By Priya Mukhopadhyay – Stony Brook University
After spending a little time in an university that is known for the massive amount of South Asian students who attend, you learn to pick up on certain trends and soon realize that being in the “brown crowd” in college can end up being a stressful environment for many.
Fear not however, because after the initial period where you test the waters with the South Asian community, you realize there are ways to avoid the conflict and settle in with a group of friends.
The first word that comes to mind to most college goers when hearing the word “brown” is “drama.” Every gathering or party (which there are a TON of) needs to have some sort of source of “drama” or else the night would be lackluster. Observing “drama” serves to be enjoyable to some but once you get a first hand taste of it, many individuals get turned off of it for life.
Why is there so much “drama” in the brown world? Perhaps it is because of the millions of connections that the South Asian community has with each other. There are people in college that you know from church, or temple, from dance/music class, relatives, exes of cousins and friends and relatives, the connections are honestly endless. This results in the familiar “Oh wait, I think I know you from somewhere!” upon meeting someone for the first time.
Unfortunately, the number of connections you have is directly proportional to the chances of getting involved in “drama” in the brown community. This makes sense because any little occurrence or rumor that you encounter can spread like wildfire through the numerous acquaintances you have. This gives the facebook family tree a run for its money!
Facebook is another means of spreading things and amplifying drama. Seeing the list of mutual friends when accepting a friend request for the first time confirms the previous statement of the six degrees of separation especially in the South Asian community. Often, this connection is the basis of various relationships which is exemplified by the common, ‘meet at a party once, friend request the next day, never make eye contact or talk ever again.’ Just because of this, the potential for drama is enhanced because more people know about your life.
What is considered to be drama in the South Asian community is not in other communities or cultures. The fear that someone will find out about something trivial to a college student but ludicrous to the older generation and word will spread to family is a fear that many South Asian live with. This causes even the simplest things that most other college goers would dismiss as commonplace to be amplified and cause unnecessary stress.
It is inevitable to encounter drama in any community in college but it is the way you handle it that makes all the difference. The most important thing about drama that is often overlooked is the fact that it is temporary above all else. Even if you do catch yourself being victim of a situation, know that soon, whatever is seemingly horrible at the time will blow over soon enough only to have some other poor individual stress over the same thing.