Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All in a Year's Time

By Kudrat Kahlon '11   

By the time I graduated from Pacific University, I had already clocked in over a year of legal work, which included a year at the District Attorney’s office as a paralegal and a victim’s advocate and various summer internships in India.

I got an exciting offer to work in Oakland as a social worker (part of the training at the DA’s office included victim advocacy certification). This manifested after I spent an agonizing senior year where I’d send at least 2,000 job applications a week if not more. I’d hear nothing from most, a rejection from a few, and after hounding even the rejecters, feedback from a select few.

I packed my bags and landed up in San Francisco excited about my new job at a domestic violence and human trafficking center, there was no high greater than empowering women, and while the problems can be overwhelming, that one chance that you might have changed someone’s life is priceless, it made social work the most glamorous job in the world for me.

That had been my experience at the DA’s office under an inspiring supervisor. So much that I was rethinking my application to law school and thinking about pursuing social work instead.  But then two weeks into my new job, the management changed, the people I was working for were replaced by a bureaucratic bunch who were so cold and reclusive, a far cry from comfort and protection that the advocates offered.

Not so keen on law school, dismayed with the social work break I got, I mulled over a paralegal position for a corporate law firm which dealt with diamonds in Dubai and found me ethnic enough to work with them (even though I didn’t speak Arabic but probably looked the part).

Kahlon '11 with star Ashton Kutcher
But jumping into an intensive patent law environment when I wasn’t even keen on law anymore didn’t seem right. So I packed my bags and headed back home to India after 5 years and thought I’d take it from there. I have always been open to new experiences, always kept myself busy even if it didn’t fit the plan; because success does not have a linear trajectory it’s non-linear.  So at a friend’s suggestion I joined a local news station, and subsequently found myself working on documentary films.

I am now working as a researcher/producer and occasionally assistant director on documentary films, pursuing a master’s at a liberal arts university in Delhi, trying to kick start an NGO and write as freelance columnist for a national newspaper on socio-political issues. 

This past year has shown me one thing, where your minds at are where you end up.

Kahlon '11 studied politics & government at Pacific under the watchful guidance of Jules Boykoff, James Moore and Jeff Seward who taught her the unconventional and critical world views. Her current interests are socio-political issues, developmental economics, pop-culture, film-making, poststructuralism, philosophy and cultural studies. You can follow her on Twitter here:

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