Episode Title: College & Beyond: Saumya Gupta 12th Grade, India.
Episode summary introduction: In this Podcast, Saumya Gupta a 12th Grader in India, shares her high school interests, her surprise discoveries about herself during COVID times, her thoughts on college abroad, career, and how she is navigating the college process.
In particular, we discuss the following with her:
Topics discussed in this episode:
Our Guest: Saumya Gupta is a 12th Grade student in Patiala, Punjab India.
Memorable Quote: “Research is really interesting. Because it's so vast and so varied. So research is definitely something that I would like to get into, if I get the chance.” Saumya on a possible career option.
Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.
Transcript of the episode’s audio.
<Start Snippet> Saumya 0:14
At this point, education is something that I really, really respect people who have like the highest level of education. So I just feel like I would love to climb that ladder and reach to the top.
That is Saumya Gupta, a 12th Grader from India.
I am your host, Venkat Raman.
Today, with this Episode, we are launching a select set of conversations with 12th Graders, all girls, & their parents, from India and Indonesia, about how they see their future and their college plans.
We kick off this series with Saumya Gupta, 12th Grader from Patiala in Punjab, India.
In this Podcast, Saumya shares her high school interests, her surprise discoveries about herself during COVID times, her thoughts on college, career, and how she is navigating the college process.
I also had the pleasure of talking to Saumya’s parents - to get their take on their daughter and her plans for the future.
So, without further delay, here’s Saumya Gupta!
Venkat Raman 1:48
Hi, hello, how are you?
Venkat Raman 1:52
I'm doing great. Glad you could make it. Welcome. Welcome to our podcast College Matters. Alma Matters.
Thank you honored to be here.
Venkat Raman 2:03
Fabulous. So you know, today we're going to spend some time talking about yourself. And you know, where you are in life, what you what your future looks like, what do you want it to be? And your aims and aspirations. So, excited to hear a young person's view. So if you're ready, we can jump right into it.
Venkat Raman 2:33
So maybe the best place to start is, tell me a little bit about yourself. I mean, who are you? And how would you talk about yourself.
So I'm Saumay Gupta. I'm currently 17 years old. I am from Patiala. Because of COVID. I shifted here in 11th grade to be closer to my parents. Before that, when I was nine, I went to boarding school. So for like about six years, I've been in boarding schools. And to be closer to my parents, and spend some time with them, and also to focus on my studies, I came back here in 11th grade. So I'm currently doing PCM, which is physics, chemistry and maths. And I want to pick up biology, hopefully when I grow up.
Venkat Raman 3:25
[For the] Last year or so now, right, you've been doing remote schooling, I'm guessing. So, before that, I mean, what, what kind of things did you do in school? What's what are your interests? What are the different courses? You mentioned? PCM just now, but what are things that interest you?
So, before COVID struck in school, I was really active in terms of co curriculars. So I did pottery I was... I played hockey, I was part of the school team. And I danced a lot I did traditional as well as spoke and also Western. I tried to sort of dip my nose in a lot of things, and I sort of really enjoyed different activities. And but of course, pottery was my number one. I love pottery overall.
Venkat Raman 4:31
Wow. Do you know why that is?
I would say honestly because pottery was like my tether when I was younger. So to cope with all the homesickness and being in a new environment, I used to just sort of go to the art school and just hash out my emotions on bound of clay. That's why I do it.
Venkat Raman 5:01
Okay, what is your sense of yourself right now?
Okay. Honestly, at this point, I'm as confused as the scientists are because of COVID. So I don't know myself. But when I've come back here, there are activities, which I never thought I would do. You know, when if you had physical school, like, public speaking and everything. So I bought into all of that. I am part of an NGO. And I'm coordinating. I'm the media coordinator there. So I do all that stuff, which I never thought I would do. So that's something that I'm discovering myself in. And I feel I am particularly good at that. Which I which surprised me. So currently, that's what I would say.
Venkat Raman 5:52
Is there anything else that you're doing that wouldn't have been possible if it hadn't been for COVID?
