From Student to Teacher: Your Passions Can Take You Far
– Gaurav Goel, Harvard University
Gaurav’s enthusiasm for math and science prompted him to join Pace Junior Science College’s Integrated Program after grade 10 as it offers students challenging courses and prepares them for India’s competitive entrance exams for subjects including engineering, science and medicine. When one of his teachers at Pace Institute offered Gaurav a chance to become a teaching assistant and give lectures to younger students, he grabbed this opportunity and has not looked back since. He soon realised that explaining mathematical concepts to others deepened his own understanding of this subject. Teaching also motivated him to start reading books that contextualise math historically and philosophically. Most importantly, however, the experience of teaching revealed to Gaurav the profession that will suit him best–to pursue mathematical research and become a professor.
Wanting to be part of an academic community that values scientific knowledge, Gaurav was drawn to the diverse and holistic education offered by US colleges. So, despite performing well at Pace Junior College’s Integrated Program, Gaurav decided to explore colleges in the US. He began shortlisting colleges by the strength of their math departments and overall reputation. This gave him a list of 15 universities, most of them being extremely competitive. Having started the process early, he had time to go through the college-specific essay questions, which in turn helped him eliminate a few colleges from his list as he realised they were not the right fit for him. His final list comprised of 12 colleges; most of them dreams, some targets and a couple of safety schools.
In the end, Gaurav only applied to five. Why? Because Gaurav started his application journey early. This allowed him to organise his applications by deadline, brainstorm and start working on his essays well in advance, identify his dream school, and apply to it by the 1st November early application deadline. Weeks before the January deadlines came around, Gaurav received the reply he had always dreamed of–he was admitted into Harvard University! He was then able to sit back and relax for a little while before getting back to his other passions and concentrating on goals such as competing for the Indian National Math Olympiad.