Life Beyond Oak Park: Episode 2 – Disha Beeraladinni


[intro music]

Sri: Hey there Oak Park, welcome to Life Beyond High School. I’m Sahana Sri, and in each episode, I’ll be interviewing Oak Park alumni about their memories from high school, and what life is like after graduating. In this episode, I’m interviewing class of 2019 graduate Disha Beeraladinni.

Sri: Thank you so much for being here. Could you please introduce yourself with your name and what year you graduated? 

Beeraladinni: Yes, my name is Disha Beeraladinni. I am the class of 2019 from Oak Park High School. I am currently a senior at UCLA pursuing a Financial Actuarial Math major.

Sri: That’s very cool. Did your high school experience influence your decisions of your major, or the college that you went to?

Beeraladinni: Partially, but I wish OPHS did offer more financial classes. I feel like there’s only one class that’s available for students, which is Financial Math. So I had to branch out during my high school career, and I took two financial accounting classes at my local community college.

Sri: So what are some of your best memories from Oak Park? Are there any lessons you carry with you?

Beeraladinni: One lesson or improvement that I could see in myself is my English vocabulary. My writing skills improved a lot thanks to my AP English teacher Ms. Schultheis. She really fine-tuned my English vocabulary. That’s a strong advantage to my academic side. Social side, I was very shy as a high school student, and I wasn’t very open-minded. So if I could go back to high school, I wish I could improve my social skills and be more open-minded. Because I had a very small group of friends and I wish that I could have branched out and participate in more campus activities.

Sri: What are some things you miss about being in high school?

Beeraladinni: The rallies were fun. And being with my friends. Senior year was fun, and my junior year. I think my last two years were more fun than my first two years of high school because I was really restricted with not having a free period, not being able to go out during lunch, things like that. It’s a big thing for high school students, but now that I look at it, it’s not that big of a deal.

Sri: But it’s still definitely something for underclassmen to look forward to.

Beeraladinni: Yeah.

Sri: On the flip side, what are some of the best parts of being an adult? What can current high schoolers look forward to?

Beeraladinni: Independence. You’re not restricted because you’re in college you find your own route. It can be a plus and minus at the same time. Oak Park did give me a set schedule on how to accomplish things and be more focused and that helped me carry out as a college student, thanks to Oak Park. A con of that would be you’re just restricted, and like I said I wish I was more open-minded and college taught me to be more open-minded and I have a different group of friends for different social levels. I don’t think I would have the same friends back in high school. 

Sri: Okay. So do you have a lot of free time since you’ve been out of high school? 

Beeraladinni: Yeah, more free time which gives you more time to explore with yourself and at the same time, you have to be productive of how you can use that free time, not have it completely going to waste and not completely utilize it minute by minute. I feel like I had more free time as a college student because homework is optional; like I said, Oak Park taught me to be on top of my stuff. So even if homework is optional, I still do a few practice problems that can help me for the exams and balance out my social and academic life.

Sri: Nice. Do you spend most of your free time catching up on work for classes, or are you involved in clubs and student organizations? 

Beeraladinni: I try to balance it out. I do a little bit for school work, but I also try to make sure the work I’m doing as a college student is being put towards my career goals. So I wish I did participate in more campus activities, even as a college student. Like I said, I’m actually a transfer student so then it’s hard for me to be part of selective clubs and organizations on campus. It was hard to find clubs that do match me; even though they did match me, they had their own application process and wouldn’t accept transfer students. So I had to find my own niche, which were small data science clubs, actuarial clubs. I try to make it focused on my career. 

Sri: What are a couple of things that got you through high school? For some people, they bring a comfort item to their least favorite class or some people fall back on their friends. So what got you through high school?

Beeraladinni: My free period. Senior year, it would be my free period. As an underclassman, I really didn’t have that much free time so it would probably be lunch or nutrition. Or if I had a certain close classmate or a friend in a class, that would get me through.

Sri: I think a lot of high schoolers can agree with that: free periods are the best. 

Beeraladinni: They are.

Sri: Do you have any advice for current Oak Park students?

Beeraladinni: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Enjoy the ride. Don’t live up to society’s expectations of being a high school student. If Plan A doesn’t work out, there’s always Plan B; don’t stress out too much because it’ll all work out one day.

Sri: Awesome, thank you so much. I’m sure a lot of people needed to hear that.

Beeraladinni: Anytime.

Sri: Thank you so much for your time. This was awesome. 

Beeraladinni: No problem.

Sri: Thank you for listening to this episode of Life Beyond High School. I hope you enjoyed, and I’ll see you next time.

[outro music]