“I study at the Ugli almost every night during the week and usually all day on Sunday.The second floor is my favorite study spot on campus, even though there is a lot of talking and socializing. I feel like, if you’re going to be stuck doing homework, you might as well have a little bit of fun and surround yourself with others who are on the same struggle bus. Some of my closest friendships happened through bonding at the library: my “Ugli-friends.” In fact, I even networked at the Ugli and met someone who helped me get a job after I graduate! This is how I see it: when I graduate, I’m not going to remember the nights I studied at home, but the long nights I spent with friends studying our lives away together at the Ugli.”
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you would tell yourself?
“I was a student at U-M in the early 1990s. I remember avoiding taking courses in which I thought I wouldn’t excel, even if I had an interest in the topic. Looking back I find that ridiculous for two reasons. First, you are not expected to be good at something before you have learned how to do it! The whole point of being at an educational institution is that you get to learn new things, often from scratch. You are not expected to be an expert on any topic walking into a classroom. Second, if you are not that good at a particular topic, then so what? Everyone is good at something and not as good at something else. Sometimes we limit ourselves because we fear not being good at something. I would tell my younger self to explore all of my interests and not to be concerned with how good or bad I was at something. This is advice that I would want to pass on to my students.”
Who are you?
“I grew up in Ann Arbor. I’ve lived here practically my entire life. I’m a graduate from Eastern and I’ve worked for Chipotle for about 6 years. It’s been quite awhile, that’s for sure.”
What are you studying?
“I got my Bachelor’s in Communications and I’m actually going to Wayne for this next semester for my Master’s in Public Relations and Organizational Communications.”
What’s your dream?
“I would love to pursue modeling in honesty. I really enjoy being a student, so that’s why I’m going back to school. But, I really enjoy modeling. I choose to model.”
What was the reaction from your Friends and Family when they learned about Chipotle Bae?
“They just tease me, calling me Chipotle Bae when I’m walking into a room. It’s always a lot of excitement because of it, so it’s always good fun.”
Has anyone recognized you at the store?
“Yea, a few people have. It’s not very often which is actually kind of nice.”
Did you realize you were everyone’s Chipotle Bae before the post?
“No, I had no clue. I had no idea.”
What’s your favorite thing to do?
“One of my favorite hobbies, in all honesty, is running. I really enjoy to run. I used to run track in high school. But, besides that, I play a lot of video games. Super Smash Brothers is my favorite.”
What level are you on?
“I’m the greatest Super Smash Brothers player ever. That’s my level.”
What’s your Chipotle Bae order?
“Okay, here it goes: You get the brown rice, because it’s more nutritious than the white rice. Typically the black beans. Steak of course. And then I’ll put cheese on top of the hot sauce, and then tomatoes, guac, and lettuce. That’s what’s in my bowl.”
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
“When I first started working at Chipotle, I was a huge flirt with a lot of my customers. I received a lot of criticism from my boss in front of the customers. So, it was always a little embarrassing. But, it was in good fun. It was definitely a big lesson about professionalism.”
“Electric Relaxation by A Tribe Called Quest.”
Favorite food, besides Chipotle?
“Lasagna. It has to be a meaty, cheesy ordeal.”
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
“Zanzibar is probably my favorite place in the world.”
Do you play any instruments?
“I play the piano a bit.”
“Winter, for some weird reason. But, I have to give it up for Fall because I can run shirtless and it’s awesome. I get the most hardcore tans ever.”
What is the average day in the life of Chipotle Bae like?
“Okay, so typically, from the get go, I usually spend my morning trying to do productive things cause I’m not at work. So, I usually run, work out, and try to read and study. And then, from 4 o’clock on, it’s just, you know Chipotle.”
What are your long term goals?
“That’s a difficult question. For certain, I’m going to have my masters. My larger goal is figuring out where that fits into my plan, in all honesty. I’m really looking forward to studying the subject, but I’d really like to see where I can land myself.”
Did you always know that you wanted to go into Communications?
