"Julia (I’ve changed her name) had always sat behin..."
UNC at Chapel Hill
Describe a peer you see as a community builder. What actions has that peer taken? How has their work made a difference in your life?
200 - 250 words
(UNC at Chapel Hill)
Julia (I’ve changed her name) had always sat behind me in calculus. We traded snippets of our lives in the five minutes between math problems. One Friday night, I answered an unexpected FaceTime from Julia. She told me about her family, how her dad had committed suicide after her mom threatened to leave him. She described how her brother had physically abused her, leaving her bloody on the bathroom floor. She recounted calling the police after her boyfriend threatened to jump off a window ledge. I was left speechless.
The next morning, I remembered the classic Freudian glacier diagrams with only 10% of a person residing above water. Julia was an avid artist, a budding mathematician, yet she was living with pain most adults would find unbearable. Looking at the jeans she had painted herself in Starry Night’s likeness, basking in the warm glow of her wit, there was simply no way of knowing what obstacles she had to overcome. I had always taken having a supportive family for granted, rarely ever considering that for many, home was a punishment and not a sanctuary. While the mild success I had enjoyed in school existed primarily because of my ever-encouraging parents, hers existed in spite of them, making everything she had accomplished all the more remarkable. My respect for Julia is immeasurable. She taught me not only resilience by example, but never to assume, to never disregard what most likely lies just beneath the surface.