Voice of Alumni
My name is Dr. Sakhila Ghimire. I am a postdoctoral scientist at the University Hospital Regensburg in Germany. 16 years ago, in August 2005, I started my journey in KU as a biotech student. Born and raised in Kathmandu, Dhulikhel seemed like an offshore little green piece of heaven on earth. I stayed in Girls’ Hostel so that I didn’t have to commute and I could absorb the beautiful surroundings every single day.
KU life, walking down the memory lane, was the best time of my life. I wish I could go back now and live those four years all over again. When I look back now, I feel nostalgic. Hanging out with my friends, spending time and doing stuff together while developing that strong bond is something I truly treasure for life.
Our courses and books were so excellently chosen that I am still using the basic knowledge that I gained in KU. Academically, I used my KU knowledge throughout my Master’s and Ph.D. and still use it as a postdoctoral scientist. 2-3 hours of scribbling on an exam paper at the end of every semester and 3.8 overall GPA cannot explain one’s true potential. My GPA is long dead but my knowledge is still alive. Focus on your education to shape your thoughts rather than scores on paper.
My 16 years of experience tell me this is what you will need in your life:
- Interpersonal skills: Competition is cut-throat. You need to develop interpersonal skills to stand out.
- Discipline: Sounds old school but really works. Train yourself to self-control. Be kind and polite when and where you can.
- Choice: We are the product of the choices we make. Choose wisely.
- Balance: Your brain and body need to stay in a balance. Exercise, learn music, read good books, meditate, learn to cook/bake, eat a balanced diet.
- Up-to-date: Knowledge becomes obsolete over time. Technology is changing fast. You must stay up to date with new inventions and findings.
- Purpose: Find a purpose in life. You need a realistic goal that you want to achieve.
- Patience: Last but not least, the hardest part is being patient. Miracles don’t happen overnight. Things take time. You need to be patient and persistent towards your goals.
Dr. Sakhila Ghimire
Being a pioneer batch of biotechnology comes in two flavors, you get all the benefits and yet you face all the troubles. Clearly, batch 2003 had to go through both of these experiences. Now we are closing in on two decades since we joined KU and our reflection could be very different from the current situation.
For me, KU is my identity. Being a scientist was my dream and KU turned my dream into reality. KU is a collection of all fortunes where you don’t just pick one and leave. I can proudly say that KU inculcated wisdom inside me, and wisdom never dies. Secondly, my college friends still beat in my heart and we still talk with each other and talk only about KU.
Things that we learnt at the Department of Biotechnology are very useful now. I apply them almost every day. So, in my opinion, career wise, we only know what we got from KU after a span of some years when we really implement the knowledge in our real life. To summarize, KU made me a human who is better able to comprehend the situation and face it or deal with the problem rather than run away from the problem."
I love changing heroes in my life. Recently, one person has held that position dearly. He is an Italian motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi. With nine Grand Prix World Championships to his name, he is an ace of the racing world. An exciting fact about him is his pre-ride ritual. Before riding the powerful man-made beast, he will approach his bike and crouch down to hold the right-side foot-peg to “talk” to it. Imagine it as his process to transfer his soul to the beast. Vroom! It does wonders on the track! But that is not why I admire him!
He has a prolific record of winning world championships in every category: 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP. But this history is also interspersed with winless streak spanning multiple years. Despite this, he still races! Rossi won his first Grand Prix when I was five and with 40 years beneath him already, he still has the same passion he had when he started. More importantly, it is not the result of the race that drives him; it’s his zeal for a race. When passion becomes the sole driver of your work, you enjoy every bit of it, and the rest fades in oblivion.
My first message as a KU alumnus: find what you are passionate about and choose a career that integrates your passion seamlessly. I found that I was interested in the prospects of a research career during my final year thesis at KU. That introspection has driven me to a foreign country for a PhD with no regrets. Some of my friends loved teaching. They decided to work as a primary school teacher after their undergraduate degree. It is less about judgement or competition and more about what makes you happy. Success comes along the way with determination and commitment.
