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UC Answers: Why should I get involved on campus?

International alumnus reflects on how staying involved at UC was crucial to his success

Sid Thatham was an international student from India who completed dual master’s degrees in engineering and business in 2017. While a student, he remained extremely involved on campus. He now works at UC as an energy engineer and also serves as an adjunct instructor.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/udEXPMGD91g?rel=0

Q: What is the advantage of getting involved on campus?

Thatham: There are a lot of advantages to getting involved on campus. You get to build your skillset and have fun while doing it. But one of the advantages is that you get to meet a lot of people that you may not meet otherwise, including fellow student leaders and especially administrators and staff members. The opportunities for you to grow are attached to the people that you come in contact with. 

Q: What sort of things did you get involved in while pursuing your degree at UC?

Thatham: As an international student, my aim was to get as involved as possible. I was involved with the Indian Student Association, the Graduate Student Government, the International Partners and Leaders (IPALs), the Emerging Ethnic Leaders, the Racial Awareness Program (RAPP), Hyperloop UC,  the International Ambassadors for UC and several other organizations and programs. I also served on various committees such as the presidential search committee, the Bearcat Transportation System Committee and the International Affairs Committee, to name a few.

Q: What memories stand out from your decision to jump into student organizations or other opportunities while at UC?

Thatham: I have made a lot of memories from being involved at UC. The first one that stands out is when I got to play laser tag for the first time. I took a group of fellow international students to play laser tag. I had seen it in the movies and in tv shows, but to actually play it here in the US felt like I was in a Jason Statham action movie. 

Q: How would your UC experience have been different had you not gotten so involved at UC?

Thatham: A quote that I have lived my life by is “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Through my involvement at UC during grad school, I met several people that I learned a lot from. I had experiences that helped me grow as an individual, that opened several doors for me. It might sound like a cliche, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t gotten so involved at UC. 

Q: What did you learn by getting involved at UC that helped you in life or your career?

Thatham: Through my involvement at UC I have learned that all of us have the potential and the ability to do things that we never knew we could do, to achieve things that we didn’t think we were capable of doing. Getting involved helped me discover my true identity, and that discovery has shaped my life since then and will shape the rest of my life. 

Featured image at top: Sid Thatham stands along UC's MainStreet during his student days in 2017. photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand

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