A leadership experience can benefit you in so many positive ways, both in the short and long term. I would like to highlight three of them. First, a leadership experience can give you a competitive edge over other candidates when you apply for a job. Employers now look for leadership experience as they know that a candidate with some sort of leadership exposure will be able to deal with a situation more effectively. Next, a leadership experience can help you build connections, which you can utilize throughout your professional career. Finally, it can develop your interpersonal skills. You will get to communicate with a lot of people through your role in a particular club or association, and you will acquire different skill sets in the process.
Purdue University will provide you with many opportunities to experience leadership. My leadership journey started with volunteering for the Bangladesh Students Association in my first year. In my second year, I was elected as the president of the association. My volunteering experience in the first year gave me an opportunity to observe the association and learn how events are organized at Purdue. During my presidency in my second year, I organized several events on behalf of the association. I would like to highlight two of them. The first event was the Bangladesh Artist Festival where we were able to invite two of our prominent musical groups from Bangladesh to perform at Purdue. The event was open to all Purdue students and the community to learn more about Bangladeshi music. We were awarded a Student Fee Advisory Board (SFAB) ($58,000) grant to organize two such concerts. This also represents Purdue’s strengths in financing big events led by student organizations.
The second event that I would like to mention is the Celebration of International Mother Language Day. International mother language day is internationally observed on February 21, and the day originated from the language movement in Bangladesh. In this event, we also involved eleven other countries to showcase their culture through different performances. It was highly appreciated by the attendees for its diversity and inclusiveness. This was funded by a One Community grant from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Because my experience was so enriching with this student organization, I decided to lead another student organization, the Purdue Association of Learning Design & Technology (PALDT,) as the president in the current academic year.
The message that I wanted to convey through these examples is that you can also lead many such events at Purdue! Student Activities and Organizations (SAO), the unit that oversees student organizations, will be happy to support you in every possible way. The first step would be to find a student organization that you like and join that organization in some capacity. After that, you can plan on taking an officer role and execute your events! The sky is the limit for Boilermakers!
I believe graduate school is one of the most important decisions you can make for your life. When you are going to college, you may not have the freedom or the means to select the university you want. However, going to graduate school is your own choice, and I felt the pressure to choose wisely. I remember making my list of things that a graduate school should have to deserve my dedication to the application process. I applied to five different universities, but Purdue was always my first choice.
Before selecting the university list, you need to define your own professional goals. And remember, graduate school, especially a Ph.D. degree, will be demanding and time-consuming. So, it is better to put your effort into something you want. Here was my list of priorities:
1) International world rankings: If I spend money and time on a graduate degree, I want that degree to be internationally recognized. And civil engineering at Purdue fulfilled this requisite easily. As a prospective graduate student, here are a few sources to check out:
2) Living costs: Did you know that each state in the USA can have different living costs? As a graduate student, the budget is my responsibility. Even for visa purposes, you need to check how much money you will need to have. Depending on the location of the university, you may need much more. Purdue is located in the state of Indiana in a small city called West Lafayette. These characteristics showed me that I could have a better-quality of life on a student budget.
3) Funding sources: Purdue is a massive university with more than 45 thousand students. And to attend this enormous student population, a significant infrastructure is necessary. The university has many student employment options that are incredibly helpful during your academic life.
4) Laboratory infrastructure: To study far away from home, there needs to be a reason. The university needs to have something that I could not find in other places. The impressive Bowen Laboratory is a research facility beyond expectations. With more resources available to you, your research and your career can go further.
5) Purdue spirit: I confess that I didn´t know about it before I arrived at the university, but it ended up confirming my choice to attend Purdue. It is a place where everybody wants to do their best. The students do not wish for grades “enough to pass”; they want to be the best student in the class. Graduate students want to solve big problems in the world. Professors and employees want to help students in any way they can. Everybody is proud to wear Purdue gear and apparel. When you are surrounded by people trying to do their best, you also push yourself harder to achieve more.