Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight - Shritha Mandava

By Shritha Mandava
May 08, 2020

1) What have you learned about yourself since the COVID-19 closures?

shritha mandava
Shritha Mandava

The COVID-19 closures have certainly forced me to spend a lot of time with myself so naturally there has been a lot of self reflection! One thing I have taken away is that I find it extremely rewarding to have a busy lifestyle and I miss having things to constantly do. The last couple years have been stressful at times, but I have loved pushing myself and being involved in the community. I’m excited to start college and get busy again!

2) What are your plans for the fall?

I’ll be attending the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business with a concentration in Management and Finance!

3) How have your plans changed, if at all?

There’s a lot of uncertainty for the future and while I hope to start college on time in the fall, I understand that may not be possible. At the end of the day, all we can do is hope for the best and do our job in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

4) What is your passion?

For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the world of business. There’s simply something so enticing about how people build up companies and transform markets. Throughout high school, I discovered my love for innovation and leadership and feel lucky to have pursued it in multiple aspects from clubs in school to internships over the summers. However, another extremely important part of my life is being an advocate for women’s empowerment. Women bring new, invaluable voices to leadership, yet rarely get executive positions. I strongly believe that businesses have a huge role in social impact and should be a leading force in evolving work culture. My passion lies not just in business or women’s empowerment individually, but rather their true interdependency in building our future. I hope to pursue this passion by transforming the nature of business to be one of equality, inclusion, and empowerment.

5) Have you discovered a new passion in light of social distancing?

Social distancing has definitely opened up many hours of the day to pursue new passions and one that I’ve discovered is cooking! The last few years of my life have been quite busy and while I’ve always wanted to cook, I’ve never really gotten the time. With my sister home, we’ve been tackling new recipes every week and it has been so much fun! I’m glad I’m going to college with some basic skills in the kitchen and can’t wait to continue making new dishes each week.

6) What are your hopes for the future?

I’m a strong believer that while everything may not happen for a reason, there is certainly a reason why everything happens. COVID-19 has taught my peers and I so much about the world we live in and more importantly what we want to change moving forward. Our generation possesses so much passion, initiative, and drive to do better for each other, our families, and the future generations to come. Looking forward, my hope is that we take our anger at what the world has lost and fuel it in our plans moving forward. In the next decade, we will transition into becoming leaders of so many industries and sectors of the world. I’m beyond hopeful that we can build a world that is safer, more sustainable, and responsive as we continue to face inevitable challenges.

7) Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

If there’s one thing I could tell my younger self about high school, it would be to stop stressing so much about the future and start living life in the moment. I candidly admit I was someone who was beyond looking forward to “Second Semester Senior Year” and I wish I appreciated the whole journey. To any underclassman, cherish every day, week, and year with your friends. Don’t wait to make memories, and say yes to opportunities. I know it can be hard to find that balance between fun and school, but it is so incredibly important. Be confident in pursuing your plans in the future, but never forget life is precious and these truly are some of the best years of your life.

8) What has been your biggest disappointment/hardship since schools have been closed for the remainder of the academic year?

Honestly, the biggest disappointment has been not getting those last few months experiencing high school. Being at home has made me realize how much I really do love and miss going to school everyday. A few months ago, I’d say my least favorite days were the ones I spent stressing about a math test or finishing up an essay. I can confidently say those moments were 100% worth it knowing that I was going through it with my peers at a school with teachers passionate about education. The next few months were going to be filled with so many incredible high school memories from prom to graduation. It’s hard being at home knowing there is still so much uncertainty, but I’m thankful that we are all going through it together and continue to support one another virtually.

9) What are you most proud of about your school experience/best memory?

There’s been so many parts of high school I’m going to miss next year, but my proudest experience would have to be serving as the President for Virginia DECA! DECA is an organization for students interested in marketing and business. Serving as the President has truly been one of the most life-changing opportunities and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it! The State Leadership Conference this past year was by far my favorite event and it was so rewarding to be able to congratulate competitors on stage. I’ve also gotten to work closely with 8 other incredible state officers who truly exceed the definition of student leaders!