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Nandini Paidesetty

Coppell High School senior Mayank Ajwani is rank 6 in the graduating class of 2023. Ajwani plans on attending Rice University, majoring in Computer Science and Economics.

Mayank Ajwani

What does it mean to you to be in the top 10? 

It’s an honor. This is the culmination of what I’ve been doing for the past three years. I view it as a big accomplishment of mine, and it’s also a testament to the people that surround me. I have a good support system of my friends, my parents and teachers, especially. It is as much of an accomplishment for them as it is for me, and I try to share that with them. 

What is something you wish you could tell your freshman self? 

In ninth grade, I was more of a reserved person. I didn’t try out as many things as I could have. It was mainly because I was afraid of being out of place or being wrong. The piece of advice I would tell myself is don’t be afraid to make mistakes and try things out. 

What is your most memorable part of high school? 

Senior year, as a whole, has been really memorable. In the fall, it is stressful because of college applications, but once you get through that period, you have a lot more time to yourself and you have a lot more time to pursue your passions and spend time with friends, which has been a big thing that I was lacking in previous year. Senior year was the first time I was on the varsity tennis team, and I have been able to meet amazing people and have amazing experiences with them. 

What are your thoughts on the current education system? 

The current education system has its flaws. However, especially in Coppell High School, we have a pretty good system. The teachers here are really supportive. They don’t judge you based on who you are or where you’re from. All of the teachers are super accepting. They are always there and are willing to help.  

What are your goals for the future? 

In the future, I’m looking to major in computer science at Rice University and maybe another discipline like economics or biology. In terms of goals, I want to use my talents in a way that can help others. It is just a matter of finding the cubs and opportunities and continuing the hard work and work ethic that I’ve built up through high school and keeping that in college so I can hopefully continue to succeed.   

What is your secret to success? 

I have a supportive circle around me. My parents and younger brother are always there for me. I don’t have to hesitate when I need things from them. It’s the same thing with my friends. I think a lot of it is the people I surround myself with. Other than that, I can be a hard worker, and I am sometimes willing to go the extra mile if I need to. 

What was the hardest lesson you had to learn during high school?

It is OK to not always be perfect and correct. A lot of that stems from comparing yourself to other people. When you make a mistake, and you see other people that aren’t making that same mistake, it feels like maybe I’m not good enough for this, but that’s not the right mentality to have. I’ve learned throughout high school to stop comparing myself to other people and not being afraid to make mistakes here and there.  

How did you stay motivated and what was your motivation throughout high school?

Part of my motivation is that my parents come from humble beginnings. They have not had as comfortable of a lifestyle as they’ve given me.  They have worked really hard to give me these opportunities. It would be rude of me to not take advantage of them. Another part of it is, in terms of academics, I can be hard on myself in terms of wanting success in that realm. 

How much effort did you put into studying after school?

It depends on the time of year, but typically I would get home and have an hour or two of free time, but from then on until really late at night, I would work. I put in a lot of work to get where I am, and  in terms of studying and getting homework done, it’s been a big time commitment. 

What is your advice for younger students?

The first thing is try out new things and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be yourself. If you’re interested in something, chase after it. Don’t be scared to follow your dreams and pursue your passions. If you have an opportunity, always take it because you’ll never know what you might miss if you don’t. 

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