Behind the Dores: Vikram Chari

The senior tennis player from California has made the most of his Vanderbilt experience on and off the tennis court.

The senior tennis player from California has made the most of his Vanderbilt experience on and off the tennis court. An outstanding student with a 3.89 grade-point average, Vik has studied abroad in both London and Sydney, Australia. He also met Steph Curry and jumped out of an airplane.

As cliché as it sounds, I can remember the first day of college and the seniors are telling you it goes by really fast, but you don’t really know that until you experience it.

I’ve gotten a lot accomplished. I’m coming out with a lot of boxes checked and I feel really prepared as I enter the workforce and life after Vanderbilt.

Being able to take on the academics at Vanderbilt and compete in the SEC, I have much more self-confidence now after these four years.

Exiting college, I know I can work hard enough to accomplish anything I want, which is a great feeling to have.

That self-confidence leads into a bunch of different aspects of my life – public speaking, interacting with people I don’t know, meeting new people and having more than surface conversations with them.

The ability to handle pressure is something else I’ve gained. You are representing the school, if you win or lose it’s Vanderbilt winning or losing. Discipline is a major thing — knowing there’s that 2.5 or three hours in your schedule blocked out and you have x-x-number of hours in the day to get your work done.

After graduation, I’ll be working in investment banking in New York. I know I want to be in business, and this will provide a great springboard for that. I’m very happy with how Vanderbilt has prepared me. I know I can handle the hours and what’s expected of me.

Skydiving was a bucket list item when I arrived in college. I was studying abroad in Australia and was visiting New Zealand. I don’t like heights at all. I got to do bungee jumping, too. Bungee jumping was way scarier because you have to jump off yourself, where with sky diving you have the guide.

Another bucket list item was dunking a basketball. I love basketball. Our coaches do not let us play basketball, so I haven’t been able to take steps toward my goal since I’ve been here. I can jump up and hang on the rim.

I’m a huge Golden State Warriors fan. People think I’m a bandwagon guy, but that’s not true. I had my eighth birthday there at a game, and they were not good back then.

Last winter break I was at my friend’s place at Pebble Beach and there was a Pro-Am going on. I went in to say hi to my friend’s dad and Steph Curry was there. I got to chat with him for a while. He was very down to earth and remembered my name. It was an amazing experience.

We talked about Vanderbilt. [Former Commodore] Damian Jones was on the team so I asked him a lot about Damian. I didn’t really ask too much about basketball, just life.

I didn’t know what to expect about Nashville. It’s more of a melting pot than I imagined when I arrived here from California. It feels like a bubble in a good way within the South. It has so much diversity and there’s so much you can do. The music is great, Broadway is a ton of fun. When you hear bout the South in California, this is not what you expect. You have to come and see it for yourself.

I feed off the rigid schedule. I like having those few hours to work in the morning or the evening, because it inherently keeps you disciplined. For most people, the biggest distraction is your cell phone. If I get that urge to quickly check my cell phone, I realize it’s just an urge. I’ve had that experience of wasting hours just scrolling, so I’m able to get back to my work. Just being mindful about it is the most important thing.

I’ve become really into meditation this past year. I think that’s drastically helped my performance in the classroom and on the tennis court. I typically wake up and try to get a 20-minute meditation in with the Head Space app.

I try to apply that mindfulness to other activities, even if it’s just walking to class, listening to the sounds, observing what’s outside instead of staying inside your head. Vanderbilt’s campus is so beautiful, the trees and everything, so this is a great place to practice that.

I love music. In high school, I spent a lot of time on music websites and was the music guy with my friends. I love going to concerts, I’m a big concert junkie. EDM and rap. I’ve been able to go to a good handful of concerts with my friends here in Nashville. Last month, I went to a Travis Scott concert at Bridgestone Arena. It was amazing.

Being able to attend this school and represent the school as a student-athlete has been such an honor. I can see how much I’ve grown as a person. Really grateful for the opportunity and jealous of the student athletes who are coming in and have the whole four years ahead of them. If you put your mind to it, you can get so much accomplished, there are so many resources available to you.

Interviewed by Andrew Maraniss