essai finds Wolfy waiting for us in *her* chair near the front door of the office- earphones in. She’s displaying her ‘Brown Class of 2022’ sticker proudly on her laptop.
E: Let's start with the question everyone wants to know the answer to. How did you become the Wolf?
W: Farhad caught me listening to Shakira before class and that was that.
E: And now you're essai's cover girl ! (If you don't get this reference you need to check out our website now)
W: looks embarrassed
Honestly I didn't even realise you were taking photos that day!
E: Oh Wolfy! You’ve always been a favourite of ours. But have you always been such a wonderful student?
W: I’m not a model student at school- i’m certainly not the teachers’ pet! But I’ve always worked hard in my own time. I used to get a sense of self-validation from excelling at school, but over time, and under my parent’s encouragement, that’s turned into a self-motivation to pursue the things I am passionate about. I’ve also had some really inspiring teachers who have played an important role in turning me in to the student I am today.
E: Do you remember any one teacher in particular?
W: I had an English teacher last year who really taught me how to think about literature in a new way.
E: Tell us more...
W: We read a Manto short story about a father and daughter fleeing post-Partition violence in India, in which the daughter was separated from her father and raped. The father organised a search party, who found his daughter on the side of the road, but she never recovered from the experience and she stopped speaking. When I first read the story I thought that the girl was a weak character.
E: What made you change your opinion?
W: My teacher helped me to see how the girl had dealt with the trauma by separating her mentality from her physicality, and how she was actually representing immense strength. I learnt to appreciate and recognise the complexities of characters in literature in a way I’d never considered before, and this hugely added to my appreciation of the texts I’ve read since. This teacher was also a feminist, someone I really looked up to, and I’ll always remember those classes as the time when I re-learnt how to think.
E: You’ve told us how you moved to Delhi in your early teens; that’s an awkward age to make such a big transition. Do you think you’ve settled in over here yet?
W: It was actually when I started school in Delhi that I began to feel as if I was finally coming out of my shell and developing my own personality. Although I’d always done well at school in the past I’d been quite shy and withdrawn, but by Year 9 at the British School I was really flourishing. I won awards for best sportsperson and best all-rounder, which hugely boosted my confidence and motivated me.
E: But what was it like to attended an international school in what is supposed to be your ‘home’ city? Do you think it has set you apart from the ‘reality’ in some way?
W: I do feel that my international school experience might have put me in a bit of a bubble- a sealed-off space which I’m still trying to figure out how to escape. I adore living in Delhi though- it’s my home and I’ll come back here after college for sure.
E: The Delhi chaos drives us insane sometimes, so it amazes us that a girl who seems as organised and put together as you do can flourish in such an environment! Can you explain it?
W: It sounds strange but I like the chaos, the jams, the horns, the vegetable sellers. I like to sit in the car and just take the opportunity to move slowly, watch, listen, and absorb my surroundings. This is how I connect with my city.
E: It’s hard to imagine a whirlwind like you ever slowing down! But we admire your style of positive engagement with the city madness. Moving on to talk about us now- where does essai fit into the educational terrain of Delhi?
W; essai is the closest thing to IB-style education I’ve seen in Delhi- meaning that students are given the opportunity to think creatively and apply their knowledge according to their passions.
E: How did this ethos compare to your expectations? And given that you probably could’ve gotten a good score on the ACT by yourself, why did you stick with us?
W: I just based my expectations on what I’d already been exposed to- I was expecting a high pressure environment where I didn’t necessarily get on with the teachers, but luckily essai blew these expectations out of the water!
E: How so?
W: essai is relaxed and calm, but smart and motivated at the same time. essai teachers develop a personal relationship with their students- something I didn’t get at school- as they truly want them to succeed. I had a lot of small/ 1-1 classes in which the teachers really broke down the passages and questions for me. I remember one reading class with Farhad and Dilshaan- we were discussing a passage but then somehow got side-tracked into a discussion of the movie ‘Titanic’. This developed into a full-on debate over whether Rose and Jack could have ever had a successful relationship or if it was doomed to fail from the start! I took the role of pessimist- they’d never have bridged the social gulf which separated them.
