College is a time for learning, but it shouldn't stop once you graduate. That's the message senior Chris Cardoza wants to share when he takes the podium May 14 as IUPUI's student commencement speaker.
It's a testament to his love of learning and his desire to explore new things. His college journey started with the adventure of coming to IUPUI as an international student from India.
"I always wanted to come to the United States," Cardoza said. "When you actually come to the country and stay with the people, that's when you understand what is going on and how the society is. I wanted to know, and I want to keep doing that."
Cardoza said he has enjoyed Indianapolis, its opportunities and the food -- his favorite place being Jack's Donuts.
And his ambitions are not limited to earth. Cardoza, a physics major in the Purdue School of Science and a student in Honors College, is the president of IUPUI's space club. He said space fascinates him and he got to be a part of projects and competitions associated with NASA through the club. He even started a podcast, "To the Stars," to talk about space and connect with alumni in the aerospace industry.
The pandemic didn't stop him either. While we stayed home and moved classes and activities online, Cardoza took the opportunity to discover more of his creative passions.
"We were not expecting it to be more than a year long," he said. "I think it really allowed us to reconnect with ourselves and find our hobbies. I started writing more. I did a lot of artwork and explored myself more."
Cardoza's self-reflection helped him discover where he wants to go after graduation. When he started college, he was focused on getting a degree, then a job and money, but now he said he wants to do more of what makes him happy.
"I want to get out of my comfort zone, just like I did by applying for commencement speaker," Cardoza said. "IUPUI has solidified my commitment to learning and let me explore different aspects of myself throughout the four years, and I want to keep doing that after I graduate. So I want to share that message with everybody."
Where is he going to explore next?
"I would go to Mars," Cardoza said with a chuckle. "No, I'd like to see Europe."