As Valedictorian of the Class of 2020, Sidharth Bejugama will be honored by speaking at the Graduation Ceremony this year. The Banner took some time to catch up with him and ask him to reflect upon his high school years.
What advice would you give to younger students?
"Always be open-minded and flexible in your thinking, whether it be towards the people you meet or the experiences you consume."
If you could give one piece of advice or knowledge to yourself as a freshmen, what would it be?
"[I would tell myself] to have a healthy balance between [my] studies and social life; to maximize fun both in and out of the classroom."
Who inspired/encouraged/guided you throughout your journey at NBTHS?
"I would say my peers, for always pushing me to be better in the classroom and for also introducing me to nuanced perspectives and ideas through daily conversations outside of it."
What are your goals during and after college?
"Nothing concrete yet, but I plan on staying forever curious in my ventures and to continue learning for the sake of learning. I find medical innovation pretty fascination, so that seems the likely route so far."
What college are you planning to attend and what will be your major?
"I plan on attending Princeton University and majoring in Molecular Biology."
What inspired you to want this honor (Valedictorian) in your school?
"Nothing specific; it kind of just came along as I worked hard throughout high school. I’ve always loved learning, and I think that itself translated pretty seamlessly into my performance in the classroom."
Do you regret NOT doing anything in life so far?
"I have no regrets; I’m pretty satisfied with how everything turned out so far."
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
"I’m not too sure, but I’m confident I’ll be telling cringy jokes with my friends and going on adventures far and wide, whether that be physically and/or intellectually."
What was your favorite memory of your time at NBTHS?
"It’d have to be the first NBTHS MUN Conference that we hosted at our school. It was a nice time where people from various parts of Central Jersey came to celebrate global perspectives. It made me proud that NBTHS took part in a powerful venture to create an intellectual community beyond our classrooms."
What struggles did you have getting to where you are in life now?
"Being Asian and acknowledging that you like STEM is a little difficult because it “fits the stereotype” so to speak, and people don’t take you as seriously. So for me, it was tough being told “no” often because it seemed that I was merely following a cultural standard. Getting past that barrier was a significant part of my grind in high school and I’ve gathered that displaying genuine curiosity in your endeavors, regardless of what others may think, can oftentimes pay off in the end."
Sidharth Bejugama '20