My name is Nandini Tivakaran. “Nandini” means “one who gives happiness to all”, and through my high school career, I have attempted to do just that. Whether it be through playing the violin, coaching novices on the debate team, or blogging with my nerd friends on my Instagram fan page (under the screen name “Nat”), I try to spread my knowledge to others.

As an American of Indian origin, I feel privileged to have the opportunities I have in the United States that I would not have, had my parents stayed in India. High school has been a wonderful time to explore peculiar and individual schools of thought. I have been fascinated by the possibilities and choices that I have in life and have made it a goal to never give up opportunities to change my community and the world for the better.

I have been playing the violin for twelve years, a choice that I did not even understand at age four. It was not a conscious choice of mine, but I am so thankful my parents signed me up for lessons because it has been a wonderful creative outlet.

Although I have been playing the violin since age four and have been enjoying it tremendously, my AP Government and Politics class in my sophomore year elicited my strong interest in politics. As I immersed myself into the world of politics and economics, I began to want to live a life in the realm of politics. In college, I hope to study international relations or economics, and I hope to have a career involving both of those interests. After this semester of my junior year, I will have studied Spanish for five consecutive years. I never planned to take so many Spanish classes, but I was always drawn to the idea of becoming fluent in another language. Taking so many language classes has caused me to enjoy understanding new sentence structures and words. A career that involves both of those subject areas is a Foreign Service Officer, diplomat, for the Department of State. As a diplomat, there is a career path involving economics. This career involves frequent travelling, and though that would be a challenge, it might be a satisfying career. Also, though I enjoy learning about political science, I would like a career involving that without being bound to elections.

The success in AP Government and Politics was more than an “A”; it was a feeling of passion for a subject in which I had never before been so interested. The passion was not necessarily for bureaucracies or courts in my textbooks. The passion was for learning, and this realization has caused me to pursue a career in the field of political science or international relations.

The passion for consuming knowledge has given me a purpose for the difficult classes I take. I no longer simply take them to impress college admissions officers with my resume. I take on the challenge for my personal success, not success of competition. The tears from the stress of classes were all forgotten when I felt tears in my eyes the last day of school, le
aving the familiar and old-fashioned classroom. I cannot compare any experience with that feeling of satisfaction. No hike, no medal, no certificate had ever made me feel so proud. The award was not one I needed show others. It was not one I needed present on my resume. It was truly mine.