High School Students, US Colleges, College Admissions, College Applications"> Podcast | About-College-and-Beyond-Rishika-Kartik--2022-Coke-Scholar--St--Marys-Academy--Englewood--Colorado-e1lbg45

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Episode Notes | Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   Click for 2-Minute Listen

Rishika Kartik, 2022 Coke Scholar, is a recent graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood Colorado. Rishika will be a Freshman at Brown University in Fall of 2022.

In this Podcast, Rishika talks about her interests in Science, Arts, her social activism, Winning the Coca Cola Scholarship, her college search process, and her advice to college aspirants.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. Who is Rishika?
  2. Passion for the Blind
  3. Why Coke Scholarship?
  4. College Characteristics
  5. Advice for High Schoolers

Episode Notes

Episode Title: About College and Beyond: Rishika Kartik, 2022 Coke Scholar, St. Mary’s Academy, Englewood, Colorado.

Every year the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation awards a select set of High School Seniors the Coca Cola Scholarship. Rishika is a 2022 Coke Scholar.

In this Podcast, Rishika talks about her interests in Science, Arts, her social activism, Winning the Coca Cola Scholarship, her college search process, and her advice to college aspirants. #CokeScholars

In particular, we discuss the following with her:

  • Who is Rishika Kartik?
  • Extracurricular Interests
  • Winning the Coke Scholarship
  • College Process
  • Advice for High Schoolers

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introducing Rishika Kartik, Coke Scholar [0:48]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [2:05]
  • Who is Rishika Kartik? [4:16]
  • High School Interests [5:46]
  • Passion for the Blind [7:23]
  • Working with Incarcerated Youth [10:39]
  • Neuroplasticity [12:41]
  • Why Coke Scholarship? [14:55]
  • Coke Scholarship App Process [17:30]
  • The Coke Impact [19:55]
  • Career Thoughts [21:39]
  • College Characteristics [25:21]
  • Researching Colleges [27:02]
  • College Counseling [28:18]
  • College Process Surprises [29:45]
  • Why Brown University? [31:21]
  • Beyond College What? [34:32]
  • Advice to High Schoolers [36:16]

Our Guest: Rishika Kartik is a 2022 Coke Scholar, and a recent graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood Colorado. Rishika will be a Freshman in Brown University in Fall 2022.

Memorable Quote: “I also made a list of what colleges would want to know about me. And something that is useful is [to] stop thinking of just your accomplishments and things like that, but also, who you are, because who you are, is just as important as what you do.” Rishika Kartik’s Advice to High Schoolers.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Similar Episodes: College Experiences

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

<Start Snippet> Rishika K  0:14  

This is particularly important because the work that I do is a field that I think not a lot of people know about. So the fact that it was recognized and the importance of accessibility and holistic education was really emphasized was really meaningful to me because I think that the scholarship gives me a platform and I hope to use this platform to highlight the voices of others spread awareness and, you know, increase the knowledge that people have about these different fields.

Venkat  0:48  [Introducing Rishika Kartik, 2022 Coke Scholar]

That is Rishika Kartik, 2022 Coke Scholar, and a recent graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood Colorado.

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

With this Episode, we continue a select set of conversations with high schoolers about their outlook for their futures.

We are joined by Rishika Kartik, who will be a Freshman at Brown University this fall.

Rishika has multiple talents and broad interests & her special passion is at the intersection of STEM and the Arts.

A visit to an organization that worked with visually impaired kids fascinated her to eventually take on the mission of Disability Design and Education.

Venkat Raman  1:37

In this Podcast, Rishika talks about her interests in Science, Arts, her social activism, Winning the Coca Cola Scholarship, her college search process, and her advice to college aspirants.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the Hi-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Rishika K  2:05  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[Who is Rishika?]

Hi, my name is Rishika. I'm really excited to be here. I'm a 17 year old originally from Colorado, and I'm an incoming freshman at Brown University, passionate about disability inclusion, design, art and education.

[Passion for the Blind]

When I went there, I really just fell in love with it. I thought that the people were so welcoming, it was a whole new world that I'd never seen before. And I was just fascinated by how to do the things that I'd always done without vision and how I could use my interest in education to help people in those centers. So.

[Why Coke Scholarship?]

