Monica Thapa ’17’s very first class at Dickinson was also her most transformative. Here, she discusses what she learned in that class and in life, both as a health-studies intern and as part of a multiethnic family. She also explains her last-minute swerve to Dickinson and her appreciation for all she's experienced so far.
Clubs and organizations:
D-tones (a cappella group), Pre-Health Society, Montgomery Service Leaders and Alpha Lambda Delta.
John Dickinson Scholarship and Richard H. Wanner Scholarship.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.
The Pursuit of Happyness.
On choosing Dickinson:
I actually committed to a university in my home state [before ultimately deciding on Dickinson]. I remember on May 1, the college admissions deadline, something just didn’t feel right about where I had decided to go to school. I had only toured Dickinson a few times, but I felt that it was a better fit for me—small class sizes, a commitment to study abroad and, most importantly, a sense that the professors truly cared about the students. A few hours before the final deadline, I withdrew my application to the other school and committed to Dickinson. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Favorite place on campus:
Either the Academic Quad or Morgan Field—they’re equally beautiful, regardless of the season.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
Anything from the Kove.
One of my favorite classes at Dickinson was probably the first one I ever took, my First-Year Seminar. We read about the domestic and global HIV/AIDS epidemic and had really invigorating and meaningful class discussions. Aside from the material, I felt that the structure of the class was extremely beneficial in my development as a student. All of us sat in a circle and shared our perspectives about what we were learning. That allowed me to become a better thinker and to articulate my ideas more fully and clearly.
I cannot say that I have a favorite professor, as they have all been instrumental in my development as a student at Dickinson. Whether it was a science professor who taught me specific lab techniques, a Spanish professor who pushed me to think and write in that language or a sociology professor who challenged me to become a more open-minded and introspective individual, they all continue to have an impact on my life.
My plans are constantly changing. At the moment, I would like to pursue some type of career in global health. I come from a multiethnic background—my father is from Nepal, and my mother grew up in the United States—and I’m interested in a career with an international focus.
Most important thing I’ve learned so far:
Though it might sound cliché, the most important thing I’ve learned so far at Dickinson is the value of education. Whenever I become overwhelmed with schoolwork or classes, I remind myself how fortunate I am to even attend college and have the support system that I have here. There are endless possibilities as to what I can study and which classes I can take. I also appreciate having the opportunity to study abroad and immerse myself in a whole other culture.
In a perfect world …
… everyone would see each other as equals.
Definitely my parents. My father is from Nepal, and my mom grew up in the United States, so I was exposed to different customs, traditions and lifestyles when I was little. This made me become more open-minded, tolerant and appreciative of those who have backgrounds that are different from my own.
About my internship:
I have an interest in working in health care after I graduate, and my health-studies internship [this past summer] gave me a lot of hands-on experience in interacting with patients, as I worked directly with the elderly in nursing homes and independent-living facilities. I was constantly interacting with clients who had just come out of surgery, or who were facing Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-stroke aphasia and many other conditions.
What I learned:
Though many of the interns felt that by the end of the summer we had made a difference in some of these clients’ lives, I actually felt that this internship made a difference in mine. Though it was tough at times, simply having a conversation with a client was meaningful.
Published June 15, 2015