Back to Podcast Index →

Ivy League Challenge Student: Ishita

| “You have to have a certain level of self-awareness that you didn't have before. It was like a light bulb moment… You need to take the time to understand yourself first because that’s a key to the door.”

Ever wonder what students do in the Ivy League Challenge? Listen in to learn from Ishita. Here's what you'll discover in these two podcasts:


  • How to make an impact no matter your age
  • Common challenges that many students face
  • Key lessons to guarantee life-changing experiences
  • How a 15-year old Ishita discovered her impact project 
  • College prep steps designed to help admit into top Universities

     And so much more.


Ready for the Ivy League Challenge?

Take the Challenge today!


Too many people are overwhelmed, stressed out, and frustrated about college admissions prep. I created this podcast to help you build a standout college profile and boost your confidence. Enjoy!

– Steve Gardner, Founder

Listen to my podcast

Listen to other podcasts 

Success Mindset

The right mindset can ensure your success. Listen to begin building your own winning mindset now. 

Start listening

Build Your Confidence 

When everyone else is trying to fit in or go with the flow, learn how you can develop the confidence you need to blaze your own successful path. 

Start listening

Reduce Stress & Anxiety 

Stories, research, real-life examples... Listen to learn how my Harvard peers and I faced stress and overwhelm. 

Start listening

How to Stand Out 

Hard work and great test scores are not enough- but what kind of admissions prep activities will help you get in? It's not what you think... 

Start listening

Admissions Strategy 

Essays, rec. letters, curriculum choices, college visits, research, test scores, and more. Don't wear yourself out with a bad strategy.  

Start listening

Succeed In High School 

The best college prep will ensure you thrive in middle school & high school. Don't settle for stressful, unhelpful college prep advice. 

Start listening

Would you like to be notified when new episodes are launched in your favorite category?

Yes, sign me up


Part 1:

Hello and welcome back, everyone, today. I'm really excited because I know so many of our listeners are students who are ambitious, who have great plans and great dreams, and who just want to know how to move from where they are to the completion of an amazing impact project.

Today, we have a student with us, someone who just finished our recent cohort of the ivy league challenge. Her name is Ishita. She joins us to talk about her experience. I think that you're going to hear not only some tremendous value as far as understanding how the Ivy League Challenge kind of plays a role in your life and in those teenage years.

But then also some really, really amazing tips and just an inspiring story about what you can do, even as a young person, to create an impact in your community that is fully aligned with your core values. And that is something that's really exciting to you, something you're interested in. So what an amazing story we have to hear today, and that is Ishita. Thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to the podcast.

Thank you for having me.

So Ishita? Let's just jump kind of right in. I wanna help students get a feel for what it's like or what it was like for you, at least before you decided to join the ivy league challenge. So what issues or problems were you facing before you discovered it? The ivy lee challenge?

The Vegas issue for me was the fact that I found college applications I found, making an impact project trying to stand out super overwhelming. I would see these ugly kids, and they're doing fantastic things building like robots and sending satellites into space or doing some fantastic thing that seems so distant from me.

So that became overwhelming because school was my priority. I was like, is this not enough? I was not sure what I wanted to do. I really have to only do this, do it's just a very overwhelming experience for me. And then I also did not have a sense of clarity. What exactly did I want to study? What is something that keeps me awake at night? What can I talk about for hours and hours on end without ever getting bored? I also did not have that sense of clarity. And just those two together made me really want to procrastinate the entire process. And that's definitely something that you should not do. So I had to really face myself. And I really challenge really helps because the bulk of the work for me was finding that since the clarity really looking inside myself and Mr. Garner, you helped me a lot with that. My peers really helped me a lot with that.

So that's why I feel in a much better place right now.

Let's kind of stay in that zone before where you were facing that challenge. I know so many people can relate, and so many people put off college prep because I feel like, man, I haven't even figured out high school. You want me to prepare for college like this is difficult. There are so many challenges in so many different ways. What we end up doing is we deny it, procrastinate it, and we binge. Social media purge, we do all sorts of.


So what did that frustration mean? I know that everything you described there was kind of a long-term issue. That's what neither of those is like. That's the moment that I felt it. Those are building long buildings, kind of slow burn issues.

So what did the frustration feel like as you tried to solve those problems?

