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The Importance of Mentorship

Tara Patwardhan sheher

By Tara Patwardhan sheher11 May 2021

How can we #learn from others’ #mistakes? Where can we go for #advice when we don’t know what the best #path is for us to take? Who can we talk to when it feels like to world is against us? Enter mentors. #Mentors know what’s up, because they’ve been through it before. They have been through the trials and tribulations of #college #applications, job searches, and building a name for yourself in whatever field you want to get into. Think about a time when you had to lean on someone for advice. Whether that person is a parent, friend, #professor, teacher, coach, or anyone else, we know that two heads (or 3, or 4!) are (almost) always better than 1. I was thinking about how our world has changed so exponentially within the past 200 years. The reason society as a whole has been able to progress such leaps and bounds is because of shared #knowledge and shared learning. It’s because we know, for the most part, not to repeat the mistakes of the past (take the dust bowl and advances in agriculture afterwards). History is taught in order for us to learn what worked and what didn’t, and how we got to where we are today. The same principle can be applied to mentorship. A mentor-mentee relationship exists to benefit both parties, but the reason it benefits the mentee is clear: mentors provide knowledge, help them improve, and are there to help the mentee broaden their #professional #network. They are also there to provide much-needed encouragement, lessons from their experience, and a shoulder to lean on when the world feels like it’s going up in flames.

"Nature is Healing"

Tara Patwardhan sheher

By Tara Patwardhan sheher22 Apr 2021

Happy #EarthDay! Earth Day 2021 brings us an interesting perspective when it comes to eco-consciousness, as we were able to collectively see firsthand how our #planet was able to heal every so slightly during the months of (somewhat) strict lockdown in March, April, and May 2020. Though quickly made into a joke across social media platforms, the phrase “nature is healing” being thrown around last year gave us a glimpse into what our future could look like if we take action NOW. Firstly, air quality across the world greatly improved due to the enforcement of #lockdown measures in China, we saw an almost 50% decrease in levels of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. #Global increases in carbon emissions from the past ~150 years, starting with the #IndustrialRevolution, is directly linked to global warming and rising sea levels, events which greatly impact the habitability of #Earth for future generations to come. The current generation in positions of power across the world do not take the matter of #globalwarming seriously enough. It is up to future #generations to make a difference in terms of greener policy decisions, #advocacy, and #education in order to secure a livelihood for the future of this planet. Of course, on the flipside, we have seen a greater increase in trash #pollution from the coronavirus #pandemic. PPE such as “disposable” masks, gloves, and face shields added even more trash to the world’s estimated 269,000 tons of trash floating in the ocean. That doesn’t even include the amount of trash in landfills, which is an estimated 40.32 million tons of trash in California ALONE. All of this is to say that we can do better. We can advocate for change from our policy makers, work towards building a greener future with #clean, #renewable #energy sources, and in the meantime, we can all take strides towards living a more #eco-conscious lifestyle.

