By Sadie Fowler
Eshan Patel believes success comes as a result of three primary factors in life — hard work, service and, most importantly, compassion. The Central Magnet senior, son of Dr. Utpal and Tina Patel, is well on his way to achieving all he sets out to do.
“I don’t think you can truly have success in life, whether it be emotionally, mentally or anything else, without kindness,” he said. “The true measure of success is how you treat other people.”
Patel’s résumé alone makes him a standout student among the nation’s best, but his devotion to service — especially through his involvement with the Beta Club — makes him soar as a leader. He hopes to achieve a future career in politics, public policy or intelligence.
Patel’s leadership skills are off to a great start; he’s currently the Central Magnet Student Body President. He was Student Council President in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and has been a member of the Beta Club since 2014, having also served in leadership roles within that group, which promotes community service.
“An effective leader must be held accountable for his or her actions, including failures,” he said, adding his favorite American President from the past is Theodore Roosevelt (he says he knew when to lead and when to hold back). “Good leaders have to be able to own up to their mistakes and say, ‘Here’s what happened and here’s how we are going to make up for it.’ I’d much rather have someone leading me who has failed 1000 times and has the integrity to own up to it than someone who has never failed. I think most people are willing to forgive others for their mistakes if they own up to them.”
Patel is a self-described people person who enjoys meeting new people, serving the community and playing baseball. He enjoys watching movies during his downtime — or eating at his favorite restaurant, Koji.
His sister, Mira, is his biggest supporter. The family enjoys life in Murfreesboro, where his father is a physician at Murfreesboro Medical Clinic and his mom is a pharmaceutical representative with Merck.
The Beta Club has been something near and dear to Patel’s heart for quite some time. He credits it for helping him become more involved in the community, making friends and learning the value of service.
“Most people want to change the world in some way,” he said. “But it’s hard to change the world alone. The Beta Club helped me realize where you can start is with your own community. If you have 100 people come together for one cause you can actually make a difference.”
Academics certainly make Patel a great contender for many of the nation’s best schools. He’s applied to 14 and is still waiting to hear back from a few before deciding where he’ll attend. Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown, Duke, Vanderbilt, are just a few on the impressive list.
“I’m excited about the next step,” he said. “I’m ready to discover something new.”
Patel believes college admissions counselors look at the expected indicators when accepting students, such as test scores and GPAs, as well as looking for that “wow” factor; that one thing that separates an applicant from the pack. He said whatever that “something different” may vary year to year, school to school and counselor to counselor.
“You just never know,” he said. “Several of the schools I applied to are ‘reach’ schools but we’ll see what happens ... I really thought the schools in North Carolina were nice. It’s a beautiful area.”
Patel has worked hard at school, perhaps harder than most, to achieve his success. He sees this as both a strength and a weakness that’s common among many high achieving students. Like anything in life, finding the right balance is key.
“If I could go back to my freshman self, I’d probably say ‘Don’t get too caught up in the little things,’” he said. “That could relate to grades or sports or anything else. As a freshman, I’d be hard on myself for striking out in baseball or not getting an A … Looking back, I’d tell myself to relax a little more.”
Patel is grateful to several mentors he’s met along the way, including Matthew Connors and Zavier Phillips, and his Beta sponsor Tara Winton. He further said the entire group from Central Magnet has played a major part in his high school success.
“It is a really special place,” he said. “Central Magnet is filled with really kind people.”
No matter how far he goes, Murfreesboro will always be home to Patel. Though it might be much bigger in 10 years as a result of its current growth, which Patel sees as a pro, he’s confident he’ll always find comfort in the big city-small town appeal Murfreesboro affords him.