I close my little red diary filled with little souvenirs of a life I have left behind, the leather-covered reminder of a most brilliant two years at the Mahindra UWC of India. Filled with post-its people left on the desk in my room when they visited, bills from travelling with people, here and there a napkin from a night out that was invariably enjoyed – this diary held together with an elastic band, holds together the greatest experiences I have had so far – the most riveting conversations, the wildest nights, and the most humbling introductions. Having lived in a small North Indian town for 16 years, I had been comfortable with a sort of frog-in-the-pond existence. Going to MUWCI threw me out of my comfort zone and gave me the best possible sort of glimpse into the real world. I now look back with an extreme sense of nostalgia at the pyramid shape hill that I, along with 250 of the most brilliant people, called home for the past two years.
There are a lot of reasons I enjoyed MUWCI, but the one that strikes me the most is that it gave me a chance to get to know beautiful people, many on extremely different ends of the spectrum but beautiful nonetheless. It was an enriching experience that made me see perspectives, made me critical and pulled me out of my small town bubble and burst it, but gave me a padding of a superb environment in which to foster my growing self with the independence I needed. It is the same aspects that interested me about Lewis & Clark, the spirit of exploration, of being free to discover and build yourself while providing an enriching environment that feeds this hunger, and a supportive community to come back home to – Lewis & Clark seemed like the perfect continuation. Ever since I was little, I hated routine, and needed to snap out of my comfort zone repeatedly to avoid feeling too sedentary. I believe that the L&C experience and Portland City will provide brilliant opportunities to amaze, humble, and educate me in the way MUWCI has.
This search for new experiences stems from something the psychologist Michael White said – we are a sum total of the stories we have to tell. I believe that the more interesting my story gets, the better life I have lived. It is probably this belief that drives my curiosity, to be able to jump out of the page. Speaking of stories, I have a flair for writing; it is an activity that makes me feel de-stressed, happy and fulfilled. Everyone has a story to tell, telling mine makes me feel content and active. I have also recently picked up photography, and wish to continue in my time at L&C. I am a pathological reading addict, and can be often seen walking around with a book plastered to my face – I seek recluse in, and come home to, the smell of paper and a story worth hearing. I plan to major in psychology because it gives me perspective on human behavior and interaction, helping me tell my story better. Hoping that I don’t sound too whimsical, I seek everyday to wake up to the smell of adventure and excitement (albeit not the physical sort) and it is with this that I come to Lewis & Clark, from the small North Indian town of Lucknow.