Harshita Bandhu is studying mathematics, actuarial science, and quantitative economics at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Journey to find myself
As I started to pen down my thoughts, nostalgia hit me hard. Four years at Lycoming College have gone by so quickly and yet throughout the journey, I found my true self. Indeed, it is rightly said that college prepares you for life.
A few years ago, I made a life-changing decision and travelled miles away from my family to pursue my studies at Lycoming College, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The night before classes started, both anxiety and excitement overwhelmed me as I pondered my future in college.
Helping other students
What started as a fresh location soon became the everyday scene. Blending into the picture was not too daunting. I really enjoy making new connections, and so the whole campus was a myriad of possibilities. Perhaps, this is what led me to take up one of my first on-campus jobs as a resident assistant (RA).
Call it the feelings of being an international student, but I wanted all campus residents to feel as safe and comfortable as they would at home. Throughout my time as an RA, I built some very meaningful relationships, be it with my residents or with the entire Residential Life staff. I had the chance to plan several events such as a campus-wide Holi festival and an open discussion with the Office of Public Safety and Security.
The unity of Greek life
The zeal for making new friends also brought me to explore Greek life [aka FSL for fraternity and sorority life] on campus. I joined the Alpha Xi Delta (AXiD) sorority, which soon became my home away from home. I met like-minded people whose kindness was very welcoming. When I first talked to the members of the sorority, I knew instantly that by growing up amongst them, I could be the best version of myself. AXiD also brought me a step closer to several other members of the FSL community.
From supporting each other during philanthropic events to creating memories during Greek Week, I understood the true sense of unity. My sisters never fail to encourage me in my new pursuits, and they continue to amaze through their leadership skills. Alpha Xi Delta has been the place where I get my inspiration to fully realize my potential.
A welcoming community
I feel that I truly do belong to the close-knit Lycoming College community. In fact, the small class sizes here also provided me with countless chances to bond more with my peers, as well as my professors. Fun Fridays with my math professor Dr. Mike Smith will always be a highlight of my mathematics classes.
As a mathematics major, I learned how to have fun in class while also facing challenges. I made some very close friends and built memories that I will cherish forever. (And yes, math can be fun too!)
Being in a liberal arts school, I got a taste of several different fields. Thank God for this opportunity, or else I would have never discovered my passion for economics. I still remember sitting in Dr. Mica Kurtz’s Principles of Microeconomics class and being so intrigued to learn more about how the world works. Before I knew it, by the end of sophomore year, my second and third majors were declared: actuarial science and quantitative economics.
A year later, I was the recipient for the Joanne and Arthur Haberberger Fellowship, which allowed me to carry out my own research and write up a scholarly paper based on the pay gap between native- and foreign-born medical workers in the United States. I am sincerely indebted to the entire economics department for their valuable insights, and especially to Dr. Elizabeth Moorhouse who supervised my project. Without her constant advice (and several reminders about deadlines), I would have never managed to reach the endpoint. In fact, recently, I got the chance to present the draft of my paper at The Midwest Economics Association Annual Conference.
Recognition and commencement
Everything I learned and applied through my experience at Lycoming College led to the honor of being nominated for the Chieftain Award, the highest recognition that Lycoming College can give to a student. Today, with graduation a few weeks away, I can say that although my years at Lycoming College have seen the ups and downs, I could not have reached the end of this beautiful journey without the immense support from the entire campus community.
Like every other graduating senior, one question comes to my mind: How will my life be in the next few years? What I plan is to pursue a master’s degree in economics. However, for all the adversities that lie forward, I know for sure that the person the college has shaped me into is ready to face the future.
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