I frequently feel so emotionally exhausted from the ways in which people expect me to extend myself for them. I have struggled with establishing boundaries my entire life, and this results in me compromising my own happiness for the sake of others without any reciprocation. In previous posts, I have mentioned that I often feel like a doormat, and while I do think that I am better able to advocate for myself now, the weight of everyone else’s experiences, issues, and emotions has consumed me recently.

I visited Minnesota for about a week in July, and I was able to stay with Neeraj, whom I had not seen in two months, attend a best friend’s wedding, and see my family. Going into the trip, I felt a lot of pressure because I knew that I would not be able to see all of my friends despite their expectations. I value and care about my Minnesota friends deeply. They are some of the best people whom I have ever met, but I also do not live in the Twin Cities anymore. I cannot alter my schedule as easily to accommodate everyone, especially in the timespan of a week, when I want to spend quality time with my family and my boyfriend as well.

I have a fear of losing loved ones or being excluded, so I feel as though I always need to say yes to plans, help my friends when I am low on time and need to take care of myself, and be a shoulder for others. I love making people smile. I just do not know how meaningful this is if I, myself, do not feel valued by these people. I have discovered that people love to guilt me into things because I am nice and they always expect me to say yes. I need to avoid placing my worth in others’ hands. If people do not respect me enough to understand my time and experiences, I should not want them in my life anyway.

Overextending myself is one aspect, but what upsets me the most is that I know that some of my friends would probably not do the same for me. I should not feel such a strong sense of responsibility when these individuals will not even meet me halfway when I need them. I invest so much, physically and emotionally, into everyone and I really do not think that I could depend on a lot of people to be there for me if I asked for similar favors. This realization has pushed me to create more boundaries, which is what most folks need to do as they grow older, regardless.

Boundaries can be tough because those around you may not receive yours well. Humans become butt hurt over these pillars of interpersonal relationships, and in doing so, they vilify the establishment of boundaries and true self care. I think that we have all been guilty of this at some points, but I try to be more cognizant of how I react to boundaries since I am now working on my own.

I should not have to be less of myself, or avoid leaning into my heart, to protect myself from being hurt. My heart is an act of protest in a world that values individualism. I know that the amount of love and effort that I give is a choice, but I have so much trouble giving less than 100%+ to everything. In an ideal world, this would be okay. In an ideal world, we would all receive what we exude. We do not live in (at least, my version of) an ideal world, and boundaries are necessary to adjust to its conditions.

no tea, no shade, just growth xo

Culturally Incompatible.

The end of the semester and the beginning of my summer in Boston prompted lots of reflection regarding my time here so far. I truly believe that Boston is where I am supposed to be right now, but this does not mean that I love every second of my life in this city. For the longest time, I struggled to verbalize my thoughts about Boston, but I have come to realize that Boston and I clash culturally.

I associate pretense, rudeness, and individualism with Boston culture. A negative energy engulfs me in many spaces. The people here, as well as the design of the city, are individualistic and aggressive, and both of these qualities are incompatible with who I am. So much value is placed in the material. The concept of community is important to me, but I have noticed that people do not value it as much here. People seem to only think of themselves despite the harm that this can cause those around them. This creates a cycle because the rest of us are prompted to protect ourselves as well since we know that no one else will. Vulnerability, kindness, empathy, love, hope, joy, and support are hard to find and this is a challenge for someone, like myself, who does their best to lead their life with these values at the forefront.

The day before I flew home to Minnesota for a couple weeks after the semester ended, I was sitting in my bed and I thought, “wow, I feel absolutely terrible about myself here.” I do not think that Boston encourages me to be the best version of myself, and I do not feel beautiful or intelligent or capable. I feel as though I do not have room to falter or be completely myself. I always have to be on my “A Game.” I recognize that much of this could be within my control and I, of course, do my best to make my life here as fulfilling as possible. I ground myself whenever I can and I think that I am improving at the skill of setting boundaries. I do not want to paint Boston as a dark pit of hopelessness because it is not. It can be fun and it can be rewarding. Happiness does exist here, but I do believe that this depends on whom you ask and when you ask them.

