Thulasi Thiviyanathan, Chair (Biology)
One of the greatest things about Houston and UH is the sense of community that’s shared with everyone. At UH, everyone from the students to the faculty to the staff is proud to be part of the university and share in its accomplishments. We want others to succeed just as much as we want to succeed. In times of need, without question, we answer the call and help our neighbors. We are all part of a big, diverse family.
When I get swamped with school or life, I like to go to the rec. Going to a group yoga class with friends or running a few laps on the track gives my mind a break for a bit. Afterwards, I have a fresh mind, and I feel less overwhelmed and more motivated to complete my tasks.
My favorite college experience was going to my first UH football game. The stadium was filled, and the sound of cheers was deafening. The sea of red across the stadium made me proud to be a UH Coog. Of course, we won the game which made the experience even better!
Sahar Baig (Biochemistry)
I love how diverse this city and campus are, and how accepting everyone is of people with backgrounds that differ from their own.
In high school, I was extremely shy and never really talked, which made me miss out on a lot of experiences. I still struggle in some situations, but for the most part, in college I've found myself much more able to talk to new people.
Don't spread yourself too thin!
Ayushi Dalal (Biology)
While taking anatomy and physiology during my senior year of high school, I was enamored by the complexity of human organ systems working together to carry out various functions. Studying for class became an exciting adventure. Although I was geared toward attending college as a business major throughout my high school years, this experience allowed me to realize where my true passions lie. I started freshman year as a biology major in the College of NSM, and since then, have never looked back.
Talk to professors. They are there to help you. College is a place where professors are not people who give you challenging assignments for you to fail purposely. Instead, these assignments will help you grow. They will change the way you think and see situations. Speaking to professors about various topics actually helped the concepts stick in my head better. Looking back, I wish I had talked to more professors.
For me, art has played a major role in my upbringing. In high school and college, I began using art as an outlet to release stress. I practice various forms of art such as calligraphy, charcoal art and painting to de-stress.
Malena Fassnacht (Physics)
I’ve always been fascinated with the natural world and the way it works. I like knowing the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind every problem, and I’m usually not satisfied until I figure it out. I knew for a while that I wanted to pursue some type of natural science or medicine in college, but majoring in physics seemed to make the most sense given my curiosity about the universe. So far, my interests have grown to include topics in astro-, particle, biological, and quantum physics, along with applications in aeronautics and astronautics.
One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to go for a run at the Rec Center or around campus. I’ve found that it’s a great way for me to clear my mind and reset my focus, especially during a tough exam week or when I’ve hit a block in the middle of a writing process. Even if it just means going for a quick run on the treadmill a few days per week, keeping a regular running schedule is one thing that helps me manage stress best.
I’d tell myself to be more confident in my academic ability. Coming from a tiny town and a small graduating class, I had no idea what to expect from a university in a major city with 40,000+ students. In a few of my first-year classes, I was surrounded by classmates who I felt were much more knowledgeable and experienced than me, and I’d easily get discouraged anytime I struggled. Once I worked up the courage and confidence to begin asking more questions and looking for help, though, I discovered that I was much more capable than I thought. I wish I’d known earlier not to be afraid to ask for help and to remain confident in my ability to reach my goals.
Shelly Fu (Biochemistry & Liberal Studies)
Definitely making new friends and having new experiences! Being at UH and NSM has been amazing for reaching out to other people for studying late at night, de-stressing after a test, or generally going out to eat and hanging out. These past two years have been two years of amazing fun and rewarding work, and I'm looking forward to the next two years!
I would definitely tell my freshman self to let go and go with the flow! College is about new experiences and discovering yourself, so plans are nice guidelines but life can give great, unexpected surprises. There is so much to learn in the journey and tripping along the way spices up life. And it is always fun to look back, occasionally laugh and realize how much you've grown!
I honestly never thought how many spontaneous things I would do in college! I was always the one studying in my room in high school so coming to college was a great way for me to branch out. It's always a good day when I can get food truck food at 3 am with my friends or make a bus trip to downtown in the middle of finals week. These are sources of great memories, laughs, and inside jokes, so I don't think I'll stop any time soon!
Tiffany Lim (Honors Biomedical Sciences)
I love how diverse Houston and UH are! Coming from a smaller town, this big change was very much needed. I love learning more about others’ cultures, making new friends, and being part of such a multicultural community! It's been so great living here.
