PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Rachna Shah

“The tendency to look at others doesn’t batter me today, where I just know that I am on this path, and I will continue learning and growing, and I have to just keep becoming a better version of myself. I have to keep pushing myself to that boundary.”

School of Education

Brain, Mind & Teaching, EdD 2018

Program Coordinator and Faculty at I Am A Teacher

Rachna‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss how Rachna transitioned from working as a clinical psychologist to teaching children with learning difficulties, what sparked her interest in pursuing a doctorate in education at Johns Hopkins, and the different ways her experiences in the EdD program have impacted the ways she understands teaching and her hopes for a more holistic approach to education in the future.

Learn More About Rachna‘s Story

This photo is not just a simple image, but a representation of the multifaceted aspects of life. It encapsulates my profound admiration for flowers, nature, and the colour white, and the various meanings and emotions they evoke. To me, white represents serenity, purity, and innocence, reminding me to focus on what is essential. White also provides a blank canvas for creativity and imagination, allowing me to explore limitless opportunities.

Flowers serve as a beautiful metaphor for the unique journey each of us take in life. They start as seed, grow and bloom in their own time, facing adversity along the way. Yet with patience and perseverance, they blossom into their own unique and beautiful selves, just like we do in our journey through life.

Nature, with the sea at the back and the sky above, is also a source of inspiration for me. The way it seamlessly blends together to create harmony, showcasing the beauty of the unknown and the infinite possibilities of the natural world.

This photo serves as a beautiful reminder to reconnect with my innate purity, to acknowledge my untapped potential, and to recognize my inner fortitude and tenacity to thrive in the face of challenges. It prompts me to tap into my inner strength and embrace my own unique journey.

Standing outside the Soka Gakkai centre in Tokyo, Japan, clutching my EdD certificate from Johns Hopkins, I am reminded of the mentor-disciple path of self-discovery in Nichiren Buddhism. Buddhism is a philosophy founded on the belief that we all have within us inexhaustible reserves of courage, wisdom, compassion, and creative energy. The mentor-disciple path in Buddhism aims to empower individuals to realize their full potential and become the best versions of themselves.

My mentor, Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, enabled me to become aware of my potential and consistently reminded me of it throughout my three-year program. He gave me the courage and confidence to overcome all challenges, surpass my self-perceived limitations & flourish beyond them. This moment is a testament to the pride in achieving my EdD, the excitement of uncovering my hidden capabilities, and my responsibility to use the same to create ripples of value and happiness in society.

Ram Dass once said, “We’re all just walking each other home,” and this perfectly captures the essence of my family dynamics captured in this photo. My family serves as my mirror that reflects areas of growth and change. Just like iron is put under fire to be tempered and strengthened, my family challenges me to bring out the best version of myself.

Our bond is built on love, trust, and mutual respect, creating a nurturing environment where each one can thrive. My family serves as a safe space where we can be our authentic selves without the fear of judgement.

Even though we face myriad societal pressures and expectations, we are not bound by them. Instead, we embrace each other’s individuality and work together towards our shared goals. We may be many in body, but we are one in mind. I cherish the commitment each member brings to the table, creating a bond that is strong and unbreakable.