Too often, we spend our time criticizing the labs and mentors at Kathmandu University. I hardly doubt that this comes as a surprise to our faculty too. I worked as a teaching assistant for more than two years. I can assure you- the road to expanding our facilities and enhancing our teaching environment is not a straight one. Constructive criticism is a must from faculty as well as students. Surprisingly, we adore fault-finding and often ignore our responsibility for constructive comment. It would be much more productive if we spent our time thinking about the ways to make the most out of the limited resources at the university. This spirit will surely come in handy when you enter your final year and work on your thesis. Even if we had a better facility than the current one, I highly doubt that it will surpass the current research environment found in premier institutes abroad. Most of the alumni have excelled even in such competitive environments. I thereby argue that it is the spirit to excel that matters more than the skillset you acquire during your undergrad. The rest will follow with time and opportunities.
But most of all, enjoy your time at the university. Some of the relations cultivated at KU turn into marriage. Some turn into memories. Memories that age like wine, sweet when you open it years later during nostalgia. Hope these recollections also sparkle like a glass of champagne at a celebration, and you don’t have regrets for any of it! Cheers to a beautiful you!
Siddhi N. Paudel
It was 2013 and I had recently seen a poster on stem cell technology when I was visiting a hospital. Intrigued by the science, I researched colleges offering scientific application-based studies and found the program at Kathmandu University. My major focus when I enrolled in the program was to earn a degree, but Biotechnology is so much more. It might look like you are a jack of all trades but in the end it’s all about making the world a better place.
I am currently pursuing my PhD at Purdue University in the Department of Biological Sciences. I am working on targeting epithelial to mesenchymal transition in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, which has the worst five-year survival rate of all cancers. The field of science thrives on new perspectives. If you have a great idea, work on it and figure how to make it happen. We as a graduate from the program are equipped with problem-solving skills, communication, and teamwork. Wherever I go, these are the three fundamental skills that I carry with me. The love for science and perseverance has got me where I am today, and I hope I will get where I want to be.
I was reminiscing my days at Kathmandu University and all the experiences have shaped who I am today. From fun chiya guffs to cold nights working for experiments, from making new friends to finding the love of my life, from early morning Sandaar ko paratha to building myself as a scientist, this place has given me everything. We might be researchers in Neuroscience, Cancer, Medicine, Agriculture or an entrepreneur delivering quality goods or service, we will always be a KUBTian at heart.
KU always has a special place in my heart and I feel content to be called as a KU-ian (if that’s the word), glad I decided to study Biotechnology in Kathmandu University. The first thing that I was drawn to was the location, KU is located at such a magical, beautiful and serene area, Dhulikhel. The weather and clouds are definitely the best part of KU.
Only after getting close to the courses of biotechnology I realized how enormous science and technology actually is. Saying that I want to proudly say that KU is one of the few universities in Nepal that truly focuses on practical knowledge besides theory. And I am glad I was able to land on a decent job, all thanks to my KU degree. I am currently working in Decode Genomics and Research Center and performing PCR tests for COVID-19.
I was more inclined towards Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Genetics during my undergraduate years. I also received an opportunity to visit Japan as an exchange student under the supervision of Dr. Bhupal Shrestha. I have had a lot of opportunities to grow and become better while studying in KU. Not just course lessons but KU has definitely taught me life lessons too.
One of my best times in life is KU-life. Nepal tour and India tour are another highlight of my life in KU. Hence, to all my juniors enjoy your golden four years in KU, you cannot relive these years again so make sure you make it worthwhile.
The grades and GPA definitely matter but what matters most is your state of well-being, being happy and confident about yourself. Always believe in yourself, set an aim and work every day to get closer to your dreams. Life’s definitely unpredictable and you cannot be happy always but never give up and keep moving on.
Lots of love from Sudati.
As kids, we aspire to leave marks in the world we live in. We believe ourselves to be the future rebels and changemakers. We build ourselves so high that no limitations can shake us, no orthodoxy can break us. But then, one day, out of nowhere, reality crashes our faith and hope of changing the world. Reality brings down our plane of aspirations, inspirations, and imaginations. But then, this is life. There is no roller coaster that only goes up. Success is all about rising up every time you fall and trying again every time we fail.
Studying at Kathmandu University is all about enjoying your freedom, whilst fulfilling your responsibilities. Once you realize that, there is no stopping you. Cheerio.