I think for me personally, I grew up doing a lot of different things. I've tried to be as well around it as possible. So I enjoy sports, I enjoy theater, I enjoy academics as well. I tried to be academically well-rounded. And that's good for a student. But when you're trying to really look inside yourself, what are your core values? What is something you want to do? It gets really difficult. Cause then you lose sight of who I am as an individual. I didn't know what something that I could do for the rest of my life. I didn't know what something that I absolutely hated because I was so used to trying to be good at everything.

So in the Ivy League Challenge, what I did was I sat with my peers and mister garner. And basically, I was looking at key moments in my life that have defined who I am. I went through, what is a thing I struggled with. And I looked through like all those little things that made me who I am. So it was a really difficult process. It is sometimes overwhelming when you're trying to find that sense of clarity because you have to have a certain level of self-awareness that you didn't have before.

And then when you suddenly do, it's like a libel moment. So it takes a lot of time for people who are trying to find clarity and are overwhelmed by the process and feel like college is really distant. For me. These ivy league kids are so distant from me. I can't even figure out high school yet. I don't want to do it. I think you just really need to take the time to understand yourself first. And that was, I think, like the key to the door.

I love what you're saying. People who listen to my broadcast have heard that before. And so it's great to have you kind of second to what I've been saying so frequently. Now, you finish the idling challenge, right? The cohort is recently completed. What would you say is different about your life?

Now, for me,

I guess I mentioned I try to do everything, anything, and everything to the 100 % of my ability. And now, I'm doing curricula activities in school extracurricular activities in school, like I'm doing the service council. That's something I did. I'm doing student council, but I have a lot more self-respect for myself in the sense that I'm not trying to do everything. I'm not trying to do everything 100 %. I'm picking and choosing and respecting my time and respecting the fact that I need time for myself. I need time to do my impact project. I should only choose the things that I want to do. If people come and ask me, can you join this club? Can you help me with this? Can you do this type of assignment? I will be a lot more firm with them. I like have set boundaries for myself. This is actually what I want to do. I have a clear goal for the next 3 to 4 years. So I really pick and choose, and I like you only have 24 hours in a day, so you have to use it meaningfully and amazingly.

So the big problems, everything was overwhelming. It feels like ivy league students somehow like came from a different planet and could do things that normal humans can't do. So that's really overwhelming and daunting. And then there's no clarity around who I am and what really brings me to life as an individual. So with feeling overwhelmed and a lack of clarity that leads to long-term, long-term, procrastination, your natural response to that was to double down and say, I'll just do everything I can and do it as well as possible and be as well rounded as possible.

Which overcompensates my lack of clarity.

Yeah, it's kind of harder to figure out who you really are, right?

It's even harder because then your China becomes something that you're trying to fit the model of an Ivy League kid. You're trying to be like, I was team captain, and I was student council president, I got straight aids. But I think you should really just be true to yourself. That sounds so cliche. But I don't think if you don't, if you don't enjoy the sport you're doing, then there's no point in being the team captain for it, right? But let's say you're doing an impact project on food waste, and climate change is a problem super important to you. I think even if you don't get into the ivy league college of your choice, that is something that you will take with you for the rest of your life, and you just have a lot more self-respect. That's something I really gained self-respect and really being firm with who I am.

And what do I want to get out of the different opportunities that are presented in front of me? Absolutely.

So your original solution of just doing what, and I wanted to just add one thing to what you said. You said trying to do what the ivy league students do. I wanna add to that, trying to do what you thought the ivy league students are like. Yeah, turns out that they're not at all like that. There are a few who are like that, absolutely. But the vast majority are not superhuman. Captains of six sports sent satellites into space and did everything else. The vast majority of ivy league students will hopefully get to talk about a little bit later, but they are people who are very thoughtful, very reflective, and who know very well who they are. And they live lives that are very closely aligned with who they are.

So when the admissions officers get their applications, they say, I know exactly how this person would contribute to the campus. I know exactly what I would be getting. This is a person who's true to their core values. So we're gonna get that person. Let's see if they live their core values in a way that we like on our campus; we want that person.

Anyway, ivy league students are probably a lot different than what you had thought at the time. But because of your misinformation, you decided to just kind of pretend to be that kind of person and hope that somewhere along the line; you figured out because right now it's just everything's overwhelming. Everything feels daunting, feels totally impossible.

For sure. I think it's also like with our parents and that at their time, it was like you had to get straight as you had to, like, like good grades were the bare minimum.