As an outgoing person, I find myself feeling afraid or hesitating to enter stores because I do not know how the people will be inside of them. I do not find a lot of warmth in the people here, and I admit that this unsettles me. Yes, I am from the Midwest and I understand how that plays a role into how I perceive things (and, believe me, the Midwest is far from perfect as well). I have just noticed that even in other parts of the world, and other cities in the United States (including places like NYC) to that extent, people are more welcoming than they are here in Boston. I am sure that a lot of people jive with the iciness, but I am just not one of those people.

I acknowledge that other factors such as graduate school and adulting after college could also contribute to how I am feeling here. These are my observations and opinions of Boston culture, and I am just one person. I know plenty of people who love this city and I am happy for them. As I have mentioned in previous posts, Boston has its gems and I do my best to take advantage of as many as I can. The lack of empathy in this city shocks me and the competitive, somewhat fake culture unnerves me, but I would not trade the experiences that I have had because I am where I am because of them. I will continue to be my genuine self in every situation and if this is incompatible with Boston culture, then so be it. It really is just a part of growing older and having a backbone.

A Fulfilling Life.

The Sohnis took a family trip to Alaska a couple of weeks ago now, and the post-semester peace as well as the breathtaking landscape inspired some thoughts in my mind. One of my greatest fears is that I will not do everything that I can possibly do to ensure a fulfilling life for myself before it ends. Fulfillment looks different for everyone and difficulty can be found in deciphering how it looks for oneself, removed from everyone else’s noise.

As my family was driving down Seward Highway, hiking mountains, and taking in the piercingly blue waters that Alaska has to offer, I thought about all of the places that I have had the privilege of visiting over my lifetime thus far and all of the people whom I have met because of these opportunities. I realized that my fulfilling life is right in front of me. I am living it. I have lived an eventful life for a typical twenty three year old. If the world were to stop today, I could be content with my experiences and proud of my accomplishments. I could find solace in the relationships that I have built.

My life is uniquely mine, and no one else is living inside of me. I can take this concept and run with it in the moments of uncertainty. I have days during which I feel as though I am not making the most of my time. I fixate on every second “wasted” and ask myself how lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling, or scrolling through my phone are taking advantage of the life that I was given. I think that these moments are necessary as well because they make us human. They remind us that living a full life does not occur in each passing second, but rather in the experience as a whole. I can rest if it equates to giving my friends the energy that they deserve when I meet them later in the day. I can scroll through my phone if if means that I will be fully present when I’m exploring a new pocket of the world with my family.

This post is a measure of gratitude. While I do my best to live every day with appreciation, moments like the ones that I had on this family trip reinforce the feeling. We were sitting in coffee shops and restaurants, and happened to meet people who were also from Minnesota. We happened to run into my dream dog, as well as my brother’s dream dog, within the same hour. We met a famous Bollywood playback singer at our hotel, and my dad exchanged numbers with him. We took a boat cruise to Portage Glacier with enough space to move around on the top deck because we visited Alaska before the peak visiting season. We ate dinner at the restaurant across the street from the hotel, and they happened to have karaoke that night. I was able to sing “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 to a crowd full of strangers. All of these moments made me feel as though we were meant to visit Alaska during this time. We were meant to be here, with these people, at these exact moments. Funnily enough, my family was originally planning on visiting Iceland, but my brother’s passport expired during this time, so I suggested Alaska instead. The stars aligned, and for this reason alone, I know that I am doing all of the right things to ensure that my life is full.

I Am My Mother’s Daughter.

I never thought that I would write this post because I did not see it. I did not see how inexplicably similar I am to my mother until a couple of years ago.

