Adi Raikar’s journey to graduation
College of Liberal Arts, 2018
Born and raised in Minnesota
My parents are both originally from India. They moved to the United States to pursue their careers before my siblings and I were born. Many of my parents' experiences from their own childhoods in India shaped how my two brothers and I were raised. I was the middle of three children born in Minneapolis and grew up in Blaine, Minnesota.
Growing up in a family of physicians
Here I am playing with a toy stethoscope. My mother was already a practicing physician when I was born, and there are many doctors on my father’s side. As a child, I had no desire to become a physician. I wanted to stand out in a different way.
Learning that I can have an impact
Growing up, I attended Hindi language, social studies, and dance classes at the School for Indian Language and Culture (SILC). My experience dancing with SILC not only connected me with my culture, but also led to my first experience making a significant positive impact on other people’s lives.
In high school, two of my friends from SILC and I organized an event to support a non-profit school in India called Gurukulam. We combined our philanthropic efforts with our affinity for dance to create a multicultural dance show. The joy and fulfillment I felt at the conclusion of our efforts was worth every second spent in planning. I was thousands of miles away from this school, and yet I made an impact in the lives of many children. After this, I became determined to make a positive impact in any way I could.
My mother is my inspiration
As my mother supports and cares for me, I have also observed her in her role as a doctor over the years. I have noticed how hard she works and the breadth of her love. She cares for people she barely knows and loves her job no matter how demanding and strenuous it may become. Watching her, I decided in high school that I wanted to be a doctor, too, so that I could change people’s lives for the better.
Finding my home in the College of Liberal Arts
When I graduated from high school, I had three college options: the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and my top choice, University of California, Berkeley. However, UC Berkeley was prohibitively expensive, and my college decision came down to the generous scholarships that the U of M offered, and a tour of the campus. Once I visited the U’s campus, I fell in love with it and could picture myself there.
I also found a home in the College of Liberal Arts (CLA). I am a pre-med major in anthropology with a minor in neuroscience. CLA was a good match for me because of the diversity of classes and majors it offers. My anthropology major is training me to explore cultures and societies radically different from my own. I have been able to take that new understanding and apply it to how I work with people in the real world.
A scholarship made travel to Ireland possible
My freshman year, I received a Freshman Seminar Abroad Scholarship to travel to Dublin, Ireland, for a ten-day course called Innovation & Imagination. The course focused on Dublin’s emergence as Europe’s technology hub, and we visited employers like Google and Airbnb to see how they foster creative thinking.
The trip was an opportunity to meet new people, too. I didn’t know any of my classmates, and traveling to a new country together (and without my parents) was a great bonding experience.
Channelling my “jazba”
“Jazba” is a Hindi-Urdu word meaning “passion.” It's also the name of a student group on campus that hosts a Bollywood-fusion dance competition every year. The event raises funds to support a non-profit in India that works to rehabilitate impoverished women who have been subject to sexual abuse. This past year, I served as the hospitality chair and worked with my fellow officers to make the year’s competition unforgettable. Together, we raised $10,000 for our non-profit cause. To me, Jazba is not just a dance competition; it is a cause I am passionate about, because I believe I can make an impact in the world.
September 2016 marks the beginning of my third year at the U, and I will graduate a year early this spring. My experiences and achievements so far have set the stage for what I want to accomplish. Jazba has shown me one way to coalesce my desires: to use my current knowledge of other cultures and my future knowledge of medicine to create ways to alter and improve healthcare in societies that do not have the resources to do so. As I grow, this end goal may change and will surely become more defined. Regardless, my jazba is powerful and will drive me toward change.
More student journeys
Enrolling in the College of Biological Sciences with plans to pursue medicine, Christine Bangar realized that her true vocation would be a career in teaching.
Gifted, friendly, and curious, Domingo Ramirez achieved academic excellence while building his resume and serving his peers.
From her leadership in marching band to the exciting challenges of an apparel design major, Ellie Bischoff took advantage of many opportunities at the University of Minnesota.