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#IAMGOLDEN Student feature: Rahul Patni

Making life-changing decisions can be daunting, but often it’s not the choice that scares us but rather the uncertainty that awaits us. This week’s feature student is no stranger to making life-changing decisions, and it’s how he tackles change that’s remarkable.

Rahul Patni came to Purdue as a Mechanical Engineering major. He had his heart set on becoming an engineer in the auto industry, and he even received an internship in the automotive industry after his freshmen year. Things, however, took an unexpected turn.

“I realized in a week that this was not for me. I didn’t enjoy my time working in a manufacturing facility.”

After returning to campus he stuck it out in mechanical engineering for two more semesters, but he began looking for his true passion.

“I had dreamt as a child and had a goal of working in the automotive industry. But as soon as I got there, I found myself very confused. I thought my dreams had come true but it never felt like a dream.”

At the start of his sophomore year he began taking online programming courses from Coursera and Udacity on top of his regular course load.

“I spent some time learning how to make Android apps, programming in Python, a little bit about mathematics and probability used in computer science, and ended up really liking machine learning.”

His work paid off as he received an internship with DelMar Software for the following summer.

“Over the summer, I tried to make sure I committed code everyday. I ended up having at least 4 commits a day and a total of over 800 commits for the summer.”

Committing, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is similar to publishing code online. Rahul ended his summer with a bold decision, as many Purdue students had before him, and switched majors to something he was genuinely passionate about. In this case, that passion was Computer Engineering.

“I am now looking at college as a way to get me closer to my passion. Keeping an open-mind and welcoming change is an important quality to have.”

What’s remarkable about Rahul’s journey isn’t that he found his passion or changed his major. What makes him unique is the fact that he put in the time and the effort in pursuit of what he wanted. That kind of discipline is rare and inspiring. Interviewing him, Rahul downplayed much of his achievements and was humble, but it was clear that he had drive and passion in spades. When asked if he had any advice for those who find themselves in similar situations, he had only this to say: “This is going to sound cliche, but try new things, don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone.“

Have you been able to defy the odds to complete your goals? Tweet or Facebook us @PurdueCCO using the hashtag #iamgolden to tell us how you’re making an impact.

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