But I think that if there's anyone out there listening, I would say when in doubt, just apply because honestly speaking, I was really intimidated. But I'm glad that I didn't let the intimidation stop me from pursuing the opportunity. Something that's unique about the Coke scholarship is that they're not really looking for one specific thing so anyone can apply. And there's been so many people I've met with diverse interests and personalities.

 

[College Characteristics]

When I was looking for a college, I was really looking at three things, the type of academics that they had the extracurricular opportunities, and something that I think is undervalued the cultural fit.

[Advice to High Schoolers]

The first of which actually a friend recommended to me, which is a trip I hadn't heard before, keep a journal and write down random thoughts and insights. This was actually really helpful for generating essay ideas because I got to look back at different experiences I had and what I thought of them. And also it helps keep track of what you were doing. Because I promise you, you will forget if you're anything like me, I don't even remember what I ate for breakfast this morning. So it was really nice to have, you know, something concrete written down.

Venkat Raman  3:46

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by “College Matters. Alma Matters.”

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  3:58

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Rishika.

So without further ado, here's the podcast with Rishika Kartik!

--------------

Venkat Raman  4:06  

I think the best place to start is tell us a little bit about yourself. You know, Who who are you?

Rishika K  4:16  [Who is Rishika Kartik?]

So hi, my name is Rishika. I'm really excited to be here. I'm a 17 year old originally from Colorado and I'm an incoming freshman at Brown University, passionate about disability inclusion, design, art and education. At my core, I would say I'm a person who loves learning and wants to spread what I learned to better the world around me. So I've had a few amazing opportunities to do so. I'm fortunate to be the president of Colorado Tactile Art Club group affiliated with the Colorado Center for the Blind. And I'm also founded an initiative called vision of the artist soul, and both of those provide artistic and educational opportunities for blind people nationally. I've also had the opportunity to fund a museum accessibility committee with leaders At the National Federation of the Blind to make public spaces more inclusive, I've been a board member of mirror image Arts, which is an amazing youth advocacy organization. And I'm involved in educational and cognitive science research. In my free time, I'm a TED Ed geek, Islander enthusiast and of course, an international music enjoyer.

Venkat Raman  5:20  

Well, and you said, you're 17 years old? Yeah.

Venkat Raman  5:28  

Maybe we can start a little bit with your high school? What kind of courses and interests who had in the classroom and then we can talk about all your activities and extracurriculars that you just went through?

Rishika K  5:46  [High School Interests]

Absolutely. So yeah, in high school, in terms of courses, I watched this really amazing TED Talk by John Green, it's about why learning is awesome. And he describes education as cartography. So it's about making maps about the world that shaped the way in which you interact with it. And I really liked his concept of learning as exploratory. So that's something that I tried to kind of implement when I was choosing my courses, I would say that I picked my classes based on, you know, trying to challenge myself reinforcing my existing passions, and also try new things. So a challenging course load looks different for everyone. But I tried to take the highest level of every subject at my school just to really push myself. And to deepen my passions. I came into high school, not really knowing like what I was interested in, but I knew that I really liked math and science, and I really liked art. So I took a lot of those classes, which is really fun. And then I actually had a great opportunity, I go to a pretty unique school, it's an all girls school. And because of that, they have some very interesting humanities classes that I wanted to take. So I got to take classes such as gothic literature, world visions, and illustrated book. And those really helped me step out of my comfort zone and discover new interests.

Venkat Raman  7:06  

You talked about a bunch of things, about a bunch of things that you were into. Now one of the things that intrigued me was about the blind and visions why, and where did that interest come from? Or why why was that such an important thing to you?

Rishika K  7:23  [Passion for the Blind]

Yeah, that drive actually started from really being inspired by the role models around me, I felt like I had amazing teachers and adults that made me feel like my voice was heard made me excited about learning and also made me feel like a part of a community. So I wanted to kind of emulate what they had given me, and hopefully give that to someone else.

So from the beginning, I knew that I kind of wanted to get involved in service work and volunteering, but I didn't really know where to go. And the director of service learning at my school, was kind enough to recommend a few organizations that worked with students with visual impairments, because I said that I loved kids, I love teaching. And I also wanted to try something new and meet new people. And when I went there, I really just fell in love with it. I thought that the people were so welcoming.

It was a whole new world that I'd never seen before. And I was just fascinated by how to do the things that I'd always done without vision and how I could use my interest in education to help people in those centers. So that was really awesome, and really fortunate to that community for teaching me so much.

