Birendra looks back on an action-packed year

Birendra in ASEAN auditoriumAnd the year went by….

It was only last August I was struggling for a US visa, unsure if it would even come. But it surely did come at the nick of time and I began a journey into the unknown – unknown land, unknown people, unknown subjects, unknown systems, and unknown food habits!

Mesmerized as I was with clean air, high civic sense (e.g.. pedestrians had ‘the right of way’ over the cars, and how long walks was a culture), I had begun to struggle with notions of vegetarian food (unlike India, eggs here were vegetarian), Teachers being addressed as ‘Professors’ as against being called ‘sir’ in India, and the American accent not always most comprehensible.

Readings in preparation for classes seemed unending and the number of hours per day began to fall short. It became clear that order of the class was in being ‘curious’ in asking the right questions and in brainstorming on a topic which would have no right or wrong answer.

Soon the calendar became my most desired companion, and the best guide with so many seminars and events – only the calendar could guide where to next rush. A packed library and a pin drop silence. The library becoming the favorite destination for all students was reflective of the fact that ‘mid-term’ exams were approaching. Meeting rooms became much in demand as the time for group projects began to near.

And then the finals – a milestone reached.

But interestingly, students were very busy exploring the next semester courses and enrolling in them. You also want to take benefit of the course audit option which the University provides.

There followed a plethora of conferences, one after the another, be it Tufts Energy Conference, Afrikana Conference, Religion Law and Diplomacy or any other – with a festive mood kicking in, but this festival is the festival of learning. A student engages with the think-tanks and the who’s who of the world – such as the Vice President of Nigeria who is happy to share his engagement with Fletcher over his social media handle.

snowyTuftsAh! Did I miss discussing the much-awaited snow? The city is canopied white – never mind the after-challenges. Snow is a harbinger of change and a pristine manifestation of nature. One realizes that the winter sales were the opportunity to stock up – duly availed or later regrets.

Invitations continued to pour in for Fletcher to send teams for participation in various competitions and events, and I attended the Model International Criminal Court in Poland.

Your destination has arrived, and you are about to graduate. Now, you want to strengthen the bonds created over the last year and swear ‘Friends forever’.  These are sorrowful times of celebration – you may not meet your friends soon enough, as also each moment is cherished as a moment of joint accomplishment.

Birendra with Fletcher administrators at commencementGraduation is the realization of all the efforts which went in – of the students, faculty and the administration. You deserve to have a personal moment with the Dean of the School herself.

And who deserves this more than your family…

You are an alumnus – meeting other older alumni, as you ready to merge into them. The faculty and school administration begins to treat you as an alumnus now, and you realize a newly gained responsibility. You are the ambassador of your Alma Mater to the outside world.

Wait isn’t it here that I had begun my journey when signed as the student ambassador for the school and it has come full circle!

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