Ekam Singh Gill, University of Rochester, Bachelors (Chemical Engineering and Religion)

Ekam-Singh-GillMy undergraduate years at the University of Rochester were filled with a plethora of life changing experiences. The open curriculum and extra-curricular activities helped me experience a vibrant academic, social, and culturally rich life on campus. Enrolling myself in the Rochester Bhangra group and the Beta Theta Pi fraternity for my freshman year ensured that I was among friends and had a strong peer network. I never thought I would join Greek life in college, but I ended up becoming a part of a close-knit peer group. It was a new, but nevertheless a wonderful experience. For the uninitiated, Greek life is a community of students divided into Fraternities(men) and Sororities(women), typically focused on developing leadership, philanthropy and community service and strong bonds among like-minded students.

In addition, I regularly took part in the Diwali/ Holi celebrations organized by the Indian clubs on campus.

The best part of studying in the U.S. as an undergraduate, which I had read of, but not fully realized even while applying to colleges was the sheer freedom available to shape my studies in my chosen direction. At Rochester, I graduated with dual degrees in chemical engineering and religion. This was possible because of the flexibility and opportunities offered by my university, and the help my professors gave me at every step. I was able to conduct research and work on independent projects under my professorsí supervision. Academics were not limited to the classroom, extending into labs and conversations with friends and professors who challenged my opinions at every step.

As a Chandigarh native, I found Rochester to be similarly populated but a much older city. The university offered shuttles connecting campus to supermarkets and malls. Having an affinity for green surroundings and nature, I often explored the Genesee River Trail. Weekends were spent off-campus exploring restaurants and walking along the river. The biggest challenge for me as a student abroad was getting out of my comfort zone. I was pre-decided as a biomedical engineering major, but that did not last long. I had been oblivious to religion as a possible major but ended up dabbling in it by a happy accident. Pursuing a double major was an intensive but enriching experience.

To anyone headed to the United States for any level of study, my only advice would be to keep an open mind, take it easy, and try a few courses unrelated to your presumed degree. I ended up very different from the person I was before my U.S. college experience. As cheesy as it sounds, college did in fact change me, and for the better.

This article was sourced by EducationUSA.
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