Sheetal Gandotra ('07) - "Some of my closest friends today are people that I met during my time at the University of Toronto."Describe yourself in 50 words or less.

I am an ambitious, hard-working and dedicated person. Over the past four years, I have lived on a 5-square-mile island in the Netherlands-Antilles and six North American cities!

What was New College like when you came?

I remember it being quite vibrant – lots of clubs and events as well as helpful summer sessions before I even started. Attending Orientation Week was an energetic and welcoming start which helped New become a very comfortable place. I also remember that the sign on the wall of the Registrar’s Office, which read “Don’t worry, we’re here to help you” seemed pretty fitting. The New College lounge was always full of students and it was a great place to gather for lunch or killing time between classes! At many times, it served as a place for birthday celebrations and cake!

What are some of your most memorable moments from your time as President of NCSC?

One of my most memorable moments as President was speaking at the installation of Chancellor David Petersen during a graduation ceremony in Convocation Hall. As someone who never thought her forte was public speaking, it remains a highlight of that year for me!

Similarly, I always remember the Orientation weeks – I think they were great opportunities for NCSC to really welcome incoming students and encourage them to become involved in the College. As President, I had the opportunity to work with many remarkable individuals – all studying in different fields, all quite vibrant and energetic. The ideas that get thrown around are pretty awesome!

How did your academic and social experience at the University/College prepare you for life and your career?

At some point during the year of being President, I remember thinking there was a lot more public speaking than I had bargained for – welcome events for prospective students, the installation of Principal Halpern, the installation of Chancellor David Petersen, orientation and many others. Preparing for those was great for my medical career. There is no doubt that the academic preparation at University of Toronto is rigorous and thereby more than adequate for any other program one pursues in life. Some of my closest friends today are people that I met during my time at the University of Toronto. Since we all commuted to the campus and often had several hours between classes, I remember spending much time hanging out and studying in the New College lounge.

Tell us about some of the lessons you learned as a student leader. How valuable are these lessons to you today?

During the same year that I was President, I was also a Peer Mentor or the First Year Learning Communities and of course carrying a full course load. Oddly enough, that year was my academic best so I clearly learned the art of time management!  When working in any large group of people, one also learns the art of diplomacy.