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Revolutionary Stories: Graduate Senior Ishani Patel Made the Most of Her GW Experience |  GV Today
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Revolutionary Stories: Graduate Senior Ishani Patel Made the Most of Her GW Experience | GV Today

Ishani Patel, a political communications graduate from George Washington University, lives his life and leaves nothing to chance. Possessing both curiosity and dedication, an ideal combination for GW and Washington, DC Patel goes all-in in everything she does and usually approaches it with a lot of enthusiasm that comes from her overall zest for life.

For example, when her first-year housemate at GW, public health student Heather Motta, longboarded in the alleys of District House, Patel watched and wondered if that was also an activity she could undertake to build an even deeper bond with her . the person who shared her living space.

Despite having no previous experience, Patel – with a little encouragement from Motta, who only took up longboarding as a means to pass the time during the pandemic – decided to give the wheels a spin. Once she started rolling, there was no stopping her.

“I thought, ‘Girl, this is so much fun, we gotta keep doing this!’” Patel said. “I bought a skateboard from Amazon for $30. It’s my favorite thing ever.”

She does admit that once a wheel came loose and she had to screw it back onto the correct axle. But unfortunately a new hobby had emerged. Suddenly, the alleys of District House and the concrete of Potomac Square would become the training grounds for simple horse riding – and beyond.

“She learned quickly,” said Motta, who paused before adding a description that captures the spirit in which Patel lives her life. “She’s also a bit of a daredevil.”

If you’ve ever entered the Foggy Bottom campus since August 2021, chances are you’ve encountered the always busy but even more fun Patel. And if you had the chance to meet her, whether she was your guide during orientation, a moot court teammate, or the person you sat next to in class, chances are your experience was unforgettable. That smile rarely leaves her face and is downright contagious to the people around her.

Her hard work, both in and out of the classroom, has paid off: She will graduate from GW’s Commencement on the National Mall on May 19, having earned her bachelor’s degree in just three years.

That daredevil mentality she displayed when learning to skateboard perfectly symbolizes why she was able to get so much out of her GW experience. She was never afraid to take risks.

“Being able to come to GW as an out-of-state student and grow into myself has been absolutely huge,” said Patel, who is from Dracut, Massachusetts, about an hour north of Boston. “I learned so much about myself here. I made so many mistakes here, and just being able to grow from them has taught me so much.”

Whether it was Motta in Potomac Square, a professor in the classroom or someone else, Patel appreciated how much she could rely on the GW community to push her to places she never thought she would go.

“There are so many people here at GW who support you…they teach you so many ways to get back up and keep going,” she said.

Patel is the living embodiment of “you get out of it what you put in,” as she immersed herself in all that GW has to offer from the moment she arrived on campus.

Ishani Patel learned to skateboard during her freshman year on campus and has used the alley behind District House and Potomac Square as her training ground ever since. (Cara Taylor/GW Today)

Moot Court was her absolute favorite and she ended up serving as communications manager. Not only did she have a love for constitutional law created by her self-proclaimed inner nerd, but she also gained lifelong friendships and experiences (like organizing a real-life competition) through moot court competitions that she will never forget. “It was the best experience of my life,” she said.

While working on orientation, she started a podcast for prospective students who wanted to learn more about college. Patel also helped manage the program’s social media accounts, in addition to her duties in interacting with prospective students during visits.

“Some students come to say hi to me even now, as a senior, and it’s just so wonderful,” says Patel, a top performer who any admissions department is more than happy to roll up their sleeves to.

One of her favorite only-at-GW moments came during the marketing of the Fall Comedy Show with Leslie Jones in October 2022. Patel, who worked for Program Board, created a video for Student Life’s Instagram story and tagged Jones in the mail. The former Saturday Night Live star then reposted the story to her more than 2 million followers.

“It was just like, ‘oh my god, that’s my face!’” Patel remembers screaming when she saw the repost.

Patel, who has completed numerous internships during her time at GW, has also been involved with the Women’s Pre Law-Student Association and the Bipartisan Women’s Supper Club while carrying a heavy course load with favorite subjects such as public diplomacy and media law. (Okay, maybe she was on to something with that whole constitutional law nerd thing.)

Although her schedule is packed to the brim with classroom and extracurricular activities, she has also taken advantage of living in Washington, DC. She will never tire of a monument walk, often bringing her friends along to share a moment on the marble steps gazing at the same sight that Martin Luther King Jr. saw during his famous ‘I Have a Dream Speech’ in 1963.

“Over time you become desensitized to it and think, ‘oh yeah, it’s just the Washington Monument.’ But then you see it, and it never ceases to amaze you,” said Patel, a frequent user of the U-Pass partnership with Metro. “I could just stare at the Washington Monument forever while I sit at the Lincoln Memorial forever.”

On a cloudy Thursday afternoon, a little more than a month before her graduation, Patel finally opened the package containing her cap and gown in the comfort of her own apartment, filled with photos of her with friends both on campus and around the city—alongside all photos of her with friends on campus and around the city. GW merchandise and swag she has collected over the years.

She tried on the blue robe before sliding the cap onto her head. She then gave a small wave of the brush, no doubt thinking about the experiences and memories of the past three years. Then of course she smiled.

And finally, she took off the cap and gown and put them away safely for May 19 before heading to the kitchen.

On the refrigerator? A fake certificate from the orientation team that awarded her the “Greatest Skater Girl” award.