Birmingham: Not as comfortable as I thought

Kashika Narang
Kashika Narang

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a more prosperous Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is  Kashika Narang.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

Growing up in Birmingham, I had a large comfort zone surrounded by my family, the Indian community, and with the Altamont school of which I attended.

I lived in Birmingham for most of my life, around twenty years; however my appreciation for this city only began to emerge recently.

Most of my experiences with Birmingham consisted of memories with close family and friends. I was fortunate to grow up around my cousins, grandparents, and most of my extended family.

However, I now realize that I was allowing this small community of mine to perpetuate into a small bubble of existence and consequently I wasn’t able to see the potential of Birmingham beyond the scope of my comfort zone.

In high school, I did a summer program at Boston University and loved the metropolitan vibe, the diversity and energy of the young adult population, and especially the innovation that stemmed from the universities.

I was so attracted to this energy and wanted to pursue it more. However a similar market for this in Birmingham was intangible for me. So of course, when an opportunity arose to leave Birmingham, I took it because I had this image of Birmingham as a safe, small, and comfortable community.

When it came time to apply for colleges, I knew I wanted to leave Birmingham and search for a more diverse experience and I decided to attend Boston University in 2014.

Because I grew up here I took the city for granted and it took leaving Birmingham for me to start appreciating it. I became too comfortable within my social groups and routines that I didn’t notice the potential of Birmingham. However I found that the same energy and innovation for development and growth that I left to find I began to see in Birmingham.

I graduated in December of 2017 and a few months leading up to graduation, I thought I wanted to stay in Boston and work at an emerging health technology company. I wanted to get more experience with companies that promoted new ways towards handling the health care market, (disruptive markets so to speak).

However Birmingham’s potential to grow and diversify had finally become tangible to me and I knew I wanted to be a part of this emerging innovative market. Once I began to search for a similar opportunity here, I became aware of the extensive markets that existed within Birmingham that offered opportunities to innovate and break conceptual boundaries.

When I told my friends from college I was moving back to Birmingham, many thought that I was moving back because of my strong sense of comfort.

On the contrary to their belief, it wasn’t this sense of comfort that drew me back, but was actually the lack of.  Birmingham offers an array of opportunities to research, innovate, and to surpass comfortable boundaries.

While it is true that Birmingham to me is a sense of comfort because it is my home and where I have grown up, Birmingham is not a city that remains comfortable.

Birmingham has evolved in many ways over the years. Specifically the Health Care centers in Birmingham, like UAB and various innovation companies like Pack Health are a powerful force leading innovation in Health care and I could not think of a better place to learn and grow in this field.

Kashika Narang graduated from Boston University this past December and then moved back to Birmingham to intern at Pack Health. This fall she will begin working towards a Masters in Health Administration and Health Informatics at UAB.

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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

Invite David to speak to your group about a more prosperous Birmingham.

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4 thoughts on “Birmingham: Not as comfortable as I thought”

  1. Welcome back Kashika. Bring your friends home with you. Y’all are going to help propel Birmingham forward into the future!

  2. Birmingham is becoming quite upstart city. Many younger friends of mine ask me about the city. Some of my nieces and nephews wanted to go to school here, but backed out. Some of them are from Chicago and I image their peers up there talk them out of it. To bad Birmingham doesn’t quite yet have the hip appeal of a Portland or a Hartford or a Seattle, or a Chicago or Boston, etc. Even Atlanta still struggles with mis-perception, being a Southern city and all, which is silly on the part of people from other parts of the country. Maybe a groundbreaking sitcom or a couple of more movies set in Birmingham will finally turn that around, I don’t know. (haha)

  3. Thank you for bringing your talent back and being part of the pioneering spirit now palpable in Birmingham. You have the opportunity here, unlike in larger cities, to build a leadership niche at an early age and be part of that “tangible” difference!

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