Venkat Raman  8:27  

So what is the Touch and Create Studio?

Rishika K  8:32  

Yeah, so that's a museum accessibility committee that I had the opportunity to start at the National Federation of the Blind. And how that happened was, initially, I started volunteering at local centers for the blind. And I've always been interested in art, but I'd only done it visually. So when I went, this amazing mentor of mine, and cutting him was teaching tactile art classes. And when I went, I was like, Whoa, you can do it. Without vision. It was like a whole new world, I was so excited about it. And I'm really grateful to her, she was the one who encouraged me to take on leadership roles, try out new ideas. And that kind of turned into vision of the artist soul. So for awhile, I noticed the opportunity that I had to create different tactile art classes and make art more accessible. But I realized that these programs were kind of in dedicated centers for students with disabilities or cater to a specific demographic. And so I was wondering if we could take similar programming, and implement them into a more public space to make the accessibility more broad. And the reason why we picked museums was because I think museums are a very unique place, you know, their community based learning and everything that you see is centered around the real world.

I remember when I was a kid, museums were the place that sparked my academic curiosity, and also meaningful dialogue because you meet people from all different walks of life and you're shared in this desire to learn. It's also a great way to showcase The Blind artists that I had met, because they were so talented. And I thought that there needed to be increased representation, and a changing of the cultural narratives in terms of what constitutes art and also who can participate in art. So that was kind of the mission. And now we've worked with a lot of museums who were just amazing to work with to hopefully make the experience of arts and culture in a public space, feel more inclusive to people.

Venkat Raman  10:30  

Just to kind of move on, you're you also worked quite a bit with incarcerated youth. What, what did that entail?

Rishika K  10:39  [Working with Incarcerated Youth]

Yeah, I had such a great time working with mirror image arts mirror image arts is a youth advocacy organization that emphasizes socio emotional learning, kind of creates spaces of belonging and aims to disrupt the school to prison pipeline through the arts. And my experience was actually kind of interesting. I met them through the arts and society grant through the red line Contemporary Arts Center. So those are the people that were kind enough to fund my project. And something really cool that they do is they bring all the grantees together to share their work and also learn from others. And so I got to hear about what mirror image arts was doing. And one of the people that was presenting there actually connected with me afterwards and said, I think that our values are really in alignment, would you be interested in learning more, and I was really fascinated about what they were doing. But I think that this experience really helps me grow as a person because initially, I was afraid to enter a new area, I had never worked with a population that was incarcerated before. And also, a lot of the art that they do is theater based, or performing, which is something that I definitely don't have talents in. But I knew that these are amazing people doing amazing things. And it really aligned with my values. So I leaned into it. And I learned that instead of shying away from difficult conversations, because you're afraid of making a mistake, asking questions, is better than maintaining assumptions. And just listening to people being willing to learn can really help you problem solve and contribute to a new cause. So I'm really fortunate to have had that experience. And at mirror image arts, I've done some really cool stuff, like facilitate fundraising campaigns, pitch new ideas for youth advocacy. And also as someone who didn't know about the school to prison pipeline before I came in, my goal was to spread awareness about what I've learned through artwork and through my blog posts through the mirror image arts blog.

Venkat Raman  12:32  

With all this, you also did some research at Johns Hopkins. What was that about?

Rishika K  12:41  [Neuroplasticity]

Yeah, so this is the Johns Hopkins bedni Neuroplasticity and Development Lab. And I have to say that the people I've met, there have been some of the coolest people I've met in my whole life. They're doing fascinating contributions to the academic field. And I feel like they really care about people. So I've loved my experience there. How I got involved actually was through the arts, which is interesting. When I started getting involved with tactile art club, I was really curious to see how else blind and visually impaired people have engaged with art. So I was researching some blind artists, and I found this person named Esref Armagan, who is a super talented painter. But what's interesting about him is that he was congenitally blind, which means that he had never seen before yet. All of his landscapes were super realistic. And so I was wondering, how can you have such a clear understanding of visual surroundings without seeing it? And I came across this research study that took a scan of his brain and fMRI and the occipital or vision processing cortex of his brain was actually found to have adapted to support new ideas and new activities. So I became very fascinated in neuroplasticity. And this opens like a whole new range of questions, right? Like, how can people understand color? How would people understand place? How would language and culture influence your understanding of the world? And I was talking about all of these questions to an amazing person who directs Research at the National Federation of the Blind, and she was kind enough to recommend the lab to me, so she connected me with them. And through this lab, I've edited stimuli parsed results. And through that my goal is really to investigate how the visual cortex can adapt to support higher order thinking and also how blindness can impact a person's perceptual experience and conceptual understanding of the world.

