First-Year Vishnu Autar, Eager To Develop Their Academic Passions

By Sojin Shin || Opinion and Editorials Editor

Meet Vishnu! They are soft-spoken, but their mannerisms and smile are enough to brighten up the entire room. Not only that—they have an impeccable taste when it comes to striped shirts. Originally from the bustling, urban city of East Orange, New Jersey, they come to Lancaster for a change of pace. Scholarly minded, with a particular interest in business and government programs, Vishnu comes to F&M bringing not only academic insight but a vivacious personality, too.

Q: Welcome to F&M! Can you introduce yourself and also tell us why you chose F&M?

A: F&M was a smaller school than all the other colleges I applied to. Even though I had schools that offered better financial aid deals, I chose F&M. The small class sizes and the environment particularly appealed to me. The community and acceptance to the LGBTQ community helped, too. The location was also a big factor.

Q: Really? Have you had a chance to tour Lancaster? How do you like it so far?

A: I haven’t really had a chance to explore it. But I loved the campus, particularly the very tall building in the center of the college (Old Main). I thought the campus was absolutely beautiful…I came here and thought, wow. I was struck by how it looked and wanted to go there.

Q: Speaking of which, would you say you are a rural person?

A: No, I have lived in a very urban environment, so I needed the shift. Good for studying. 

Q: I see. We do have nice trees. Apart from the campus, why else were you attracted to F&M? Was it the program? 

A: I was drawn to the business program, especially how diversified it was. It has so many subareas, like international politics or sustainability.

Q: We do provide wonderful intersections between different fields of study. Would you describe yourself as an academic person?

A: I am very academic when it comes to courses I like. I wouldn’t try as hard in courses that don’t pique my interest….Although, even then I would say I have a good work ethic. Again, I am mostly intrigued by the government, international studies, and the business program. I also decided to take my language placements for Arabic class–I want to take it as a minor. I have always been interested in Islam and Islamic culture, too, so I will be looking into Islamic studies, for sure.

Q: What are some of your weaknesses, academically? How do you hope to improve upon them?

A: Writing. I am good at research papers, but persuasive arguments…not really. I heard that F&M has strong academic support and a center for helping students with writing. I am sure I can find something.

Q: I see. You are a very academic person and, it seems, a political animal! Does any club intrigue you?

A: Diplomatic congress interests me, as well as the Model UN. I am also interested in having more elevated and intellectual conversations, so the philosophy club really appealed to me. Oh, I would also like to do the journalism club. (Welcome, Vishnu!)

Q: That’s really great. I think you will have a lot of fun in clubs at F&M. Are there any particular hobbies you would like people to know that you have? 

A: I read a lot. My favorite book is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. So much fun. I also run. I was in cross country for three years, but I would say I am more of an average runner.  

Q: What makes you an average runner?

A: (Laughs) I’m not in good shape due to the quarantine. Oh, and I am also non-binary.

Q: That’s cool, that makes me think, did your demographics play any part in choosing F&M?

A: Well, a little bit. The biggest appeal was still academics. But I do like the accepting atmosphere.

Q: Awesome. Lastly, are you a bit scared about going into this semester during a pandemic? 

A: It’s like dark waters; no one knows what’s happening. Moving in is very confusing, for one thing. I don’t know what’s going on. I live in a relatively small house with 6 people, so I need space to focus and study. That’s actually one of the reasons I decided to go for on-campus learning, so all of the chaos involved in getting that space can be very frustrating.

Q: I am so sorry to hear that. Hopefully, things will be better. 

A: My goal is getting the experience and working with other students…you know, to survive. Aside from that, I want to just try my best.

Q: I wish I had advice to give you, but I, well, don’t. But I really hope that you have a great semester. 

A: Thank you!

Here is some more about Vishnu: They have two siblings and are the middle child. Their favorite color is blue, and they are into minimalist aesthetics. They are also interested in electronics, particularly the newest and finest technology. Vishnu is a charming and eccentric addition to F&M. Both freshmen and upperclassmen should be excited to see them in person!

Junior Sojin Shin is the Opinion and Editorials Editor. Her email is sshin@fandm.edu.

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