Anita Desai ‘12

Swarthmore College ‘16
13 years at CSG

Laying the foundation for success

As cliché as it may sound, I am most grateful for the lasting friendships that CSG gave me. None of the successes I have had post-high school would have been possible without the love and support of the friends I made throughout my thirteen years at CSG. My friends from CSG were my greatest comfort when I was homesick at college, my editors as I drafted my senior thesis, and my first call when I got a job. While CSG undoubtedly taught me invaluable time management, writing, and organizational skills, I wouldn’t have been able to utilize these tools half as well without the support system my friends provided. We continue to challenge, admire, and learn from one another even now that we have graduated from college, and I will always be grateful for how my classmates from CSG taught me to value collaboration and friendship over competition.

Beyond the classroom

At CSG, I wrote for Silhouette, played field hockey and lacrosse, was a member of the Robotics team, and played the cello in the Orchestra and Select Strings Ensemble. I also worked at Early Hours and volunteered in the Lower School’s Homework Help Center. These two activities were particularly meaningful to me because they helped me to feel connected to other students in different grades and disparate parts of the CSG community. As a “lifer” at CSG, maintaining these connections was especially important to me.

Finding a college home

As I researched and toured potential colleges, I searched for the things that I believed had facilitated my happiness and success at CSG: small class sizes, close relationships with teachers, and opportunities to pursue a wide variety of coursework and extracurricular activities. With these parameters, it was clear that I was probably best suited to a small liberal arts college. However, the reasons I ended up choosing Swarthmore were varied and somewhat random. I liked Swarthmore’s emphasis on writing across disciplines, and the school’s location (near Philadelphia, but removed enough that the environment remained calm) felt perfect to me. But in the end, it came down to a gut feeling I had while visiting campus. After touring almost 15 schools, I had realized that I could receive an incredible education at every single one of them, but Swarthmore was the only place that already felt like home.

Future ambitions

I graduated from Swarthmore’s Honors Program with a degree in Political Science, Statistics, and Public Policy. Specifically, my studies focused on political economy and the nexus of international trade and economic development. While in college, I spent my summers volunteering with a non-profit in Ecuador, interning at a DC think tank, and working in the Economic Bureau at the State Department. I am now working for an international law firm in New York, trying to decide whether I want to pursue a career in policy or in law. Until I make that decision, I’m enjoying living in the city, taking a break from school, and not worrying too much about the future for the first time in a while.