Giving Back, Moving Forward
By Angela Zhang
Growing up in “America’s Finest City,” San Diego, Sanjana Sambhwani always had an agreement between her and her parents about her academic life. Before high school, Sanjana had been part of the Science Olympiad program for 5 years, competing with numerous other schools in the San Diego County. However, despite the stress workload that comes along with it, Sanjana thought that this was an experience she would always be proud of. Knowing that to still continue the competitions after she entered high school would be too much to manage, Sanjana did not give up; in fact, she decided to become a coach, and teach younger students and freshmen the knowledge she acquired. “It’s a lot of fun to give back, interact with them, and like give them what I’ve learned”, she said. However, this was just a start to Sanjana’s journey of giving back to her community. Nonetheless, being a part of Science Olympiad not only gave her the chance to experience contributing to the society, but also laid down a solid foundation for her service activities in the future.
Going into Canyon Crest Academy, Sanjana’s parents did not pressure her about grades or academics: “They did not push me every day, I always knew what to do for my part”. To get more involved in school, Sanjana decided to join the Associate Student Body (ASB), a program on campus where student leaders plan fun activities and organize helpful community service programs for everyone. “I thought it was a great way to get involved, because I wasn’t in any clubs, I wasn’t doing much on campus… and I thought I could do more,” Sanjana explained. Correspondingly, she had always wanted to be part of the community service committee, teaming up and working with fellow students, providing students chances to be a part of the campus they are in, and creating many memorable experiences. Getting accepted, Sanjana organized the blood drive, canned food drive, Red Ribbon Week, and events in which “it’s not just helping out the campus… but the society as well,” she stated. Furthermore, when asked about what motivates her to work hard and study, Sanjana said “I just think about like how everyone else around the school would see it as an opportunity…and I am the only one seeing it as an obstacle.” To Sanjana, she cherished all of the opportunities she has had in her life. In fact, the reason why she looks up to her mother as a role model is because “She’s given us so much and dedicated so much of her life to us, that I think I really owe her for that.” Thus, this was also why Sanjana feels grateful about what she has, and what others do not, and how she would be wasting her valuable chances if she did not do the best she could.
Since the age of three, Indian Dance had always been one of Sanjana’s biggest passions. Although the classical styles of the dance are graceful and delicate, her heart enjoyed the rhythmic Bollywood dance styles. The start of her high school career marked a period on her competitive dance journey on the team; however, Sanjana seeks an alternative to join a student run program called SACS, which hosts charity dances at every end of the year. “I’m dancing for a charity now, which is like one of the best things I can be doing.” From the bottom of her heart, Sanjana felt grateful to have the opportunity to help out others in need. “I have the joy of dancing and I’m giving back to the society…It just works out perfectly,” she exclaimed. Moving forward, Sanjana also wants to incorporate dance into her future career choices.
Life is not always a smooth road leading to a destination. In Sanjana’s life, she also had to face challenges and obstacles; she tried to overcome them by putting in as much effort as she can. Starting tennis, “I didn’t like it…I was basically forced to go to lessons,” Sanjana said. She did not have the strong coach that other kids had when trying out for the school tennis team, which put her in a dilemma. “I was really behind, I was stressed I wouldn’t make it. I was freaking out!” But with practice comes perfect, and the efforts Sanjana put in to prepare for the team got its results, showing friends, family, and herself that she was capable of overcoming a challenge, and bringing its lessons with her as she moves forward on her tennis journey.
As the future is filled with many more ups and downs and possibilities, “right now, I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do,” Sanjana answered, smiling. She wanted to do something in business but mixed with certain aspects of STEM. Additionally, giving back is still a big part of her life, Sanjana wanted to combine her passion for dance and love for contributing: “I might teach dance lessons, or whole classes, you know, for younger girls to dance.” For now, these are just a tiny glimpse of possible answers to Sanjana’s future. Her passions, her personality, and her heart of giving, truly opens up a realm of countless prospects for Sanjana in the time to come.