As I write my first blog post, I find myself sitting on a ledge facing Lake Michigan yet again. On this beautiful afternoon I am grateful for Loyola’s gorgeous campus. But as I sit here, my mind begins to wander. I slowly begin to think about the homeless, the underprivileged and the poor. It baffles me that as I continue to receive a great education, there are millions of people that continue to struggle. And so it always brings up the question that continues to linger in my mind: why can’t everyone have the opportunity to flourish?
I was born in India but have lived in Dubai, Australia, Luxembourg, and now Singapore. Having been exposed to these distinct cultures, I consider myself a global citizen. Thankfully, I spent the last four years in India where I graduated from an international boarding school. Surprisingly, the greatest culture shock was moving back to India – it changed my life. Twenty-nine percent of India’s population live below the poverty line. She accounts for one-third of the world’s poor where people live on the equivalent of fifty-six cents per day. These truths often kept me awake at night as I mulled over the three-hundred and sixty million people who were still begging late into the night, the unclothed babies that were still not fed, and the famished men and women crying in pain. It troubled me that as I rested comfortably in my bed, millions sought shelter. I witnessed poverty first-hand and this has engrained a sense of humility, gratitude and compassion in me.
I take it upon myself to make a difference in my community however small or big that may be. Recently, I joined RefugeeOne as a volunteer which is a not-for-profit resettlement agency with a primary focus to assist refugees in becoming independent and self-supporting in their new community. Every year, they assist approximately two-thousand five-hundred refugees to find housing, learn English, acclimatize to American culture, develop job readiness skills, secure employment, and develop overall family strengthening skills. As an in-home tutor, I eagerly await my pupils to land in Chicago as I expect to be a positive influence in their periods of severe desolation and hardship. It is truly an honor to be able to help others and make them smile.
As a humble freshman, I encourage you to take a step back. Put your hectic lives on hold for a moment, take a deep breath, and put your world in perspective. We Ramblers are privileged to receive an education that prepares us for a fruitful life. We are surrounded by incredible people, each with a unique story to tell which enables us to feed off each other and grow as individuals. But keep in mind that there are people less-fortunate that continue to live in agony and pain. I encourage you to get involved in any activity that empowers you to spread the joy and happiness that every single soul deserves. We should all be thankful for everything that happens to us. Every step is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than our current situation. Ultimately, prepare to live in the service of others and strive to be the light that your friends, parents, partners, and professors need.