Humans of Harker: Practicing positivity and perseverance

Ayesha Baweja (12) influences others with her hard work, optimism and blend of interests

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“I always try to be as high energy and happy as I can, just because people are usually stressed out and can be upset at times. I want to make them happier – I want to make people's days a little bit better, even if it's in the smallest way,” Ayesha Baweja (12) said.

A grinning Ayesha Baweja (12), sporting a pair of Nike running shoes, sprints over to a large group of seniors chatting at a green picnic table outside Dobbins. She immediately launches into a conversation, and her friends laugh at something she says. Ayesha’s smile and bright personality are clearly visible, even from afar.

Ayesha keeps a positive and lively nature to inspire others in her everyday life. She understands how difficult and exhausting school can be, and she strives to make everybody feel better.

“I always try to be as high energy and happy as I can, just because people are usually stressed out and can be upset at times,” said Ayesha. “I want to make them happier – I want to make people’s days a little bit better, even if it’s in the smallest way.”

Close friend Smriti Vaidyanathan (12) has experienced Ayesha’s kindness and patience first hand.

“[Ayesha’s] always willing to listen to your feelings. And she always puts others before herself. She’s always looking out for her friends, no matter what’s going on,” Smriti said.

Besides focusing on being positive, last year, Ayesha was the Director of Marketing at TEDx. Through TEDx, she found a way to connect her passions: business, design, and computer science. 

“A lot of the stuff that I did was posting stories and creating content and videos. I really like that it was a combination of multiple things … I’m interested in CS, business, and design, and I was looking for ways to combine them,” Ayesha said.

Ayesha enjoys being able to explore many different subjects, and she strives to find a way to bridge all her activities.

“If you’re only focused on tech or business or design, then you can’t appreciate all the aspects of it and what goes into it,” Ayesha said. “Having a good understanding of all three makes me have a more well-rounded perspective.”

These passions are what make Ayesha unique. She doesn’t follow everyone else; rather, she makes sure that she’s actually doing what she loves.

“I respect how she’s always trying new things and making sure that she’s addressing her passions and not just doing what everyone else does. She’s really open to exploring the next point,” said friend Joshua Zhou (12).

However, Ayesha has had to overcome many challenges to reach where she is. She has a condition that creates a stutter, and ever since her freshman year, talking in front of big groups was a struggle, even in class. But after returning from a diversity conference, she conquered it, and she’s proud that she could work through the difficulty.

“In my sophomore year, I got to talk to all the Harker faculty, and there were like a hundred of them in one room,” said Ayesha. “It was insane for me. But I did it, and I was honestly so proud of myself.”

Being able to do all this is not easy, and it’s all because of Ayesha’s dedication and perseverance. She manages all her extracurriculars and pursues all her passions, while still aiming to stay cheerful and optimistic. Occasionally, people don’t even realize how much time and effort she puts into her work.

“She’s very hardworking and creative. When she puts her mind to something, she works at it until it’s not just done, but also done well,” said friend Delaney Logue (12). “Sometimes, you just can’t see how hard she’s kicking under the water. But she’s staying afloat.” 

Even if intangible, there are many rewards to Ayesha’s hard work.

“It makes me feel fulfilled. People at TEDx were enjoying it and having a really good time, and seeing the impact that it has on other people honestly makes me really happy,” said Ayesha.

Her perseverance and determination have inspired and influenced those around her as well. So not only does Ayesha’s optimistic personality affect others, but her ability to work hard does, too.

“[I admire] how hardworking and driven she is; she is very organized with her goals,” said Smriti. “She always has a list of things she needs to do to get to certain points. And it really motivates me to do the same – to organize my life and set goals in the way that she does.”

Additional reporting by Emma Gurleroglu and Nicole Tian.