Name: Savi Joshi
Major: OIDD and Management
Hometown: Fremont, CA
Activities: Wharton Alumni Relations Council, Wharton Roundtables, NEC, Engagement Manager at the Small Business Development Center, TA, Bell Senior Society, PAACH Hype team, Penn Hype
This Cali native has no shortage of talents, whether it be dancing in Penn Hype or writing her own Hot Cheetos cookbook. She's survived living in a Buddhist monastery and learned how to optimize her own education by pushing herself. And if you ever hear her say "Cannoli," she's not necessarily talking about the Italian dessert. Meet Savi.
How has your path changed since you've entered Wharton?
When I first started Penn, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I just came off of this “I’m going to be a doctor” track and, while I don’t love medicine, I loved the emotional connection you could build with your patients. I think once I recognized that core tenet about myself, I sought out opportunities that would build that. For me, that’s been involving myself in more ABCS courses. I currently take a class at Swarthmore in Writing and Sustenance, which has a critical engagement component. We work with local Philadelphia communities to teach people about nutrition, while also discussing the implications of gentrification on community farms and urban farms. I want to be with people, I want to help people, and I want to be socially engaged. Where am I going to earn a salary? Well, first, I want to try teaching. I’m still figuring out how I want to achieve that, but the truth is I don't know. I’m comfortable with that. I think there’s this beauty to uncertainty, but I will always have this school as my safety net and I find that as one of the most reassuring feelings as I go through the next stages of life. I know that it'll all work out in the end.
What was your experience like at the Buddhist monastery?
All my life I was raised a Hindu. I never found myself religious per se, but I did find the philosophical components of religion really fascinating. In order to understand why people throw themselves into religion and what the appeal is of going to a monastery and sacrificing everything, you have to experience it. I went and I was like, holy shit, this is super tough. I was sad all the time and just wanted to go home. All of a sudden one day, I can't even explain it, I finally understood why the monastery was the monastery. I finally got into the rhythm and the practice, and then I didn't want to leave. I remember going to the airport from the monastery and I was so overwhelmed because I hadn’t been around so much stimulation in so long. The loudest thing [at the monastery] was everyone chanting, so how do I re–adjust to Penn given all of this?
Honestly nothing in life really changes, but what really changed was my perspective and the way I started approaching life. I think freshman year was super overwhelming. I got scared that I wouldn’t work at a tough job or I wouldn't be a part of the coolest clubs or whatever. Then my mentality changed. The coolest clubs for me are the clubs I become a part of, because I shape the experience. The coolest job for me is the job that I want to be at, because that is going to be the job where I give my 110%.
How was your experience at culinary school?
I did research during the day and went to culinary school at night. I got a certificate at Le Cordon Bleu in London before I went to the monastery, which was a huge transition itself. Culinary schools are all about making the finest pastries and always appealing to the aesthetic. The monastery was the complete opposite, which was a bit of a culture shock. I have this perception that college should be filled with things you've never done, and that was something I wanted to do that I hadn't done yet.
Can you talk about your cookbook?
So I'm writing a Hot Cheetos cookbook. I plan on working on it next semester. However, there’s this huge trade–off between this fear of publishing and critiquing, and the ability to have your own product and be proud of something that you did. It’s something that I still struggle with and am always looking for support on that. I started my sophomore year and it's actually pretty much ready, I'm just having the psychological barrier of publishing it. I think that part of it is support, part of it is being this quasi-perfectionist. I don’t know, we'll figure it out. I'm going to dedicate next semester to working through these mental blocks.
How has your academic experience fit into your passions?
Education is optimized by putting yourself in new spaces, around new people, with new professors, or by taking risks. For me, that's been taking classes that I was opposed to and sticking through it. I have sat in classes before that I thought were terrible, but the truth is I was just not engaged. So what did it take for me to become engaged? I think around my sophomore year, the question stopping being, “How is this going to get me a job?” and, instead, started being, “How is this going to make me a better person?”
What's a B going to do in the long run? If I get an F, so what? In the long run, none of this matters. If anything, that F motivates you to try harder. The education platform is an opportunity for discourse on your personal beliefs and the way other people see the world. This is what you're paying for, to have that discourse, so I optimize for classes like that.
Have you had any other teaching experience besides being a TA?
I’ve taught after–school programs and a bunch of side courses, but I've never taught in the way that my teachers have. I haven't done the full teaching experience, and what that means to me is thinking about the critical development of your students and actually spending long courses of time with them. My motives in being a teacher are partially selfish in that I think children have this amazing energy to them and they have this incredible optimism and drive. They see the world in such a different way. When I think about myself in high school, I think about how fearless I was, and when I think about myself in college, I think about how insecure I've become because of the societal standards that have been placed on me. But a lot of these kids, all they know is that recess is in 15 minutes and they want to play dodgeball. That excitement just energizes me and invigorates me. Being around that energy is just what I need. It's going to burn me out, I have no doubt. It's exhausting being in education, I hear it all the time. But how do we build that system again? In order to understand the system, you sometimes have to be a part of it. I think this is a way for me to do my service in the system so that way I can fix it.
There are two types of people, who are they?
Those that drink chai and those that drink chai lattes.
What's your coffee order?
Cannoli. I normally drink chai when I make my chai. But if I'm getting coffee—I’m the worst—it's either going to be a latte with whipped cream and chocolate sauce or some crazy raspberry latte oatmeal that some barista decided that they wanted to make on a Wednesday.
Why do you say Cannoli?
Oh, I try to avoid swearing so I say Cannoli instead of bad words. I love Cannolis.
What is your favorite item in your closet?
I have this one pair of shorts that's unreasonably comfortable but socially unacceptable to wear outside. But I love them so much.
Do you have any weird talents?
I will do the craziest things just for the sake of doing them. One day I was like, “Tomorrow I want to skydive,” so then I went skydiving. I just signed up for a 10 miler. I hate running, why did I do that?! So apparently next month I'm doing that. Who knows, honestly.
What is the one thing you're going to miss about Penn?
The people. I just love the people I've met at the school for all their quirks and personalities. Fundamentally, we're all nerds, just like all–out nerds, and it's so nice to be around nerds all the time.