But I think it's getting more and more competitive in the sense that people need to have a strong sense of self. That's something that high school students really lack because we're trying to study; we're trying to get through high school. We're trying to, like, get into the Ivy League schools. I'm kind of losing track of who we are. We're trying to become popular. We're trying to be liked by everyone. We lose a sense of who we are. So I think just self-awareness, if you have that level of self-respect and self-awareness, then the important people will be able to connect with you like those emissions officers maybe.

But absolutely great hint there and great.

So all right, can you take us to the moment when you realized that the Ivy League Challenge was actually working to solve your problems?

I think the moment is started working. Well, there was a class that we did, which was what are your internal struggles? So basically, my peers and I had a bunch of different questions that we had to answer about ourselves. What is a moment that really defined who you are? What's a moment that really went against your values? What is your core value? What keeps you up at night? It's something that I've been thinking about for, like, it was like, a couple of weeks. We did that module, I remember. But then, when I had discussions with my classmates, we started crying and listening to each other stories. And I just realized how similar we all are in that. We're all trying to get through this kind of admissions process together. But if we all have that level, like I felt bad that they were going through that kind of overwhelming feeling that I I was like these are amazing people. They shouldn't have to be defined by an ivy league school. They should just be doing their impact projects and just enjoying who they are.

That's kind of when I realized that I need to have that level of self-respect and clarity. These are my values. This is what I've learned from my peers. I'm gonna do an impact project. And it's going to be amazing. It's going to follow an issue that I really care about, which is climate change and global warming. And whether I get into an Ivy League school or not, I'm gonna give it my all. But having that level of self-respect, that's kind of when I realized when we had those discussions like I was listening to Nila and then detail story there. My classmates as well, and I started crying.

Yeah, come on. That is so touching. And thank you so much for sharing that. I think everyone listening, every teenager listening in, can relate. Hopefully, parents and college counselors, and teachers are listening in because I know I do have a lot of listeners who are adults that work with teens. I hope they can feel some empathy and a deeper understanding of what you are going through as teenagers at this point.

What does life look like? Just in general, now that you've been through the。

The program now that I've been through the program? It's like I'm on the other side of the tunnel. If I'm being completely honest, because going into the summer, I was a freshman going into sophomore year, right? It was actually time to like start getting into college mode and preparing for college mode. And I was absolutely terrified.

But now I feel a lot better whether or not I get into my like list of schools, and I have an impact project that I really care about. And I want to scale, and I want to spend a lot of time on it. In fact, I'm going to spend a lot of time this winter break. It's just made me feel so much better about my future, even beyond college and beyond university.

So I don't know, it's making me enjoy what I'm studying more like I'm taking more hard, like, more difficult classes this year like a ps, I'm taking government, and it's showing me a lot of different options. I just feel a lot more optimistic about the future now.

Such a relief. And that's so wonderful to hear.

So let's kind of pivot then because I think what you shared is just so amazing. And I really feel like other teenagers who hear that are going to recognize themselves in your emotions and in their thoughts. And I just want to thank you for being so authentic and so real with us today because that is so helpful. Ii it really helps everyone realize that they are human. And even though I'll say it this way, I'm not aware of any of my peers at Harvard that never felt like they weren't good enough. I'm not aware of a single one, everyone that I got to know now.

That was the biggest thing, self-doubt.

Yeah, the enemy at. At some point, they felt like they were the impostor at some point, every single one of them.

If that's true and everyone that I've ever taken on in the Ivy League Challenge has, every single one of them has also felt like, at some point on some level, they're also not good enough.

Then maybe it's okay. If you're listening to this and you have these feelings like maybe you're not good enough, maybe that just means that you're normal. And we can add some strategy and some clarity to your journey here. Once you have that map and just a few tools, then suddenly, the confusion and that feeling of just overwhelm and that you have no power or control over your destination can all just kind of dissipate as the fog rises. And suddenly, you see the path, and you still have to walk the path. There's still a lot of work to do. But it's really fun because you can see your progress and where you are. And you understand what progress is as opposed to before when you just had no idea. Sure. Okay, beautiful, all right. So let's pivot and just talk about your impact project for a minute. I think that's of stream interest.


Part 2:

This an inspiring story about what you can do, even as a young person, to create an impact in your community that is fully aligned with your core values. And that is something that's really exciting to you, something you're interested in Ishita. Thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to the podcast.

