Mish is a multicultural Spring 2021 graduate from Western Washington University. He is a double major in management and international business with a minor in psychology.

Where are you from?

My comfort food is probably the food that I remember eating most as a child. My mother would always cook a variety of cultural foods, but we were definitely partial to Indian food. The particular dish I would say is my go-to as comfort food is dal and rice, which is as simple as the two ingredients in the name, but with the addition of salt and spices. I remember always asking my mom to make it on a weekly basis and the fresh smell of steamed garlic and spices that would fill the house. It is also the food we would always eat when we were sick, so that helped develop the association as comfort food.

Home is wherever I make a connection with an environment. I have had many homes in my life, and I have always felt like I have more than one home at any given time. I felt at home when I am visiting my family in India. I feel at home when I am staying at my mom’s house. I also feel at home in my apartment in Bellingham. It ultimately comes down to the experiences and connections I make in a place, and once I feel like a place is my home, I tend to retain those feelings.

Why did you choose your major/field?

Warmth is the internal feeling of comfort and security. Physical warmth can induce this feeling but isn’t essential to feeling warmth. Warmth can even be as simple as the appreciation that you feel when someone does a kind gesture towards you.

Something that gets me excited and sparks joy for me is music. I have always loved many genres of music, although my favorite genre is old-school hip hop. When I hear a clever line in a song that either makes me think or makes me laugh, I am filled with a sense of joy and admiration for the effort of the artist.

Why did you go to college?

I would describe myself using the metaphor of an onion with many complex layers, much like Shrek.

I would like to remind my future self that I am constantly growing and improving and that if each day I am working to be better than I was the day before, then I am succeeding in life.


Mish: I did the questions in order of the gaps [based on the original exercise instructions], but I did think it kind of fit—especially for the first one. So, I put, “Where are you from?” because from there, I kind of move into the question about comfort food and I feel like that speaks volumes to, maybe not where I am physically from in terms of location, but it kind of gives insight on my identity and where I’m from culturally and from a familial sense. 

So, my answer to that first question was: [reads “comfort food” stanza]

So, yeah, [dal and rice] was something I would always just ask for. I love the way the whole house would smell like cooked garlic and just spices and stuff when [my mom would] make it. And anytime anyone was sick, that’s what we’d eat as well, so that was definitely a big comfort food.

And then after that we went into, “What is home?” So that definitely pairs with, “Where are you from?”—“What is home?”

And for me, I said: [reads “home” stanza]

Next, I put down, “Why did you choose your major or field?” And you know, I was trying to find a better way to pair these that really made sense to me. It’s kind of loose, but my connection was kind of just because we’re going to move into talking about what kind of excites me or what brings me joy. That might be a little bit indicative of why I chose my major. And I can kind of add to that.

So, for the first question: [reads “warmth” stanza]

And the next prompt was, “What is your source of joy or excitement?”

And for me, what I went with there was, “Something that gets me excited is music. I have always loved many genres of music.” Although my favorite genre that I’ve really stuck with and like dove deep into has been old school hip hop. I just love it. I love the word plays and all the aggressive comedy that goes down within that genre, where, you know, some people see it as too violent sometimes with the old school hip hop. It’s something, it’s definitely not for everybody, but I get a good kick out of it, it makes me laugh, and also, I just love to hear some intricate word games and stuff, which I think really come out in that genre of music.

So yeah. And the reason I think that might, you know, speak to why I’m in my major or my field is those attributes—you know, they’re not directly answering the question, but the answers are rooted in my association with people and with language. So, in terms of the music, for me, it comes down to the cleverness. I like hearing clever schemes, you know, in the music. I want to hear people sitting down, taking time to think out, like, “How can I make this, like, a mental puzzle for myself and find a way to write this rhyme but incorporate wordplay, metaphors, storytelling, all of this? How can I make this all one, unified piece that has all these things?” And that’s a mind puzzle. And that’s what I really love about that type of music. 

And then on the side of the warmth prompt, that came down really to appreciating people and appreciating . . . just appreciation in general for, you know, everything you have, everything you experience, and for the things that are around you.

And these tie in with being a business major because one, communication on that language side again is essential. Business is communication—that’s basically what it is, it’s interaction.