“Well, actually, it is a more recent thing. But, I definitely see myself more in that field.”
What’s your life motto?
“When there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Anything else you want to say?
“I hope I can see my more typical customers at the Washtenaw Location, since I’ve been moved to that location!”
What inspired you to create the Multi-Ethnic Student Society?
“Growing up biracial is tough- you never feel like you fit in anywhere. I expected it to be different in college but being biracial on this campus really began to wear on me. I had found different niches to fit into, but nowhere that I felt 100% myself; I was always compartmentalizing who I was to fit into whatever the environment called for. It was a classic case of the tragic mulatto, “too white to be black and too black to be white,” and I really felt like that no matter where I was on campus. So I decided to do something about it. Inspired by Mariah Carey’s “Outside,” I went about creating a multi-racial club.
Fast forward a couple weeks and lots of planning, persuading, and coercing later, the Multi-Ethnic Student Society was born. MESS was created in hopes of not only giving other multi-racial/multi-ethnic students somewhere they could feel completely comfortable but also to bring different ethnic backgrounds together to learn, share, and celebrate each other’s cultures.”
How has your end of the semester been?
“Really stressful because I though I would do well with all of my papers, but then I didn’t.”
How many papers did you have to write?
“I had to write two officially, but then create a portfolio that had all of my papers for the entire semester.”
Which class was that for?
“English 223, Creative writing. Most of my writings were about other people, which is really creepy, but it’s fine. They were mostly my friends. I titled the stories but their names, and really liked them. But, everyone said the titles were bad. My friends liked the stories. It was based on things that had happened to us.”
What are some ways you deal with the end of the semester stress?
“I just try to think about other stuff by getting distracted. Like, I just got this Oreo Blast for my roommate with whip cream on top and everything, but then it melted. I just went to the UGLI to look for her for about 10 minutes, but I couldn’t find her. And then, it got all over me, so now it’s a mess.”
Is it yours now?
“Nope, now it’s just a mess.”
Where’s your favorite study spot?
Is there anything you tell yourself to through finals season?
“Not really, I kind of just pray for my grades.”
What are your favorite things about returning home?
“So one of my favorite things is getting to see my family and my friends. I’m actually not too far away from here. I’m from Toledo, Ohio. But, one thing I love about being home is the sense of community and just the sense of comfort after being in a very stressful environment where you’re constantly competing. It’s really nice to just go home and relax and be able to be with family. Mine in particular is great because I have an older sister who’s 9 years older than me and she lives in California, so it’s really great for us to all be together. Her, me, my mom and my dad. One funny thing is that our Christmas tree in our basement has been there for three years straight so it’s always interesting to come home and see if it’s up, get some home cooked meals and we also travel during the holidays, which is a fun thing! We’re going to Atlantis this year, but I guess my favorite thing about being home is definitely that sense of warmth and comfort. And also just getting to unravel and see the bigger picture. I think when you’re in college and school you tend to have a focused mindset on ‘I need to do x, y, and z.’ and like say if it’s studying for an exam and you’re really stressed out about it, you’re really worried, and you feel like your life depends on it. Or maybe you’re applying for a job and feel like if this company doesn’t hire you, you don’t know what you’ll do. Going home, I feel like you definitely, at least for me, I tend to let go of those thoughts and needs and get to see the bigger picture and realize that if you start somewhere, you’re always going to end somewhere. At the end of the day, if that test or job interview doesn’t end up going how you wanted it to, you will always have another opportunity in the future. Being with family and friends who support that, is great especially cause, you know, my dad has always really encouraged to follow my passion and never give up, and my sister has always been there as a role model. And my mom has always been a big encourager and supporter. So, it’s great to be around that comfort and know that at the end of the day, succeed or fail, your family and friends will always support you. And secondly, they believe in you and going back to a place that really knows you and supports you, it always really fuels you up to make it through another semester.”
Do you have any funny family memories from around this time of year?