Venkat Raman  14:39  

You are a Coke Scholar, congratulations.

Rishika K  14:41  

Thank you so much. That means a lot to me.

Venkat Raman  14:43  

Absolutely. A great group of people. very selective. So why did you apply? I mean, why? Why was that interesting to you?

Rishika K  14:55  [Why Coke Scholarship?]

One of the biggest reasons I applied was actually my experience with arts and science. This was an amazing grant opportunity, an organization where I felt like I got to meet like minded people that wanted to change the world. And I really learned I got to be part of a community. And I got to share what I learned to contribute to different initiatives. And so what I've noticed is that this isn't just a scholarship, but it's really a family, I've found that it's a network of like minded people who are innovating and doing cool things. And I love the idea that we can become stronger together, we can collaborate, and I want it to be part of a group of young people that is interested in learning and growing. I also think that the scholarship provides really unique opportunities, such as different jobs, you might want to pursue volunteer opportunities, and they really emphasize leadership development. So I was hoping that through the scholarship, I would become a more well informed, conscientious citizen and also a better person. And I really think that that's been my experience so far. So thank you to the Coke Scholar Foundation, I really appreciate it. You know,

Venkat Raman  15:58  

It's pretty interesting from Carolyn, I heard that, you know, they, they get like 90,000 Plus applications. And at the end of the day, they pick 150. So, the odds are long, but it's pretty amazing when you make it like you did. Did you go into it thinking that. Obviously, you thought you would you have a shot, otherwise you wouldn't be applying. But what was the motivation for applying?

Rishika K  16:28  

That makes sense. Yeah, I was totally actually not expecting it because of those odds. So the fact that, you know, people believed in me and liked what I was doing is just really incredible. And, honestly, I'm very humbled and grateful.

But I think that if there's anyone out there listening, I would say, when in doubt, just apply, because honestly, speaking, I was really intimidated. But I'm glad that I didn't let the intimidation stop me from pursuing the opportunity. Something that's unique about the Coke Scholarship is that they're not really looking for one specific thing. So anyone can apply. And there's been so many people I've met with diverse interests and personalities. So that part of the scholarship really motivated me to that there isn't one right way to be a Coke scholar. It's more about, you know, what you like and what you do.

Venkat Raman  17:18  

So tell me a little bit about the application process. What, what did that entail? I don't mean, all the different steps. But what did it kind of bring together?

Rishika K  17:30  [Coke Scholarship App Process]

Are you talking about the Coke scholar application process?

Venkat Raman  17:33  

Yeah, yeah.

Rishika K  17:35  

So with that, I would say it was a lot of essays. But um, what was cool was, I actually didn't expect to enjoy the application process, because it is a lot of work. But I think what's very fascinating is that they asked you such a broad range of questions that you have a unique opportunity to reflect on the things that you've done in the past and actually put them in writing. That was something that I had had the opportunity to do in my blog posts and on my website, but not really to that kind of scale before. So what's the application process? A lot of it was introspective, I was looking back on the things that I've done and thinking, Why did I do them? What do I want to share with people? What are my hopes and dreams for the future? So I think that it helped me get to know myself, which is pretty cool. And then afterwards, there was an interview. And I think that that was a great part of the process, too. Because in writing, you can only get so much of a person, but a lot of a person's also their character. And I think that the scholarship foundation more than what you do cares about why you do it, and the kind of person that you are. So I actually had a lot of fun in the interview, the people were so kind and it was great to get to share my story in my own words.

Venkat Raman  18:46  

So how long did it take for you to do the application the part that you have to fill out and stuff? Was it something you could do in one sitting? Obviously, it sounds like multiple settings.

