Vivek Shah is a senior who has spent a large part of his college time playing competitive Frisbee at the SEC level.
What do you think of your characterization as the sassiest man on campus?
That is something that you just made up. Adithya is the only who says things like that. I am sassy, I will say. I do enjoy getting under people’s skin. Its my fun way of connecting with people. Sometimes I piss them off, and sometimes I don’t. I usually avoid being super sassy until I’ve at least established a relationship with that person. So, when I’m at that point, it usually means we’re friends.
Why did you become an RA?
Wow, that was a long time ago. I’ve been an RA in Warren and Moore since the building opened, and I think it was the novelty of the whole experience. The bigger part was that its like the Commons in terms of the goal of programming, but with upperclassmen. Upperclassmen are involved and have very different problems, and I always related better to upperclassmen than other freshmen. So, it made sense for me to be an RA in a place that allowed me to advocate for residents. If you guys are doing something, I want to go to it. For me, that’s how I’m an RA. In a selfish way, its a chance for me to experience everything that’s happening on campus. I don’t try to force a community, but I’m the connection between all the residents. So, if I see connection, I try to build it without forcing it.
How’d you get involved on the competitive Frisbee team and what is it like?
I never played Frisbee before college, but when I got here I realized it was something i wanted to do. I had a lot of injuries in high school that stopped me from playing sports. I tore two ligaments in one knee and one ligament in the other. I had a fractured ankle that was as bad as a broken ankle. I figured it was time to find a sport that wouldn’t leave me as susceptible to injuries. It’s the most fun thing I do. You sit in class, and there’s that side of college. But, playing a club sport, going to other schools, travelling, hanging out…it’s one of the most unique parts of my experience. We compete in the SEC, and we have plays with specific offenses and defenses. I’ll be in Auburn and then SLU in early April. Vandy hosts a tournament in February. It’s the thing that I look forward to the most. I’ll leave for tournaments on Friday afternoon and come back physically and mentally exhausted Sunday evening having done no work, but it’s great. I go to a lot of meetings, but Frisbee is a tier above that. Whenever I go to practice, it makes my whole day better from start to finish. For me, playing Frisbee is almost like a tiny engineering game of trying to figure out where the Frisbee going. I don’t think of myself as the best athlete on the field, but I know where I need to go when.
You’ve spoken a lot about playing Frisbee and taking the time to experience campus. How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
It’s such a personalized answer. In terms of work, I know myself in that I don’t need a quiet place to study. Anything could be happening, and I just don’t care. I know I’ll get my work done regardless and that ability allows me to be productive in a variety of situations that aren’t deemed to be conducive to work. My major doesn’t require me to memorize things; I just need to understand principles and then apply them. I also don’t think more time means you’re more productive in that time. You can work for 12 hours and not get that far. For me, realizing that I can learn just as much in less time because I am happier with what I’m able to do with the rest of my time is important. In terms of work-life balance, I love food. Nashville is such a great place to get out and do stuff and being a student affords you so many opportunities. If you don’t establish a good work-life balance now, you’re never going to. It’s often as simple as committing to eating at a new restaurant once or twice a month. It makes me more aware of what’s going on in the city. Also, Frisbee is work and life. I put in the hours, and it’s also so much fun. I mean, you’re basically a happy dog chasing around a piece of plastic. And, that’s exactly what I want: to be happy in the moment.