The mother-daughter relationship has many highs and many lows, and we’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum. I now see that this was necessary to be as close as we are now. I’ve always loved and admired my mother, but these feelings were not exempt from the clashes and disagreements that we had with each other while I was growing into the person I am now. I felt misunderstood by her when I was in high school, and while I believed that this was because we were too different, I now realize that this actually happened because we are so similar.

We are both go-getters and natural born leaders. We love being busy and we love having opinions on everything. We have high standards for ourselves and those around us, and we expect people to keep up with us in every situation. We did not realize it, but we projected these assets (which are sometimes, admittedly, downfalls) onto each other. I cannot blame my mother for expecting the world out of me because that is what I want for myself. I am where I am because of her. I am who I am because she is who she is.

In April of 2019, my mom and I semi-spontaneously took a trip to London for the weekend. We had not traveled anywhere, just us two, for a while. This trip was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. We became closer with every passing moment. We both appreciate traveling in the same way, and the weekend progressed seamlessly because of this. I needed support and healing during this time in my life, and I could not have asked for a better person to be there with me.

I could write endlessly about all of the things that my mom has done for me, but I want to acknowledge that her presence on this earth is in itself a blessing. She could simply exist and do whatever she wants to do. Her intelligence and drive are inspiring. Her beauty is captivating. She is an avid reader and a skilled crossword puzzler. I aspire to be even half of the woman she is.

We know that mothers do a lot. They sacrifice a lot, but they smile and love those around them throughout all of it. My mom taught me how to advocate for myself and I know that the success that I have seen in both my personal and professional lives is due to her hard work and encouragement. She never breaks her promises, and her loyalty to her friends and family is unparalleled. She can be hard on people, but this is because she sees potential. She is a true matriarch and all around iconic woman.

My mother is not perfect. She has her flaws, but she handles them so gracefully. I understand her more now that I am older. I understand her more now because I know more about myself. I know why she approaches situations the way that she does. I believe that I have inherited some of her best qualities and this is an honor. She will always be my mom, but she is also one of my best friends. I sent her flowers for Mother’s Day, but an entire botanical garden cannot even reflect how much she means to me. I am who I am because of her.

After Death.

I wish that I could know what actually happens after we die. I spend a little bit of every day thinking through different theories and deciding which one seems the most plausible. If heaven exists, who would meet the criteria to reside there? If reincarnation exists, what do I hope that I will be in my next life? Do we just use these concepts because we need to rationalize this daunting, inevitable event called death? What scares people most is the idea that nothing happens when we die. We are simply placed in the ground, cremated, or disposed in some way, and the world continues.

Death scares me because I do not want to imagine a world in which I do not know what happens. One could say that this exemplifies an extreme case of FOMO (fear of missing out). The billions of years that encompass earth’s existence already overwhelm me, so I find difficulty in picturing billions more. I struggle to picture something that has no end. This is only compounded by the fact that all of this is completely based on our interpretations and beliefs. We do not know what is true, and we cannot ask the ones who do. We will only know when we reach the moment ourselves, and we do not want to rush into that.

I struggle to understand how others can be so confident in the idea of heaven or reincarnation or whatever else they believe, but I do respect it. I really do hope that one of these beliefs is the truth. At the same time, I wonder if a semblance of comfort can be found in the idea of nothingness after death. Would we feel less pressured as a society to follow certain, often archaic rules or perform in certain ways? Would we approach our days differently if we know that these are the only lives we will ever have?

My mind spins as I ask myself and those around me these questions. It spins as I ask about their own beliefs or to describe their dreams for life after death. It is unsettling and this post does not push any of us closer to an answer. I also do not know if I would want an afterlife that is void of the people whom I love, music, books, raindrops, and soft blankets. At the very least, this thought encourages me to appreciate all of these things a little bit more now.

A Glimpse of My Journal.

with minor edits

When I think about the future, I feel afraid. I don’t know what it holds, but I know that life comes to an end. Everything felt so safe and certain when I was a kid. I didn’t think about things beyond my bubble. I had my family right there with me. College students seemed old and far away, and now they seem young and far away. I say that as a twenty three year old, so it sounds a little dramatic.

