Going to college meant travelling long distances. Every morning, Sathiya Sankar who resides at Swamimalai changed two buses to reach her destination—Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu. It was a 1.5 hour journey each way. ‘I would leave home at 7:30 am and come back at 6 pm only,” she recounts.

Back home, it was a daily struggle. Sathiya lost her elder brother in a road accident when she joined college. While in Class 8, she lost her father who succumbed to a heart attack. Her mother, the sole bread winner, is a daily wage labourer. “We are originally from Kumbakonam but after my elder brother’s death, we decided to move to Swamimalai for some time as our home in Kumbakonam brought back old memories.”

The change of place produced desired results. Despite facing challenges early on, Sathiya continued to remain focused. A B.Com graduate from the Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science (2018-2021), she scored an aggregate of 88% during the first five semesters.

What’s more, Sathiya recently got placed as a relationship manager with City Union Bank. She will be starting her professional career at an annual package of Rs. 2.16 lakhs.

Sathiya has been an academically bright student, scoring 94% both in her Class 10 as well as Class 12 public exams. She has fond memories of her years in college. “First of all, the college infrastructure is superb. The canteen serves healthy and freshly cooked meals at all times. Our professors are kind and repeat lessons till we fully absorb everything,” she says.

Every Friday, one period in her class was dedicated to Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the Founder of Swami Dayananda Educational Trust (SDET). “I came to how he started this movement and his life has been very inspirational and motivational for me,” says Sathiya.

College days were also fun days with Sathiya not only actively participating but also organising departmental and inter college festivals and programmes. “The good thing is that team spirit always came to fore during such events and there was no groupism of any kind.”

Year 2020 was Sathiya’s final year at college and online classes meant zero socialization with friends. “Thankfully, college reopened in February and I could spend sometime with my friends,” says Sathiya.

Sathiya says that her mother is very relieved that she has bagged a job in a prestigious organization. “A lot of people have helped me all along starting from my school alumni, to staff and trust members till the third semester in college. I bagged a scholarship during the fourth semester while my mother managed to pay fees for the fifth and sixth semester. I would like to thank all of them and would also like to give back to other deserving students in some way one day,” concludes Sathiya.