Hanzla Sheikh '20 attributes much of his success at UNH to Paul College's undergraduate advising office.
"They have been such a great support system for me throughout all of my ups and downs. Without them, I'd go crazy," he says.
Sheikh emigrated from Pakistan at a young age and watched his father work harder than most to provide the best life for his family. During his senior year of high school in Nashua, New Hampshire, Sheikh’s family returned to Pakistan with his siblings. His father trusted Sheikh to stay behind with the responsibility of running the family’s convenience store. At the same time, Sheikh was a three-sport athlete and had just started a mentorship program at his high school.
When looking at colleges, Sheikh chose UNH primarily for its proximity to his father’s convenience store, knowing he could still be close enough to manage it. He knew that during his freshman year at UNH, he would have to return home every weekend to work 30 hours at the store. In addition, he worked 20-25 hours during the week for People’s United Credit Union, all while adapting to college.
"I am surrounded by people who want me to succeed and want to help me get there."
During this process, Sheikh visited the Paul College undergraduate advising office regularly for support and guidance. He developed close relationships with the staff, whom he says have helped him flourish both in and out of the classroom. In addition to the advising office staff, he received continuous support from his peer advisor, Jonny Tamposi '17, student mentor Andrew Capetta '17 and various Paul College alumni, all of whom he met through the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience program (FIRE).
“Professors here are so understanding and remember who you are and want you to succeed. The advising office wants you to be as successful as possible. The alumni still message me on LinkedIn and ask me how I’m doing and care about my path both during and after school,” he says.
His passion and enthusiasm for the advising office was so great, the sophomore finance and accounting major now works with Paul College advisor Sean Stewart '13 as the student coordinator for FIRE, along with working two other part-time jobs and being a member of the Atkins Investment Group. Sheikh is able to manage all of his responsibilities with the guidance he receives from the business school’s network.
“That care and concern for my well-being shows the connections that UNH instills in you during your time here," he says. "I am surrounded by people who want me to succeed and want to help me get there.”