Rishika K  19:01  

Yeah, I mean, I think the joke in my school is I'm like the slowest person ever. I take a really long time to do things and I'm more of a slow like a little bit everyday kind of person. So I definitely think that I took way longer than the average person, but I would say I don't remember. It's been quite a while, I think maybe like a couple of months. One. Yeah, a lot of the thing was just like brainstorming, so I wasn't actively doing anything, but I was just kind of looking at the prompts and thinking, oh, what might be interesting, kind of in a passive way, but then actually writing was pretty simple. And I think I did that in like three days or so. So.

Venkat Raman  19:43  

Okay, so now that you have it, you sort of alluded to it a little bit. What does it mean to you? What's, how do you think it's making a difference or will make a difference, You think?

Rishika K  19:55  [The Coke Impact]

Oh, it means so much to me. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Because I think that means that I get to be part of a lifelong community of people that want to refresh the world with innovation and change making, I think that the scholarship makes a difference. Because by investing in young people, you help young people believe in their capabilities, and in turn, you invest in a brighter future. So the investment that the foundation is making well help a variety of communities and help people realize that the work that they're doing is valuable and motivate them to continue doing it. This was particularly important because the work that I do is a field that I think not a lot of people know about. So the fact that it was recognized, and the importance of accessibility and holistic education was really emphasized was really meaningful to me, because I think that the scholarship gives me a platform, and I hope to use this platform to highlight the voices of others spread awareness, and, you know, increase the knowledge that people have about these different fields. So that's really exciting. I love the possibility to collaborate with Fellow Scholars. And also, I think that the scholarship is unique in that the other grants I've received, I'm often the only young person that's pursuing them. So the fact that this is all teens, I think inspires other young students that teens can make a difference. And if you have an idea, don't be afraid to put it out there, try it take risks, and you never know, kind of the impact that it can make on the community around you.

Venkat Raman  21:28  

So you're getting ready to go to college. How do you, How are you thinking about your future? What's what's the outlook for you? I mean, how do you feel about it?

Rishika K  21:39  [Career Thoughts]

Yeah, I'm feeling a lot of emotions. I think that as an art person, I kind of see it as a blank canvas, right? When you start dancing, there's a little bit of intimidation, a little bit of unknown, but more than anything, you're excited, because the possibilities of what you can create are endless. So I hope to you know, whatever I do paint my strokes boldly and make that Canvas uniquely my own.

Venkat Raman  22:02  

Awesome. So what's so what are your priorities? I mean, what's what's important to you?

Rishika K  22:08  

I think that a big priority for me is to explore new ideas and stay open minded, but keep my core values consistent. I really want to approach whatever I do with empathy, creativity and dedication. I want to be someone that makes other people feel seen someone that's okay, admitting that I made a mistake and learning from it. And someone that tries to build community and approach problems with a human centered approach that rejects traditional thinking.

Venkat Raman  22:40  

So with all that, I know that you have some sense of what you want to do. So what what kind of career are you envisioning?

Rishika K  22:50  

I hope that the answer I'll give in five years is nothing similar to the answer I give today, because that's the beauty of life, right. But I think that I definitely want a career that combines my current interests. I'm interested in cognitive science, education, design and service. And so I have a couple of things that I'd love to do. The first of which is, it would be absolutely amazing to turn the nonprofit initiatives that I've had into a social enterprise or a nonprofit, just because I want to reach as many people as possible and really develop it into something that makes a large impact. The second thing is I've had the opportunity to become more involved with accessible design. And that's something that I really want to continue pursuing. So making impactful art exhibitions, tactile models, and technology for people to have better lives and engage with the world in a way that's more inclusive. I love education. So another career I'm thinking of is something related to that field, teacher, professor, I really want to just share my knowledge with others continue research and public speaking. And finally, this is kind of interesting. I've been getting more interested in the medical side of things. So I'm considering careers and maybe ophthalmology, low vision, maybe occupational therapy, and those fields fascinate me, because I think that it would be great to bridge the gap between the medical understanding of certain disabilities and the social conception of them to understand what someone needs and also how to best holistically support them throughout the process of you know, what, everything that they're going through.

Venkat Raman  24:26  

Wow, that's a plateful. Yeah. But but but you know, I think, I think there may be unique opportunities to bring a lot of stuff together and make a huge impact. So, thank you. First of all, good luck with that. But I think those are very, no, I mean, you know, sincerely and also, I think that you're bringing a lot of passion into it. And you have had sort of some running start here, right. You've done something you've done a lot of things with the last For five years, and I'm sure all that will stand you in good stead.