Lessons I’ve learned as a College Graduate

Tara Patwardhan sheher

By Tara Patwardhan sheher9 Apr 2021

As someone who has been through the trials and tribulations of an undergraduate education, I’ve picked up a few important tips and tricks along the way. My experience as a #student for four years at a large public #university has taught me more than in my 18 years of elementary through high school. So without further ado, here are the most important lessons I’ve learned as a #college #graduate: 1. Get involved! I spent about 2 years of my #undergrad being “too busy” to get involved in clubs and organizations on campus. It wasn’t until my 3rd year that I finally took the step towards getting involved in my school’s Greek community and in #research labs on campus. Being involved on campus will allow you to meet like-minded individuals who share the same values as you, and might even introduce you to your friends for life. The reality is, everybody has enough time with the right time management skills. This brings me to my next point: 2. Manage your time effectively. Google Calendar was my best friend throughout college. Balancing a job and a full load of #classes wasn’t the easiest task. Time blocking out my schedule to study, go to work, go to my organization’s events, and have a social life became my holy grail. I was on the quarter system, so classes moved fast, and if you were behind by even a few days, you were forced to play a game of intense catch-up. Not fun. 3. Going off of my last point, study your notes for class immediately after/ within 24 hours of lecture. By spacing out your studying this way, it makes material much easier to retain and understand when midterms/finals roll around, and trust me, they come much faster than you’d expect. Take a half hour to organize your notes and review them, and you’ll be thanking yourself when it comes to #exam time. 4. Write your notes on pen and paper. According to a 2014 Princeton/UCLA study, students who write notes with pen and paper reframe the concepts in their own words, which benefits retention of course material. This helped me out immensely, as I was able to summarize information quickly. 5. Don’t participate in the “Who got the least amount of sleep” olympics. It’s not worth it, I promise. For a long time, it was a point of competition between my peers and the conversation usually went something like this: “I’m so tired, I only got 4 hours of sleep last night” “Oh, yeah? You think you’re tired? I only got 2 hours of sleep!” “You think YOU’RE tired? I pulled an all-nighter!” Yeah, not the nicest conversation. Sleep is so important, even more crucial than you might think. According to the NIH, ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and obesity. You will have to make many sacrifices in your time in college, but try not to make sleep one of them. Trust me. Coming from someone who would brag about getting 3-4 hours of sleep, it’s not cute, and does more harm than good to yourself and those around you. 6. #Relax. You will figure it out. If you’re feeling even a little bit anxious about your future, you’re in a good place (I know what you’re thinking, is she crazy? Anxiety is good? A little bit of anxiety and stress gets the job done, just seek help when it gets overwhelming). You don’t have to apply to #internships in your first semester at school. Take time to get yourself acquainted, and later on down the road, apply to internships and jobs that will help with your #career. There are a lot more lessons that I’ve learned throughout my time in college, but these are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you embark on this new #journey.

College Applications with COVID-19


By Vennela22 Mar 2021

As the #pandemic continues to impose restrictions on our daily lives, it also introduces a new collection of obstacles for #collegeapplicants. Shifts in recent semester grading means that many of the traditional components of an application are absent, and colleges are now modifying their standards. For instance, many schools around the nation no longer require standardized test scores, such as the #SAT and #ACT. Academic strengths are becoming increasingly difficult to convey since semester grades have converted to pass/fail. #Extracurriculars and other resources that may enhance a student's application are also on hold, leaving applicants with far less content to attach. As a result, #universities are encouraging #applicants to include whatever they see fit in their applications. This freedom enables individuals to express themselves in other fields, such as through interests or actions taken during the lockdown. It's fair to assume that admissions officers are more willing to engage with your character than your scores. How you spend your time during lockdown may be one way your character is evaluated. Colleges seek students who take initiative, follow through with their ideas, and use their time effectively. Since lockdown is still in effect in many areas, it would be wise to get a head start on the above if you haven't already. Ultimately, though the #college #admissionprocess is transforming due to the impact of the #coronavirus, it may offer new potential, especially for those with less-than-perfect academic performance.

Demonstrated Interest


By Vennela22 Feb 2021

#Demonstratedinterest is what shows a #college how eager you are to attend their school. It’s what lets the school know whether they are your first, last, or any other choice. Expressing demonstrated interest can take minimal to zero cost, though has extremely high benefits. 16% of colleges consider demonstrated interest as having “considerable importance” in the #admissionsprocess, and another 24% of institutions rate it as “moderate importance.” When adding these two together, the percentage of schools who value attention from applications is 40%, higher than your admission based on the #collegeinterview (22%) or class rank (38%). The act of expressing demonstrated interest can be practiced well before applying for admission. In fact, showing devotion to a particular school for a longer period of time may have more rewards. Being active with your choice of school’s social media, staff, and campus may greatly increase your chances of admission. Demonstrated interest can be shown to colleges by completing an online request form, personally contacting your #admissionsofficer, and/or attending a formal admissions event (post pandemic). A unique way to show demonstrated interest to a college is by taking part in #researchprograms offered in your interested field. #SkoolMentor is an organization which can connect #highschool and #undergrad students to researchers in the fields of #cancer research, #businessanalytics, and more. The "#WhyThisCollege" essay is extremely valuable, and is an opportunity to write a love letter to your desired college. You can't forget the ultimate key to demonstrating interest—applying #earlydecision.