Okay, I would say something like public speaking is for sure there. But also connectivity. I was never a person who would who was very upcoming with talks or in group chats are anything. So because everything was online, and texting, which was the main mode of communication, is basically voluntary. So you had to actually reach out to people to talk and to maintain relationships. So maybe that's something that that's like a sort of skill that I developed in COVID.
Venkat Raman 6:36
You were in boarding school, you came back home. How was that adjustment like? Did, Did you, Was it, you know COVID aside, how was the adjustment, staying at home for extended periods?
Honestly, two, three months down the line, I didn't even realize I was going through a culture shock. I was just all over the place. I just felt like, Okay, this is not going right. Or I was just learning about everything. And I would say definitely, culture shocks are not something that's easy. And it's not even talked about. Yeah, especially from a boarding background, I would say it was very hard for me to you know, live with people who can look into my life, you know, yeah. autonomy over your life. So that's definitely something that I had it adjusting with. No.
Let's, let's sort of start talking a little bit about your future. As you look out into the future, what, what's important to you, what are things you're looking for? What are what are your priorities, if I can sort of ask that kind of question?
Okay, so I'm really glad you didn't ask me where you see yourself in 10 years. What I would say at this point, education is something that I really, really respect people who have like the highest level of education. So I just feel like I would love to climb that ladder and reach to the top. Something like a PhD or like a master's in something.
Venkat Raman 8:24
How do you feel about the future? I mean, what kind of emotions do you have? Positive or negative? What are your feelings?
So I would say COVID really, sort of changed everything for me drastically, because I had a culture shock when I shifted from boarding to the school. But again, everything stopped here. So you were just in that transition phase where you were at home with no schooling or whatever. So I mean, I think because of that, my perception of my future or what I sort of feel towards it really changed, like at this point, because there's so much uncertainty, and we've been living in that uncertainty for like, about a year now. So I mean, I'm sort of comfortable with that. I was really, really stressed with the fact that, okay, you don't know anything about where you're going. But I'm sort of comfortable with that at this point.
I know, I know that you don't quite know what you want to do in life, career wise, but what are things that interest you and whatever kind of careers that you look at and say, that's pretty nice, So that's really intriguing or exciting.
I would say researchers, one research is really interesting, because it's so vast and so varied. Research is definitely something that I would like to get into, if I get the chance. That's why you know, I would like to go to the highest level of education and then go from there into deeper into research in that particular subject. Okay, another one I would look at would be like experienced based something like some people go straight into jobs and climb there. Maybe that's also something I would like to do.
Venkat Raman 10:15
Okay. Okay, any any particular type of career, you know, a professional career that intrigues you or interests you at this point or, you know, in terms of you may not, you may not like you may not have decided anything, but are there choices today? Or are you a kind of an open slate right now, a clean slate as they say?
I would say, I'm definitely a blank slate aspirations, but again, it's like blank, so, I have no clue, I'll go in whatever direction you know, whatever interests me at that particular point.
Venkat Raman 10:57
So I'll take that to mean that you written stuff and erased them, had different, different things. So at the end of the day, the slate has a lot of erase marks.
You have a blank slate and empty markers. That's what my life is.
Venkat Raman 11:16
I'm sure it's not that bad.
Venkat Raman 11:21
Okay, let's, let's talk a little bit about college. I'd love to hear what you think about college. What is your perception? What image do you have? And what is, What's the picture in your mind about college?
Like I said, I'm really open to uncertainty and change at this point, I'm comfortable with it. So I just feel like college will give me a makeover, like at least in terms of education, in terms of environment, everything. So this sort of stagnant area we're in right now. I just want to get out of it. And I think college be perfect for that. Definitely, like discover myself more, just like I have discovered a new me here in a different environment. So yeah.
Venkat Raman 12:15
Now do you know what what are the things you'd like to study? What what topics, So what courses or subjects?
Oh, yes. So I would like to go into STEM. And so I'm looking at Biology at this point. Bobby's always been interesting to me. So that's definitely what I'm going with into college. And I'll is sort of diversify into other related majors, for instance.
