Rudrani_Suttar.JPG

RUDRANI SUTTAR

My dad’s job caused us to move around a lot, so I have been to many schools. Fitting in was kind of a struggle because we would live in apartments with wonderful Indian communities and I would have a lot of friends there but then I would get to school, which was majority white, and feel ostracized. We would move in the middle of the year when everyone had already made their friend groups. I had a friend in fifth grade who would always bring salad and dressing or pizza and I always felt weird; I would have my own Indian food like roti and sabji for lunch. There’d always be like little comments like “What are you eating?” or “That smells weird.” I remember thinking why can’t my mom pack me American food so people don’t judge me as much. Once I got to middle school and high school, I made more friends, and it was different because my friend group is really diverse now. On the contrary, they’d be like “Can you bring me extra food?” Then there were other stereotypes that came with being Asian in my high school. “Indians are really smart and they’re going to be the top of our class.” So, everytime ranks would come out, my internal prejudice became more and more apparent. All of my other friends would be top 10 and I would feel like I wasn’t doing enough. It was a big factor in my mental health that ensued a lot of self-doubt and anxiety. Talking to my family about mental health was difficult but it went a lot better than I had initially thought. Initially, my dad was the one that noticed that I wasn’t okay. Even just having the conversation with them helped my anxiety subside a little. To combat how I was feeling about my academics, I put myself into as many extracurriculars as I could. I found my community and passion in the theater program. Coordinating theater productions and putting together sets is where I found myself thriving. I pride myself on being an Indian artist. Stigma aside, I am pursuing architecture and I know that I’m going to be successful. I pride myself on chasing my passions.