Thank you for having me.

Let's pivot and just talk about your impact project for a minute. I think that's of extreme interest. Before the program, you hadn't been using the word impact project. You were focusing, if I remember correctly, on science, competitions, math, olympiads, and things like that. Is that right? Yeah. And then you just told us that you were trying to be super well rounded in as many ways as possible, athletic theater, academic competitions, etcetera.

So that was kind of like your plan, but you felt overwhelmed. You had no idea who you really were. And is it true to say, I'm guessing if you procrastinate chronically, that you not just feel overwhelmed but that sometimes you feel disengaged as not every activity brought you to life?

Definitely, and that's where social media kind of helped me escape. But then again, it also takes time away from you actually doing the things that you want to do. It's just this massive domino effect, right? You try to do everything, and you try to overcompensate, then you absolutely despise it. And you're like, I don't want to do this anymore. Then you try to escape using social media, and then you end up wasting time. Then you feel guilty, and then you say you're not good enough, and then you do all over again. It's a vicious cycle.

You just summarized it so perfectly. That's where you were. That was your strategy. And then, in the ivy league challenge, we spent some time kind of talking about healthy activities. And this idea that common sense ideas, little things in your life, little choices that you make, have a compound effect and overtime make the biggest difference in your success.

We started out there, but then we went quickly to the core values, and you already did an excellent job sharing how valuable that several weeks of core value work was. And then I taught you about being an investigator. Right first, we did the average joe activity audit. We let go of all of the activities that are not helping us get into university because there's a lot more than we realize. We can totally let them go and free up time so that we can engage in the stuff that we do care about now that we've identified our core values. We really know who we are and what brings us to life. We let go of the activities that aren't helping us anyway, that is probably making us frustrated, that is driving us over the edge, as you said, and causing us to want to disengage and then escape into social media and start that horrible, vicious cycle.

So those activities are not just not helping you get in. They're actually pretty much making it impossible. Right? So we eliminated all those activities. All of that, I think, is we can start there. At that point, I taught you to be an investigative journalist. Do you remember that?

I do. Okay.

And first of all, tell us where your impact project is at now very short time after you begin, right? We're talking weeks, not years, but tell us kind of where you're at. And then we'll look back at how being an investigative journalist and asking questions and just keep staying curious led you from where you started, which wasn't the endpoint, and to where you are now, which probably is not the endpoint either. But is, let's start there. So, where is your impact project right now? Could you describe it?

So I'll first like describe my impact project for those who don't know.

So I'm really interested in climate change and global warming; as I mentioned before, one facet of it is food waste. Food waste is something that is like in my culture and in my family. It's something that I was very strongly against, but within my community, it is something that's very prevalent. As a student, I wanted to create a proposal and write a written letter to the environmental agency here in Singapore to give them a list of solutions that have been implemented in other countries that could work in Singapore. Try to solve this problem.

At the moment, I'm finishing off my research, I'm starting to put all my information together, but I'm gonna keep scaling it. I'm going to try to do professor outreach. I've been researching professors in the UK within Singapore, as well as us and environmental science. And people who had a hand in food waste policies all over the world. And hopefully, that can help me really build my proposal to another level and try to create an impact within my community.

So, where did it begin? Well.

In the investigative journalist part, I only had like a broad idea that I hate global warming and I hate climate change. It's something that does keep me awake at night, but I didn't understand that as a 15-year-old girl on a tiny island, on a massive globe, I cannot try to solve all of the problems in the world.

So I needed to pick and choose and be like, what is one aspect of this massive problem that? I could have a say in that I could try to connect to, and I could try to inform my community and my sphere of influence that this is a problem. Here's what we should do about it. So I did some research. I asked my parents, I went around to different areas in Singapore, and I noticed there's a thing called hawker sensors for those of you who don't live in Singapore. It's like a massive food court. And there, I notice that there's a lot of food waste. Food waste is a massive part of global warming because it goes into the oceans, goes into incinerators, and that releases carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.

So I thought this was something that we could completely avoid. So then I started researching about it. I started seeing how much food waste Singapore produce is it really bad compared to other countries? What are other countries doing? What happened before the industrial area-like era? How much was food waste there? And then I realized how big of a problem it was. That's when I hated it, like the wheel started turning. And I was like, here's what I should do about it. Wow.

