If you don’t already know Jerryl Varughese, you’re about to. Jerryl is the pinnacle of student involvement here at USF. If anyone was going to be the official Bernie of the school, he would fit the bill.
Varughese is an international student from Bangalore, India who is in his junior year. He is currently double majoring in Accounting and Business Analytics. If being a double major who is taking 7 classes this semester wasn’t enough, Jerryl is also a Resident Assistant (RA). He works as the Student Relations and Marketing Liaison at the Career Success Center, he’s a Saints Ambassador, a Marian Desk Worker, Co-President of the Financial and Education through Experience, and finally, is also a member of the Duns Scotus Honors Society. Although this long list of commitments seems overwhelming (and most likely is), Varughese says that college is what you make of it, which is why he chooses to have such an active involvement.
“The way I look at it, if I wanted to just fly under the radar,” Varughese said. “I could’ve opted to stay back home and not travel halfway across the world. With my involvement, I really do feel like I’m living the American college experience!”
When asked what his favorite thing about USF was, it wasn’t too much of a surprise when he said it was the people and the connections he has made.
“When I say that I’ve made friends and family for life here at USF, I’m not kidding,” Varughese said with a smile. “I moved to the US a day before classes started with no friends or family; just two suitcases containing 19 years of my life that had to weigh under 100 pounds to avoid paying the extra baggage fee!”
Having so many commitments, it would be almost impossible not to have a favorite. Jerryl’s is being an RA. He explained that there is a big misperception of what RA’s do and that students think they are “cops” and “snitches” within the dorms which isn’t the case at all. Rather, their job is to ensure that every resident feels safe and can proudly feel at home within the dorms, and he absolutely LOVES that part. Varughese is located on the third floor of Marian, so he gets to work with a lot of the freshmen as his residents.
“Seeing how [freshman] navigate the challenges of being in college with some help from their RAs and other sources, is extremely fulfilling,” Varughese said.
Jerryl doesn’t have much free time, but when he does, he likes to spend it playing the piano. Varughese has the unique talent of being able to hear any melody from a song and automatically replicate it on the piano without reading any music. He has been playing the piano since he was five-years-old and finds that sitting in front of a piano and getting lost in whatever tune he creates is his way to wind down from a stressful day. He recently learned how to play pickleball, so when he wants to de-stress with friends instead of in solitude, that’s what he tends to turn to.
Although Varughese has a strong exterior and carries himself with so much grace throughout his crazy schedule, he did admit that he has faced some challenges along the way.
“Adulting is hard,” Varughese said. “There are days when I ask myself if all of this even makes sense and whether it's worth it. Being around 9,000 miles away from home makes you homesick at times. But it’s during these low times that I tap into my friends and family and remind myself that I’m here working towards my goals and dreams.”
As he moves into his upperclassman years of college, Jerryl is starting to focus on what he wants to do once he graduates. He expressed interest in staying in the US to work towards those career goals which would be in either finance or the data sector as he wants to put his accounting and analytics skills to use.
However, he does worry about the immigration challenges that come with staying in the US since he is an international student.
So, now that you know a little bit more about Jerryl Varughese, if you see him around campus, whether it’s in between his classes, work, or meetings, make sure to say hi! His friendly demeanor and smile that lights up the room is sure to make your day.