Early in the semester, I went on a run through the Oxford Parks with two of my new WHT classmates. The leaves had just started to turn in late September as we set out in the late afternoon. We agreed to talk on our run, boldly so, and we did. I learned about Alan Clarke’s (2019, South Africa, Master of Business Administration, Weidenfeld-Hoffmann-Saïd/Chevening) work in infrastructure finance and his desire to implement sustainable projects throughout Africa, and Kapil Yadav’s (2019, India, MSc Environmental Change and Management, Louis Dreyfus and Weidenfeld-Hoffmann) consuming passion for environmental justice and biodiversity conservation. Throughout our run, Alan and I noticed Kapil run off to the side or slow down to investigate or pick up objects one by one. Kapil picked up sticks, blades of grass, and other miscellaneous objects of the park’s ecosystem as he ran. He touched them, he smelled them, and I wondered whether he would taste them too.
That moment has stood out in my memory over the last two months because it is symbolic of Kapil’s raw passion, and that of my other WHT classmates. We carry the weight of our passions to lectures, to debate events, to parties, and frequently we carry our desires for justice to sleep. We are here to pursue life goals that are intensely personal, not prescribed careers, and we sometimes lose perspective on these life goals when an essay or group project looms.
Kapil continues to remind me of this throughout the semester. Kapil is soft-spoken, sensitive, thoughtful, and even lighthearted
All of this is to say that my first semester at Oxford, despite the sharp and sometimes seemingly insurmountable learning curve, has confirmed in me my own passions. I have the utmost assurance that inequality and how it afflicts the United States through the unequal provision of social services is precisely what I can expect to consume me now, and for the rest of my life. This is the energy that WHT members share and multiply, and what has made Michelmas term uniquely memorable.