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Viking Spotlight: Shivani Patel

Shivani Patel

Major: English and Secondary Education
Hometown: South Harwich, MA

Why did you choose to attend Salem State?

At first, I chose to attend Salem State because of the price. However, as soon as I visited it became more than that. Salem State felt like home in many ways as soon as I set foot on campus. The campus is small, yet beautiful. The city of Salem has so much to offer, and I loved that campus is woven all throughout it. Finally, the 4+1 program really appealed to me. It’s an excellent use of both my time and money. Salem State is a great school for education, and I am getting my degree faster than I would be normally. Coming here was the best choice for me in every way.

What surprised you the most when you got here?

I was surprised by how personable everybody is. Professors truly care about their students on a personal level, and there are offices on campus specifically for making sure that students feel welcome and at home. A lot of larger universities don’t have this at all, so I really love that Salem State does.

What are you involved in on campus?

I am an Admissions Ambassador, Vice President of the Community Service Initiative, and a member of the Commonwealth Honors Program.

What's it like living on campus?

I love living on campus. I lived in Peabody Hall freshman year and really enjoyed getting to know my fellow first-year students and making new friends. Being on North Campus was so convenient to get to my classes, and it was really nice to be right next to the library. I now live in Viking Hall and it is absolutely beautiful. I love having my own bathroom and living in a suite with my best friends. Being close to Starbucks is also a huge perk!

Best Salem State Experience so far?

The best experience I’ve had so far actually didn’t happen at the school, but while I was on the Alternative Spring Break Trip hosted by the Community Service Initiative. I made so many friends on that trip, and it felt really good to help a family in need. We volunteered with Habitat for Humanity of Horry County in South Carolina and helped build the framework of a house for a single mother and her three sons. On this trip, I learned about my own privilege and how lucky I am to have what I do. It truly gave me a completely new outlook on life, and I’m so glad I went. Also, seeing a new part of the county was a cool experience!

Where is your favorite place to hang out on campus?

My favorite place to hang out on campus is the music practice rooms in Bertolon. While I am not a music major, I have played the flute and saxophone for many years, and I love that I can keep my hobby alive by going to the rooms. I also like that they are open 24/7, so if I get stressed at night, I can always go to the practice rooms and play my instruments to calm down and relax my mind.

My favorite place downtown is the Peabody Essex Museum. Because we get in for free as students, I go as often as I can to look at all of the various exhibits. I feel like there is always something new to see and discover in that museum. You could go once a week for the entire school year and still find something new to observe and learn about each time!

Tell us about a time you had the opportunity to learn about your academic program beyond a textbook or outside of the classroom.

Because I am an education major, I have to do observation hours. Last year, I was able to observe a real high school English class at Salem High School. It was a very enlightening and cool experience because I hope to one day teach high school English. It was interesting to observe the dynamic of a high school English class without actually being a part of it, and I learned so much about how to get students to be engaged with what they are learning. They were reading and discussing The Kite Runner, which is a very good book, and I enjoyed hearing their input on the novel. I found out that leading a literary discussion with a group of high school kids can be difficult, but the end result is so worth it. I loved seeing them all talk and discuss the difficult concepts that the book covers.

What's one piece of advice or guidance you would give to someone considering attending Salem State?

TRY EVERYTHING. Don’t be scared to try new things and meet new people. You never know what will become of an opportunity. Yes, you may hate it, and yes, it may not be for you, but at least you can say that you’ve tried it. Opportunities will not find you, you need to seek them out yourself. Join a new club, talk to the student who sits behind you, take an interesting class. You will never know what will become of these opportunities unless you try them. Some of the best things that have happened to me at this school did because I took a leap of faith and tried something new. I’m so, so glad I did these things, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t.

Name one item you can't live without during the school year.

I cannot live without my planner. I need my planner to be with me at all times. I have a fairly busy schedule, and I take a lot of classes, so my planner is crucial in making sure I get everything done and I know what is going on at all times.

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