I feel like I cannot catch a break. In 2020, I was worried about the pandemic, graduating, and job applications. In 2021, I was working full time and preparing for graduate school along with a cross country move. Now, I worry about doing well in my classes and finding an internship for the summer, and I know that I’ll be preoccupied with the stress of job applications in the fall. I balance this alongside my relationships, my health, and our ever burning world. I’m spiraling. I know that we all are, so I feel guilty if I lean on others. We regurgitate the same words of encouragement and advice to each other, but I do not know why or if we are hoping to see different results.

I realize that I am most bothered by people who claim that they do not care about anything. I feel small and silly when I care so much and the other person cares so little. How is it possible for someone to not care about a single thing? It isn’t. That being said, they bother me more because I can see through them, but they will retort with denial if I say so. In my opinion, not caring is not cool. Cool people care.

Am I happy with this version of myself? What can I change? How do I steady my heartbeat when I am alone? I still believe that people do not change, but I will admit that I feel different, and react differently to situations, at this point in time – in graduate school, in Boston, in the year 2022 – than I did previously.

Are the circumstances in which we find ourselves truly that staggering compared to previous generations? We have always known that the world is not perfect, or even good, on most days, but we continue to feign surprise. I turn on the TVs at the gym every morning and see “Breaking News” flash across the screen, but is the content actually breaking? Is it actually news? I do not want to undermine the gravity of any situation. Sometimes, I just wonder why we did not see any of this coming when we should have (or at least believed the people who did).

He Surprises Me.

As many know, Neeraj and I could not see each other in person this year for Valentine’s Day, so we sent each other care packages. As much as I wish I could have been in his arms, the personal touches included in his package made me smile so much. Everything that he does for me encapsulates our relationship perfectly. We find so much joy in surprising each other and doing small activities like this, and they make every day in our relationship feel like an adventure.

As I have mentioned previously, I have never experienced a relationship that is so secure and mature. He will say the things that I need him to say even when I do not know that I need to hear them, and even though we are just a few months away from two years of dating, I still find myself in shock. In the past, I spent more time panicking in my relationships than actually enjoying them, and I was often anxiety ridden for good reason. I was always ready to fight for my relationship when my partner would claim that he cannot do or be enough to make me happy. I was always ready to hear him say that I deserve more and better. My fear of these situations manifests itself even now, and every time Neeraj and I have a disagreement, I find myself rebuilding my walls. I brace myself for abandoned hope. I take deep breaths and prepare myself for the worst, but then he surprises me.

He surprises me by meeting me where I am. Leaving me does not cross his mind in difficult times. I am always prepared for the situation to erupt, but he will respond in the most constructive and kindest way possible. He is willing to be the best version of himself for me because he knows that I will always give him 100% of my energy and love.

I thought that I knew how it felt to be in love with your best friend based on my past relationships, but I really did not know this feeling until I found myself inside Neeraj’s embrace. In many ways, a bit of sadness exists in the fact that I am startled by the amount of respect that my partner has for me. I am startled by our abilities to work through any issues that arise rather than quitting on each other. I could pinch myself, but I would still be surprised.

Obviously, discussing anything over FaceTime or text is not ideal, but long distance has made me feel even more connected to him. I value his presence in my life so much and I know that he feels the same way, which is the best part. His silliness and whimsicality make me feel so light, but he is also present during the more important and serious moments. I have mentioned this many times already, but being in love with someone who has all of these characteristics, and is willing to work through heavy times, bewilders me.

I know that the blossoming of our relationship was a surprise to practically everyone, but its formation was a surprise to us as well. It was so unexpected, but he was the best surprise. This relationship was (and still is) the best surprise that I have ever received.

see you in less than two weeks, nee xo

Color Me Brown.

