Women Who Reign: Piyushi Bishnoi

“Deal with your problems before they deal with your happiness.”
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Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a senior at Columbia University, and hail from the greatest city ever — Austin. I’m currently studying Computer Science with a minor in Economics, focusing on Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing. I’ve done a lot of random things, from being a NCAA Division 1 rower for a short stint, a competitive Bollywood dancer, a Resident Advisor to even mixing music every once in awhile. I love all things outdoors and have a slight obsession with espresso (I’ve been to 70 different coffeeshops in NYC!). I currently also work at a super fun startup called Ense that’s set up in a recording studio, and that has been one of the most fun experiences I’ve had. If I had to pick a fun fact, it’d probably be that I put Sriracha on basically everything..

What # would define your life journey?
#workinprogress

Favorite website / app:
Feedly! I love that whenever I’m taking the subway, I can just pull Feedly up on my iPad and learn at least a few things about different things happening in the world on my way to work! I like the app because I can pick very different new streams, from Vogue, TechCrunch, and Food Network, and it’ll shuffle them around, so I never get bored reading!

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I think the person that I have constantly looked up to throughout my life is my nani, which means maternal grandmother in Hindi. I’ve looked up to many individuals in my family, but being a female who has worked in many male-dominated professions and student organizations, I’ve really connected to her experiences. She was working her entire life, was one of the first women in her city to finish college, and was the principal of a school in Shimla. Even while having three kids, she worked, and I admired her balancing the two. I think being a mother and a high ranking professional is really difficult, but something I hope to be one day, and it’s inspiring to see that it’s been done!

Song that makes you want to dance:
So I’m a big fan of Bollywood/Latino/EDM mixes, and this dance competition back in Austin had a super fun mixtape (https://soundcloud.com/banedmixes/jhalak-2016-official-mixtape-baned-dj-ruckiss-feat-mwb), but my eternal favorite is Do It Again by Pia Mia. I’m listening to it as we speak and I’m even dancing in my seat!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
This semester, I decided to take a full course load, intern 4 days a week, be a resident adviser, work on my own side venture, train for a body building competition, and travel almost every weekend for one thing or another. I read that now and I’m already tired. I have always liked to do a lot, but I struggled a lot with time management. It’s hard being someone who likes to do so many things and not seeing how to do them all! Honestly, there were two main things I had to do, prioritize health and my professional goals over other things for now, and have a scarily accurate Google Calendar. I think that second part just helped me also visualize how much I was actually doing, and gave me a sense of where I could just block out space for me-time. That’s important too, and I learned that a month into doing all of this. My google calendar, my endless supply of tea bags, and my memory foam mattress are probably what get me through every day

Ideal Job:
Gah, this is a hard one, but I’d honestly like to ideally see myself leading my own company. I’ve been working on a few things, and I’m really interested in using technology to make it easier for people to take action of different issues that affect community. It’s a large term, community, and I’ve worked on things that hit different parts of that, and hopefully I’ll be building out one of those in the near future and for time to come!

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Be happy in every step forward you make. Whether it’s fixing that one bug you looked at for three hours, learning a new sport, or getting a promotion, every step forward is something you should be proud of. When you become confident in every achievement you make, it shows, and that confidence extends to how others view you. It allows you to be strong. You should be proud of everything you do, regardless of how people see it, because that happiness is contagious. I noticed a big change in myself when I started to think this way. I started bodybuilding training because I thought it would make me stronger physically, but I saw how with every weight I increased, I would be so happy, and leaving the gym and going into work, that positivity made me more productive at work! So smile to yourself more, it’s contagious :)