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Finding family amid confusion and pain

By Tony Zhao

In my first semester at DiversaTech, I was a consultant for the IBM project. My experience can be summed as the alternation between “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “oh god I really don’t know what I’m doing.” Thankfully, my project manager Namrata knew what she was doing (or at least gave the impression that she did).

The project more or less went along smoothly as Namrata put me and another consultant, Debbie in charge of the technical portion of the project. Debbie was a comrade in the “sweet baby jesus I hope what I’m doing is right” club. Nothing helps people bond more than mutual confusion and panic. Under Namrata’s guidance, we managed to pull through and deliver a working prototype.

DiversaTech has a big-little system, so when I heard that Debbie was Namrata’s little, I got jelly as hecking jam. Of course I demanded Namrata adopt me as well. Soon enough, I became Debbie’s sibling. DiversaTech also does something called chumming, where project members across teams are paired up to get to know each other better.

Supposedly, you’re paired with someone that you’ve had minimal interaction with. But due to a glitch in the matching algorithm or plain serendipity, I got paired up with Debbie. I didn’t tell anyone responsible for the matchmaking, cause heck yes I wanna chum with Debbie. Of course we demanded that Namrata had to be there too, so she got dragged into it as well.

Unfortunately we had to delay chumming for a bit, because Namrata was on some weird as heck diet where she can’t eat processed foods or something for 30 days. We ended waiting around two weeks, because obviously I didn’t wanna be eating a burrito while she sprinkles pepper into a bowl of ice water. But she made up for it by finding this restaurant where you could check in with Yelp and get a free mango smoothie. I believe that was the first and, as of yet, only time I’ve used that feature on Yelp. But eating and getting a dang good mango smoothie wasn’t enough. It’s typical that chumming pairs eat food. But we had to go further. We needed to get our brows done.

Debbie was opposed. Apparently it hurts, and the last time she had them done was in high school. I never had my brows done. Namrata was already on board, and her favorite place a bus ride away. There was a lot of back and forth and bargaining and crying and political intrigue and almost an assassination attempt. But long story short, I should’ve listened to Debbie. It ******* hurt.

The family situation got pretty complicated fast. Shun, who is this crazy smart guy, also became my big (since Namrata wasn’t officially my big). Ryan, another IBM team member, got jealous and demanded Namrata adopt him as well. He is now my co-PM and is one of the most wonderful human beings alive. And of course Katie, who is basically Namrata’s sister and also just so happens to be DiversaTech’s current president, became my auntie. I’ve got my own little named Michael now, which is concerning, because I still have phases of “oh lord I don’t know what I’m doing.” But hey, at least my brows are on point.




DiversaTech is the leading student-run technology consulting organization at UC Berkeley. We combine engineering, design, and business principles to create dynamic recommendations and strategies.

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The leading student technology consulting organization at UC Berkeley. We combine engineering, design and business principles to create dynamic recommendations.

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