Yesterday I finally made my decision to ‘join the movement.’ It wasn’t an earth-shattering moment, but I’m sure what follows this decision will shape the rest of my life.
This blog is meant for me, to keep a view of what expectations I go in with and what I really get out of it, as well as the steps that get me there. It’s also meant for those family and friends who helped me get here, and for those who are interested in education and my experiences.
I want to start with why I’m choosing this over diving into the comfortable corporate lifestyle that awaits me in Boston. What about TFI makes it worth it for me to put Bain on hold for two years and return to India to teach? I think basically my reasoning can be broken down into three buckets: personal, impact, and career.
On a personal level, I think this is a great opportunity. I haven’t lived in India in fourteen years. Despite the love I habitually profess for the country, do I truly understand it? Moreover, Mumbai is this dynamic city I’ve always been fascinated with and never had the chance to fully experience. Plus, it’s the home of Bollywood 😛 But more importantly, I’ve realized more than ever in recent months that my sheltered lifestyle has spoilt me to a point where I’m often incapable of confronting difficult issues. I want these two years to live on my own, to immerse myself in the lives of others, and maybe grow up a little bit in the process. When the correlation between intention and outcome breaks down, I’m bad facing the consequences. Hopefully, the challenges that TFI poses, both in and outside the classroom, will not only help me become a stronger individual, but also help me confront personal challenges with maturity and integrity.
Teaching thirty students for two years is a unique opportunity in terms of impact. I understand that I cannot change all their lives, but maybe one life, maybe a little impact – any degree of change would make my tenure worth it. I know this commitment inevitably involves certain disillusionment for those of us who are fond of living in idealistic worlds, where merit and effort define achievement. But I want the disillusionment, as long as it sprinkled with small incidences that’ll help me keep enough romanticism alive that I circle back to education at some point in my life.
Lastly, there’s career. This was my biggest hesitation. Should I take two years off from “life”… two years off from the path I had been blindly following since I was middle school? Good grades, good test scores, achievements, learning, a “good” college, and a “good” job. Only when I reached the end of this road, when I had secured a return offer after my summer internship, did I honestly begin thinking what else I could do. This is not to say I have not enjoyed learning, putting in effort and seeing those efforts come to fruition. I’ve loved being a student at Brown (and everything that came with it) and I’ve enjoyed all my internships. I’ve loved the unique opportunities I’ve had at university as a student, teacher, and friend. But, at the end of my four years of university education, I think I want to veer off this path for a bit. I want these two years to do something, that, at the end of the day, I just really want to do. So why not?