After a stressful test or a long day of studying, you can either find me getting dinner with my friends or lying on my couch watching Netflix in my pajamas! I take de-stressing very seriously and could probably win the gold medal in napping if it was a sport. Blasting music and running out the stress is always nice, and taking time to pick up the essential boba is a must.
Ten years from now, I'll be sharing a house with my two sisters as we raise a German shepherd puppy together. I'll be loving my life, and you can find me in the pediatric ward of M.D. Anderson visiting my patients. Whenever I can, I'll be traveling around the world taking A++ photos to add to my picture murals around my room.
Andre Martinez (Biochemistry)
What I love about Houston and UH is the size of the city and campus. You get the opportunity to meet interesting and diverse people every single day.
After finishing a long anticipated exam, the way I de-stress is by taking a stroll around our beautiful campus and take in all the lovely art that is scattered all around.
My favorite tradition at UH has to be Cougar Red Fridays. I love being a part of the wave of red that floods the campus at the end of a very long week.
Shailee Modi (Biology)
The University of Houston provides me the opportunity to grow and learn with people from all different walks of life. This celebration of cultures is a result of a very diverse student body, and we are encouraged to discuss and develop together during our time at this university. From a diverse student body to immense school pride, the University of Houston embodies the best of what this city has to offer.
I have been very impressed with my professors. They teach not only the curriculum but also life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The professors at the University of Houston have a vested interest in seeing the students succeed and are willing to help in any way they can.
I chose Biology as my major because of my interest in science and in medicine. Biology has helped me to realize just how connected we all are molecularly. The goal is to take this foundation in science and build on it in medical school.
Tashfia Nazmee (Biology)
I love UH for its diversity and how open minded the campus is. Everyone is so nice and polite it’s hard not to love going to school here!
I love reading especially when I feel overwhelmed or stressed. It helps me take my mind off of things for a little bit.
I chose biology because I honestly love the subject. I always found it super interesting and everything makes sense to me when it comes to biology. It’s my passion now.
Linh Nguyen (Biochemistry)
I love how diverse UH is with so many options in majors, job opportunities, and accessibility to basically everyone. I appreciate programs like UHin4 and Work-study that can help low-income students pursue their goals in life. UH was always my first option because it's close to home, and when I'm at UH, I find myself treating UH like a second home, too. I found many people that I can proudly call family. UH definitely prepared me well for pharmacy school and helped me become the person I wanted to be.
Mike Mahanay is NSM Facilities Manager, and he has made a huge impact on my life since the first day we met. He treated us like a big family at UH, where it is always a learning process. He is understanding, a great leader and the best boss I could ever ask for.
My dream is to become a pharmacist. In 10 years, I would want to see myself working as a pharmacist and making a great impact in the community. I love helping people, and it will make me super happy that I can do that through my job every day. I want to be able to cheer people up with my positivity and improve someone's life in many different ways.
Chintal Patel (Honors Biomedical Sciences)
I love UH for its diversity and curious minds. You can always see people rushing to class, lab, meetings, anywhere to learn. This campus offers so many organizations and opportunities, it’s a place to try new things and meet new people. Having the medical center so close by is great in terms of opportunity. As for the city itself, the sunsets here are unbeatable.
It’s important to take things one at a time, nothing productive is done while trying to do 20 things at once. It’s alright to have setbacks, but they shouldn’t hold you down. Remember, the answer to every hurdle is a deep breath and a bagel.
My favorite college experience has been doing research. The experience was engaging and the people doing research with me were just as great. Some of them were there because they wanted to learn about science, others who came for the experience just wear the lab coat and engage in curious conversation. It was nice to see how many viewpoints there were out there, and how different they were from each other.
Sneha Sowmyanarayanan (Biology)
I chose my major (biology) because I have always been fascinated by the life sciences. Ultimately, I want to graduate and get an M.D. degree so I can dedicate my life to medicine. Getting a degree in science and becoming a doctor is something I've wanted since I was a little girl.
Reading, watching movies and taking a nice long shower are my favorite ways to de-stress. College can be stressful because suddenly everyone expects so much from you. It is important to take some time off at least once or twice a week to do something you love so you can continue succeeding.
I would tell my freshman self that subjects like calculus and chemistry are much harder than they are in high school AP classes. Knowing what I do now, I would tell my freshman self to practice not procrastinating and to review the notes the same day I got them so it’s easier to memorize. Especially with math and science classes, the best way to get good grades is to do practice problems and understand the concepts.