Hello guys, I’m Sofia Khatiwada, chapter leader at Baldwin Global Minds, and Community Engagement Fellow. I am here today to interview one of the other chapter leaders at Baldwin High School for our Senior Spotlight.
Introduction: I’m Karuna Baral, the head of the Baldwin Global Minds Chapter in Pittsburgh.
Sofia: As a senior, how did Global Minds contribute to your high school experience?
Karuna: This club was honestly a blessing for me. When I first came to Baldwin in my sophomore year, I was floundering and lost, a fish out of water without the familiarity of my old school and friends. And when I joined GM in junior year, it was like I was a little bit less lost. It was not only the way I could connect with my new school, but also with my peers, and it made me feel like I belonged after a whole year of feeling out of place.
Sofia: Feeling out of place is definitely a common feeling among high schoolers. How will you use the lessons learned at GM in your life after high school?
Karuna: The biggest lesson I learned was that if you try hard enough, you can always find something in common with someone. Beyond the practical uses of that, with things like networking in college, it’s a useful skill to have just for interpersonal relationships. I will be meeting a lot of new people all at once in a few months, and the fact that I learned how to find things in common amongst myself and others through Global Minds will help me connect with them.
Sofia: Do you have any advice for underclassmen about building relationships in high school in or out of Global Minds?
Karuna: The only thing I can say is that the best thing is to realize that everyone is in the same boat. Even if someone seems super popular and has a lot of friends, loneliness is something we all deal with at some point and that it’s natural to feel that. There are some people that are intentionally malicious, but those are few and far between. The majority of the people are open to new relationships and there will always be someone who shares your interests, no matter how obscure or out there. Try starting a club around your interest and see who shows up, if all else fails.
* applause from audience *
Karuna: Thank you, thank you. Thank you very much
Sofia: How has COVID-19 affected your senior year?
Karuna: It is the worst time to be a senior. Proms and graduations have been pushed back and maybe canceled, along with the senior projects that we are required to do in order to graduate just hanging over our heads. Everything is uncertain right now, exams, assignments, everything. I wish I could say I was not bitter, but that would be a blatant lie.
Sofia: Lying is wrong, so thank you. If you could go back and tell your freshman self anything, what would you say?
Karuna: I would tell the fetus that no, you’re not going to grow an inch more, and yes, you’re stuck like this. But more importantly, things are never as bad as they seem. Even when you think you’re not doing this, your brain goes to the worst or worse case scenarios, but things will never turn out like you expect them to. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, as it applies to things you have good expectations for as well. So far, your expectations of things to come have almost always been subverted, and this trend will likely continue. So instead of coming up with complex scenarios in your head during your 2-hour showers, take life as it comes and you’ll be alright. Adapt, improvise, overcome essentially. And also you’re super gay. Don’t even deny it.
Sofia: Thank you so much for sharing your story and wisdom. You are such an inspiration to me and I know there are many people going through similar problems regarding identity and you definitely impacted them. I definitely picked the right person to interview 🙂
Sofia: Ok final question, what are your plans after graduation?
Karuna: I’m planning to attend Pitt as of now, staying on campus for the first year at least. I’ll be on the pre-med track, pursuing both biology and chemistry degrees simultaneously in preparation for the MCATs. After that, the plan is hopefully Med school.
Sofia: We at Global Minds wish you the best of luck. Thank you for being a part of the global minds family and for letting me live out my dream of being Jimmy Fallon.