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The Scarlet & Black

Rohan Gandotra

Photo contributed by Gandotra.

For Rohan Gandotra, ’20, life is a numbers game. As a high school senior in New Delhi, India, Gandotra was thinking logistically about his plans for higher education. He wanted to make sure he picked a good school that would provide him with both an excellent education and a full college experience. When it came down to it, Grinnell was a reputable institution with the ability to provide necessary funding, so the choice was a no-brainer for him.

“My brother went to school in America,” said Gandotra. “He told me about his experience, and it sounded like lots of fun. So, I was like, ‘Okay, let’s do that.’”

As an incoming first-year, Gandotra assumed that he would study math at Grinnell. It was one of his favorite subjects in high school, and he enjoyed working with numbers. He soon realized, though, that the math major at Grinnell was very regimented. This meant that in order for him to graduate with a degree in mathematics, he would have to sacrifice the extracurricular aspects of his college experience that he had been looking forward to.

Instead, Gandotra decided to study economics. “Economics has been great to me,” said Gandotra. “It came to me pretty naturally, especially the concepts that had to do with numbers.” And, ultimately, a major in economics allowed him to be an active member of the College community.

Throughout his four years at Grinnell, Gandotra was involved in student government, walked onto the football team and started his own club. In a manner familiar to anyone close to him, Gandotra laughed when describing the Grinnell Management and Consulting Club. “That didn’t last as long as I was hoping it would last, but what can you do?”

It was in this tone, somewhere between accepting and humorous, in which Gandotra spoke about his time at Grinnell and his life moving forward. For now, he is planning on staying in the U.S. and looking for jobs, but it’s hard to say what the future holds.

“I’m not quite sure what life has in store for me,” said Gandotra, “but I’m confident, I’m excited and I feel like there are good things waiting for me out there. I can’t wait to see them.”

As a result of his ability to accept the uncertainty that resides in the Future, Gandotra is able to look at the things he has in his life right now with gratitude and a sense of calm. The thing he is most thankful for? The friends and connections that he has made at Grinnell.

For his fourth year, Gandotra lived in a house on High Street with some of his best friends. He believes that when he leaves, his friends now are going to be friends for life.

“I can’t wait to find out and I can’t wait to have more experiences with these people,” he said.

And if anyone in the class of ’20 has made lots of connections, it’s definitely Gandotra. As any student that frequents High Street on a Saturday night would know, his house is usually full and still welcoming guests.

“We like to have some fun,” said Gandotra. “We decided that we were going to have a blast every weekend and then we made that happen.” An admirable achievement if there ever was one in this small town in Iowa.

But when it all comes down to it, Gandotra relates his very social lifestyle to economics; he explained that it’s a system of give and take. As an underclassman, Gandotra remembers always going to High Street parties. “I had my fun,” he said. “And in some ways, this is a form of giving back too. There were people who were there for us when we were underclassmen, and now that we are seniors and we are in a position to help people have more fun, then I think it’s part of our responsibility. Almost like a rite of passage.”

For every action there is an equal reaction. And even though that’s physics, Gandotra is still able to understand it because, when it all comes down to it, he is a numbers man.

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