Crossroad Health Center in Cincinnati. My dream is to look out for people who are not favorably catered to. I want to make sure people, like the farmers of India, are able to have access to the necessary resources they need, whether it’s food, shelter, or medical attention.
Tell us about a very difficult experience in your life. How did this situation weaken you? How did it make you stronger?
During my second year of undergrad, I wanted to introduce and establish a club called Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) on campus. HOSA is a medically related competitive organization. Students have the opportunity to assume one of fifty-six different events and face other students from other universities in their respective event. The event can either be hands-on tasks or written tests. Competitors that perform the best move their way up to the national competition.
Having the idea to establish a chapter of HOSA was effortless. However, actually implementing the idea was rather arduous. One major issue was filling out all the documents and appealing to the university. It took a long time and some of the instructions were not clearly stated. Another major issue throughout the year was getting enough funding from the Academic Intercollegiate Competition (AIC) funding board. Since we were new this year, AIC did not believe that we would advance to the international competition, which was why we were given limited funding. However, it became a problem when our entire competitive roster qualified for the international competition.
With every month came a new problem that seemed unsolvable at the time. I often found myself frustrated because I did not know what to do and there was not proper guidance. This experience weakened me because there were nights I could not sleep, as I was too deep in thought. At the same time, I grew stronger because every obstacle was an experience. The more experiences I had, the better equipped I was to solve the next problem. Ultimately, I am proud to be the founder of a thriving competitive organization at UC and I hope to find different ways to reduce the distance between us and our goal of placing at the international competition.
What has been a challenge in your RISE-ing process? d. How have you overcome those challenges?
I have an undying passion to pursue a career in the medical field. I am RISE-ing to be able to create a myriad of patient-physician bonds and ameliorate the lives of those that are suffering. However, unlike the majority of my peers, I am considered an international student though I have lived and studied in the United States for 12 years (and counting). As an international student, I am seen as an outsider and am referred to as an “alien” in official documents. I cannot have a paid job/internship, volunteer or conduct research at many places, or apply to more than half of the American medical schools.
Overcoming these obstacles is immensely difficult. However, my hindering status has made me stronger. I use this unfortunate situation as motivation to establish myself as an accomplished individual on and off campus. I will never lose my hope to live in an America that does not take away potential opportunities based on one’s legal status, but rather embraces difference.
What advice would you give to people who are struggling with a very difficult life experience?
If our lives happened exactly how we envisioned them to be, then there would be no thrill in living such a routine life. You would not have to work for anything thus having a decreased amount of motivation to achieve. Life is about having a health balance. This means that there will be times when success is in our hands and times when we feel as though the entire world is plotting against us. However, during a difficult life experience it is important to stay motivated, never lose hope, and maintain positivity as well as know that it is okay to ask for help. Personally, I know that talking out the entire situation with a trusted friend helps me formulate the next steps I should take. Understanding that you are not the only one going through a difficult life experience can also reduce its negative impact.
What would you say to those who think they can’t make a difference in the world? Is there a certain quote that you have found inspirational?
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
What might seem insignificant to one person may seem like the world to another, as it is all about perspectives. Even if someone did something that happened to elicit a smile from another, I consider that making a difference in the world. Making a difference in the world does not have to be a colossal action but can be as simple as opening a door for someone who had a bad day or listening to someone who needs to talk out loud. Any action that ends in positivity is one that makes a difference in the world.
Do you think of yourself as an activist?
I think of myself as an activist because I support and contribute to a cause that I am passionate about, which does not follow the traditional definition.
What do you think activism means?
I think activism is finding a cause that you believe is worth fighting for. It is the action of making people aware of your cause and influencing others to join in creating a positive change in society. It is not only having the passion to initiate but also having the ability to share that passion with people that have a similar end goal.
What is your vision of social change?
I hope to see a world that is dominated by equity. A world that does not run away from its problems but rather faces them head on. A world where people are not judged but can co-exist regardless of their differences. A world that embraces change and is always looking to improve.
If you could make a difference in the world, what would that be?
There are many problems that exist in the world. Some problems are slowly being solved while others are simply neglected for many reasons. One reason might be that it is such a rare problem and does not affect many for it to be significant. Another reason might be that it is too massive to solve. Regardless, if I could make an instant difference in the world, I would invest my time into conservation and reducing plastic pollution. For many people, pollution does not affect them directly. However, taking a look at pictures of our current situation with pollution is baffling. Also, the fact that plastic is not easily biodegradable adds to the problem. By polluting, we are not only affecting our own lives but also the lives of other organisms. People need to understand that if we continue to pollute our earth, we will no longer have a place to live.
What does RISE mean to you?
Repeating the word RISE only elicits positivity. RISE to me is everlasting hope, unyielding determination, and everlasting flexibility. RISE is resiliency, or the ability to pick up where one left off.