Venkat Raman 12:47
So let me ask something about Biology now. Do you, Do you have a feel for why you find that interesting? You know, why, why do you think that? Is there any reasoning you can provide? Or is it just to feel?
Oh, well, honestly, I really, really thought about that. Because essentially, I'm from a doctor's background, my parents are doctors, my grandma is a doctor. My brother's also in med school and everything. So I thought, essentially, that would be something that you know, because I had bio in my life for so long, like, so maybe that's something but I would say I do have a certain liking to the subject. If I disregard the whole thing, the background. So definitely, I would say it's just the feel of the subject. It just interests me a lot.
Are you looking to study abroad?
Yeah, definitely. I feel there are more research options, and more scope for r&d abroad.
Venkat Raman 14:00
And what destination countries are you looking at?
So I'm looking at the US and Canada at this point, just to see, because apparently, they have really, really good education in the whole world for that particular stream. So yeah, you were saying gathered, I guess. Okay.
Venkat Raman 14:23
Now, have you thought about what you would look for in a college? I mean, do you have some picture in your mind of what what are the different things that you'd like to see in a particular college that you end up going to?
Yeah, definitely. So most people that I've seen, they sort of choose a major and then they go from there. But because like I said, I'm blank slate. So even though I'm going with bio, I'm open to a lot of things. So essentially, in University, I'll be looking at a university that can have a lot of majors that the university sort of good at are known for. As well as I love big cities. So definitely not a college college city, but like a city with the campus senate show you have Yeah.
Venkat Raman 15:22
Okay, that's, that's, that's a good place to start. And now, have you thought about which cities? I mean, obviously, lots of big cities that have great colleges, any particular cities in mind, or cities in mind? Are you at this point pretty open?
I would say I'm pretty open about the cities. I'm not particularly into any city. But I would say UC Seattle is the university that really, really interested me. See if it would be one and rest of them are mostly on the east coast of America.
Venkat Raman 16:08
We are in August, right now. So what is, where, Where are you in the process?
Well, definitely, it's crunch time, at this point. So yeah, everything just bombarded at you. Admissions are open, and also because of COVID our SATs got delayed. So that's definitely around the corner. And so you have added pressure of the Boards also, because yeah, you know, CBSE board declared that okay, of November is when you will have your first board paper. So you have everything just mushed into August, so it's definitely got to stay.
Venkat Raman 16:51
Now, what kind of help Are you getting to? With your college applications? I mean, do you have a counselor? Do you have other kind of help family? How are you doing this?
Yeah, so I do have a career counselor, who helps me with this entire process. And she sort of guides me through universities and essays and registrations and everything. And I have a sister who's been through the process. So she's also like, a really big help.
Yeah, as you sit here, in the final year of school, do you feel prepared for what's next? And beyond? I mean, the college and beyond? How do you feel about about that right now? I mean, in terms of preparation, readiness, and all that stuff?
Not at all. Yeah, I really, like I would say that I mean, Jokes apart. It's the entire COVID situation that's caught everybody just, you know, doing everything and moment, but I think I really get here, honestly. So I have a little faith in myself. Yeah, so yeah, definitely. I would say I do trust myself to make reach somewhere make the right choices, hopefully. So it will be fine.
Venkat Raman 18:27
No question. No question. I mean, you know, obviously COVID has upended, you know, the whole world, but it's it's hopefully a passing phenomena. I mean, we know what we know. But another question is, why, when? And so I think that will be behind us. So I'm sure there's a lot more to look forward to.
Do you have these discussions with your peers with all your friends? Do you guys discuss the future? The colleges, the courses? Or is this pretty much a lone effort?
Yeah, so I definitely discuss stuff with people. It's fun to like I said, it's your own journey. So it's fun to know that, okay, this person is doing this, or this person is doing this. So for me, it's been a lot of support from my peers and my family. And that sort of makes you feel that okay. You're not alone. Even though it's, you're choking out your own life, but you're not alone.
