As they prepare for their May 15 Commencement Ceremony, Franklin & Marshall seniors look back at their four years on campus—and what's next.
Name: Priyanka Patil
Major: Joint major in psychology and theater
What town do you call home? Pune, India
Activities at F&M:
I have been a part of the Harbaugh Club on campus for all four years at F&M. I was a member of the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) in my sophomore year. I have been a part of the Junto Society for the past two years, and this year, I am the treasurer of the Senior Class Cabinet.
Your senior year has been unlike any other in F&M’s history. What have you learned about yourself this year?
I learned that my heart and my intuition are the biggest compass I have. I toiled for a year trying to decide what to do after graduation—the uncertainty, the fear of making the wrong decision, the voice in my head that keeps comparing myself to others—all were so present for me. And a few days ago when I was reading the news with what’s happening in India, my heart and intuition immediately knew that I needed to be there. This past year, I have constantly felt out of touch with myself but this year has also taught me what matters most to me.
What has been your most memorable moment or time here at F&M?
This is a very small moment, but I remember in my first year when I was in Professor (Lee) Franklin’s Ancient Philosophy class, I walked out of class with a sense of expansion, inspiration and awe. We had talked about Aristotle and I just felt so humbled with gratitude to have had the opportunity to engage with a text and philosopher so old. I was so captured in thought that I started recording voice memos in response to what we had just learned. That moment stands as a testimony to me for what education and knowledge can feel like.
What did you enjoy most about your time at the College?
Office hours! I cherish all the hours I spent in my professors’ offices talking in depth about what we were learning in class, life, the state of the world and sometimes even crying my heart out.
Why did you choose to attend F&M?
A mentor of mine was once giving a speech at my high school. I was accompanying her on the way to the airport when she asked me about my college plans. I told her that I wanted to be at a place that was warm, supportive and rigorous. She immediately recommended Franklin & Marshall. She was close friends with Dr. (Dan) Porterfield, the president of the College at that time, and she urged me to consider it. I remember glancing through the website and feeling a sense of welcome. And that’s how it began.
What advice do you have for incoming first-years?
They don’t lie when they say that four years fly by. My advice to first-years would be to make use of the resources and opportunities—the grants, the summer travel awards, the study abroad programs—while you can. If you want to try something new, make it happen with the nest of knowledge plus finances around you! Don’t wait!
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plans have drastically changed over the last four days. As an international student, I had decided to stay in the United States on my Optional Practical Training visa for the next year, but given the current COVID-19 crisis in India, I have decided to go back and play my part in combating the crisis. I will be doing the Teach for India fellowship.
"A mentor of mine asked me about my college plans. I told her that I wanted to be at a place that was warm, supportive and rigorous. She immediately recommended Franklin & Marshall."