Student Highlight: Tushar Bhargava ’17

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Hi! I’m Kanita Wang from Taiwan and Thailand. I’m a sophomore, and a likely concentrator of Anthropology. My weekly posts will highlight individuals who belong to this diverse student body, and truly embody the spirit of Brown. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people, and I hope to share a bit of their awesomeness with you all.

Tushar has a not-so-secret superpower, called super-organization. When the rest of the student body are helplessly trapped in a whirlwind of work, look to the Eye of the mess, and you will find Tushar sitting there peacefully, leisurely reading a novel, perhaps even sipping at a cup of herbal tea. He will have already completed his studies for the day and arranged his activities for the following week: this is a guy who knows how to strategically live his college life, so that he can live his college life.

Class: 2017

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Concentration: Computer Science

Classes this semester: CS33: Introduction to Computer Systems; Designing, Developing and Evaluating User Interfaces, Multivariable Calculus; Teacher Assistant (TA) for CS15, auditing The Origins of the Detective Story

Why did you decide to become a TA? Well, my first CS experience was defined by my TAs. When I was a freshman taking CS 15, I loved how I could ask help from a team of older undergraduate Brown students who were very experienced with the program language. It was so much easier to talk to people of my age group, and I became really good friends with a lot of the TAs. This year, when I had the chance to become a TA, I jumped right for it: I was so excited about helping someone else learn Java and programming and all those great things, and making Pacman. Don’t forget Pacman.

Also, TAing is just so much fun. Besides helping with the course content, we do a lot of things to try to make CS 15 and the world of Java more human, more accessible to a broader audience: at the beginning of the course we had an epic opening day skit in which we acted out the theme of the year, Mean Girls. I was Glen Coco.

What has been your favorite class so far? As a CS concentrator, my perennial favorites are Pacman and Tetris and Doodlejump. But I also loved taking classes that I didn’t have much grounding in, such as this education class called The Craft of Teaching and VISA 100 (Intro to Visual Arts). I remember that once, when we had to make sculptures, everyone had created something clearly identifiable, while mine just looked like a cardboard collapsing onto itself. Even though I struggled a lot, I learned so much from these classes. For my final art exam, I made a pop-up book, and it was super fun: I spent about three hours in the RISD library researching how to make pop-ups, and more hours in the Rock studying cartoon characters.

What are other your extracurricular activities? I love to write. I’m a Senior Staffwriter for Blog Daily Herald, and I sometimes write for other literary journals on campus. I’m also interested in starting a new student club about digital literacy, designed for the average user who just wants to use their computers effectively: I would be teaching useful digital knowledge such as cloud computing and open computing, and skills such as backing up data and setting up recovery systems – all through the medium of narratives.

What do you write about? For the Blog Daily Herald, I usually write articles that are funny, but still carry value for the student body. I recently wrote an article for the freshman class, imparting a lot of unneeded advice, such as how to make time go by more slowly (Frosh-cessities: Experiments in Stopping The “Oh-How-Time-Flies” Syndrome); it sounds really metaphysical, but I’m really just suggesting ways in which we can pace ourselves and actually take note of what happens in the semester. Because time does fly at Brown.

Why did you choose Brown? 1. The undergraduate focus 2. The Open Curriculum 3. The really happy and awesome student body. It’s also awesome that there are all these cool professors who do crazy stuff and have really famous names in the field, who you can talk during office hours, and even know your name if you’re in a ten-person class. The opportunity to have more intimately sized class was really important to me, and Brown was one of the few schools that offered that.

Favorite study spot? At the Rock, if you sit in the big red armchairs in the Finn reading room, you can see some of downtown Providence: it’s gorgeous.

Fondest memory of Brown? My first birthday at Brown. At the start of freshman year in September, orientation week was just about to be over, and I was completely lost; you know that weird limbo state that every first year kid experiences, because you’ve seen a lot people and know a lot of names, but you don’t have any friends, and you’re really worried about whether it will all work out (which it does, obviously)? Well, when September 10th came around, I remember thinking, this is my birthday, and it’s going to be bad because no one will wish me happy birthday; it’ll just be me, sitting, scrolling through my Facebook profile, searching for birthday posts. On the day, I woke up, and my roommate was still sleeping so he hadn’t wished me happy birthday. So I went out to eat breakfast, did some work, and then decided to go back to my dorm to study; but when I got to my room, I saw that my door was covered in wallpaper saying “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” in such psychedelic colors that it didn’t even look like a door anymore. My two neighbors popped their heads out of their doors and asked, do you like this? I loved it. It was then that I knew that everything was going to be okay, especially if the people here were nice enough to deck my door (and my MPC allowed me to keep the decorations for two days even though all the paper might’ve been a fire hazard). That was one of the nicest birthday presents – it made me feel like I belonged.

Words of wisdom for prospective freshman? Actively plan for free time in your schedule: it’s easy to get caught up in running from class to class – studying for midterms – being involved in ten different clubs, so occasionally it’s just great to enjoy the free time you have, because you never know what cool things can happen if you leave some time to go to events or just meet people.

Is there a literary quote that particularly resonates with you? There is a line in “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, that regards high school but applies so much to college. The protagonist is super enthusiastic about shipping out to a boarding school, when and his parents ask him why he is so excited, and he replies, “I am going out to find the great perhaps.” This sense of possibility – the idea of many great things waiting out there for you – that is what I felt when I stepped into college –and I want to keep that feeling.

Know someone who belongs in this column? Think YOU deserve a student highlight? Send me an email at sheau-yuan_wang@brown.edu and we’ll make it happen!

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