I wrote this piece for my hometown community’s Indian Cultural Association of Minnesota (ICAM)’s newsletter recently. I thought that I would share it here as well.

As a young girl of color surrounded by predominantly white spaces, I was constantly shown that light skin tones and straight hair were more attractive features than darker skin tones and curly or textured hair. I remember spending days yearning for my skin to be even a shade lighter and growing annoyed with my hair. I was teased for the dark hair on my arms and legs because body hair could not be seen on my white peers. Every tween girl was straightening her hair for hours before coming to school every day, and the message that boys only liked girls with straight hair spread like wildfire. I wanted a flat iron so desperately because I felt as though I were already losing in other respects: my shoulders were too broad from competitive swimming, my nose was too large, my hair was too thick for a hair tie, and I had brown skin.

In addition to the unhealthy beauty standards that continue to plague the media even now, young girls of color must overcome insecurities based on their skin tones and dark hair. Racism in predominantly white countries, such as the United States, is one issue, but importance exists in acknowledging the blatant colorism practiced in India. As stated previously, interacting with some of my white peers provided little relief, but the advertisements for Fair & Lovely that I would see on the television screen during my visits to India did not help either. I am sure that colonization and the power structures that resulted from it have some influence on why fairness is redeemed, but the lack of action in dismantling this view is harmful. I was constantly comparing myself to even my friends of color who had lighter skin than I did because of this, and through the conversations that I have had with many of my South Asian friends as we have grown older, I realized that we all had these insecurities when we were younger.

We shifted our perceptions of beauty and culture to accommodate our white counterparts and internalized the racism that prompted us to do so. At a certain point, one gives into the pressure to fit a mold that makes everyone else feel comfortable and the microaggressions just fly over their head. On occasion, I asked my white friends in high school about how they perceived me when we met. Did my brown skin and Indianness stand out to them the most? As much as they said that they noticed details of my personality above all else, I could sense that these physical and cultural differences were aspects that they would never understand. This does not have to be a barrier, but for a teenage girl, it can certainly feel like one.

Becoming an adult and building more diverse community in college were the early steps in deconstructing the perceptions that I had of myself. I met so many friends, white and nonwhite, who had genuine intentions and embraced every aspect of a person wholly. I placed myself in more spaces of color and we bonded over our experiences within predominantly white institutions. We also realized how greatly the tables had turned. Suddenly, every sorority girl wanted to be as tan as possible, and all of my friends were telling me how much they loved my thick, curly hair and dark eyebrows. I noticed how much I glowed during the summertime, and I never had to worry about sunburns. Throughout high school and even more so in college, I started using products that worked for my hair, and the moments during which I yearned for my hair to be straight slipped away from me.

I wish that I could give my younger self a hug and tell her that her brown skin and dark hair are assets. The little girl who felt insecure in her skin is unrecognizable now. I have always been proud of my heritage, but I did not know how to wear it confidently when met with classes and extra-curricular activities where everyone looked similar, and I stood out from them. Of course, I still find myself in predominantly white spaces given my career and location, but I now view these aspects of my identity as my superpowers. I care less about how I am perceived and more about the messages that young girls of color receive when they watch a show or scroll through social media. Most children of color have been bullied based on their skin tones at some point in their lives and while eradicating this is a feat within itself, we should embrace the responsibility of empowering these kids when they are in these situations in the meantime. Consistently being surrounded by light skinned or white individuals has a greater impact on a growing child’s psyche than one expects, and while we cannot always help this, we can push them to internalize pride for their brown skin and culture.

I urge readers to reflect on the racism and colorism that they have unintentionally internalized and unpack these views as soon as they are able. The experiences that I have outlined here are similar to those of many other individuals who were raised in predominantly white countries, and we are finally at a point in which we can change this narrative.


I am back in Boston after about a month long break in Minnesota, and I am ready to rumble. I spent most of my days sleeping until late morning and most of my nights watching television shows or movies during this break. I gave way to rest and relaxation.