Venkat Raman  25:08  

Review with us how you went about the process of finding a school, so or college to go to? What were you looking at? What were you looking for in a college and then go from there?

Rishika K  25:21  [College Characteristics]

Absolutely. So when I was looking for college, I was really looking at three things, the type of academics that they had the extracurricular opportunities, and something that I think is undervalued the cultural fit.

So with academics, as I'm sure you've noticed, by now, I have some diverse random, very interdisciplinary interests. And so I wanted a place that would support that type of learning and a place where I could explore and make my own path instead of having to commit to a program really early. So that was a big priority for me.

And aside from that, I knew that I loved the type of extracurriculars I was doing as it related to service work, arts and research. So I was definitely looking for a place that would support all three areas.

There were also aspects that were more specific to my case, like I wanted proximity to local schools, where I could continue teaching volunteering, I wanted to be close to centers for the blind. And finally, in terms of the cultural fit, something that I absolutely loved is at the National Federation of the Blind, you meet so many different people. And I think that that experience has made me a better person. So I really wanted to place the culturally diverse student body that would challenge my thinking. And also a place where just like the Coca Cola scholarship foundation, I would get to learn from people and collaborate with students that had intellectual curiosity. So it's a little bit of a intangible characteristic, where the emphasis isn't really on, like the achievement or the objective things that you're doing, but really working together to create something beyond yourself.

Venkat Raman  26:57  

How did you research it? I guess, how did you kind of discover what colleges offer?

[#Topics] Rishika K  27:02  [Researching Colleges]

Absolutely. So one of the big ways that I did it was actually podcast. So I think that what you're doing is awesome, because podcasts are a way that you can learn and research. But it kind of takes the pressure off, you can do it when you're walking, driving. And so even though I didn't start the college process super early, and I didn't have that pressure, I started passively thinking about college around my junior year by just reading books in the car or stuff like that. And that's how I did a lot of my research. I also utilized a lot of different websites, both formal and, you know, informal posts about colleges that students would have on social media. And finally, a lot of colleges had different virtual events that I went to. So I'd went go to information sessions, I asked certain teachers and college counselors at my school what they thought and something that was cool, actually, is because my school was pretty small for the schools that I was considering more seriously, I got to talk to some alumni that had been through my school and then gone to that college. And that was really insightful and getting a bigger picture what the college would look like.

Venkat Raman  28:08  

So that brings me to sort of the help that you got during the process. How what, what kind of resources and help did you get?

Rishika K  28:18  [College Counseling]

Absolutely, I think that I was fortunate to have a lot of resources first, my school did a really great job in kind of supporting me through the process. I think that it's unique that I had teachers that really knew me because it was a small school. So they were able to offer guidance on a more personal level. But I know that that's something that isn't true for everyone. So for people that don't have that, what I would say is find someone that knows you really well that has experienced whether it's someone that is currently in college that's gone through the process, maybe an older sibling, or I actually asked a lot of mentors that I had already known about their college journey, I think that anyone that you can ask is definitely useful. I used a lot of online resources as well that are free to use. And one thing that I will say about that is that there's so many resources out there, right. And so many voices of advice are helpful, but they can also be extremely overwhelming. So something that was helpful to me was to tune out everyone else and only focus on a few people that knew me deeply and who I trusted. And that's what I would recommend to students don't get so lost and how many resources there are if there's one person that you like, or one website that you'd like to stick with that

Venkat Raman  29:35  

As you went through the process were there surprises? Were there things that you weren't expecting that happened?

Rishika K  29:45  [College Process Surprises]

Right. So I actually had a few positive surprises. I kind of talked about this with relating to my scholarship applications. But initially when people talk about college, rightfully so, there's a lot of like stress and anxiety right because it is a big process but I Generally, I found research in college kind of fun. I've been at my current high school for a really long time. And I've lived in the same place. And so the opportunity to look through what different possibilities are out there for me to meet new people, and to envision myself in a variety of different environments was pretty interesting and pretty fun. I also think that college application writing is a lot of work. But it made me look at the world more differently. When you write about things like what matters to you what you care about, or what you do. I think that it not only made me a better light writer, but I was more introspective. And I gained a newfound appreciation for a bunch of stuff that I just took for granted. Another thing that surprised me was how much my goals changed from the beginning of high school to now. So if there's anyone that feels like, oh, like, everyone has things figured out, but me, I want to tell you that it's totally okay. My goals, I mean, they change every day. But at the beginning of high school, I knew that I really liked math. So I was pretty much like, Yeah, I think I want to do like engineering, like, this is something that really excites me. And that's like, so not the direction that I ended up going. So that was a kind of fun surprise, but definitely surprising to me.

