Of course, there were struggles. Vishesh Dembla expected that when he arrived at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering two years ago to start on his computer science master’s degree.
If those struggles sometimes seemed overwhelming, no one said elite education was easy.
Now that reward had arrived, as Dembla participated in the Luddy School’s Class of 2022 Winter Student Recognition Celebration at Dorsey Learning Hall, he reflected on the achievement.
“It was hard work. There were a lot of ups and downs, but in the end, it was worth it,” he said. “During the process you’re like, why are we struggling?”
Dembla found that answer, and more.
“I’m definitely happy.”
Dembla was one of more than 240 students recognized on Dec. 15 for earning bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.Ds. in computer science, data science, human-computer interaction, informatics, information science, intelligent systems engineering, library science and secure computing.
Esfandiar Haghverdi, executive associate dean for undergraduate education, gave the welcome and closing remarks.
Andrew Myers, Luddy Alumni Board co-chair and a 2011 Informatics graduate, was the alumni speaker.
Myers shared three keys in each person’s life -- yesterday, today and tomorrow. He said what happens today will have the biggest impact. He suggested an approach he called A-C-T-S. That stood for Accept the challenges presented to you; be Content with the present, give Thanks and use it for self-reflection as well as to empower others and have Snacks.
“OK, I needed an S,” he said with a smile, “but really, take time for ice cream along the way, something that makes you happy.”
And, finally, “Never forget how yesterday and tomorrow are linked to what you do today.”
The student speaker was Renuka Srishti, who earned a master’s in computer science.
Dembla said his favorite Indiana University memory was his first day at Luddy.
“You leave your old life behind and start your masters. I met a lot of new people. I learned a lot in these two years.”
Next up -- a software engineering job at Google.
“I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing,” he said. “I’ll learn that in the next couple of weeks.”
Then there was Anita Badrinarayanan, who also earned a master’s in computer science. She said her favorite Luddy memories center on the people she met, the friends she made and the faculty who inspired her.
“The diversity I found here was great,” she says.
“We came during a period when things weren’t that good because of Covid. There were some issues we faced. After going through all of that, it’s great to have graduated. It’s very satisfying.”
Before giving her speech, Srishti said her experience at Luddy made her wish she had come to IU earlier.
“I was thinking, why wasn’t I here a few years back to work on what I want to do?
“I’ve done lots of great stuff. Luddy has a lot of opportunities. It was great. I had an amazing experience.”
It was so amazing, Srishit added, that for some classes, she wished they’d have met every day rather than once or twice a week.
“The professors are amazing. They made me feel at home. I needed some guidance because I was taking heavy subjects. They guided me so well. I was worried I’d have to do it by myself, but I wasn’t alone.”
Haghverdi emphasized that Luddy School graduates are well prepared for the jobs and challenges ahead.
“You can be certain that the skills you acquired at the Luddy School, the seeds of knowledge, will drive you in the future, and make you successful in whatever profession you choose,” he said. “You will be among the leaders who will solve the most challenging problems facing our society.”
He added that, “Nothing is more valuable than knowledge,” and that the Luddy School helps provide “the sheer know-how that allows you to tackle an issue where others might fall short.”
During her speech, Srishti spoke of the importance of consistency, self-belief, not giving up and working to become the best version of yourself. She emphasized prioritizing what needs to be done. If you do that well, work consistently and give daily effort, she said, “You can achieve everything you want,” including graduating with a Luddy School degree
“Here we are,” Srishti said. “We did it, and we did it with excellence.”