His new favorite subject is ‘Elements of Design.' “It allows us to play around with colors and textures beautifully”, he said. More than that, Sunil spoke very highly of his teachers there and how easy it is for him to talk to them.
Sunil has never before lived away from his family, and it was a big step for him to take this plunge to pursue his design dream. Every day is a new lesson for him. He’s living his brand new college and hostel life. He has never lived like that before. From learning to stay alone, enjoying freedom but still taking care of oneself, to learning to self-regulate - and work on his growth, he’s doing it all gradually. More than his batchmates, he’s friends with his seniors. “I learn so much from them and they’re all so endearing and patient”, he adds. Sunil told us how sports and his other interests and knowledge also helped him become friends with other people. He’s also engaging with many people who are not from our country.
While most things have been great, Sunil does struggle with English. He still doesn't feel as confident and fluent in the language. It's happened once or twice where after a class, he has had to enquire from classmates what all the teacher said, but there also are classes where the language is mixed.
“Despite a very clear language barrier, I’m able to connect with them. I’m realizing that small talk goes a long way and I'm learning one day, one class, one sentence at a time”, he told us.
This also brings us to Sunil's biggest learning, which is exploring by the day. College is teaching Sunil how to explore subjects. “The environment of the college is extremely free, teachers do not nudge us but allow us to learn at our own pace. They believe in our creativity and it shows”, he said. Colleges, and especially design colleges now, don't go by textbooks. Students are encouraged to look for deeper meanings, knowledge, and truth by themselves. It is what makes their art, theirs. Lest it's all the same theories. How much one explores, decides that extra ounce of experience, creativity, perspective, and knowledge in them. In the future, Sunil wants to work with children and young people from low socio-economic backgrounds on design and education, and impart knowledge and access to those who don't have it.
"Everybody deserves a place in a good school, college, and job, or a safe space where they can grow. I want to be able to contribute to bridging the education, design, and access gap for them."
“Do you miss home?", I asked him. "A lot", he said. It was rather tough for Sunil to take this step, since he was the go-to person for his parents for a lot of things, and happily so. But he had to do this for himself, and perhaps also his family’s growth. “I worry about things a lot but I’m happy seeing them happy. Every time we get on calls, they give me so much love and wishes.” He stays connected and talks to his parents and sister every day. Another part of 'home' he misses is his friends and family at Swatantra Talim. There are days he spends in his classroom being reminded of his Swatantra Talim. Classrooms, friends, and college shape a young person's mindset and stay with them forever. And we’re so glad that Sunil has found his place in a college that upholds not only his creativity but also his values. Sunil was recently be home for Diwali and caught up on everything and we were all elated to see him!