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Take time to appreciate the people of GW

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George Washington University

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Take time to appreciate the people of GW

Senior Pranav Nanda reflects on his college experience

Courtney Buble

4.17.17

The following is a submission from Pranav Nanda, a senior who decided to share his GW experience and advice with The Rival.

In the coming days, I will experience the ultimate #OnlyatGW moment as I graduate on the National Mall. Looking back on my four years at GW, I know that I have had an incredible experience. I have made incredible friends, interned at the White House, and joined multiple student organizations. I truly feel as if I got everything I could have out of my GW career; however, there are a few things I know now that I wish someone told me when I first started at GW. No matter where you fall in your time at GW, whether you’re a freshman or a senior, there are a few things I think you should know.

When I first arrived on campus in August 2013, upperclassmen began to tell me about their five classes, four student organizations, and two internships that they had planned for the upcoming semester. These upperclassmen seemed like the coolest people on campus to me. Looking back now, I can tell you with certainty that running from internship to class, from class to a meeting, and from one meeting to the next is more exhausting than you may expect.

Some people choose to make their days busy and to join more and more organizations on campus in order to show others how busy and involved they are. Though, your number of commitments should not be viewed as a competition, and doing fewer things should never make you feel like a lesser person.
It feels as if many people join organizations, take internships, or apply to jobs simply to say that they have, to check these “accomplishments” off of their imaginary check lists or to write about these activities on future résumés. If you find yourself doing this, try to stop now; that is not what college, or life, is all about. Do not do something only if you think it boosts your résumé or if you think it will impress someone else. Instead, impress yourself. Find out what you are passionate about and find ways to pursue those interests. Instead, challenge yourself to explore who you are, find what you are passionate about, and spend time doing what you love.

It feels as if many people join organizations, take internships, or apply to jobs simply to say that they have, to check these “accomplishments” off of their imaginary check lists or to write about these activities on future résumés.

GW markets itself as a school that creates leaders. I have met some truly remarkable leaders on this campus, but I think one lesson is missing from GW’s leadership guide. Leadership is not about titles - it’s not about who gets elected to which position or who has the nicest office. Leadership is about having a positive impact on the people around you – it’s about influencing the outcome of a situation, inspiring others to dream more and to do more, and bringing out the best in people. So if you are passionate about something or want to make a change, do it. Don’t worry about any titles or positions, because you don’t need them to be able to make a difference. If you do have title, remember that this title does not automatically make you a leader; what makes you a leader is the way you act.

No title or leadership position will ever be more important than that of friend. When I leave this campus, no one will remember my titles in any of the student organizations I served, but they will hopefully remember whether or not I was a good friend.

As Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If you treat people with kindness and respect, they will remember that feeling and they will strive to make others feel the same way. GW students are some of the most well spoken individuals I have ever met, but the ability to listen is equally as important as the ability to speak. Yes, it requires remarkable skill and courage to stand up and speak, but it takes arguably more skill and courage to sit down and listen. What people have to say may surprise you sometimes, so don’t forget to listen.

GW students are some of the most well spoken individuals I have ever met, but the ability to listen is equally as important as the ability to speak.

When I first got to GW, I thought I was invincible and that college was going to be a breeze. I soon saw that college is tough, really tough. One mistake I made during my time at GW was that I never asked for help. I thought asking for help made me a weaker person, but I was wrong. If anything, asking for help makes you stronger. Unfortunately, so many students don’t ask for help and pretend that nothing is wrong and sadly, we are able to convince people that we’re fine because from the outside it seems like we are. This is not a healthy to live your life, and it is the responsibility of students, faculty, and staff to combat the campus culture that leads to this.

No matter how old you are and what you have faced, appreciate your time at GW – it passes quickly. These past four years have flown by, and while I am ready to move on to the next chapter of my life, I am going to miss this place. Appreciate the opportunities in front of you – you are truly lucky to receive such an amazing education. Although I had my own problems with GW and I am sure you will as well, appreciate all that is good about GW – there is so much to be thankful for.

Although I had my own problems with GW and I am sure you will as well, appreciate all that is good about GW – there is so much to be thankful for.

Most importantly, appreciate the people – I would not be who I am or where I am today without the remarkable people in my life. The people I have surrounded myself with are why I have been able to have such an unforgettable experience. People make this campus special; they are here through the good and the bad, the ups and downs. Appreciate the special people in your life, because at the end of the day, they are what will make it all so worth it.


Thank you for sharing Pranav! Best of luck with everything you do!