Four days before I wave goodbye to the last semester of my undergraduate degree, I ate dinner at the house of one of my professors. It is a rather strange idea, and perhaps a little bit awkward--unless the class is South Asian politics and she's having everyone over for some of her homemade Indian food. Seven students showed up, and so we rearranged the furniture and pulled out two leaves to add to her dining room table; in true South Asian style, it was an improvised and cozy set-up, and we spent nearly five hours tucked away in her home laughing and sharing stories over tons of food and a little bit of wine. It was as if we had been together much longer than a semester, I thought, except that last night we learned so much about each other that we'd never gotten to in our political discussions in class.
We talked about family backgrounds, origin countries (I'm the only one whose parents were born in the U.S.), childhoods, vacations, politics and current events, sports, cultural oddities-- you name it. Oh, and a good portion of the night also went to discussing some of the overall concepts and questions regarding South Asia in terms of its political, social, and economic systems throughout each country. To round out the night, we critiqued many of the articles and scholars that we had read throughout the course, and talked through ways of improving the course for future terms.
It really got me thinking about how lucky I am to know these people, my professor and my seven peers, and how I would have gone through my whole life not knowing what I learned about them had we not eaten dinner together. How many other amazing classmates have I missed knowing throughout my college experience? Regardless of missed opportunities, I am fortunate to have had this night now, at the very end of my undergraduate years, to segue into the new relationship I will share with these people: that of colleagues. I left with such great respect for the lives of all of them, and excitement for what our lives hold ahead of us.