Believe in Yourself
Bakhtawar Shahbaz changed her major a few times before choosing psychology. “I finally realized how interested I was in learning about human behavior and psychology in general,” she says.
As she prepares to graduate in May 2022, Shahbaz is also preparing the speech she will deliver at New York Tech’s 61st Commencement ceremony. She sat down with The Box to talk about her journey to New York Tech, her time here, and what she has planned for postgraduation.
Can you tell us about how what you are learning in the classroom is preparing you for entering the workforce?
My classes are extremely interesting and engaging, which has allowed me to learn how to better perform in groups and communicate openly. I also enjoy how Professor Melissa Huey focuses on us presenting our projects in a creative way, which taught me to think outside of the box and prepared me to handle work that doesn’t necessarily involve discreet instructions.
What is your favorite part of the psychology program?
Classes that teach me about myself and help me understand different behaviors.
How is New York Tech preparing you for the future?
New York Tech has prepared me for the future not only through my classes and work experience on campus but also by providing many student engagement activities on campus, which helped me learn about diversity, communication, leadership, and much more.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to look for jobs and work for a few years before I get my Ph.D.
Why did you want to be the student orator for Commencement?
Graduating from college with this degree is a huge deal for me, so I wanted to share my story with everyone.
I come from a small town in Pakistan, where there is not much focus on women’s higher education and where the topic of mental health is still not taken seriously. Therefore, deciding to move to New York and pursue psychology was a groundbreaking step not just for me but for thousands of women like myself who struggle with choosing what they want for themselves instead of letting society dictate it.
I think most people could relate to my story because my main struggle was making myself believe that I could do it. I think people struggle with self-doubt and are too critical of themselves, but what I’ve learned through my journey is that the most important part of succeeding at anything in life is believing in yourself.
What do you love about New York Tech?
I love the diversity and how New York Tech is inclusive of different cultures. Also, the location of the New York City campus.
What surprised you about New York Tech?
The size of the classes was surprising. I always assumed that in college, I would have classes full of 100+ people, but classes were so much better because they helped me develop great relationships with my professors and classmates.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
I would say never stop believing in yourself because most people in college are just as clueless as you are.
This interview has been edited and condensed.