And then on the flip side it’s . . . I think, to do ethical business, you’re providing that feeling of warmth for someone, at least for the type of business I want to see myself going into. I want to be providing warmth for somebody else with the work I go into and making a positive influence on other people’s lives. And I feel, you know, that gives a good tie-in also with the job you [Veronica Anne] and I have met through, as peer mentors for Western. There is that feeling of warmth you get—not “just when,” you know, “especially,” I would say—if your mentee relates back to you that something you did really helped them or was beneficial for them—that warm feeling you get inside, having known, “Wow, I made a difference and positively influenced a person’s life right here.”

No matter how small it may be, the appreciation can be as large as you make it, and that all comes down to perspective and taking the time to really, you know, look back and appreciate yourself for the difference you’re making for other people.

Then I wrote, “Why did you go to college?” which was the last question. And now this one—I’m really going to struggle with connecting this because of my answers, but I wrote the answers before writing the question so don’t hold me to this.

The next thing I said after, “Why did you go to college?” is: [reads “metaphor for self” stanza]

Okay. I hope you’ve seen Shrek. Fantastic film. Oscar award winner and whatnot, you know, in my book at least. But from there, that was kind of the metaphor I chose because a lot of it is kind of silly and funny, but I think it is actually pretty accurate. I think you have your outside surface layers where they might be a little thinner and a little crispier, like an onion is. But you peel off that outer shell, then you get the thicker, spicy part of the onion, where it makes your eyes water a little bit and it’s a little thicker and a little more complex, one could say. And there’s a little more color to it. And then you go deeper and deeper and the layers, as you go deeper, they get thicker. And I don’t know, I’m free styling here. I’m coming up with this right now. But I think it is a great metaphor because people are so complex and there’s so many layers you can peel back as you get to know a person more and more. And the person is a combination of all of them with that outside wrapper on top of it. But if you don’t peel back those layers, all you ever see is that outside wrapping. So, yeah, I think that’s just a great metaphor and that I like to use for myself, and I will credit the creators of Shrek for that.

And for the last prompt, which was, “What would you like to tell or remind your future self?” I said: [reads stanza]

I think this is something I said I’d like to tell my future self—it’s something I try to tell my current self on a daily basis, because I am a really critical person, which comes with not just being critical of others, but the biggest victim of my own critical behavior and nature is myself. You are your own worst critic, everyone is. And it’s important to be critical of yourself, in terms of coming to self-improvement and working on the things you want to improve on; but it’s also important to be appreciative of yourself and realize that nobody is perfect, and you aren’t going to get to where you might want to be overnight, just because you can see where you want to be. You might be able to have a vision of, “Hey, I want this career and I want to have this personality and I want to do all these things.” You’re not going to be able to do everything you want to do and be every person you want to be in the span of one night. It’s a gradual thing that happens, you know, 24/7. You have to put in that energy to get to where you want to be in life. And I’m telling myself that on a daily basis and working to get a little bit closer, each time. And it’s just really important to not focus on the fact that you’re not there, but rather focus on how far you’ve come, and then just continuing that momentum slowly each day.

And that ties in with the question, “Why do you go to college?” To wrap up, because college is all about self-discovery, finding out who you are, how you work, how you interact with people socially, how you behave and what you want to do with your life. So that, I thought, tied in honestly perfectly with the last question.

Veronica Anne: What was your experience with the exercise like?

Mish: My experience was really just, I don’t know, it was good. This was a good reflection, kind of self-reflection period. I think every topic we touched on here was really—they’re really important things. And especially as a multicultural student, it’s really important to take some time to really analyze all these things that play into your perspective as a person, including your biases. Because you do form biases and you do form a chip on your shoulder a lot of the time, being someone who feels like they stand out or like they’re different or looked at and regarded and treated differently. But it’s important to take time to think about these things and answer these types of questions, to come to understanding and acceptance with who you are, and then slowly move towards appreciating those things and learning from them rather than, you know, resenting them.

And, yeah, this was a great exercise in that, and it also just really helped reflect on . . . with this last segment, just the kind of person I want to be, which is someone who’s constantly trying to be a better version of themselves and keep that continuous improvement going on until, you know, the day I die, really. I want to always be working on myself rather than become complacent, because I know I’m not perfect. And I’m okay with that, as long as I’m working to get as close to perfection for myself as I can. 

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