2023 Recap: A Brand New Chapter

Aarav Garg
9 min readJan 22, 2024

Another year, another chapter. 2023, for me personally, was a year filled with tons of learning. It involved a lot of instrumental transitions in my life. The transition from high school to college, the transition from living with my parents to living all by myself, the transition from living in India to living in the US.

I’ve captured my experiences and learnings from them below. Feel free to leave your feedback, learnings, and reflections down below.

JANUARY

First Talk of the Year

The year began with a banger event hosted by StartupKart at the T-Hub campus in Hyderabad. It was so much fun speaking and interacting with students from various B-schools from all over India.

I shared the stage with Nikhil, the founder of GHM, and a Shark Tank India contestant, learning a lot from him about what happens behind the scenes of business reality TV shows like the Shark Tank franchise.

Aarav delivering the first talk of the year at T-Hub, Hyderabad.

FEBRUARY

Panelist at a National B-Plan Competition

It was such a delight to interact with college students in Early February at the National Business Pitch Fest ‘Anthah Prerna 5.0’ organized by the Bhavans Vivekananda College in Hyderabad.

It was an honor to share the panel with veterans from the world of education. The event brought along an insane amount of learning for me and everybody.

March

Young Entrepreneur Award 2023

In the first week of March, I was awarded the Young Entrepreneur Award 2023 by the Department of Pharmaceutical Management, NIPER Hyderabad. It was an absolute delight to attend the event.

It was also so much fun addressing MBA students at the university. I learned a lot from everyone around me and tons about the health-tech industry.

Delivering My Third TEDx Talk

At the end of March, I delivered my third-ever TEDx talk at TEDxISH. It was such a fun experience. It was my first physical TEDx talk as both of my other two talks happened during the pandemic, making them virtual events. Speaking to real people is always better than speaking to a camera.

This time, I talked about the ‘Scary Impact of Artificial Intelligence’ and embedded an interesting thought experiment in the talk using AI itself.

May

A Vacation to Kashmir

In May 2023, I visited Kashmir, a state in the northernmost part of India. It was a super fun and exciting trip. After visiting Kashmir, I can safely say that it is one of the most beautiful places in India if not one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Meeting the US Ambassador

Ended May with meeting the U. S. Ambassador to India, Mr. Eric Garcetti. Learned so much from this conversation about India and the USA.

August

Moving to Purdue University

On August 9th, I flew to the United States to begin an entirely new chapter of my life–Purdue.

I was more than excited to be accepted into the Purdue University class of 2027. On 11th August I moved into my dorm room on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Indiana to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Robotics Engineering.

The college application season was a wild journey but was super fun and taught me a whole lot of new things.

September

Joined the Autonomous Robotics Club of Purdue (ARC)

In September, I was appointed as the Project Lead for “Sphero Swarm”, the latest project of the Autonomous Robotics Club of Purdue.

This is 1 of the 6 projects under the largest robotics club at Purdue University. I’ve been spearheading the initial development and growth of the project, and have been heading a growing team of 30+ super-talented individuals spread across 5 sub-teams: Hardware, Algorithms, Controls, Perception, and Interface.

We have been working with robot balls and swarm robotics to create an interactive scientific demonstration of chemical molecules.

October

Trip to Six Flags Chicago

In October, our University Residences planned a trip for us to a wonderful and super exciting amusement park in Chicago. It was my first trip with my friends from Purdue and was so much fun.

Joined Purdue Launch as Project Lead

I was also appointed as the Project Lead for the Robotics project at the newly founded Purdue Launch Club at Purdue.

As a part of this, I’ve been working with the state of Indiana to create insightful and impactful robotics curriculums for high schools.

Volunteered on Purdue Space Day

Organized by university students, Purdue Space Day (PSD) is a one-day educational outreach program that provides school students in grades 3–8 the opportunity to learn about STEM by participating in three age-appropriate activities with a space theme.

I volunteered for Purdue Space Day and even got a chance to meet two veteran astronauts who have been in space for months.

ARC Mid-Sem Review

We had the mid-semester review of our Sphero Swarm project at the Autonomous Robotics Club of Purdue.

So far into the semester, we presented our progress to the entire Board of the club, consisting of other Project Managers, the President, the Vice-President, and other executive members.

We made great progress this semester. The project was set up. Sub-teams created. Initial members were onboarded. We surpassed the initial brainstorming stage and started hands-on work. We started creating prototypes.

We also received a huge amount of feedback from the board.

