Reflection by Nabi Shaikh (’13) — submitted summer 2013
Rustling papers, labels, copy machines, mail box keys, new student files and reports with ten thousand numbers on them. This was my first day as a BIC summer intern and I was overjoyed to be there, but overloaded with information. My young colleague looks at me sympathetically as she sees my weighed down expression and tries her best to comfort me. “The fun part is talking to the new incoming students, don’t worry, this is all boring busywork”. Oh no, what am I supposed to say to freshman joining the BIC? I’m centuries ahead of them as a new college grad with a fortune of debt and a future of uncertainty, what could they possibly want to learn from me? As I bravely man the front desk in the BIC advising office, I ask the obvious question to get some conversation started in the pin drop silent room. “So do you have any questions about the program?” Their enquiries about the BIC and my decision to join came as no surprise to me. What was a surprise was my response to the students.
I thought back to my freshman year and how I joined not so much on a whim, but probably with more hesitation than I would have liked. However, it only took me a few weeks into the program to be sold to the challenging and integrated curriculum. I loved the diverse faculty, experts in their own fields at Baylor, that I was introduced to as a freshman. I felt comforted with the small group meetings and one on one interaction in a class smaller than any I had taken in high school. I enjoyed engaging in thoughtful conversations about meaningful subjects with my colleagues that had nothing to do with any of our fields of study. However, more than anything I truly appreciated the community and family that the BIC provided me as a student away from home. The faculty members were warm and welcoming like parents, the teaching assistants took on the role of older siblings and the friends I made within my class felt like ones I had left behind in my hometown. Before I knew it I was a sophomore in college with more knowledge and understanding of diverse subjects than my contemporaries not in the BIC.
As I answered the inquisitive freshman, I realized how much more the BIC truly contributed to my education and development into the woman that I am today. My ease with public speaking could greatly be credited to our small group debates over the “correct interpretation” of ancient texts. My writing skills which granted me admission into Columbia University as a graduate student could not have been possible without our rigorous rhetoric courses filled with numerous New York Times reports. The condensed curriculum allowed me room in my schedule to fit in a minor in Arabic, expanding my skill set for my future career as an Air Force officer. There was so much I had overlooked and forgotten in the hysteria of finishing my degree. I enviously regarded the students as they emerged from Mrs. Train and Dr. Nogalski’s offices with new freshman schedules. What I would do to trade places with any of them and start anew.
Having a rather successful and bright future ahead of me, I would like to remember and thank BIC for all the wonderful memories and experiences. I hope to stay connected with my fellow BIC friends and colleagues. In the words of Confucius “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” And in your heart, remember the BIC.
Nabi is currently studying Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies at Columbia University. She hopes to commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force and become a Combat Systems Officer.
If you would like to contribute an alumni reflection or update, please email Adam Moore, BIC Coordinator.