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314 Kronshage, Swenson Hall

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! The infectious cries of the crowds at Camp Randall still echo in my ears when I think of a football match at UW Madison, with an entire stadium lit crimson—it is a fever, and being a Badger is an emotion like no other. Football is a religion in Madison, and for me, it created a feeling of belonging where people from all over the globe and different age groups came together to support one team. Discussing and cheering for the Badgers at Nitty Gritty, Kollege Club, or Rathskeller helped me make more friends than I ever did in my classroom.
What was my favorite part of studying at UWMadison, you ask? It is so tough to pick one—was it the experience of watching a football game with my peers? Was it the summers spent in Madison rowing and exploring its beautiful lakes? Was it the beautifully spread-out campus that welcomes its students each year with such generous arms? Or was it the Babcock dairy, which serves ice creams, milk, and cheese like no other campus?
As I arrived on campus, a girl raised very protectively by her parents, who had never lived on her own and never really experienced the taste of independence, so many questions ran through my mind. Would I survive the Wisconsin winters? Would I make friends? How hard would engineering be? Growing up, I visited the US many times as a tourist, but this was a whole new ball game. Living continents away from my mummy and daddy would be a journey bigger than I had ever experienced. I distinctly remember the teary goodbye when I bid farewell to my parents from my window. But what comforted me was that we were all going through the same emotions—my roommate asked me if I wanted to watch Gilmore Girls, and that was the start of a lifelong friendship.
Initially, navigating our classes, student organizations, and food halls was overwhelming, but I soon got the hang of it. While trying out new restaurants—I was amazed at the amount of cheese every dish was loaded with. Wisconsin Cheese has a long history, with flavors as crazy as Chocolate Cheese and Maple Leaf Cheese. Wisconsin Cheese Curds are an eclectic mix, but in a nutshell, it’s a crunchy fried cheese dish that can be paired with anything or had by itself.
314, Kronshage will forever be etched in my memory. How serene our dorm building looked in summer—with the gorgeous Lake Mendota right next to us. In autumn, the fall leaves adorned the outskirts of our dorm, and in winter, the entire lake froze, and we would even walk on it— something I had never witnessed. Sitting at the Memorial Union terrace with my laptop and completing my homework was a weekly staple in summer and fall, unlike the tropical weather I was accustomed to, where winter is not a life-changing experience. Wisconsin Winters was one of the biggest shocks I experienced, with the temperatures dropping as low as -18 C. I did realize why no one had signed up for a 7:30 discussion section (due to the freezing cold in the mornings and fewer on-campus buses running at that time) and why people ate dinners so early at, say, 5 or 6 in the evenings with early sunsets in winter months.
Dorm Building
UW Madison, being a big state school, offers a vast array of courses. I had always been an avid reader, but it wasn’t until I had taken an African Folklore elective course that I realized I love to learn about mythology across cultures. I started freshman year wanting to pursue chemical engineering but eventually majored in Industrial Engineering.
Engineering Department
What is so great about the flexibility in the course selection in the US is that I could try out several engineering courses to determine my focus area. I immensely enjoyed human factors, e-commerce, and healthcare management—all of which came under the industrial umbrella at that time, and that helped me understand which pathway works best for me. My junior year design project with American Girl in Chicago (a making American firm) enabled me to work on devising a loyalty program, and this interdisciplinary project paved the way for me to Georgetown University for my master’s.
I can trace my achievements and personal growth from today to the experiences UW Madison gave me, be it as simple as introducing me to Sushi, broaching my way into research at nursing informatics (UW Hospital), or braving the cold—Wisconsin helped prepare me for life ahead.

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