Texas Tech University

Student Spotlight: Gourav Rath

Master's in Mass Communications

Gourav Rath's parents told him that in life "you should always be a good man first". Gourav has already done a good job living up to this directive. He grew up in Bhubaneswar, India and received his undergraduate degree in Media Science from MAKAUT (Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology) in Kolkata, India. After he graduated, Gourav always thought he would continue his education in another country. This plan was almost derailed when he was involved in a traffic accident while working in his first job out of college.

Tell me about yourself and your decision to come to Texas Tech.

Gourav Rath 1"I have always planned to get a master's degree abroad because if a person studies in a country like the United States, he is likely to be surrounded with a lot more exposure, hands on experience and professional culture. While I was researching graduate schools, my mentor during my undergraduate studies happened to be a part of Texas Tech. He suggested I apply here and I was fortunate to be accepted." But Gourav's life plan had a few twists before he arrived in Lubbock.

After receiving his undergraduate degree, he began working as a content writer for a company located in his hometown. During this time, Gourav returned with some friends to Kolkata, the city where his university is located. They were going to attend the Dusshera festival and participate in a dance called Dandiya. Gourav had wanted to go to this festival during the three years he studied at his university, but it always occurred during the holiday break. When they arrived in Kolkata, Gourav was waiting on a street corner for an Uber when he was hit by a truck. His left leg was crushed, and his doctors were unsure if he would ever walk again. Gourav decided he did not want to be bedridden for the rest of his life, so after eight surgeries, much support from his family, and incredible determination, he was back on his feet in nine months.

During his convalescence, a close childhood friend asked Gourav if he would help him start an educational technology company whose purpose would be creating video lectures for students in grades 6-10. In two years, the company received an award as the best start-up company in the state of Odisha.

What has been some your favorite experiences at Texas Tech?

"One of my favorite experiences was participating in the Texas Tech Homecoming Parade with other international students. The students marched in the parade holding flags from their home countries, but I was at the front of our group holding a flag that said "Namaste, Y'all". What made the experience even better was my picture was featured in the online Texas Tech newspaper."

"I also have made really good friends here. My friends are like my brothers and I was able to attend the same festival I missed in Kolkata because of my accident. We celebrated Dusshera at a Hindu temple here in Lubbock and I finally got to participate in the Dandiya dance. One of my close friends, Chitransh, fractured his leg while dancing so I took the responsibility of taking care of him as I happened to be the "oldie" of the group. The moment that made my heart skip a beat was when he mentioned that I was the reason he was healing so fast."

What advice would you give to other students who are thinking about studying abroad?

Gourav Rath 2"Initially, I felt like I was in a spiral of silence. But this was not me, being an introvert and staying in my nutshell. I began to try to talk to everyone to polish my spoken English. I talked to people at my work, students in my classes and other international students. I learned from my friends that it is good to have a big social network. It is good to talk to other people and adapt to their culture. If you stick to your own culture, you will be at the back of the race and that's not why I'm studying in another country. Here I have already carved a pumpkin, had turkey at Thanksgiving in my relatives' home and saw Christmas lights at Lake Ransom Canyon. These are things I have never done before. If you stay in your nutshell, you are restricting yourself. Stay happy because this is a nice country. Texas Tech is so friendly, not just the students, but also my colleagues and professors. Everyone is so welcoming."

What are your future goals?

"There are many things still on my bucket list. I am determined that I'm not going to restrict myself to my master's. I would like to go for my Ph.D. here at Texas Tech if I get the opportunity. I love Texas Tech and I admire my professors. This is one of my dreams, but dreams keep changing every day. After my accident, all I wanted to do was walk on two feet. Now I work out for 2 hours every day."

"My parents always taught me to be a good man, to be known as a good human being. So that's what I always have a goal of accomplishing. My accident changed me. Now I know how strong I am. I feel proud every day. I appreciate everything because every day is a new day. If I'm surviving that's God's blessing. My mother always says if people know you by your good works that's a blessing. At the end of the day, that's how you are counted."