Venkat Raman 19:36
And how much influence or pressure are you getting from your family or parents to do something or I do pretty much have the freedom. You said, it's your journey. Are you able to chart out your own journey?
Oh, yeah, definitely. So I would say my parents are pretty, you know, they're pretty To talk about this, so they've given me a lot of freedom. They're like, okay, you chalk out whatever you wanted to, and we're here for you, I would say in this scenario, they don't really know about this process a lot. And I completely understand that, you know, uncertainty, and you know how they get anxious about some stuff. But I can see that they want to give me the freedom that I want. So definitely, I have no pressure at all from that side.
Now, let's take a few minutes and check in with Saumya’s parents, and see what they have to say about all this.
Venkat Raman 20:41
So I just wanted to spend a few minutes with you and just talk about how you see her future shaping up and what kind of, you know, dreams and challenges you see for her and as part of our podcast, so thank you so much for making some time here.
Saumya's Mom 21:00 [Apprehension]
Yet, but to be honest, we are a bit lot apprehensive about it. Haha, she's because she's young. And moreover, something which we really do not know about. It's a hearsay. And we'll be entering into something which we think or the whole world thinks is good. And whether it's going to be really good for her. We are a bit sceptical and apprehensive audit. Firm. So but but but because even we, as a student all have always have heard that okay, us is the destination for teaching, or academics. So if she's getting an opportunity to study there, so maybe it will do good to her life. Yeah. And that is what I think As parents, we want that for them. So let's see how it goes about. So we wish that she takes up good subjects you wish that she takes a good university? And in the end, it comes out well for her.
Venkat Raman 22:11
Now, do you the two of you have any specific dreams for her? Or are you going to let her make her own decisions?
Saumya's Mom 22:22 [Dreams]
Well, for dreams No, exactly. doesn't think that we want to see her like that. Or the one that should be safe and happy. Yeah. And whatever she does, she's happy about it. That's what we want for her. And her father can say something else, maybe not. I?
Saumya's Father 22:45
Hello. Hi. Of course, I fully agree with the mother. Yes. That's how it goes. Yes, I understand. But the thing is that I'm really proud of her. And I think the kind of personality she has. I am fully confident of her, I am fully confident that she will do good wherever she goes, and whatever she does. And but I have no particular aspirations particular areas for her. But whatever she wants to do, she's free to do. And as as a parent, I just want her to be happy.
Venkat Raman 23:40
So, you know, obviously, things have changed since I guess we were all kids. Now the question is, what kind of challenges do you see for her that, you know, you may not have faced or that you see the younger generation facing?
Saumya's Mom 23:57 [Challenges]
Yeah, I would be actually I would be more secure had she been more clear about her field of education on her record, her her dreams rather. So right now she's like, she hasn't made up her mind about anything. So that gives me a bit apprehensive, apprehension on that ground, that whether she's going to whatever she going to decide how she is going to decide for own. And since there's so much of exposure and all the all the exposure in the world there. So there as a mother, I am apprehensive. And so maybe I see that maybe it becomes a lot more stress on her later when she goes in and she has to decide her majors and minors on her own. So there, there I'm not worried. Worried about.
Venkat Raman 24:46
Yeah, that is true. But it's also the case that there are a lot more opportunities for youngsters today. Right? And so at the age of 17 or 18 you know, they still don't know enough to make that decision. So that's one way of thinking about it, right?
Saumya's Mom 25:04
Yeah, of course, of course. Yes. And maybe you know, there she has a wider, wider vision, which we guys would never had when we were maybe of her age, we had a particular only thing decided for us. So in the end, I think so she will do good in her life. She should be okay. And and moreover, then I have to worry, we start worrying about the finances too.
Venkat Raman 25:40 [Freedom to Choose]
Now, I understand both of you are doctors. Would you want her to go in that direction? Would you have preferred that? Or is whatever she ends up doing okay for you?
