Senior Snapshot: Aryaa Sheth Found Community 7,500 Miles from Home

Aryaa Sheth ’21
Author  Cheryl Minde ’24
Published on 

When Aryaa Sheth ’21 first arrived at Wellesley, she was over 7,500 miles away from her home in Mumbai, India. Like most first-years, in the beginning she was just trying to find her way around campus. Soon, Wellesley College had become her second home. She found a strong support system, a safe place, and comfy sofas to sit on and talk about life.
In her second year, Sheth knew she wanted to become more involved on campus. She became the treasurer for the Slater International Student Organization, the events coordinator for the Wellesley Globalist, a student-run global affairs magazine, and a general member of Smart Women Securities, an intercollegiate organization focused on financial and investment education for women.

Sheth had been interested in finance and economics since high school, and taking ECON 102: Principles of Macroeconomics with Olga Shurchkov, associate professor of economics and director of the Knapp Social Science Center, solidified her decision to major in economics. “I loved how she taught and really enjoyed the class,” Sheth said. “Olga provided me with a lot of opportunities … I love the work she does, the energy that she brings to the class. She just makes it fun!” Sheth tutored and graded for ECON 102 the subsequent semester and during her senior year.

Sheth said she deeply appreciates how special the Wellesley faculty is and how they truly go out of their way to invest in and support student success. For example, Akila Weerapana, associate professor of economics, would hold office hours on Sundays to help students with problem sets. And she said she consulted with David Lindauer, Stanford Calderwood Professor of Economics, about many of the academic decisions she made at Wellesley.

Sheth has been studying off campus in Boston during her senior year; she didn’t realize at the time that her farewell to Wellelsely would be in the spring of 2020. While taking FREN/CPLT 359: Advocating for Other Cultures that semester, a Calderwood Seminar in public writing taught by Barry Lydgate, professor of French, Sheth wrote about the artist Vinita Karim, whose work she stumbled across while visiting a museum in Mumbai, who travels with just a suitcase full of art supplies. When Sheth had to leave campus quickly that March, she thought about Karim. Should she pack up her whole room, or just take a suitcase? Like Karim, who makes the most of where she is and travels only through her paintings, Sheth too reminds herself to make the most of where she is, with her memories of Wellesley.

When Sheth looks back on her favorite campus experiences, she thinks of the stranger who held an umbrella over her while she tied her shoes in the rain. She thinks of the staff at Collins Cinema Cafe, who discussed vegetarian alternatives to their menu with her; Moonlight Breakfast at Lulu and Bates dining halls during finals; the fairy lights in her dorm room; walks around Lake Waban or to the Vil; and her groups of friends who became family.

Sheth wants incoming students to know that Wellesley has a community of faculty, staff, and students who, if you reach out and act with kindness, will make your experience invaluable.

Her advice: Go wild when choosing your classes, because Wellelsey has so many engaging professors and fun courses beyond your intended major. It can be easy to feel like you are not good enough, so try to find a course load that works for you, and remind yourself that you are working really hard. Lastly, and most importantly, make time in your schedule to relax and have fun.