Student Spotlight - Isha Godara
Written by: Melania Antoszko
Photographed by: Erica Wee
As seen in the October 2019 issue of Lazy Faire magazine
Isha Godara is a 3rd year international student at ASoB, pursuing a major in Finance along with the Certificate in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies at Peter Lougheed Leadership College. Through her involvement in the local community she is bringing awareness to issues she is passionate about. Her success in extracurriculars and academics didn’t come without setbacks and challenges. We took some time to talk about Isha’s setbacks, what she learnt from them, and advice on how to accept failure.
What extracurriculars have you been involved in while at ASoB?
I have been involved with two not-for-profits in governance-related projects, PLLC Students' Union in various roles, a research project related to Responsible Investment, and participated in a few case competitions. I’m also the Co-President of TEDxUAlberta.
You are quite successful in everything you’re involved in but there have been some setbacks. How do you personally define failure?
In my first year of business I wasn’t doing as well academically as I wanted to, and I got rejected from some student clubs. At the time, that was a failure for me. Now, failure is not making realistic steps or goals towards something that I want to achieve for myself. It is not taking the time to reflect and learn from my mistakes.
Can you tell me when you experienced some setbacks, whether in academics or extracurriculars?
I think my first year of business was full of setbacks. We are always told to prioritize our health, but I completely ignored that. I dealt with a couple of health issues during the first year of business. It hindered my ability to do well academically and socially. I got rejected from a few student clubs that I applied to. Back in the first year, I was intimidated by all the LinkedIn profiles and got carried away with trying to do everything. At that point, I was doing things just for the sake of doing them. I wanted to be one of those students who were involved with 5 student clubs, had the perfect social life, had a 4.0, and had perfect sleep. Looking back, I set unrealistic personal expectations and was losing perspective. But I am thankful that because it was those experiences that gave me the opportunity to grow at a personal level.
How did you overcome these setbacks?
First thing that I did after my first year of business was to go back home to India and take time off to relax, spend time with family and old friends, and think about what I was passionate about. I reflected on what my interests were and what I should be doing. Once I came back for second year, I started prioritizing my health, spent time with friends, did things that I cared about and made realistic goals for myself.
How have these experiences contributed to your success today?
First thing I learnt was self care. I went to a boarding school and prior to that lived in a joint family, so I always had friends/family members take care of me. It was a learning curve to take care of myself in university. Second thing I learned was how to set realistic goals and their importance. Third, was becoming more comfortable with seeking advice.
Looking back, if I reached out to students in advanced years of studies for their advice I would have dealt with certain situations more effectively. Seek advice, seek help.
Also, I learnt about resilience and how failing early on is important for success. I read about people I admired and talked to my family and friends, and I realized that everyone has failed professionally or personally at some point or another, so why not me.
Fear of failure can stop students from trying something new or achieving their goals. How do you overcome this fear?
If I fail, I self-reflect. It entails thinking about the reasons that led to failure and what I could do in the future to avoid similar mistakes - Being more comfortable with failure let me overcome this fear. Personally, talking to people who have failed like colleagues, parents, professors and learning how they coped with it, helps me alot. I find comfort in their advice and knowing that failure is normal. Failure is just like getting the flu, you’re going to get over it and you’re going to be okay - it’s just a part of life. I think we need to be better at embracing failure.
What has been your most meaningful experience while at ASoB?
Two things come to mind when I think of this. First is TEDx Ualberta. TEDx is the first student group that I joined when I transferred to North Campus. I think it is a great opportunity to showcase the innovative and socially conscious leaders who are doing amazing work in our local community. Secondly, I am working on a project related to responsible investment. This project has given me clarity that there’s a significant potential in the field of finance to do social good. I used the PLLC project as an opportunity to reflect on my goals and what I want to do. Now I am really happy that I got an opportunity to create something new, to learn about a field that I am interested in and hopefully create something that other students can find helpful. It's something that is going to help me personally, but also something that I can leave behind at ASoB.