Saumya's Mom 25:52
No, no, had it been for medical, we would have preferred her to be here longer any day, any day. In India, also, medical studies are pretty good. And we would have loved her to be a doctor here. But as things have shaped up, and she's preferred to go there, so let's see what it chooses there. So we are not particular, we want her to go into a particular field.
Venkat Raman 26:19 [Father’s Advice]
Now, maybe I should ask the Father the question. I mean, what what kind of advice would you give her as she embarks on this college journey?
Saumya's Father 26:30
Ah, she goes into college journey. There are a lot of things which I want to tell her as a father. Yes. as and when she takes the turn, I want to be there.
Saumya's Mom 26:45
He's not going to leave her alone.
Saumya's Father 26:53
There is a bit of confidence in her over the years here, that exposure to boarding school, and though it was very tough, yeah. But I think that, that that is going to help her in her future life as she studies and she faces all the challenges. And I think communication gap communication explosion, yes, knowledge explosion, and a lot of opportunities are in fact challenges. Yes. Amen. I agree you, it is so difficult to find, what opportunities are you going to suit you? And what you really like to do so it is more of a challenge rather than you know? Who can say rather than anything good for you. So I'm sure she's going to take, I'm sure.
Venkat Raman 27:51
Saumya, you want to say anything?
Saumya 27:54 [Gratitude]
I think it's I have mixed emotions from both sides. I think I'm just going to move forward with whatever opportunities they're willing to give me. Because not everybody gets to have such a wide platform in high school as well as college. So I'm very grateful for that. And hopefully, I can use all the resources very properly.
Venkat Raman 28:20
Sounds fantastic. Yeah.
Saumya's Mom 28:24
Yeah. And whatever expenditure she does in undergrad, she pays me back.
Venkat Raman 28:35
Anything else you guys want to add? I really appreciate you taking the time and sharing your thoughts. I just wanted a chance to talk to the parents as well, in this case, your daughter's, you know, got some plans. I understand you're very supportive. And I also wanted to just hear, from your point of view, what how you see the world and how you see the future for so thank you for sharing some thoughts. with anything else you want to add, please go ahead.
Saumya's Mom 29:04 [Focus is Key]
Yeah, that that's the I would rather ask her that she she takes this responsibility in a in a like in a positive way, you know, in a constructive way. Utilize her time well, and be disciplined and focused. Focus is something which is very easy to lose and hard to keep. If she stays focused, I'm sure she will do well in the US.
Venkat Raman 29:30
Yeah, that was really well said. Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you all. Thank you so much for arranging this.
Venkat Raman 29:42
So we are sort of nearing the end of this podcast. Is there anything else you want to share anything that you think might be of interest to people like you people who are looking at seniors in school, people getting ready for college? What what kind of, anything else you want to share?
I would say, one thing that I've learned, like, this past year, with my career counselor and with everybody support and choosing stuff, is that it's your own journey. So there's no right way to go about it. You might have somebody saying, Okay, this college is like the absolute worst, but somebody has that college as their dream college. So it's honestly just your own thing. And if you feel that, okay, this is something that I want to get into you to know that, okay, this is your responsibility, and you're also accountable for your choices. So, I think that's something that I, I was like very, very stressed about that, you know, how do I do this or what's right or what's the best option. In the end, it just boils down to what you want. And that's the best thing for you at that particular time.
Venkat Raman 31:05
So Saumya, this, this has been very, very nice and very eye opening for me. So thank you for sharing your thoughts. And first of all, good luck and all the best with your upcoming SAT and the whole process, and I'm sure you will land in a good place and he will do well. So obviously keep in touch. But let's say bye for right now. Take care and be safe.
Thank you so much.
Venkat Raman 31:35
Sure thing. Bye Bye.
Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Saumya Gupta and her parents.
Saumya is a very impressive 12th Grader. I liked her self-deprecating style. Don’t let that fool you. She is determined and driven, and I wish her all the best in all her endeavors.
I hope this podcast gave you a picture & insight into this 12th Grader.
For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [firstname.lastname@example.org].
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].
Till we meet again, take care and be safe.
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