End of an (Exceptionally Short) Era

Time is really fucking weird.

When you’re looking ahead, it literally seems endless.  A year seems like an aeon.  As you live it, it crawls day-by-day.  And finally, looking back, you wonder how it all went by so quickly.  As we approach the end of our last class on Executive Leadership and our convocation ceremony, I’m definitely on the last part of that spectrum.

I was talking with a few friends the other day about whether or not we felt different compared to when we first started the program.  I think at this point I’m old enough that my core personality and values won’t change much (barring exceptional circumstances).  However, with that said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize how much I’ve developed as a person over the course of this year.

It’s almost impossible to articulate all the different sources of learning I’ve benefited from throughout this program, but I’ll take a crack at it.  I guess I’ll start with the easiest, but far from the least substantial: the faculty.  Between the brilliant academic professors, to distinguished professors-of-practice, I have learned so damn much from all of my classes here.  I’ve also engaged with so many inspiring public servants with careers that I could only hope to emulate, that have reaffirmed my decisions to pursue a life of public service and come to the Maxwell School, that I can’t imagine having made any other choice.

Then there are all the individual experiences that have pushed me forward professionally.  From teaching basic English skills to refugee adults at SUPRA, or facilitating workshops for the Conflict Management Center; to the vast number of amazing speakers (former ambassadors, policy experts, heads of government agencies, NGO leaders) I’ve had the privilege of hearing; to my Capstone project consulting for the Department of Justice, all of these have further enriched what has already been an incredible year.

And finally, there are my peers.  This year has exposed me to such an amazing group of colleagues and friends that I can still hardly believe we’ve been together and known each other less than 365 days.  I say this all the time, I’ve learned and grown as much from you all as I have from our classes.  Your variety of personal and professional experiences, subject-matter expertise, passions, motivations and other just weird esoteric knowledge have made this year so incredibly rich and meaningful that it’s difficult to put into words properly.  I have to put a special shout-out to every single person that contributed in some way, shape or form to the Radical Bureaucrats.  Working with you all on our teach-ins, volunteer, and fundraising events have made an otherwise shitty year in terms of global events into a positive experience.  To everyone that has had a positive impact on me over the last year, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Over the course of the year, I’ve tried to capture pieces of this whirlwind experience in photographs.  Here is just a small sample; for more, check out my Flickr page.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a photo of my two roommates and me.  I guess I like these guys after all ;D.  Photo credit goes to Shweta Gulati.


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