For the last several years of my life, I struggled to skip even one day of exercise, but I managed to experience a full week with little physical activity over this time. While I enjoyed the rest, I definitely did not feel like the best version of myself. In addition to the lack of movement, I did not do much in terms of graduate school preparations, career growth, or my creative interests (such as my blog). “Laziness” and lack of productivity provides me with an uncomfortable itch, but I blame the perpetual toxicity of capitalism for this. I gave myself the permission to relax and I am a much better person for it.

I am not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, and those who know me know that I think that birthdays are a much better marker of growth, but I do have changes that I want to make in 2022. My word for 2021 was “intention,” and my word for 2022 is “consistency.” My decisions were a bit impulsive and sporadic last year, and while spontaneity can be good for the soul, I experienced a lot of unease as well. I am sure that not all of my readers are well versed in astrology, but for those who are, I am a Virgo Sun and Aries Rising. This alone can describe the fiery internal conflict within me when deciding between routine and whimsicality.

As much as I enjoyed my rest, I would love to re-establish a consistent exercise and diet routine this year. The pandemic, graduate school, and every other chaotic situation pushed me to fill my voids by indulging my sweet tooth, and I have been consuming too much sugar as a result. I cannot help that I love chocolate, but I can help how often I purchase and consume it.
I found myself growing tired of the same workouts and exercising became more of a chore rather than an escape for me over the past year. I love health and fitness, so I felt discouraged with the lack of motivation and enjoyment that I experienced every time I exercised. In a weird twist of fate, I landed a job at the gym right below my apartment this past fall. I open the gym at 5:45 am for a few days every week, and I receive a free membership and an hourly wage because of this. I love it. I love the peaceful mornings and the ability to build community while staying in shape.
In addition to machines and weights, my gym offers fitness classes such as yoga, spin, and pilates. I plan on taking advantage of these (specifically yoga!) over the course of this year. My dad has been inspiring me recently because he started attending yoga classes daily, in addition to going on long walks, over the past few months. I see a noticeable change in his energy and mood, and I am so happy for him. I want to be just as active as I am now when I am his age, and older, and being consistent now is essential to this goal.

When I was in elementary and middle school, I would stay awake until the early hours of the morning reading novels. While I read a book here and there throughout high school and early college, I did not start reading avidly again until the summer before my senior year of undergrad. I did not want my eyes to roast under the blue light of my phone before sleeping, so I decided to read at least a few pages of a book instead. Books make me so happy. Reading is my meditation and I love updating my progress in Good Reads. I cannot wait to immerse myself in different worlds over the course of this year.

My goal is to finish my Master’s in Public Health degree by December, and I would like to take advantage of the opportunities that BU, and Boston in general, has for me. I have now adjusted to my life here and I believe that I am able to dive a little deeper into my degree. As excited as I am to finish it, I do not want to simply coast through it. I know that I have a lot to give and this should not be hindered by the fact that I am in school.

With the content that I am consuming in my classes to real world events, I find ease in becoming desensitized to important issues. On one hand, I, like many others, am just trying to survive. On the other, I do not want to settle for the one life that I have to live. I have had so much trouble processing most things over the past couple of years, but I want to push myself to feel deeply again. I do not want to stop myself from pouring too quickly when journaling or during conversations with those close to me.

This last part may be due to dissociation or being in the post-grad, professional world, but I will admit that I have been experiencing a sense of loneliness recently. Pressure exists in maintaining the relationships that I have in Minnesota while trying to be present in Boston. Through reflection with my other friends here who are from Minnesota / the Midwest, we realized that we do not feel as though we can really depend on anyone whom we have met in Boston right now, and the over all energy that we receive here exudes individualism and selfishness. I really value community, and I know that I want community building to be an aspect of whatever profession I hold and however my life looks. I want depth in every relationship and I want to feel as though I can call someone when I am struggling who will be there to support me just as I would be for them. I know that circles become smaller as we grow older, but I do not even know where mine begins or ends. I hope to find more clarity in this area over the coming months, but I am certainly appreciative of those who consistently embrace me as I turn every corner.

