Alumni Thankful to Irvington: Pragnya Vijayan


Pragnya Vijayan, who graduated Irvington in 2021, attends Santa Clara University.

Hi, my name is Pragnya Vijayan and I’m an Irvington grad from the class of 2021. I am currently a freshman at SCU, which is Santa Clara University. High school was a formative part of my childhood and part of growing up, especially with learning in academics and extracurriculars. I learned how to control all of those and have a very nice balance between all my academics and extracurriculars. It’s really paramount to doing well in college. I feel like I immediately utilized that in college in how you are expected to work alone and take the initiative to learn beyond what’s in the textbooks. I think Irvington prepared me, especially with the people who are as passionate about topics as I am, and how there was such a good atmosphere for very high participation in classes and academics. That helped a lot in college.

I’m currently a biology major at SCU, and I’m also minoring in CS. I feel like I was friends with a lot of people interested in STEM. That really triggered my passion and even furthered my understanding of the subjects. When I was in high school, I was super focused on validating my pre-health ambitions. I made sure that I was able to volunteer in a hospital setting and get to know doctors and see how they did it in working conditions or what kind of patients they deal with. Seeing that as an active participant in a medical setting made me validate why I wanted to go into medicine and health in general. That was paramount to like my continued interest in it in college. 

In college, you tend to have one hour lectures three times a week. You are expected to study three hours outside of class for each hour you are in class. The initiative to start learning by yourself and be on top of academics is something I’m very grateful for. I wouldn’t be able to work at such a high focus level if it weren’t for skills I learned at Irvington. In high school, I had to be sure that I was in school eight hours a day but still able to participate in sports and extracurriculars, be on top of assignments, and study for tests and quizzes. More so than other high schools, because of our benchmarks, Irvington prepared me for the rigor of college. 

Irvington teachers helped me with that. I’m doing well in Chem, and I got an invitation to join Honors Chemistry next quarter because of the preparation I received from Mr. Lee in AP Chem. Ms. Mohandas really helped me in calculus. Teachers like Mr. V and Mr. Moyer made me look outside of my bubble of STEM and explore English and history. I’m also grateful to Lehnert, Rooney, and Buehler. In college, especially SCU where there are more liberal arts classes, you are going to be taking classes from religion, English, culture, and a lot of different fields that you probably won’t be exposed to in other colleges if you were a strict STEM major. Those teachers allowed me to expand my understanding of those fields.