I interviewed Chandni Shah a fourth year neuroscience major planning on attending dental school next fall. When I asked her what she thought was the hardest thing to adjust to in college she told me it was the amount of studying in college comparing to high school especially since most of the class work was done outside of class without someone pushing you to do it. She had started research the summer of sophomore year and got it by reaching out to a neuroscience professor after attending office hours multiple times. One piece of advice she would give her freshman year self would be to not spread yourself out too thin and join multiple extra curricular activities just to fill your resume. She told me to pick a few things that I am truly passionate about and to commit myself to those. She knew that she wanted a pre-health career that was easier to balance with family life than pre-med. She saw dentistry as a stable growing career with great work hours that also fitted her interests in healthcare. Her clubs and extra-curricular involvement include ASDA, Buckeye Bhangra, IAA, and GHI as well as volunteering with Wexner Medical Center and free dental clinics. Her favorite college memory was placing third at the 2016 national bhangra championships with Buckeye Bhangra. When I asked her what letters of recommendation were needed for dental school she told me that it depends on the school but it is helpful to have 2 letters from science professors (one from your major if possible), one from a non science professor, and one from an outside source such as a work supervisor or dentist you regularly shadowed She had began touring dental schools around junior year summer right before applying and had applied to 10 dental schools this year. Her back up plan is taking a gap year if she is not accepted or attending nursing school.
This past year I have volunteered at my gurdwara by teaching Punjabi class for the kids at our temple and by serving in the community kitchen each weekend. I also worked with Ohio Health Aid during their first health screening as an organization for about 5 hours at local YMCA where I was a runner (who ran patients to and from the various stations) and doctor’s aid (where I took notes and got the doctors anything that they needed for the checkup) . I also volunteered at the Ohio Heath Aid Blood Drive for two hours where I helped with signing in and recruiting donors and was even able to donate blood for the first time. Lastly, I worked with IAA on their Be the Change Day fundraiser for half of a day at a temple where we helped with their services and community kitchen.
My most memorable service experience was with the IAA Be the Change Day. It was one of the first events I helped coordinate with the club since I am on the executive board as a freshman representative. I’ll never forget how panicked I was at the idea using campus resources and reaching out to upperclassmen I didn’t know during my first few weeks on campus. It instilled within me confidence early on and showed me that working with clubs in college is no different than working with clubs and high school. It also showed me how helpful everyone on campus was and if I had a question there would always be someone willing to answer it no matter how ridiculous I thought it was. I felt as though I already had a very reliable support system I could lean back on whenever I needed and introduced me to the wide variety of resources available at the student union.
Another reason Be the Change Day was one of my favorite events was because it taught me so much more about another part of my culture I never knew existed. I’m a first generation Sikh Indian American and the temple we volunteered at was a Hindu temple. I had always read texts on Hinduism at my gurdwara Sunday school and attended temples a few times for functions but never truly experienced the religion firsthand even though a majority of my Indian friends were followers of Hinduism. For the first time I got to experience in person what I had read about in books and could draw so many parallels between the Hindu religion and my own. It gave me a better appreciation of both religions and showed me how interconnected each was.