E: We remember that! Did you ever hit any icebergs on you ACT voyage or was it all plain sailing and pop-culture debates?
W: Actually, the week before I took my first attempt at ACT I freaked out and nearly backed out, but luckily Farhad (who later told me that he had just come out of a massage!) calmed me down by persuading me that I’d worked hard and that the most important thing was just to give it a go. I got a 34 on my first attempt, which I was really pleased with.
E: And to think you nearly didn’t even give the test! After ACT you came back to essai for your essays. Why couldn’t you stay away?
W: I missed the chilled environment. I wanted to try to do it alone, but despite my best efforts I couldn’t find anything I was passionate enough about to write essays on. When I finally realised that I want to keep my options as wide open as possible, I decided to come back to essai for help.
E: No one can resist the lure of R-19! In the end, were you able to form the narrative you needed for a strong common app and supplements?
W: I worked better in the office than when I was sat at home by myself. I was given the time to think freely and creatively when writing my essays. My favourite counselling moment was during a recent session with Sonali when we sat outside in the winter sunshine drinking green tea, wearing shades, laptops on laps. It really changed my attitude towards the whole process when Nick told me that you shouldn’t be writing to impress a college- you should be writing for yourself- about you. I ended up writing about my experience of trying to re-assimilate in a country that was supposed to be my home
E: Farhad wanted your essay to be about Top Gun!
W: Oh yes! I used to be so obsessed with it, but now my friends have forbidden me from mentioning the movie because they’re so sick of it.
E: Top Gun 2 comes out this summer- time to re-start the obsession?? Anyway, it’s time for the fun questions now. First- if you could choose three jobs in the future what would they be?
W: answers very quickly- she must have been expecting this one! They would have to be: owning a shack in Goa, working for Goldman Sachs, and discovering a living specimen of the megladon! Perhaps not in that order though…
E: Err.. the megladon?
W: It’s a specieis of prehistoric shark- did I mention I’m obsessed with sharks? There are rumours that it still exists today, and I believe it does and that I’ll be the one to prove it. You know that they found the remains of a Great White shark at the bottom of the ocean? Nothing but the megladon could have killed a Great White.
E: struggling keep up with this rush of information and enthusiasm...Woah slow down we can't type that fast!
W: Sorry! I’m always being told that I speak too quickly… I think it’s because I have so many thoughts in my head and I need to get them out! I guess it can sometimes be a nervous thing too- I tend to overthink things and stress myself out.
E: We love your speed- just as long as you let us catch up with you!
So if essai was an object?
W: It would be a full moon! It guides you…
E: And it only appears once a month?! What about if we were a food item?
W: I know for sure- Lemon crushed ice. My favourite snack. Chilled out to the max!
E: And a colour?
W :Light blue- it’s such a caring colour.
E: essai blue of course! What about if we were a celebrity?
W: A Celebrity? I would choose Emma Watson. She’s intelligent, interesting, different, fun- someone I really look up to.
E: We approve of that one. And Emma Watson was also a Brown student! Now we know you’re a big music fan- we have great memories of you in your chair by the door with a song playing in your earphones. So which songs have been the soundtrack to your ACT/college application experience?
W: Haha great question! I’d narrow it down to Eye of the Tiger, I Wanna Dance with Somebody, Little Bird by Annie Lennox , ACDC, and She Wolf of course!
E: And finally, we have asked past interviewees to make a prediction about our future- what’s your prediction?
W: I think essai will continue to expand and eventually become really big- but I just want you to continue to give the same amount of dedication and care to each student who comes to you!
E: Of course we will! Thanks for coming in Wolfy- we can’t wait for you to come back and intern with us this summer.