Humans of Harker: Joy in spreading joy

Damini Kaushik extends her care to others


Helen Yang

“I’ve got a pretty good life and have a lot of reasons to be happy. And I want other people to be happy, too, [so] I always try to be the best supporter that I can be. I [am] a feminist and ally, because I can’t just sit around… I need to do my part and help out. I actively participate, because if I don’t decide to be really committed, I won’t be able to make a real impact. If you want change to happen, then you need to do your part to make change happen,” Damini Kaushik (12) said.

With dangling silver earrings and bold, framed glasses resting gently on her face, Damini Kaushik (12) brings life to the otherwise still backdrop of greenery with her easy smile and light banter. Some describe her as an outspoken ally, others view her as a feminist, and still others know her as an enthusiastic cheese lover—but every aspect of her diverse character reflects her love of life and will to help others.

“I think it’s important to me that other people are happy. In my life, even if I’m having a hard time at something… I can just try to find different ways to improve. Even if something doesn’t go exactly as planned, I’ve still got a pretty good life and a lot of reasons to be happy—and I want other people to be happy too,” Damini said. “That’s why I need to do my part and help out.”

Whether it be through attending public marches or through participating actively in clubs, including WiSTEM and GSA, Damini advocates for female empowerment as a feminist and for LGBTQ+ rights as an ally.

“You make own choices, and so it’s up to you whether you want to waste time or do something productive. I can’t just sit around—I actively participate, because if I don’t decide to be really committed, I won’t be able to make a real impact,” Damini said. “I think if you want change to happen, then you need to do your part to make change happen.”

For Damini, understanding others represents the key first step towards being a positive supporter. Annabelle Perng (12), Damini’s close friend, noted how Damini always strives to view the world from the perspectives of other people.

“She’s a really sympathetic person. Even if something does not apply to her directly, she still wants to help out other people out, and that starts with her trying to understand their situations, even if she does not have a direct perspective,” Annabelle said.

Even outside of her activities as an activist, Damini’s caring attitude comes across in her everyday actions. Linda Luo (12), another one of Damini’s close friends, describes her as the “mom” of the group.

“She’s that person who will always remind everyone to put on their seat belts, take dishes to the kitchen that aren’t hers and drive you to get food when you’re hungry. She just overall looks out for other people surrounding her,” Linda said. “Her innate kindness really drives her, and she definitely brings a lot of joy and security in her jokes, actions and kindness.”

Looking into the future, Damini plans not only to continue demonstrating support for feminism and LGBTQ+ rights in college, but also to expand upon her own intellectual passions.

“With programming, I want to explore and reach out. Sometimes when I’m just going about my life, I’ll think of a way that programming can be applied to someone’s life. I have a project on BlueJ where I experiment and try different things to see what comes out of it,” Damini said.

Ultimately, Damini aims to work hard to leave a positive effect on the world, while continuing to maintain a level-headed approach towards challenges.

“In the future, I don’t know what my career will be or what exactly I’ll be doing, because I’m still exploring,” Damini said. “And I won’t dwell on the things I can’t do, because there’s no point in that. What I can do… is try to do something that’s truly productive and useful—something meaningful. And whatever that might be, I have to leave an impact on people outside of myself.”