So at first, it started with I want to help protect the planet. I don't like global warming. Yeah, and through asking questions and self-awareness and reflection, and clearly, you've got to have a little bit of time here, yeah, right to be able to think these thoughts and ask these questions.

If, for example, your schedule is so compressed, like it used to be, with all the activities stacked one on top of the other, where are you going to squeeze in thinking time to go from global warming? I wonder if my community has this issue.

I wonder how that issue compares to the global community. And I wonder if there have been solutions in other parts of the world and if this is inevitable. Like, have humans always had this issue? Or is this something new? Is this something we can change? Like all those thoughts take time。

They do. And when you don't have that level of self-respect, and you don't give yourself that time of day, and you don't give yourself that time to rest and think and have that moment to yourself. You don't have time to really look around you. That's something that the ivy league challenge helped me with.

And that's something that I did as an investigative journalist during that module. I started looking around me, like going to the hawker centers, going to the shopping mall, seeing if that's actually an issue. And then it kind of led me to where I am right now, where I'm actually trying to put it together and do professor outreach. So, yeah, definitely, you need that time, and you need that space to yourself and doing everything and overcompensating is not gonna help. Yeah.

Let's talk about it. So we begin by freeing up the time we begin with understanding our core values, then we free up our schedule so that we can align with those core values and align our activities correctly.

And then we become curious, no matter whether whatever else is a part of who we are. We add curiosity because that really is the key. Right? And we just fuel that curiosity intentionally for a little while until we hit a spark. And that spark ignites a flame. And we fan the flame through further curiosity, and we keep growing. But at some ., at your age, like you said, on an island in the middle of a huge globe, you're limited and how much you can do to save the planet from all these different issues, which are clear violations of your core values.

So there are clearly things that you will be willing to spend time and energy on. But to be realistic, there's only so much that right now that you can do. So you find that in the UK, there is this legislation that has been effective.

After we talked about being the investigative journalist, I brought an outreach. There's professional outreach and professor outreach because some impact projects; some students begin to be curious, and they realize that the biggest impact they could make is furthering the world's knowledge base in some area. Right? Helping the world understand that the issue is not what the world thought the issue was. And you do that through research. And so, for some impact projects, the actual impact project is researched. And that's gonna be directly with professors. And for other impact projects, for the most part, impact projects are going to be. Here's this real problem in my community that violates my core values. But I am whatever age I'm at. I have the experience that I. I am standing in my shoes from my position right now. I'm not fully capable of doing what I wish I could do to solve this problem. But I also know that I am only a relationship or an idea away from being able to make a bigger impact.

So it gave you guys templates to use, and we talked about the dues and don'ts, and we heard advice from doctor law; remember who showed us exactly what not to do in our email outreach.

And then we can reach out once we understand the big issues, once we understand what the deal is with food waste, for example, in your situation, then we know what the real problems are. We can send emails that are intelligent, ask the right questions, or that demonstrate that we understand the right issues. We understand how that professor or that professional would be related to these issues and how they might be able to help us.

And then we ask intelligent questions. And when we do those things, these professors or professionals have no idea that you're 14 or you're 15 years old. They just know that you're a really intelligent person asking really intelligent questions about the thing that they care a lot about, that they can quickly and easily help you with. They reply to the email. Right? Whereas hundreds of other emails that get, they just absolutely ignore because they don't do any of those things. That's kind of where you're at. Now. You've got this. You understand that there are bigger players in the world. And let's talk about your outreach or either your outreach efforts or your outreach plans that are coming for the next couple of weeks.

Yeah, for my impact project, I'm so in the research phase of my outreach because, as you mentioned, I did find a proposal very similar to what I'm making. I did find some legislative action in the UK that they took on this topic. So I'm still finding out who was responsible for that. What information did they use to support that legislative bill or process? I'm also looking at universities in Singapore as well as in the united states because those are like very established universities for the major I want to do, which is environmental science. I'm still trying to like find professors that I can relate to on this topic, and I can learn from on this topic.

But once I do, I am gonna use the steps that mister garner taught us. I'm going to like ask them my questions, ask them for a like 10-minute zoom call, asking questions and try to build that connection with them to not only scale my impact project but also to learn more about the field that I want to go into. It's not just to make it look good for like your college application like I worked with the professor; it's an amazing learning opportunity to actually work with an expert. That's something I never thought that I could do before that was completely distant from me. So I'm very excited to start that.

