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Sally Parampottil

Coppell High School senior Preethi Jayaraman is ranked No. 7 in the CHS class of 2021. Jayaraman will attend the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for business with the intent of studying marketing.

Preethi Jayaraman

What does being in the top 10 mean to you?

I obviously worked very hard in my high school career, and I obtained results from my high school career. Part of it was just being lucky to have made it to the top 10, because there’s so many smart and successful people who are both ranked and unranked. I just did some things right. 

Was this a goal that you’ve always had, and if so, how did you work towards it?

Yes, it was honestly a goal that I’ve had, probably since middle school, since my older brother cared about [academics], and I was influenced by him. To work towards it, I tried to challenge myself with the courses I took and took courses that I knew challenged me. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I strived to get the highest grades possible in those classes. 

What advice do you have for students aspiring to reach the same level of academic success you had?

It’s good to work hard and good to take those challenging courses, but you’re going to end up being a lot more successful in school and life in general if you learn to balance things. It’s really easy to get carried away with the whole top 10 thing and the whole GPA race, but it’s not worth losing your sleep and losing your mental health over, which I have experienced a little bit. I don’t think these kids need much advice on how to be academically strong because I know Coppell has so many intelligent, hard working kids. It’s more the balance that’s a very important aspect that goes unnoticed. 

Looking back over your high school years, what’s one thing you would tell your younger self? 

Not to sweat the little things because it’s really easy to get carried away and get swept up in the peer competition. It’s really important to check in on yourself and make sure whatever you’re doing is solely for you and make sure to just stop and enjoy the process before it’s too late. 

What has been the most memorable part of high school?

Choir because I took choir all four years of high school. I enjoyed most of the AP and IB classes I took, but it was a great break to have choir every single day or every other day to unwind a little bit and focus on one of my passions that wasn’t related to academics. 

What are your thoughts on the current education system, and is there anything you wish were different? 

It’s too focused on numbers and standardized tests. It should be more focused on letting kids explore their passions because some kids really do love math and are great at it, but some kids will never have to take a derivative for the rest of their lives, so what is the point of them learning about it? I understand some things need to be measured and standardized, but the education system can do a far better job of letting kids find passions in their youth, rather than having them work towards getting certain scores and therefore making them hate learning in the process. 

Why did you decide to pursue marketing?

To be honest, I’m still not exactly sure what I want to do in my future, which goes with what I said about how the education system is flawed in certain ways. I was one of those kids who spent all of my time trying to get those scores, and I did get a lot of those scores and succeed in that aspect, which I’m proud of. However, I’m still figuring out my passions, and I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with business, [though] I see myself in the business world in general. Who knows? Maybe I’ll like marketing. 

When you were a little kid, what did you dream of growing up to be?

I dreamed of growing up to be a Subway sandwich worker. That was all I wanted to be in the future, and I actually ended up pursuing this dream; in sophomore year, I got a job at Subway. I wanted to be the person to put the sauce on the sandwich [and] do the zigzag with the sauce. I was choosing between that or being a lawyer or being a doctor. Subway sandwich worker kind of topped the other two. 

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