I felt stuck. Stuck in a lot of ways. I was the typical brown freshman at Baylor, a Christian University, struggling to fit in and studying to go to medical school. Sure, I managed to get a 4.0 my first year, get accepted into the Honors College, and into Baylor’s Honor Society, but after a while, I didn’t want it. I didn’t want any of it.
Undoubtedly, I felt accomplished, but by the end of that year, I realized I sacrificed most of my first year for a number. An important number, for sure, but still…a number. My entire first year at college, I chose to not socialize, party, write, or do anything I enjoyed for that matter. While many of my friends finished that year of college discovering new parts of themselves, I found myself losing a large chunk of who I used to be. To be honest, I started to hate myself for what I did. I had a 4.0 but, I wasn’t happy, at all. Because the truth is, I didn’t even want to go to medical school. `
I knew that deep down, but nonetheless, I kept my head down and worked. I worked nonstop, never even looking up for a second. I was on a path, and I was moving fast…but it wasn’t forward. In fact, I was moving in every other direction but forward. I was traveling backwards in my social life and left and right with my career. Instinctively, my mind began panicking. Should I have done journalism? Something I genuinely wanted? I could’ve studied business. You know, give myself some time to enjoy life, maybe even create my own company? Or should I have gone to a different school altogether, one with more diversity…more people like me? A place where I could fit in, feel comfortable? All this movement, and I was reaching to a land of nowhere. Strapped into my own mental rollercoaster, I began to feel the severe dangers of my social suicide. And suddenly, just like that, in a world filled with billions of people, I found myself completely alone with an even greater confusion for my future. All that for a freaking number.
However, by the beginning of my sophomore year, I found a family of people just like me, the Baylor South Asian Community. Sure, it was a small tribe, but the size gave it strength. It was a home away from home, a comfort zone, where you rekindled with your identity and knew everyone always had your back. I could be whoever I wanted to be with them, because I trusted them. With this newfound inclusiveness and constant support, I found a community and group that didn’t exist anywhere else on campus. My freshman year, I never paused to look up and see what my life was missing. But these people, my friends, lifted my head up and made me realize I should enjoy the journey we were all on. They were a support system giving me clarity of what I truly needed. And that was to live.
That meant doing what I love, making time for other aspects of my life, and frankly being proud to be a South Asian and a part of a culture. Obviously, I didn’t throw my hard earned GPA into the trash. I found a balance, and I was happy. I was happy for the first time in a really long time.
The only problem? Inside, I still knew I didn’t want to go to medical school. In fact, the only other thing I did know, thanks to my tight brown community, was that I had to write. I had to live by doing what I love and that was by pursuing a non-stereotypical South Asian career. I knew I wanted to help people, but I knew it wasn’t going to be as a doctor. It was going to be through my writing. Becoming an Editor in Chief for South Asian Productions, I knew I could do that. I could write inspirational stories from the South Asian community, about individual struggles and successes, identity narratives, and their brown community’s support. Through South Asian Productions, I hope to inspire, encourage, and motivate all South Asians to live their best life, find their community, and move forward with their dreams in any industry.
Hello! My name is Sejal Bhandari and I am a junior at Baylor University. I am excited about South Asian Productions because I get to be a part of a transforming community that continues to strengthen and support South Asians struggling to break career stereotypes and pursue something they love!