an interior shot of a restaurant with small tables and yellow chairs
May 26, 2023

The Unexpected Path to Finding Culture and Love

By documenting an Indo-Chinese restaurant, I changed from a demotivated person to one inspired to create
by Abigail ’23
A student post from The Workshop 12*

Once I get an idea in my head, I tend to obsess over doing it until I am suddenly uninterested the moment I begin. It is a common recurrence in my life that makes it difficult for me to understand my passions and goals when they are so fleeting. This character flaw did not necessarily go away once I joined the Workshop.

After returning from spring break, with a new and refreshed energy, I was already getting exciting ideas for large-scale projects I would pursue and my own revolutionary schemes in the workshop. For the most part, however, those ideas stayed as they were: thoughts in mind that never amounted to any physical work.

I approached the current part of the Workshop, where we are doing our student-led projects, with hesitance. The lack of motivation that had been growing since senior winter started to affect my excitement for projects and I worried I would not be able to feel anything towards my next accomplishment. The likelihood of seeing the project as another assignment to complete scared me and yet I coped by automatically making the project a task in my mind. However, that manufactured disappointment changed the moment I walked into this one restaurant, ready to record.

My group decided to work on a food documentary about Indo-Chinese fusion, specifically focusing on the local restaurant in Andover, Indulge India. Since the beginning, I was interested in creating a video as well as looking into food. However, I never expected to have appreciated the work the owners put in to such an extent.

I walked into Indulge India with a camera in hand and was immediately surprised when we spotted a group of fellow Andover students and friends sitting inside and enjoying a nice lunch. We chatted, laughed, and asked how their food was. The warm wallpaper, vibrant flora, and well-lit room reflected the emotions of everyone in the room. Thinking back on that moment in time I remember the smiles and warmth I felt sitting in that restaurant, which was not only because of the good company we had, but also the purpose of Indulge India.

That day, my group spent time interviewing one of the owners, Krupanalini, about the restaurant. What ended up sticking out to me was her emphasis on community. During the Covid pandemic, they delivered food to hospital patients, and now continue to reach out to groups around them for support. They happily support people who are struggling with money with a free meal and ensure their menu includes food for many types of dietary restrictions and audiences. Throughout hearing all of this, their kindness and passion showed through to me. I never expected to have this experience or feel those joyful emotions through a school project.

Now as I move onto the next stages of the project I feel much more motivated than when I started with my feelings of doubt and hesitance. The people around me who act as additional motivators keep pushing me and my motivation forward. When I take a step back and reflect on the emotions and people surrounding me, I realize I could not ask for a better group of students to find these special places of culture and love that exist all around us.

The "Culture: In a Dish, On a Screen" group includes Sin ’23, Abigail ’23, and Michelle ’23. __________________________________________________________________________


Each spring term, the Workshop welcomes approximately 20 seniors to this interdisciplinary, project-based course. With an eye toward reimagining what school can be, the Workshop is the senior’s only academic commitment for the entire term. Instead of splitting their time and attention into units of distinct courses and fields of study, they work closely with peers, faculty, and community and global partners on a series of linked, interdisciplinary projects that revolve around a single theme. Within the theme Experiments in Education, students explore areas of personal interest.

During the first few weeks of the term, students are working on one of four faculty-led projects. We feature blog posts by students during this time.

  • Inequality Visualized (led by Ellen Greenberg, instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science)
  • Listening to the Buddhists in Our Backyard (led by Andy Housiaux, instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies; director of the Tang Institute)
  • With Liberty and Health for All: “Humanities for Public Health” (led by Corrie Martin, instructor in English)
  • (Re)creating Kerouac: From Jean-Louis to Jack (led by Gene Hughes, instructor in French)


The Tang Institute at Phillips Academy is a center for teaching, learning, and partnership. To learn more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, Notes on Learning.

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