Ribhav Mittal: KC Public School (2019), UCLA Student

Posted: 07 March 2023

Ribhav Mittal graduated from KC Public School in Jammu in 2019. He won the King Constantine Medal in his graduating year for his leadership in promoting RS at the school. Ribhav is now in his final year at UCLA and will shortly graduate with a degree in Financial Actuarial Mathematics and Accounting.

Ribhav believes that his exposure to the Round Square IDEALS has helped shape his outlook. He thinks that the competencies that he developed at school, such as leadership, teamwork, compassion, responsibility, and communication skills, were encoded in the Round Square Discovery Framework which is a central tenet of the KC Public School philosophy.

Ribhav also credits his close-knit family with helping him to form his worldview. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs, and he believes his father and grandfather are responsible for igniting that same passion within him.

“I’ve always had that love of business even from a very young age. I think sometimes it separated me from the other kids because I had this great curiosity about how things work in the business world. I would spend time with my grandfather, and he shared his wisdom and encouraged me. He told me to make sure that I always put the extra in front of ordinary.”

Ribhav attended KC Public School from elementary to graduation.

“I tell you, it was the most wonderful twelve years. I met my best friends and encountered the best teachers. In Grade 1 I had this one particular teacher. Her name was Mrs. Sonia Thakur. She was one of my biggest inspirations. She treated me just like one of her kids.”

KC Public School became a Round Square Candidate in 2017, and Mrs. Sonia Thakur was appointed the RS Representative. Ribhav was quick to take on a leadership role as Round Square became embedded at the school. He was appointed as one of the first RS Student Representatives and helped to spread knowledge of Round Square and the IDEALS throughout the student body. He realised that he valued the sense of responsibility that came with the job and enjoyed the teamwork involved.

“I’d always been an active and engaged student but the thing that got me really interested was the way that thinking about the IDEALS helped me to focus my energy in a more concentrated and specific way.”

In his senior year, Ribhav was selected to be part of the delegation to the Round Square International Conference in Canada. He attended the portion hosted by Ashbury College in Ottawa.

“We were staying with host families, and this was the best thing for me because I just love meeting new people. I am naturally inquisitive, and I love to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. It was a great opportunity for me, meeting people from almost 50 countries, such a diverse student group. Even now I’m in contact with many of them.”

Ribhav describes Adventure Day at the conference as a highlight for him.

“Ziplining across mountains and doing high ropes on the big trees. It was really fun. Up until Grade 6 I was really afraid of heights, so this gave me the chance to practice something outside my comfort zone. It reminded me that courage was one of the twelve discoveries!”

Subsequently, Ribhav describes himself as becoming a bit of a thrill seeker. “Last year I went on my first skydiving experience. I was super scared, but I said to myself that I might as well take this opportunity, so out I jumped!”

Ribhav says that an early opportunity to challenge himself came in Grade 5 when Mrs. Thakur encouraged him to take part in a major theatrical production.

“She said that she had this amazing role that could be just perfect for me, but I’d never been on stage before and most of the other actors were five or six years older than me. I remember sitting in the corner thinking “What am I doing, you know, among all these senior people?” We were performing in front of 2000 parents, and I think that was one of the moments that something clicked inside me. It was the moment that I realized that I enjoyed being in front of an audience. It certainly helped me improve my communications skills.”

From that point on, Ribhav went from strength to strength, appearing in more theatre productions and becoming a leading light in the school’s Model United Nations teams.

Beyond being a talented mathematician, Ribhav loves poetry as well as acting.

“Both have helped me to shape my creative side, they allow me to open my heart and show my creativity as well.

Ribhav pauses at this point in our conversation and looks pensive. “Sir, Mrs. Thakur passed away just five days ago. I am very sad.” We talk a bit about Mrs. Thakur’s special qualities and what a loss she will be to the school and the students.

Ribhav believes that compassion is a Discovery he learned at both school and home and one that helps in almost all interactions. His family has always been involved in community outreach in Jammu.

“We would run weekly community kitchens to help feed the poor day labourers. Here, and on the school service projects, I learned that humility and compassion are essential to building any kind of relationship.”

Like thousands of other college students, Ribhav’s studies were severely modified during the pandemic years. For two years he lived at home in Jammu and kept up with his UCLA courses online. The twelve and a half hour time difference with California made this particularly challenging. Ribhav was on night shifts for two years, waking for classes at 7pm and going to bed at 9am but he found the tenacity to persevere and continued to excel academically.

Ribhav likes to throw himself into all aspects of university life. He served as a UCLA Housing Ambassador, assisting students with issues like facility maintenance and security. He and a group of friends started Bruin Capital Management, UCLA’s premier undergraduate student-led hedge fund. He also works with a club of computer science students who develop Apps specifically targeted at helping the UCLA student body. Ribhav assists them with their financial models.

As Ribhav tells his story, it becomes clear that he has learned and internalized all the competencies described in the RS Discovery Framework. Inquisitiveness, tenacity, courage, compassion, inventiveness, ability to solve problems, self-awareness, sense of responsibility, appreciation for diversity, commitment to sustainability, communication, and team-working are all part of his skill set.

Ribhav was definite about the advice he wants to pass on to students that are currently studying in Round Square schools.

Your greatest resource is people. Be humble and build a network of people, friends, teachers, teammates. Eliminate fear; try new things and pay no attention to those who might laugh at you. I can say with firm assertion that the world you desire can be attained. It exists, it is real, it is possible. It is yours.

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