Venkat Raman  31:15  

You decide to go to Brown. Can you share why or how did that happen?

Rishika K  31:21  [Why Brown University?]

Absolutely. So I'm so excited to enter the Brown community. Brown University was my first choice. So I did early decision and all of that. And the reason why is because I think Browns interdisciplinary educational model naturally aligns with my educational philosophy, what I like to do as a student, and as someone who got to teach workshops and classes, I remember learning the most when I got to choose the projects I was doing. And I got to integrate different disciplines in a way that was uniquely my own. And that was a concept that I tried to bring into all of the classes and workshops that I was doing. And I saw that students also responded to that really well.

So I loved the open curriculum of Brown, which is something that a lot of people say, for people that are unfamiliar, it's basically the idea that no two Brown students are forced to take one class. So you get to choose your own major, you don't apply to a specific program, unless you're doing a specific, like the medical application or the brown RISD dual degree. So you get to explore before choosing your major, and then outside your major, you can pick whatever classes you want. So I knew that I had so many interests. And this was a place where I had the opportunity to explore the synergies of them in a very unique way. There's also specifics about brown that really attracted me. The partnership was RISD was something that I loved. I am someone that loves stem, but also arts. So I liked that there was a more creative bent to STEM students. And I was in touch with an amazing, equitable design professor at RISD, and I wanted to continue my relationship with her. So it's great that now I'm geographically close as well. They also have a lot of resources for service and nonprofit initiatives such as the breakthrough lab and the software center. And another thing that I liked was, not only can you deepen your interest, but you can continue taking academic risks. So I realized that I had a newly developing interest in medicine, but I didn't have that much experience. And something that's cool is that you can take those classes and they have a pass fail system with a lot of classes. So even if you feel unsure, you can take a class without the pressure of achieving a certain grade or something like that. I think all that together culminates into a very intellectual curiosity, intellectually curious student body because no two people's journeys the same. I think that competition is reduced because everyone's on their own path. And instead, there's a collaborative and supportive environment, which is why the stereotype is that Brown students are really happy. But I do think so far, that's been very true.

Venkat Raman  33:58  

Well, you know, I'm just amazed at the different factors you considered in this decision and how they're all aligning together. So first of all, congratulations, and, and good luck with your four years of brown and then hopefully, beyond whatever you do.

Rishika K  34:21  

Thank you.

Venkat Raman  34:26  

So talking of the Beyond, where do you want to head?

Rishika K  34:32  [Beyond College What?]

Where do I want to head? That's a really good question. I mean, first, I think that I hope to utilize all of the communities and resources that I have at Brown to further my interests. Another factor for deciding Brown for me is that it's 50 minutes away from Perkins School for the Blind, which is the nationwide leader in education and accessibility. And I've already met some really cool people there. So I really wanted to continue my partnership and it's around 10 minutes away from insight vision rehabilitation. So I would love to, in the future continue to create tactile arts curriculum, art exhibits, and also explore the idea of Accessible Design and Technology in partnership with these two organizations in a broad scape, I also want to try and approach problems from multifaceted ways. So I'm interested in answering questions such as, how do we design education programs, products and tools that support people that experience the world differently, such as people with disabilities, or in the case of my work with mirror image arts, people that have had a different upbringing. And I'm also interested in how we can work outside of that education system to educate a broader population on certain social issues, to make them more well informed and enact change, whether that's through public speaking or art.

Venkat Raman  35:51  

So we're starting to wind down here. And what I would love for you to do is, you know, provide some advice or counsel to high schoolers in general, and maybe the rising seniors about the future, how they are to sort of think about their time in high school and about the process.

