Arsal Zaheer: 2020 UCLA Senior of the Year

by Sam Glick

As a graduating senior, Arsal Zaheer recommends three things to incoming Bruins: carve out your own academic path, be selfish with your time, and enjoy the little moments!

Arsal made full use of the broad range of classes UCLA has to offer, allowing him to follow his own academic path.

He was able to attain a degree in economics, while still being to take classes on his other interests in the side. With a passion for public healthcare, Arsal completed the pre-med curriculum and took public health coursework on the side. 

Arsal encourages students to not shy away from taking classes that interest them, even if they are not a part of their given major. 

“Embrace your curiosities while you have access to this world class institution, it’s well worth it.”

Arsal helped plan the Los Angeles Global Health Conference in 2019, monitoring the registration process for attendees, along with developing pricing schemes that allow for the conference to have a specific revenue outcome. 

Being an extroverted individual, Arsal’s sense of adventure got him to experience the many things that UCLA has to offer. He joined numerous clubs before settling on a few that were most important to him.

“There is so much to get involved with, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you spend your time in ways that do not stimulate or fulfill you in the best possible way.”

He was a part of the Fellowship for International Service and Health for all four years, while holding a chief administrative role for the final two. The nonprofit organization also known as FISH is focused on sustainable global health service in Mexico. Arsal helped coordinate trips, clinical practices, English learning opportunities, and established relationships with local leaders. 

Arsal also had many roles within UCLA’s Model United Nations program, another opportunity to travel the country and discuss policies and conflicts affecting the world. 

Outside of clubs and schoolwork, Arsal is very thankful for the opportunity that college has given him to grow and develop as a person.

Arsal credits some of his fondest memories at UCLA towards learning how to play the sitar. Through curiosity, he sat in on one of his friend’s sitar courses and found a new passion of his. Having no prior background in music, Arsal fell for the soothing melodies, along with the process of learning and mastering something new. 

Through perseverance, he ended up performing at annual Music of India concerts at the Schoenberg School of Arts at the end of each year. 

When reflecting on his time at UCLA, Arsal recommends to enjoy the little moments. He mentions great memories of living on the hill, visiting Cade 1919, and randomly seeing friends around campus.

“Seemingly mundane parts of your day will become significant once you graduate. Make sure to appreciate them while they last!”

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