The Relevance of Dr. King Jr.


By 2233aes18 Jan 2021

Martin Luther King Jr., an equal rights activist, was a prominent #figure in the #American Civil Rights Movement in the fight for #equality. He delivered his most well known speech, “I have a Dream'', just five years before he was assassinated. The third Monday of January was later deemed Martin Luther King Junior Day in remembrance of #Dr.King. Although Dr. King has been gone for 52 years, he still holds great relevance for #skoolmentor students today. He showed #highschool and #college students that they should fight for what they believe in and that they deserve to be considered equal no matter what. Dr. King was a black male in 1960’s segregated America, but even though he had so many factors fighting against his #success and his ability to create change, people are still remembering him and his accomplishments six decades later. This shows students today that they can #achieve success, and that these factors fighting against their ability to succeed are just obstacles in the road, not stop signs.



By 2233aes29 Nov 2020

The word #gratitude is a hard word to say this year. 2020 has not been a great year for many, but it’s important to #reflect on the year’s victories, however small. This is especially true during the season of gratitude. For me personally, this year has been filled with many hardships, and I often let them outweigh the victories. My dad had lost his job due to the pandemic, there was a possibility my family was moving states away, I could not see anyone outside of the four walls of my home, and I had to put my passion for volleyball on the backburner. However, the best thing to happen to me this year came near the end of the year, when I was just hoping for a brighter 2021. This #opportunity was getting an internship with SkoolMentor. I worked in doing their social media remotely. The #internship with SkoolMentor might have been temporary, but it led me to a career I could see myself doing for a long time. I ended up reaching out to a local, at-home bakery that staffed with only the owner. She had just announced the bakery’s opening days before, and I asked if they needed a social media manager. The bakery soon blew up and it is crazy to think that I was there from the beginning. I can now say that I am half of an extremely successful business because of the opportunity #SkoolMentor presented me. This experience has reminded me to count my #blessings and know that through hardship, there is always something wonderful ahead.

Figuring Out Your Future


By 2233aes15 Oct 2020

#College. It’s a hefty word, full of so much meaning it could almost be its own sentence - almost. For most, the process is paralyzing to the mind, created from too much stress and too many mental breakdowns. It’s a process that dictates their students’ life choices for four plus years before it has even begun. Now what happens when you're that person, you know, the person who had those four plus years to prepare themselves for college and figure out what they wanted in life, and just, didn’t. As a #highschooler myself, I’ve seen many in this predicament. In my opinion, here are some helpful things to do if you have no idea what you want for your future. To apply to college you need to have your #major picked. Don’t worry about picking the right one - the average college student changes their major three times. A safe bet is to choose to major in business. #Business is an extremely broad field, with a wide spectrum of jobs to choose from. This major also allows countless different types of business classes to choose from. Most of your actual business courses will be taken during your junior and senior year. This gives you more time to figure out what you really want to do and get your general education classes out of the way. Another positive to choosing a business major if you have no goals for the future is that it has a lesser course load than other majors. The lower amount of course work a business major provides allows you time to find an #internship or a part-time job. This will help you gain experience and also help you find out what you like to do. Don’t worry if you hate the first internship or job you take on, find a different one and see what works for you. Overall, when you have no idea what you want in life, but you're constantly being pushed to figure it out fast, don’t panic. Follow these tips to help figure out what you want to do.

Creating that "spike"

