Last Call: Amit Jain

As the semester progresses at the speed of light, the senior class is beginning to make peace with that fateful day in May: Commencement. Until the Class of 2012 up and leaves us, BlogDH wants to highlight all the interesting things the class has been up to. To this end, we are (re)starting a series, Last Call, featuring seniors reflecting on their experiences at Brown. Each featured senior will tag another senior for the next installment. Find this year’s other “Last Call” chain here.

Then + Now

People might know me as… the Badmaash guy. I’ve danced on Badmaash, the South Asian fusion dance team, since freshman year, and I think it’s my most public involvement. It’s also one of the most fun. It keeps me sane and drives me insane. In a good way.

Nabeel’s Question: Who has had the greatest influence on you at Brown? Is it a cop-out to say my friends? I feel like I’m always being inspired by the people around me and constantly learning from them. Not that classes aren’t important — of course they are, and of course I’ve learned a lot with coursework — but I would be an entirely different person if I hadn’t been around such amazing people. Special shout out to my Badmaashies, Learning Exchangers, TWC family, and housemates.

Why’d you decide to join Badmaash? Do you have a favorite move? It’s funny, because when I came to Brown I saw Badmaash and sort of laughed… they were good, but I wasn’t especially interested in South Asian dance. Then I decided to try out spring of freshman year because two of my friends were going and we had practiced together beforehand. Now we’re the co-directors, though I’m still not sure how I got in with my awful audition. My favorite move is hard to express verbally, haha. My favorite style we do is probably bhangra.

What’s the culture like in the group? Do you guys rage or is it more of a community? Do we rage? Yeah, I guess we rage (especially at competitions), but it’s a community more than anything. I hosted a team social last weekend and after everyone left, my housemates were talking about what a close-knit community we are. I guess I take it for granted sometimes, but it’s pretty special. Dancing is so much more fun when you love the people you’re sharing the stage with.

On a Friday night, you might find yourself… at a Badmaash social or going out with my housemates. Or at the GCB. (Or sleeping.)

In my time at Brown, I am most proud of… Can I say two things? First would be working with Nabeel to start Learning Exchange, which is an afterschool program at two Providence middle schools. We try to get kids excited about learning through computer projects like programming video games and making hip-hop mixes. The second would be helping start Brown for Financial Aid, a new advocacy group that’s pushing for need-blind admission for international, transfer, and RUE students and decreased loan burdens. Before I came to Brown, I hadn’t ever started anything, and those are two ways that I’ve been able to do that here. They’re both ways for me to give back to Providence and to Brown.

The best class/professor at Brown is… The American Presidency with Professor Wendy Schiller. I took it freshman spring and it’s what got me into political science. It totally changed my trajectory at Brown and got me excited about the political system, both in terms of how messed up it is and the ways in which we can change it. I would really urge every student at Brown to sit in on one of Prof. Schiller’s classes or lectures before they graduate.

Three things you wish you knew freshmen year… First, it’s okay to not have a plan. I definitely wouldn’t have thought I would be a political science major, or on a South Asian dance team, or really anything else that I’ve done. It’s the things I wouldn’t have expected that have come to define my time at Brown. Second, always take the initiative. Like I said, before Brown I’d never started anything. I learned from my friends that if you care about something, you can talk all you want but at some point you need to act. And you do so with humility, right? Because you’re a college student and you need to know your limits, but knowing your limits doesn’t mean you can’t jump in and try to do something. Third, don’t stop exploring once you’ve found a department you like. I spent almost all of sophomore year on poli-sci and econ courses, and now I kind of wish I had made time to take more education and computer science classes.

Ratty vs. V-Dub… Freshman year I would have said the V-Dub because I was a Pembroker. But now I’d definitely say the Ratty. The V-Dub is a novelty but the Ratty is home. Those spicy black bean burgers? Best meal at Brown.

One thing you wish you had done… In general? I wish I’d spent more time with my friends junior year. I think I overcommitted myself and the way I compensated for it was by not having fun with my friends or making any new ones. Looking back, the time I spent with my friends is one of my biggest take-aways from Brown and to have a whole year without that was just a big mistake.

After graduation, you plan to… work on the Obama campaign doing field organizing in Florida until the election in November. After that, I may go home for a bit. I’d love to work in education or for a non-profit. Eventually, I want to go to grad school for teaching, policy, or law.

Who are you tagging next? Lorena Garcia because she’s incredible. I met her freshman year in an acting class weirdly enough but I didn’t get to know her until we were MPCs together. For me she defines leading by example. She’s one of the strongest, hardest working people I know and has the biggest heart. I’ve never met anyone who has said a negative thing about her. I think she’ll have some really interesting things to say. Also, she’s a former suitemate.

Next up: Lorena Garcia
Amit’s Question: If you could relive one event from your Brown experience, what would it be?

Check back next week for BlogDH’s Last Call interview with Lorena Garcia and her answer to Amit’s question!

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