I am a Freshman, so what?


Photo of Rahul Mittal

In Fall 2017, I moved to the United States from India as a Freshman at Florida International University, Miami majoring in Computer Science. I had received a full-tuition merit scholarship with an invitation to the Honors College. I also received a Surface Laptop with the Tony Menendez Laptop Scholarship. I was elected President of the YES Plus student organization on campus, soon after I started school. Made it to the Dean’s List with a 4.0 GPA.

I started attending all the information sessions, workshops hackathons organized by companies and organizations. During the semester, ACM had an open officer position for which I won. I was so intrigued by looking at the plethora of opportunities out there, meeting recruiters, making connections and absorbing every bit of information. I even landed my first internship at SuperWorld AR creating AR objects and uploading it to their servers, via a mutual connection.

In January I landed a part-time job opportunity with Academic Success Initiative (ASI) to become a tutor, where I met Myrian Herlle, my mentor. I volunteered and learned quite a lot during the process. As days passed by, I was overwhelmed by the opportunities I had and all the things I could do.

During my freshman year, I engaged in a lot of activities, met amazing people, made important connections and learned a lot. I explored academics, work, leadership and community service. For my sophomore year, I have been offered one of the most competitive jobs on campus as a Resident Assistant. I will also be Peer Mentoring a class of first-year students while continuing to work as a tutor. I am excited and filled with deep gratitude for all the people I met during my first year and all the experiences which have gotten me these opportunities and made me the person I am today.

I see people whining about lack of opportunities and pitying being just a freshman or moving to a new city as excuses. I say, “Yes, I am just a freshman [from another country], so what?”

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Written by: Rahul Mittal