Have you always identified with your Asian American identity, or was there an event that led you to identify more with it?
I always identified pretty closely with it. I had the benefit of growing up with a close-knit Indian community in Pittsburgh, which is where I’m from, so growing up that influence was always there. I enjoyed having that culture around me–it shapes your outlook. In some ways, especially being the first generation, it’s your outlook as an American and at the same time always being compared to what you see the eyes of your parents—the stories they’ve told you, the ways those experiences have shaped their lives…It definitely adds a lot of perspective, especially for things I often take for granted. I would say that maybe towards high school, making that transition from middle school to high school, I got somehow distanced from my Asian American heritage though I had the DMV Indian community. I think I tried to put a little bit of distance in between. Retrospectively, I’m not really sure why. Probably because I felt like it was more of a tradeoff between having the American aspect of my identity, and having the Indian aspect too. However, towards the latter half of high school and into college, I realized that it is not a tradeoff at all. It doesn’t have to be. It’s really a synergy.
How do you think your identity has influenced your time at Georgetown so far?
Umm, I haven’t spent that long at Georgetown yet. However, I would say that getting involved with Rangila and Jiwani from day one has been very cool. I got to know the South Asian community pretty closely and they have been super welcoming. (What has been your favorite memory of Georgetown so far?) Oh, that’s a tough one. You would think that I have one in mind since I’ve only been here for two months, so there might not be that many to choose from, but there are already so many. I believe Rangila has been the best experience. There are people that you wouldn’t necessarily have had the chance to hang out with other wise. It brings people from so many different backgrounds together. Being part of something this inclusive is great.