Prannoy Lal: Canada’s Student of the Week

This week, we’re celebrating Prannoy Lal as Canada’s Student of the Week.

Prannoy is a bright, entrepreneurially-minded senior and long-jumper at Harold M. Brathwaite Secondary School in Brampton.

CampusRankings caught up with Prannoy to find out what inspires his work, and how he spends his day-to-day.

If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, alive or dead, who would it be?

I would be so excited to have dinner with Srinivasa Ramanujan: an Indian mathematician who independently made significant contributions to the field of mathematics (nearly 3900 results that have all been proven correct) all without having obtained a formal education!

If we had to describe you in a tweet (140 characters), what would it look like?

A quirky teenager who’s passionate about social advocacy and innovation, and aspires to change the world one day with his very own start-up!

Favourite app?

Definitely Reddit! Such an awesome platform to connect with thousands of communities all across the globe.

What’s been a major challenge that you have overcome?

When I was younger, I was very quiet and soft spoken. I had been deathly afraid to participate in anything or talk to anyone when I wasn’t required to, and as a result, got teased by lots of other students.

Eventually, as I graduated elementary school and made my way through the big scary doors of a completely new middle school, I was inspired to come in with a fresh slate. It wasn’t easy trying to reinvent who I was, but I took small steps in trying to break out of my shell.

Whether it was saying “Good morning!” to someone I didn’t know or getting involved with extracurriculars after school, I was committed. Committed to becoming someone who wasn’t constantly scared, but constantly excited! And soon enough, as I continued growing up, I became more and more of the person who I wanted to be. I was more involved in school and had made an amazing group of friends. That process of self-improving definitely isn’t over yet, but it’s a great feeling when I can look back and be proud of the progress I’ve already made.

Favourite mentor at school?

My business teacher, Mrs. Persaud! She’s the best teacher I’ve ever had and gives great advice 🙂

Favourite subject at school?

I’m a huge fan of business! I love it because it’s a course where all the knowledge I learn is applicable to life outside of school as well. From developing my public speaking skills through formal business presentations to learning how to manage my own money through finance, it’s a course that’s built for the real world rather than “hypothetical scenarios”.

Also, I really want to start my own company one day, and gaining knowledge that’s bringing me closer to my vision is a huge plus!

What’s a life lesson most people should know?

There’s so many to pick from, but I believe one of the biggest ones for me is to focus on the now! It’s really easy to get overwhelmed when you start thinking about life 10 or 20 years down the line, and about all the “What-ifs?” rather than the present. Thinking too far ahead can hurt your overall motivation, so it’s important to keep things in perspective.

Keep all your due-dates noted but focus on what you need to get done TODAY before you think about all the other decisions you’re going to have down the line. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s important that you take the small steps to reach your end goals.

Life lesson you’ve learned from a TV show?

In my favourite show, How I Met Your Mother, I’ve learnt so much from the main character Ted. In the first season, Ted meets a woman named Robin and immediately falls head over heels for her. He can’t wrap his head over how amazing she is, and gets caught up in finding the “perfect” way to ask her out. By the end, Ted realizes that there is never a perfect time to make a move or do something you’re afraid of doing, but you should do it anyway.

Once he has this revelation, he rushes to ask her what he’s been dying to ask, and the season finishes with the two beginning their new relationship. I try to apply this principle in my life (not only with girls, like Ted) but with anything I’m afraid to do, because there’ll never be a “perfect time” for any step in your life. It’s important to always take your chances, because you never know when success will strike!

Most important thing in a friendship?

There’s so many qualities that I admire about my friends, but the one I value the most would be curiosity. Being around people who constantly want to learn and expand their minds is something I really appreciate, and I love that kind of positive energy in a friendship. Staying curious helps lead to the best adventures and the funniest memories, and I’m lucky to have a group of people who are always asking questions!

What’s on your plate right now, community involvement-wise?

. President, Harold M. Brathwaite S.S. DECA

. Director of Marketing, Brampton Multicultural Youth Council

. Minister of Leadership Development, LEAP Conference

. Mathematics Tutor, Kumon Learning Centre

. Long jumper, Harold M. Brathwaite S. S. Track & Field

Why do you do it all?

I believe it’s crucial to have a balance of everything you’re passionate about in your life. Even though school can be stressful, I try my best to not let it affect the things I love doing outside of the classroom. Each extra-curricular I currently do has a special meaning and purpose to me, whether it allows me spread awareness of global issues (Brampton Multicultural Youth Council) or lets me develop leadership in younger students (LEAP Conference). Each activity keeps me learning and engaged in ways that can’t be found in the classroom, and that’s why I keep it up even when the going can get tough.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself as happy as can be and studying to complete the degree of my dreams! Although everything might not go exactly the way I have it planned out right now, I hope that I have no regrets with the decisions I make in the upcoming years, and no matter where I am, I’m set on working towards something awesome for the future.

What’s a favourite memory you have from your extracurriculars?

My favourite memory is definitely from DECA at the International Career Development Conference this year! The competition took place in Anaheim, California and I’ll never forget hopping off a plane at LAX with my friends. I had a stellar time learning about leadership and business while networking with like-minded people from all over the world, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything!

What’s a life-saving life hack you love?

If you and your friends are absolutely stuck on where to eat out for lunch, play the 5-2-1 game! You suggest 5 restaurants to your friends, they pick 2 and you pick 1 from those 2. This life-hack has been a total life-saver, especially when we’re all hungry!

Two things most people don’t know about you?

I actually hold a black belt in Shitoryu Karate, and I’ve been practicing the martial art for a decade!

Also, I’m a hardcore fan of directors Wes Anderson and Quentin Tarantino, with my favourite movies being The Grand Budapest Hotel and Django Unchained respectively (even though I would watch anything made by those two).

Want to send a shoutout to anybody while you’re here?

I know this is cheesy, but I would love to send a shoutout to my parents! Thanks for everything, Mom and Dad, you guys are the best.

P.S. If you’d like to be nominated for Student of the Week, please sign up to CampusRankings and create a profile — our mission is to recognize young people doing great things in their school, community, or otherwise.
Dana Iskoldski

Dana Iskoldski

Dana Iskoldski is the Editor-At-Large at Student Life Network. Also CGP (Chief Guinea Pig) in her search for brilliant career advice.