It was a fun experience, both as a presenter for my project with my team and as a reviewer for other projects as a board member.

Intel CEO x Purdue President

I attended a very insightful fireside chat panel discussion between the CEO of Intel, Pat Gelsinger, and the President of Purdue University, Mung Chiang.

Pat was such a mesmerizing speaker with all of the world’s wisdom in his voice. He talked about how he had been an instrumental part of the early growth of Intel Corporation and how he had to leave, only to come back stronger in recent years.

It was super fun.

November

Diwali @ Purdue

Spent my first Diwali away from home, away from my family, but with super exciting friends at Purdue. Different but wonderful experience.

My First Rocket Launch

I am a part of the Purdue University Student Launch team within the Purdue Space Program: A SEDS Chapter. We work all year to build a rocket that we will eventually launch at the NASA Student Launch competition in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

This year, we are required to eject a payload mid-flight from the rocket as part of the competition’s guidelines given by NASA.

In late November, we had our subscale flight test. It was super successful and insightful. Most importantly, it was super fun launching my very first rocket as a team.

Cooked for Thanksgiving

Experienced my first Thanksgiving in the USA. Was so much fun. We cooked our food in the dorm kitchens as the dining courts and most restaurants were closed for Thanksgiving.

Attended My First American Football Match

In late November, I also attended my first American Football match. It was a collegiate football match between Purdue University and Indiana University. Purdue vs IU is a big deal on campus as IU is our rival school. Fortunately, we earned a sweet victory on our home campus.

December

Purdue’s Christmas Show

In December, I attended a very special Christmas Show hosted by the Purdue Musical Organisation. It had over 10,000 people attend it as it was a grand show commemorating their 90th anniversary.

ARCCon: Flagship ARC Event

A few weeks ago, we had our flagship final end-of-year conference at the Autonomous Robotics Club of Purdue called ARCCon.

It was a super exciting event filled with fun activities, poster presentations, and a ton of learning. Presented my project Sphero Swarm’s progress for the semester.

We have made substantial progress this semester. We had an amazing set of people working on our team working with exceptional dedication.

Excited to make a lot more progress next semester. Love the opportunities that Purdue University provides you to grow!

Visited University of Texas Dallas

First Christmas in the United States

It was so much fun spending my first-ever Christmas in the US. Learned a lot about American culture.

Reflections

Outside the Classroom

Speaking at events like StartupKart in Hyderabad and leading the Sphero Swarm project at Purdue showed me a whole new side of education. For instance, working with a team of talented individuals on our robotics project expanded my understanding beyond what I learned in lectures. It’s amazing how real-world experiences, like visiting Six Flags in Chicago and volunteering at Purdue Space Day, taught me lessons that go beyond the classroom.

Such experiences fuelled my want for self-learning through exposure to experiences and knowledge outside the classroom which I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.

Adapting to a New Place

When I first moved from India to the US for college, I expected it to be super hard. But looking back, the process of adapting wasn’t as tough as I imagined. Joining clubs like ARC and Purdue Launch, making friends during the Chicago trip, and even attending my first American Football match made the transition smoother. Each small step, like cooking for Thanksgiving with friends in the dorm kitchens, helped me feel more at home. It’s a reminder that change, though it seems big at first, can turn out to be a series of manageable steps.

Valuing Family Time

Living away from family made me realize how special those times are. Now, I understand the importance of enjoying family moments when you’re with them. For instance, my first Diwali away from home was different but wonderful, celebrating with friends at Purdue. It made me appreciate the warmth and love that family gatherings bring. This year emphasized the need to value and make the most of the time spent with family, recognizing it as something precious.

Conclusion

Reflecting on 2023, it’s been an incredible journey filled with learning and growth. From speaking at events in India to receiving awards, making the move to Purdue University, and leading a robotics project, each experience has been humbling. The transition from high school to college and from India to the US brought valuable lessons.

Whether it was the excitement of a Chicago trip or the thrill of launching a rocket, every moment taught me something new. Celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving in the US added a special touch to the year. As I wrap up 2023, I’m genuinely grateful for the support and opportunities that came my way. Looking ahead, I approach the coming year with humility and anticipation, eager to build on the lessons learned and create more meaningful experiences at Purdue and beyond.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey. Here’s to continuous growth and embracing the adventures that lie ahead! 🌟🚀

--

--

Aarav Garg

17 | Founder @ Tech Nuttiez | Innovator and Entrepreneur | TEDx Speaker | Robotics @ Purdue '27