“One funny thing that happened was my family and I went to India, and of course since it’s super hot there, I packed all my really warm clothes and I didn’t realize that I forgot to pack winter boots. So, we get off the plane, walk out of the terminal and walk out of the airport, and that’s when I realized I am wearing flip-flops and socks, and I don’t have tennis shoes, I don’t have boots and it’s snowing outside. We’re in the middle of the Detroit airport, it’s freezing, everyone’s wearing boots, jackets and scarves, and I’m wearing my sandals and socks. So, I was super cold at the airport, and embarrassed. I just felt stupid. But, when we got home, and even after seeing the cultural difference, with it being cold and somewhat lonely after just leaving all of our family in India, we got home and on the counter we had a freshly cooked meal by our friends who surprised us! That was the only thing that I really needed to make me feel more at home. After leaving all of my relatives, and my family in India, coming back to that warmth to the knowledge that you have friends that are always there for you and who are like family, it just made me feel really warm, both figuratively and literally. I got home and didn’t really care about the fact that I forgot my winter boots.”
“Coming to Michigan, I was actually the only one from my high school, so coming here I was very excited but also a little bit afraid. One experience that kind of changed my outlook on things was by joining APAC’s consulting club. And that was a great experience because I had actually never known too much about consulting before coming to Michigan. I thought I wanted to focus on marketing, but I joined this club on a whim and it taught me almost everything I know right now, and it was great because I was able to connect with other people who had that same passion and also learn a lot more. It was also really cool to be a part of it because I was able to help a client who had an idea about a product, and this semester, we’re actually able to have Zingermans as a client, and so, I was able to meet with Ari Zingerman with my team and tell him our recommendations. I learned a lot about myself, and my peers during that time! I also learned about the cool culture of Zingermans in Ann Arbor.
Another great experience I’ve been a part of is Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan. The reason I joined Dance Marathon, actually, was because back in India I have two cousins who have special needs. I joined not really knowing what to expect and jumped in right away as a dancer captain. Slowly throughout the year, I started realizing how great it was to have that community that I felt like I really needed, being the only one here from my high school. At the marathon, it was amazing because we stood for 24 hours without sitting and a lot of the people around me that felt like acquaintances before, really felt like family in the end because we really pushed each other and motivated each other to not sit down, but to stand. At the end when some of the kids came on stage, it really had a perspective change for me because I had always thought that coming to Michigan and school was a great opportunity. But, I never really valued it as much when I saw how another person has so much less they can do in life because of their disability or special need. So, it really just made me grateful and was a life changing experience. I’m really happy to be continuing it. I’m on the marketing team this year, and we’re working towards the marathon. I’ve definitely gotten to have that sense of community that you don’t find otherwise, and it’s really nice to have a community that supports each other for a common goal who wants to help others.”
How is celebrating Chanukah at Michigan?
Growing up, Chanukah was a special time in my house — it’s not a really religiously important holiday, like Rosh Hashana or anything, but was definitely a time for everyone to pause their day, light the menorah, eat latkes, and sing songs. And I’ve also found in my past three years here at Michigan that that’s how it is at school, too — even though it’s a hectic time of year, with everyone getting ready for finals, every night of Chanukah we lit the menorah in my apartment, and there was always a lot of stuff happening at Hillel, too. It’s just a festive time of year. We sing special tunes to the prayers that are unique to this time of year, and that kind of gives the same kind of warm fuzzy feeling you’d get when you hear Christmas music.
One of my favorite Chanukah customs is called “pirsumei neis,” which means “spreading the miracle.” We basically light the menorah and then place it in the window so it’s visible to everyone who walks by, which is kind of hard to do if you live in an apartment building, but we did it anyway. One meaning for that custom is that we should be proud to be Jewish and of our beautiful traditions and our incredible heritage. And the other meaning is that we should always be working to bring light into the world in whatever way we can. It’s also why Hillel and Chabad and other Jewish organizations on campus do those big, fun menorah lightings on the Diag — to face outward into the whole community and to share the light. Light is pretty much the underlying theme of Chanukah — creating it, sharing it, and spreading it.”