By Nikita Sethi (CAS’21)
The Kilachand senior Keystone Project offers students free reign to craft a project in a subject they are interested in with the resources of Kilachand to back them up. For the first two years of my time in the Kilachand Honors College, I had very little idea what I was going to do with this opportunity. I did not have too much experience in my field outside of my classes, and spent most of my free time in choir practice or working. The summer after my sophomore year, I happened to pick up a book called “The Privileged Poor” by Anthony Abraham Jack. In this book, Dr. Jack outlines the ways that the lived experiences of low-income students at elite institutions are affected by their status as low-income. Reading that book, I recognized a lot of the things that I had been struggling with in my first two-years at Boston University. This was research about me, about my experience, and I needed to know more. I rushed down to the Kilachand office and told Eric and Danny all about why this subject was important, and why more people needed to know about it. The two academic advisors laughed a little bit, as they both had graduate degrees in the subject I was just beginning to become interested in, but they both lent me books from their personal libraries that covered the subject. The rush of excitement I felt in researching the issues that had plagued my undergraduate experience was initially just for my own personal research, but by the end of the summer, I realized that I could contribute to the body of work on this subject through my Keystone Project. And that’s just what I did — I am currently in the last semester of completing my project entitled, “The Lived Experiences of Low-Income Students at Boston University.” I have been using the resources that Kilachand provided to interview low-income students on campus and create a podcast about their experiences. In the end, for me, the correct path for my Keystone Project was to just lean into the thing that I spent the most time thinking about in my four years. If I could give advice to incoming freshmen about the Keystone, it would be to not sweat it too much — just pay attention to the things you are passionate about.