Shantanu Chhabra

Carnegie Mellon University

Shantanu Chhabra says: They say, the best of teachers are not those who just impart instruction but those who impart instruction while having fun. Turns out they are right. Because it is only with such teachers that studying becomes fun and not something intimidating. The student goes back home with a plethora of knowledge, experience and most importantly, the willingness to come back the next day. While my acquaintance with Mrs. Patnaik goes back to 2008 when we shared the same bus route from school, it was not before 2013 that I could witness her colourful style of teaching. And that is much more than enough for me to be convinced that she is a uniquely excellent teacher. She doesn’t only teach, she makes it fun.
The applications process for applying to colleges in the United States is very different from that in India in that their evaluation is very subjective. With very little time on my hands, and not an excellent SAT score, Mrs. Patnaik, foremost of all, made me realize the potential in me. She cultivated a faith with which I could apply, because above all, you need to trust yourself when you’re applying to college. She made that journey insightful, and fun!
Contrary to popular opinion, she helped me understand what the English language was. I realized the zone of darkness students, including myself, were in. The most striking part of her methods was that she stressed on me to understand the fundamentals.
College application essays require a unique perspective. While I honestly feel that the unique perspective is hidden inside every human being, I cannot deny that Mrs. Patnaik’s guidance helped me get a deeper understanding of life. Reading books and watching interesting lectures and videos was an experience of a lifetime!

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