Nanda Navis

Anticipated graduation year: 2012

Major: Sociology, Cultural and Social Analysis Track; Minor in Peace Studies

Hometown: 'Hometown' is a liquid concept for someone who has grown up like me. I've lived in seven countries, moved 10 times, and never lived in one place for more than four years. I graduated from Hong Kong International School, where I spent the last three years of high school, but my parents have moved since then into mainland China. I suppose that leaves me with Lynden, Wash., where I have family and have spent almost every summer of my life. Though people on campus from Lynden tend to debate my 'Lyndenness,' they accept me as being half from Lynden. So I suppose that is the best answer to the question of where my hometown is.

Whitworth activities/clubs: International Justice Mission – Whitworth Chapter, resident assistant, and the Sociology Club.

Favorite Book: Of late this is a toss-up between My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith. My guilty pleasure is fantasy or historical fiction by most any authors, but I really do enjoy Stephen R. Lawhead and Trudi Canavan.

Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Undoubtedly going to WinCo Foods during midterms or finals and stocking up on Haggen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Or letting myself fall asleep on a towel in the Loop when it is sunny while pretending to do homework.

We'd be surprised that... I tend to have trouble with English grammar. When I write, for some reason I tend to use British spellings and proper English, and when I speak I tend to mix idioms up a lot. I blame my ignorance of American sayings on where I grew up.

Favorite thing about Whitworth: My favorite thing about Whitworth is without question the unfailing love and acceptance of the community. If you are trying to find answers to your questions, there are people you can ask all around you who won't judge you for asking. That includes professors, residence life staff and other students. I've never lived somewhere where I felt so loved and at home.

Best class: The best class that I have taken at Whitworth has been Race and Ethnicity, with Jenni Holsinger. I would recommend it to anyone going through the sociology or political science department at Whitworth. It's really just an eye opener to the reality of racism to people who have not had any experience with it in their own lives. You also manage to get a lot of different perspectives in the class, which is always helpful in gaining a better understanding of the issue.

Favorite residence hall: I admit I have two favorites -- the only two that I've lived in. I absolutely love and adore Warren because it is my home; I was Traditiated there. The community is diverse, and the close quarters and busyness of the hallways force you to get to know people, which sometimes is very important. I also have a special place in my heart for East, the newest Whitworth dorm. I spent all my free time during spring semester my sophomore year up in the third-floor lounge with some great friends doing homework and people watching. It was a remarkably good way to get to know people.

Why I chose to attend Whitworth: I chose to attend Whitworth for a couple of reasons. One of them, though not the most important, was that my brother was attending Whitworth when I was looking for a school to attend. More importantly though, Whitworth gave me a very good financial aid package, and I had the chance to compete for a full-ride scholarship. At that competition, I made it a point to try and get to know people who would be in my class, and I ended up coming out of that, three years later, with some incredible friends that I have now known since before I was a freshman. Their friendships are invaluable, and I had the opportunity to really experience the Whitworth community before truly being a part of it.

Advice for incoming students: Don't have too many expectations. Make yourself a part of the Whitworth community; don't just expect it to be there for you. It's a working relationship that everyone wants to be a part of. When you first move in, leave your door open, walk down the hallways, no matter how awkward it is, and introduce yourself. Maybe take some cookies with you (it worked for my roommate and I!). When you go to your first class, pay attention, the teachers really do appreciate you if you show interest in the subject, even if it's just a basic level class that people are mostly taking for gen-ed requirements. If you're off campus, make it a point to stick around some dorms during the first few months and make some friends, really become part of the community. For everyone, don't be afraid to try new things. Jump in and be energetic, even if it makes you a bit uncomfortable. Don't overload yourself with credits. Really, unless you have to, 19 is way, way more than you need to take in one semester.

What I plan to do after graduation: This is almost as liquid of a concept as hometown is for me. At the moment, I am looking into going into residence life after I graduate, or else possibly doing my master's in some form of community development. A lot of what I will do depends on my experiences as an R.A. this year and with some of the specific classes I am taking.