Rishika K  36:16  [Advice to High Schoolers]

Absolutely. So before I give some tips, I want to say two things. One, if you're a senior listening to this, or someone in high school, take a breath, like I promise you, you will be okay. Everyone that I know, is doing amazing things, they're successful in some way at the end, and they end up being happy wherever they end up. So trust the process, you'll be okay. And I'm gonna give you some advice that I think might be helpful, but don't listen to advice is my advice. Because I think that comparing yourself to someone else, is like comparing apples to oranges, it's a little futile, in my experience is just my experience. So don't let others influence what you want to do, and stay true to yourself. So yeah, and in terms of certain tips that I had about the process, and everything, the first kind of philosophical tip that I had is I think people sometimes put too much pressure on a specific college. And that's difficult, because there's a lot of factors that you can control, but also a lot of factors that you simply can't. So in that case, it's a very risky process to place so much value in the college itself. But I like to View High School as a journey of making yourself a better person. So when you take the emphasis away from the college and think about, really, what am I interested in, what do I want to do, then that makes it such that you'll be happy in any university, and you can come out of high school saying, I really grew as a person. So that's something that I love to say to people who are a little stressed about the college itself. In terms of the process, there's a couple of things that I did that I think were helpful, the first of which actually a friend recommended to me, which is a trip I hadn't heard before, keep a journal and write down random thoughts and insights. This is actually really helpful for generating essay ideas, because I got to look back at different experiences I had and what I thought of them. And also, it helps keep track of what you were doing. Because I promise you, you will forget, if you're anything like me, I don't even remember what I ate for breakfast this morning. So it was really nice to have, you know, something concrete written down. I also made a list of what colleges would want to know about me. And something that is useful is stop thinking of just your accomplishments and things like that, but also, who you are, because who you are is just as important as what you do. So personalities and values that I wanted to highlight. And going from a value driven approach, I think makes you seem more human in your application. In terms of essays, I would say, don't make life harder than it needs to be because you can get away with writing fewer. That what I did was I looked at my desired schools and instead of writing an essay, per school from scratch, I looked at all of them at one go and then lumped them into categories. So are they asking you about my academic interest, maybe a notable extracurricular diversity service, etc. And then I tried to see if there's a way to write one essay that can be adapted to fit into more than one type of prompt because the reality is in life, there's a lot of overlap between those areas. So I'm reading an extracurricular essay about a service project that ties in with an academic interest, for example. And then my other two like tips, I guess, are, it's okay to judge colleges based on the vibe. I think people overthink, like their college decision. But at the end of the day, your gut feeling matters. And you're going to be the one living there for four years. Having said that, I think it's important to research colleges that are polar opposite from one another in the beginning, even if you're almost certain about what you want to do. So in my case, when I came in, I was very interested in engineering, but I'm really glad that I didn't limit myself to STEM schools because college is different in high school and you might be surprised so don't limit your search to suit And finally, as a Coca Cola scholar, I can say, trying a lot more time for scholarship research and essays than you think. I think scholarship applications are something to get overlooked because college apps themselves are a lot of work. And so I see a lot of students rush their applications or feel a lot of stress because they didn't allow enough time for research. So for funding, think beyond the well known nationally competitive ones, for local opportunities and scholarships, and really spend a lot of time applying to a wide variety of those type of opportunities, as well as your colleges.

Venkat Raman  40:35  

Those are a wonderful set of steps there. And I think I think the point about scholarships as well taken, I think that's really something that everybody can benefit from. So, Rishika, this has been a wonderful conversation. I just love your spirit, your passion and your enthusiasm, and the energy that you bring to it. Thank you. I hope you continue and do great things. And we'd love to stay in touch but for right now, take care. Be safe. And thank you again.

Rishika K  41:12  

I would love to stay in touch. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure. I had so much fun. Thank you for having me. And thank you for all the work that you're doing to inspire other young people to pursue their college dreams. I think that's awesome. And I definitely hope that we stay in touch in the future.

Venkat Raman  41:27  

Sure, thanks. Take care. Bye bye.

Rishika K  41:30  

Take care bye bye

-----------

Venkat  41:38

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Rishika Kartik.

Rishika’s story is one of passion, high energy, activism and the drive to make a difference for others.

That path led her to the Coca Cola Scholarship, something she values tremendously - as a recognition for her passion & the cause she represents, but also as an opportunity to work with other Coke Scholars - past and present.

I wish Rishika all the best at Brown University and Beyond.

I hope this podcast inspires you through your high school and as you prep for your college journey.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

Journalism, Writing, Podcast for High Schoolers, US Colleges, Undergraduate, College Podcast, High School Students, US Colleges, College Admissions, College Applications

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