Yeah. And the thing is, how much more powerful is your initiative, your proposal to the Singaporean government going to be if your name is the first name on there, but behind that, they see a doctor?

And so from Caltech university, which also is an expert in food waste, they see these other professionals and a few other professors who contributed in the UK to the legislation that successfully reduced food waste there. Yeah, and they see a proposal that is intelligent, and that has the backing of these scientists and experts that actually know what they're talking about. And yes, you spearheaded it. And then they give credibility to your spearheading, and then what are the chances that you can actually change the situation in Singapore and help make a significant impact on the planet?

Much higher?

Exactly, like suddenly, they're real. Like this is a real thing. So iii think that it's amazing that you've done so much in so little time. And if you think about it, college admissions for seniors are going to be due in the next, yeah, 60 days or so. Depending on different universities, deadlines, and things like that, there are some universities that are much later, but most are going to be turning in their applications.

And this will go live a little bit later. So maybe that deadline is from the time we're speaking.

Now, you have a little bit more than two full years to nurture this impact project, nurture this idea that you have this flame that you have ignited the fire that is now burning. And it's not something that you have to think about. I've got to do that thing again before the due date. And so you're procrastinating and pushing it off. You're literally waking up thinking, how can I add this to it? Or I wonder what about this? I wonder what about that. And so you're waking up excited about this because this is an issue that you can actually make an impact on. That solves a real problem in your community that violates your core values. Definitely.

Like, if I'm not doing my homework, I'd rather do this. That's why I'm so excited. Like during winter break and spring break, I really like allocating a lot of time to it. Also, teenagers kind of have the habit of doing the opposite of what people tell them to do.

The fact that I want to do this on my own. And this is something that I personally care about, makes me a lot more motivated to actually investigate it and to have conversations about it with my friends, my teachers, with my family. So it's just like you're constantly thinking about it, and you feel good that you're constantly thinking about it. It's not something that's overwhelming you or scaring you. Yeah.

And your understanding of several scientific principles is going to expand beyond what you had originally realized over these next couple of years. Probably you're going to figure out some ways to tie in government and economics and mathematics and all kinds of just, um, uh, human psychology and behavior like economics.

There are all kinds of tie-ins that begin with that spark that started a few weeks ago, that has fanned into a flame, ii say a few, it's been several weeks, but a couple of months, let's stand into a flame that is now something that you look forward to when you have free time. And I just can't wait to see what happens over the next couple of years.

And thank you. Like in school, I've taken classes like government, as I mentioned before, because I also want to look into the relationship between climate change in public policy.

And that's made me so much more enthusiastic and also hardworking and successful in that class as well because it's not just the course work that I'm trying to like understand and learn, but I'm also like constantly asking questions.

And I'm having conversations after class with my teacher that end up going for like half an hour about this impact project and like all these other questions that I have. So it just makes you a lot more curious, but it makes you a lot more like your mind is always working. And that's a good thing.

I love that. And that's something that I've seen happen, not just with you but with almost every member of the idly challenge, but at least every student that I stay in close enough touch with that I kind of know how the rest of their day goes. They report the same thing because they're not overwhelmed and feel daunted, as you described at the beginning of part one of the podcast. You described how, before the ivy league challenge, you were so frustrated and just so overwhelmed with all the things that you thought you needed to do that you felt like you needed to escape because, eventually, you hated all the daily activities, you escaped into social media and got into that terrible downward spiral.

Sometimes, parents and teachers see students who are in that downward spiral and misunderstand it. They don't see a student who is overwhelmed and burned out. They see someone who just doesn't care. They see it as a kid who is just hard enough. It was not a hard worker who didn't understand what it takes to be successful. So they just don't understand what's actually happening to the teenager. But if you can remove the activities that are just weighing you down, you take off the shackles of those activities and free up your time, free up your energy, and you replace that time and energy with time to think and be creative and pursue your interests and solve a problem in your community with people that around you, that violates your core values. These are the things that really bring you to life.

And suddenly you realize, man, I haven't looked at instant grammar or whatever for however long I why would I bother with that? Or if I have, it's been because I wanted to do outreach to someone. You just live. Everything changes; you start to instead of feeling like you have to get schoolwork done, but you have limited energy. The stuff you're doing when you're not doing your schoolwork fills your soul with energy.

