This too shall pass

With the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, it has been interesting how the world has been able to shift into a completely different way of life.

Before classes resumed this past week, I was panic-stricken thinking about how I would adapt to so much change. As it turns out, humans are pretty good at dealing with change; with our access to technological resources, we have been able to continue college from wherever we please.

Self isolation has also enabled me to take a step back and prioritize aspects in my life. School always comes first, but I have also been able to give importance to things I did not have much time for in the past.

Growing up, I played competitive piano, learned South Indian classical singing, took tennis lessons, and my mom taught me how to speak, read, and write in my mother tongue, Tamil. As I entered college, I started to lose touch with all of those skills.

With this extra “me time,” I have been able to revisit these hobbies and skills I used to have. My mom has started to reteach me how to read and write in Tamil because I slowly forgot how without enough practice. Additionally, I learned my first piece on the piano since my senior year of high school.

And most importantly, I have been able to spend time with my family. I am extremely grateful for that since I do not get the opportunity to see them so often during the school year. Many people are not privileged enough to be able to enjoy self isolation

like I am, but it is important to try to seek out the positives in a time like this. In Tamil, we say, “idhuvum kadanthu pogum,” or in English, “this too shall pass.”

This situation is extremely unprecedented, but hopefully, we can all come out of this as more unified and more informed members of our society.

Finding My Voice at Texas A&M

Before committing to a school last year, I wanted to ensure that wherever I ended up was the best place to foster my goal of becoming a veterinarian.

Texas A&M’s biomedical sciences (BIMS) program was the obvious choice for many reasons. Aside from my career goals, my Indian culture is an important part of my life, and I was concerned about finding a community at Texas A&M that was similar to my own.

I am incredibly lucky to say I did.

Swaram A Cappella is Texas A&M’s nationally ranking South Asian fusion a cappella team.

I was trained in Carnatic music, a type of Indian classical singing, for the majority of my life, and I was also very involved in my high school’s a cappella group.

Swaram immediately piqued my interests because it seemed liked a place where I could keep up with my Carnatic music training and my love for a cappella.

Now in my second year on Swaram A Cappella, I am now one of the musical directors of the team.

Since last year, we placed third at nationals in Washington, D.C., and we just finished recording a new album set to be released next semester! Needless to say, I have been very busy.

This year has been more stressful than last because I have an officer position and school has been much harder; however, Swaram rehearsals are a place where I can wind down and do what I love most—sing.

Our first competition this season is on Nov. 16 at UC Berkeley, so we have been working very hard to perfect all of our music and choreography before then.

I am particularly proud of our new members because this semester has been especially difficult for them, having to learn a new set and become acclimated to the team.

I am grateful for all that Swaram has given me—long-lasting friendships, an outlet to sing, and a way to relieve stress.

Even though we are a South Asian fusion team, we have members from different cultural backgrounds. The music unites us, no matter our background, which is a beautiful thing to be a part of.