First-Year Leaders

Sachin Shah
Senior from Plano, Texas
Major: Biology

Why did you decide to attend UT Dallas?
I was very attracted to the ample research opportunities on campus. I wanted to go to a school at which I would have the opportunity to get to know professors really well. The CV program here offered classes that intrigued me, and I really liked the 20-person limit in classes. The scholarship was also a big reason.

What do you like about UT Dallas?

My favorite things about UT Dallas are the things that brought me here in the first place – research opportunities, accessible professors, and scholarship. I also really like being a part of an expanding and changing institution. I feel that my input is being heard here and that I can actually make a difference. I have also been able to get to know a good number of professors and staff fairly well, which would be far more difficult at a bigger and more established institution.

List some clubs and organizations you are or have been involved in at UT Dallas.

First Year Leaders, Student Ambassadors, Student Government, Destination Imagination, Model United Nations, Mock Trial, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Society, Chemistry Student Association, Hindi Club, Hindu Students Association, Comet Conservatory, Habitat for Humanity, Group X at the Activity Center

What has been your favorite/best experience at UT Dallas so far?

By favorite experience at UT Dallas so far has been preparing for Dancing 4 a Cause my freshman year. A lot of friends and I joined the salsa club and prepared a dance for the event, and it was a great time to learn new skills, get to know more people, and have a lot of fun. It was an amazing time.

What did you learn about college life that you didn’t know before?

I did not realize that what you do with your college matters a lot more than where you go. I always expected that kids at MIT or Harvard would have the best professors and clubs and opportunities, but that isn’t necessarily true. With enough determination and the right guidance, any college can propel you towards a great amount of success, and the institution names matters far less than what you actually do at the institution.

What do you like to do to unwind after class?

I like to hang out with friends or watch some TV. Occasionally I’ll pull out my keyboard or ukulele and play a little bit. I also spend a lot of my free time cooking, working out, or taking walks.

Why did you decide to become a First Year Leader (FYL)?

I decided to become a FYL because I made mistakes during my freshman year that I didn’t want others to make. I often felt myself finding things out too late, and I want to prevent that from happening to other students as best as I can. I also had a FYL that was extremely helpful for me to talk to, and I still keep in touch with her. I want to provide other students with resources and input that will make their decisions and experiences better.

Is there anything you wish you did during your freshman year that you didn’t?

I wish I got more involved in organizations my freshman year earlier on. Because I increased my involvement at a late time my freshman year, it was harder for me to get into leadership roles, and I ended up missing out on some activities at the beginning of the fall that would have been exciting. I also found my first semester here to be far too easy and with too much free time, so I think being more involved would have made that semester more balanced.

What advice do you have for the incoming freshman class?

Start thinking about things and getting involved with things as early as possible. Whether that be assignments, planning for schedules, getting professors to know you, joining organizations, or applying to programs. I ended up missing out on opportunities by being late. If you take care of things at your earliest opportunity, you are far more likely to be successful in your endeavors.


Updated: August 15, 2012