Eye Opening, Fruitful Education

During his college search, Sahil Rizal’22 prioritized intellectual challenge and a small campus where it would be easy to meet people. Beloit not only fit these criteria, but gave him multiple opportunities to gain career-readiness skills.

“Higher mathematics are beautiful,” reports Sahil Rizal’22, who came to Beloit with an economics major in mind. Ultimately, he’d earn a major in quantitative economics. That he’d also minor in mathematics came as a surprise.

Sahil Rizal?22 on the Beloit College campus Sahil Rizal’22 on the Beloit College campus“In school in Nepal and at the beginning at Beloit, I thought of math as utilitarian,“ he recalls. “That changed when I started taking higher mathematics. Beloit’s wonderful math professors, including Katherine Harris, Tom Stojsavljevic, and, at the time, Paul Stanley, helped me experience math as an intellectually demanding discipline involving abstract thinking and sophisticated argumentation.”

He soon loved math. But then, Sahil chose Beloit because he wanted intellectual challenge and the chance to study more than one discipline.

Thus, the very first class he registered for was in philosophy, a choice that would have a profound impact. “Philosophy 100: Logic set the tone for every subsequent class I took at Beloit and every paper I wrote, because it taught me how to formulate and improve arguments. It was eye-opening.”

If Sahil’s courses in different disciplines were expanding his ways of knowing, he was also gaining new perspectives within economics, his major. “We read economic literature in a course on comparative economic systems. As a result, I now have a much better grounding in the philosophy behind economic thought.”

But Beloit had also appealed to Sahil as a college where cultural adjustment would be eased by its small size and friendly environment. Additionally, the diversity and number of Beloit’s international students increased Beloit’s attractiveness: international students come from 39 countries and constitute 14% of total enrollment.

“Most Nepalis in the U.S. attend large universities; to feel at home, they band together and live together. I did not want that.” Instead, from the beginning at Beloit, Sahil met students from all of over the world and within the U.S., although it was reassuring that Sandeep Acharya’19 was among them. Sandeep had been three years ahead of Sahil at school back home.

Although Sahil had not anticipated it, Beloit also helps students develop career readiness skills.

Indeed, the college’s students develop skills outside the classroom through extracurricular activities, campus employment, research, and community engagement.

Sahil Rizal'11 at a frozen lake, with ice fishers in the background Sahil Rizal'11 at a frozen lake, with ice fishers in the backgroundSahil comments from his own experience: “You might think that joining a fraternity is simply a social act, but as a member of the TKE leadership team, I had to juggle a lot of responsibilities at once.”

He did the same while serving a resident assistant, or RA, in Wood Hall during his junior and senior years. “As an RA, you are called on to respond to all sorts of crises. You have to take responsibility and learn how to help residents resolve interpersonal conflicts as well as cope with external events. In the process, you develop skills essential to working in teams.”

Also impactful were helping to analyze data in the college’s institutional research office, IRAP, under the guidance of its director, Ellie Anderbyrne; helping the city of Beloit respond to the pandemic while working in its economic development office; and serving as a tutor trainer in the college’s LEADS office, which helps Beloit’s students thrive academically by providing academic support, tutoring, and disability services.

“Working for LEADS was one of my most fruitful experiences at Beloit,” he says. No wonder. Sahil’s responsibilities ran the gamut from finding and screening applicants, training tutors to work with tutees, tracking tutors’ hours, and monitoring their effectiveness. He also made sure to retain them by showing appreciation.

Graduate studies lie in Sahil’s future, but only after he works for one or more years to apply and extend the knowledge and skills he’s acquired at Beloit. He hopes to land a job in economic consulting, for the breath of exposure he’d be given; financial analysis, to go into depth in a specific area; or public affairs-related research, to build on the work he did in Beloit’s city hall and in IRAP.

“I feel I am ready for professional life,” he says. That’s not only because of the academic preparation and practical experience he’s had at Beloit, but because he’s also become more measured.

“By my senior year I realized that impatience was limiting my effectiveness. I also wasn’t doing myself any good by becoming disheartened when things didn’t go my way.”

The resilience he’s developed will hold Sahil in good stead wherever his career and life take him.

Elizabeth Brewer
June 22, 2022

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