Atishay Jain

Year of Graduation: 
Atishay Jain

"Exeter is a great place to learn and grow and to approach new material with an open mind."

When Atishay Jain '24 asks, “How are you?,” he really wants to know.

The upper from New Jersey is quick to engage with classmates on the path, in the Ewald Dorm common room or, if needed, a one-on-one behind closed doors. It’s the interpersonal part of his quest to spread mental health awareness and resources across the Exeter campus.

“Exeter is a great place to learn and grow and to approach new material with an open mind,” he says. “Not being afraid to reach out for help is something that students need to sometimes learn how to do, especially on the topic of mental health.”

In the early days of the pandemic, Atishay watched as his grandmother's and great grandmother’s normal, daily routines were disrupted, leading to isolation and a “deterioration of their mental health.” “They weren't able to go out to Michael's arts and craft store to buy yarn or go talk, sing songs and have functions with other people at the senior centers," he says. Just an eighth grader at the time, he took it upon himself to be an outlet for not only his family but other senior citizens struggling with their new reality brought on by COVID-19.

“I thought to myself, ‘How I can help people?’ I did Zoom calls with senior centers in the area where I’d play piano or just spoke with them. In some cases, they were Indian senior centers, so I would speak Hindi with the residents. That was kind of my beginning of my passion for spreading awareness of mental health.”

Jain says he’s also fascinated by how the brain operates from a neurological sense. Since arriving at Exeter, he has connected with others who share his interest by joining the Neuroscience and Biology clubs, serving as the director of research for the mental health committee on Student Council, and is working on publishing a research paper on the topic.

“You have a three-and-a-half-pound organ that's the size of your fist just sitting in your body that controls how you speak, how you move, how you digest your food, just every small thing,” he says. “Having the opportunities to share this interest with peers and faculty here at Exeter has been really cool.”

At Exeter, Jain also pursues other interests, including music, where he performs in the jazz, concert and pep bands, and cycling, something he was introduced to in his prep year.

“Mr. Reichlin, reached out to me and said, ‘I'm going out for a ride today. Do you want to join?’ So I went out with him on a Saturday and had a nice, 16-mile ride and then came back and got some coffee. That's something that's really unique about Exeter. I told this to my friends back home and they're like, ‘That's super cool. We could never do that with my Spanish teacher.’”

 No matter his pursuits, Jain says the constant is the nurturing community at the Academy.

“The amount of support I've gotten from the community — sometimes I forget that I'm surrounded by such wonderful people. I'd be foolish not to say that Exeter has made me the person I am today because of the people that I have around me, the sense of support and also the opportunity to pursue my interests.”