Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability,but comes through continuous struggle.”To me, the eldest of the Mark twins, transitioning to New York did not seemlike an ‘inevitable change’. Colossal, life-defining changes had never been a daily occurrence in our family untilfour years ago, when we were seated at our first-year orientation at St. Agnes College, hearing about the transfer program to Concordia College New York.
And the rest is history, as cliché as that sounds.
Having been a Concordia College graduate since December 2018, I can safely say that it was not a ball in the park. It was an enlightening but tough shift from India’s system of education to that of America.The change of scenery made me realize the benefits of receiving a high school education in Mangalore, in St. Agnes.I found an excellent set of friends and teachers within the campus’ walls, and also learned several lessons there that groomed and prepared me for my leap to New York.These lessons include those learned within the classroom as well as those outside – during Annual Day preparations, college fests, and visits to orphanages and old age homes. They include accounting, economics, and general education as well as teamwork, healthy competition, and awareness.
In fact, experiencing the American classroom at Concordia made merealize how much more equipped I was with subject material than most of my American counterparts. Thanks to the Indian module of education, I had at my disposal a vast amount of knowledge plus the capacity and willingness to work hard. St. Agnes College was instrumental in providing me with the knowledge and skillset I needed to thrive here in the USA.The importanceof family, the necessity of planning out our educational goals, the focus on simply finishing our work on time – these qualities are so ingrained within every Agnesian student that it ultimately translates into success that follows us wherever we go.Concordia allowed me to practice the theoretical knowledge stored in my brain through the various on-campus jobs I took as a student, ranging from Admissions Assistant, to Writing Tutor, to Assistant to the Director of College Partnerships and many more. Each of those positions helped me explore a new aspect of whatever I learned in the classroom, allowing me to implement and examine my tasks through an academic lens in order to improve on myself, and to expand my repertoire of skills.
On another tangent, St Agnes College and Concordia College have both constantly reminded me, whether through song, prayer or sermon, of the involvement of God in my life. Living alone so far away from home could easily send one astray, especially with the lights and glamour of a city like New York. But a firm foundation rooted in belief in Christ has kept me grounded through it all. Textbook knowledge is well and good, but a lacking spiritual life reduces all that education to mere words. As C. S. Lewis put it, “Education without values just makes man a more clever devil”. In other words, St. Agnes College and my twenty years in India, along with my almost-two years at Concordia College, have served to show me that God is not done with me. I am still a work-in-progress; and I’m savoring every moment of it.
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