Do Better, Boston.

As I ride the bus from Brookline to the Boston University medical campus, I can see the landscape change dramatically. My route takes me from my apartment through Nubian Station and into South End, which is where the BU School of Public Health resides. I have had plenty of conversations with community members while waiting for my buses at Nubian. Most of these individuals come from low income households and are people of color. Many of these individuals struggle with substance use or are disabled. They mention their unsafe living conditions and the language barriers that they face, but other than fellow students, I only see multiple police officers and rundown buildings around us. If I decide to walk from the station to my campus instead of taking the second bus, I see many used needles on the ground and pass an overcrowded food pantry. Some have asked me if I will forget about them, like everyone else does, when I receive my Master’s degree and a nice job.

The issues that persist in Boston are not unique to the city, but as a public health student at a private institution, I choose to be critical of my environment.

I know that I have expressed some of my qualms regarding Boston in previous posts, but the inequities, which are exacerbated by city planning and where investments are allotted, are what concern me most. I can clearly see how little the city invests in certain areas of Boston and I do not think that these areas containing the most people of color, low income individuals, and their subsequent “crime rates” are coincidences. The first step in enacting change is recognizing when certain actions are intentional, racist, classist, and more. The obvious solution would be to provide the unhoused with homes, the hungry with food, and the sick with adequate healthcare, but the city decided to arrest those suffering instead with claims to providing treatment. What happens after these folks are “treated?” They still do not have the resources to survive.

On any given day, I sit in a classroom and discuss social determinants of health with my peers. We analyze heart disease, COVID, HIV/AIDS, and reproductive rights with vigor, but we rarely acknowledge the community suffering right outside our doors. I appreciate the national and global perspectives that we are encouraged to use, but we should not associate large scale approaches with an inability to tackle what lies directly in front of us. We talk about the unhoused on Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard as though these folks encompass a distant issue rather than a community by whom my bus rolls past every day as I commute to my classes. I have to wonder why we are not doing more to eradicate this. I pay tens of thousands of dollars to attend this university, and while I know that the outcomes of BUSPH Master’s degree graduates are bright, I would like to see more of this money invested into the community. I would like us to think about how our lives and BU as an institution are impacting those around us. As important as my program is to me, I do not think that I, or anyone else, need a degree to practice mutual aid and work toward a society in which every member is living comfortably. I worry that some of my peers will be conditioned into “othering” their marginalized neighbors if they depend on the “A”s in their classes to turn them into public health heroes.

I am sure that many Boston residents choose to traipse down Newbury Street or dine in North End and rarely venture into the Roxbury area or parts of South End if they can help it. When I am strolling through those places or make the one hour trek to Seaport, I too feel as though I am in a different world. I see the appeal and opportunity. I see the wealth. As many know, Boston is home to a plethora of academic institutions and the average Bostonian is likely highly educated. We should remember that education does not equate to compassion or lack of ignorance, and an amount of ease in avoiding the uncomfortable exists alongside it.

I do hope that with Boston’s new Mayor, Michelle Wu, at the helm, we see the landscapes shift. I know that much of the work done on a governmental level could not happen without the organizers on the ground, and I plan on getting more involved with these amazing individuals in the coming semester. I look forward to the day when public transportation is free for all and when the infrastructure from Roxbury to South End to Dorchester is beneficial to the communities who reside there, among other things. Boston has so much history and people are too comfortable in using it as a scapegoat or a mask for all of the issues that persist. As a young person and new (approximately four month old) resident to Boston, I will continue to expect more from the city.

resources for Boston here:
– find free at-home COVID testing kits at these locations
COVID Mutual Aid Resources
New Democracy Coalition: organizing to rename Faneuil Hall
MAAP: mutual aid group helping the unhoused