Photo Courtesy: Anna Parsons (Australia, Class of ’17)
Because I was drowning. Because it sounded cool. Because my sister went. Because I wanted to be in India. Because I wanted to stay in Pune. Each of us has our own story, a reason we came here that nobody else has. Sometimes we think that we were all drawn to UWC for the same reasons, that this is in fact why we are here and what makes us UWC students. But there is no one reason we are here nor one story to how we arrived. For some people going to UWCMC has been a long term goal; others of us were directed to it by chance and apply on a sudden gut feeling. Somehow though, we all ended up here on this hill with our own stories, united by the fact that we have a story. We may be working towards peace and sustainability but individually we are also living our own private mission statements; carving out our own paths. Beyond parents or national committees, our time here is for ourselves and what we want to do with it.
Some of us will be the first ones in our families to leave home, and perhaps even the first one to go to University. Some of us come from UWC families. No matter what past we carry with us, however, our individual narratives must lead us towards the future – not the narratives of others.
Maybe for you time here is spent in the library, practicing your English around the clock, determined not to waste this opportunity because you really want to be a doctor or physicist and this is your path. Or maybe you will find a spot in the art center, gingerly picking up brushes for the first time only to find that you do not want to study math after all; you want to make art, but how do you tell your parents? Perhaps UWC Mahindra College is your introduction to traveling alone and it teaches you to love a place you may never have gone to. Who knows what this place will be to you. The possibilities are endless. Is this where you meet your life partner, have an epiphany or start changing the world? Maybe this is just the place where you figure out a little bit at a time; go to classes, have those famous UWC conversations, take the wrong train; and then when you leave, your life is a lot richer – but it’s not decided. Maybe you came here to undecide a little bit.
Not one of us came here the same, and not one of us will leave the same. Each of us pulls something different from this place and will walk away remembering different conversations and different people. Two months have passed here and it seems impossible to know where we will end up. As first years we are just beginning to navigate this, asking ourselves what our focus here will be, how to use the time we are given. What roles will we have taken on by this time next year, when already college apps will ask us to evaluate our experience as though it were over? We start off wanting to do everything, because choosing means missing something. But choosing is just a part of being who we are. Diversity means we are incomparable and we cannot do everything and be everything. We can be ourselves; each one clearing our own path, not competing, not choosing, just being here and undeciding for a while.
– Jesse Clements (Class of ’17)