By Richard Zagrzecki
Before she was even old enough to attend school, Kshipra Sawant had seen more of the world than many people do in a lifetime.
Sawant, a sophomore psychology major at the University of Houston, is the daughter of a software engineer father whose career took him and his family wherever an opportunity arose. Those stops included India – where she was born – as well as Singapore and Germany.
By the time she was 5 years old, they had arrived in the United States – but the traveling had just started. They lived in more than a dozen U.S. states before her father found a job in Houston and they settled in Pearland and then eventually Alvin, which they now call home.
“My parents and I adore traveling. Traveling is our thing. But by the time I was going to be going to high school, I told them we needed to settle down so I could concentrate on my studies,” she said.
Now in her second year at UH, Sawant’s smiling face is what many campus visitors seek out when they need help finding where they need to go. That’s because on the weekends, she runs the information booth along Entrance 1 between the Student Center and Welcome Center. She works there eight hours every Saturday and Sunday. On Friday afternoons, she also works behind the parking information desk inside the Welcome Center.
She has held the part-time customer service representative job for nearly a year and enjoys helping others. Saturdays can be a busy time at the information booth, as a lot of events take place on the weekends on campus, and many of those people have never been to UH before and are unfamiliar with the landscape.
“I help a lot of people who stop at the booth because they don’t know where they need to go or where they can park,” she said.
Helping people comes easy for her, so it only seems natural that she is eyeing a career path as a consultant, perhaps in the psychological or business fields. But she also likes to write, and so that may be an option if the opportunity arises. She started writing stories when she was around 12 years old and has a number of unfinished books filed away that she hopes to one day have published.
Because she has lived in so many different places around the world, she has always had an interest in learning different languages. She is currently taking Japanese classes at UH and would like to pursue a minor in German.
In her spare time, Sawant, who identifies as pansexual, likes to write, cook and spend time with her three dogs: a German Shephard named Choti, a German Shephard-lab mix named Zoro, and a lab mix named Penny. She is also a fan of Japanese anime and manga.
She said the decision to attend UH was not a difficult one, especially after she took a campus tour during her senior year at Dawson High School in the Pearland Independent School District. It is a decision she has not looked back on.
“I feel like it is a really good fit for me personally,” she said. “I like all the different courses UH has to offer, and we also have really good professors. Plus, the campus is really beautiful.”