And so then you have leftover energy to do better on your school work. As you said, you find ideas in class, and you're sparked because you have this impact that you're making in your real world. Some ideas in class resonate differently. And you want to ask more questions, and you tie in different ideas to the classroom discussion because you're thinking about it differently because you're engaged in something real, yeah. Definitely, I love that that has been your experience.

One last question for you for the listeners who are listening in trying to figure out how to do an impact project and where to get started, all of that just feels overwhelming.

What advice would you give to someone who's listening and then thinking that's what I want to do? Let me get started. What might trip someone like that up? What advice would you have for them?

That's a good question. I think. What's important to do first is understand the things that you enjoy doing and what something that you can talk about on and on and on and on. And never get bored, and maybe even annoy people around you, but you will always enjoy it.

And then you also need to separate, what are your hobbies? What are things that you do for relaxation? What is your creative outlet? Versus, what is something that you want to put your energy into to kind of share with everyone else? Like for me. I really enjoy theater, and I love it. But it's not something that I would do professionally for the rest of my life. It's a creative outlet for me. But something that I want to use my skills in, like mathematics, for example, and my passion for science, I would put that into the major I want to pursue, which is environmental science. I keep those two things separate. They keep me balanced, but it gives you a better sense of, like, what are my actual goals instead of trying to overcompensate and do everything?

And then, in terms of your impact project, what is something that you really like? I think you just catch yourself on the things you complain about. What is the one thing that you complain about the most? It's not like my teacher gives me so much homework. It's like an actual world problem.

Once you complain about whether that's women's rights, that's LGBTQ rights, that's global warming, that's pollution, racism, its poverty. If there's an actual problem that you have discussions about with the people around you, then that's probably something that you're passionate about.

And that's something that you should actually try to do. Maybe take the time to write down some questions. This is something that really helped me. I had like a notebook with me that I like to allocate for my impact project. And I write down my questions every single time to kind of register it through.

And then I tried to sit down and actually look for the information. And you kind of go on this, as you go on this kind of spiral that if this happens, then what about this? But what about this? And then it keeps building from there. First, find what you like to do. Separate your hobbies from, like, your actual passions. And then just like find what you complain about and then write down every single question that you have. And then you break there。

Such great advice, such great advice. And I love it. What's interesting as I hear you, I'm just gonna make one last comment, and we'll finish up for the listeners. I know this has been so valuable. But I love that your advice is so centered on your impact project and the journey that you took. Right?

Some other impact projects might have completely different advice. If someone solved the problem in their school, they might say to focus somewhere else. And if someone else went to do research or someone else broke a world record in something, there are all these different ways that we can make an impact. And I really love how your personality really came out in your advice and in your answer. And you gave such great advice for someone who kind of fits that exactly who fits with you, right? Someone who kind of fits with your persona. And so super valuable, it can't express enough appreciation on behalf of the listeners for your genuine and sincere comments, your willingness to open up about how you felt, about how you overcame, how you felt, and about the real experiences you had. I, for one in your absolute fan, I'm in a corner excited to see where this goes and excited to see what you do for Singapore and for the world over the next couple of years.

And then beyond if you think that solving problems right now, as a high school student, is exciting, itis waiting until you get to an elite university with resources that will blow your mind with faculty who are more accessible than you ever imagined, you can literally go walk down and knock on their doors. And they're amazingly accessible. And with peers who are just as driven and excited about making an impact as you are, and many of whom have been making similar impacts in high school, even though they didn't know that it was called an impact project or whatever, they're the people that were breaking the rules and not trying not caring about following. The advice that everyone gave, because they were so interested in whatever they were interested in, that they became really impressive and really interesting and attractive to these top universities.

I just can't wait to see what you do with your curiosity and your amazingness. When you have those kinds of resources, and you have developed the private problem-solving skills, the self-efficacy, the emotional intelligence, and everything else, the grit and the endurance, and just the confidence that you will continue to develop over these couple of years. That is college preparation. And I'm just so proud of you and so happy for what you've done so far and so excited to see how this is going to end. It doesn't end, but how it's going to evolve over the next couple of years.

So thank you so much for joining us today to share your amazing experience and sharing your great advice. Thank you for joining us Ishita.

Thank you so much for having me. I'm smiling very, very hard right now. So thank you, Mr. Granner, for all your help. Also, if you do the ivy league challenge, there's a lot you can learn from your peers. So the discussions you have with them are very meaningful. Right?

Yeah, I completely agree; all right. Thanks so much.