Maya Abiram

By Maya Abiram4 Jul 2020

When I was a child, I did every extracurricular humanely possible. And yes, I mean that. I was a student, athlete, and servant in swimming, tae kwon do, track, tennis, math competitions, singing, piano and Girl Scouts. I was very privileged, of course, in that my parents never pushed me extremely hard and were willing to drive me to classes provided they weren't too expensive. And I still had loads of free time, playing and obsessing over Barbies, legos, pumpkin patches, Disneyland, and having sleepovers with my friends. Life was great. I didn't have much homework, and I could still dabble in hobbies I was somewhat interested in, right? However, I was never particularly good at one thing. I soon disliked swimming once I was forced to attend regular competitive meets. Tae kwon do was something everyone in the Bay Area attended, and I never got my black belt. I was decent at tennis, but I hated the pressure of tournaments, where my legs would turn into jelly, wobbling while I sprinted to the next shot. Track was fine, but it was just because I wanted to make friends with the relay team. Singing, Girl Scouts, and piano were great, but I never had the discipline to carry through. I was only half decent at math competitions because being "intrinsically good" at critical problem solving. I didn't know what that meant, but even if I did, it still wouldn't be true. Then middle school rolled around. I couldn't handle the load, and I was faced with a reality. If I was loaded in 6th grade ... what was I going to do in the future? I sat down with my mom and wanted to focus on a few things and do them particularly well. Finally we settled on tennis, Girl Scouts/service, and math competitions. Partly because I could do them well, partly because I was more interested in them. I thought being well rounded was how "accomplished people got into college". You needed to do 3 varsity sports, play in marching band, and be class president for a shot at a top college. Of course, that was a distant vision back then, but documenting my evolution of perspectives is quite interesting. High school came around, and people were telling me something different: "being well rounded doesn't get you into college. You need a spike". I didn't have any spike, and I wasn't well rounded. This was a blur of confusion, and I felt like colleges wanted someone of a perfect mold, a robot made from a factory that needs just the right parts, and I didn't know what those right parts were. I was torn between what I wanted from myself, what my parents wanted, and what college wanted from me. Struggling through difficult classes and extracurriculars, I decided to throw it out the window. Okay, Maya. What do you want to do? What is YOUR goal, not anyone else's? Deeply reflecting, I grew comfortable. Math was really interesting without the competitive aspect, so I did research, projects, and other related extracurriculars where I could just be free to ponder about complex problems with a group of people. Tennis was really fun, so I played on my school's team, but that was it. No competitions that turned my legs to jelly. I was open minded, and on that first Club Info Day, I changed my career trajectory: I joined Model UN. And that was the best decision of high school hands down. Through math, I gained the knowledge to address issues objectively through calculations and hard data. Through Model UN, I learned about politics and the problems our society faces. I rekindled with Girl Scouts, and realized what I really wanted to do, and how I could make my mark on the world: Using math to help solve problems affecting the most marginalized groups, whether it be through economics or policy analysis. I never found my true spike these past 18 years. I was not the perfect well rounded student. However, I knew what I loved doing, and how I could use that to make a mark on the world. I stayed honest to myself. And honestly, that is what a college wants to see. With a more competitive class applying each year, colleges don't want that genius intellect math olympiad winner who cannot communicate to collaborate or effect change, although being great at a specific subject COULD help. They don't want 1600 SAT typical students who are only doing things for the sake of college, where they won't try to make an impact or drive themselves. You don't need fancy classes, or perfect scores. Throughout high school, I didn't pay for a single extracurricular or standardized testing prep class, and I didn't receive perfect scores. The college app process is DEHUMANIZING and FLAWED, trust me. But there's also a tiny bit of merit to it, and only now do I somewhat understand.

ONF Summer Internship


By Malini.nair22 Feb 2020

This December SkoolMentor gave me the incredible opportunity to apply to a summer software engineering internship at the Open Networking Foundation, a notable network infrastructure non-profit located in the bay area. ONF is the umbrella company of a series of smaller network-related projects. They collaborate with companies like Comcast, T-mobile, and AT&T to bring us new networking technologies to improve everyday life. The ONF internship seemed like the ideal place for me to expand my computer science knowledge and work in a real-world scenario. I jumped to send in my resume, and two weeks later I received a call back from SkoolMentor letting me know I had passed the first interview stage. I was contacted by ONF for an online interview as well as a face to face meet up. During the online interview, I was asked about my previous projects and taught a little more about ONf and the internship. During the meetup, the ONF team was very welcome and appreciative of my unique abilities. Despite my predominately electrical engineering experience, ONF seemed excited to use my capabilities and mentor me in their company. I got an email around a week later welcoming me into the team. I was elated to hear that I was accepted and that I would be able to work with a team of passionate individuals who are on the frontlines of new technologies in the networking sector.
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