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Raleigh, North Carolina
“2020 was a year to be remembered. What will you remember most about 2020 and why is it important to you?”
Freedom was the theme of my 2020 experience. After years of harboring the stigma of mistakes I made as a nineteen year old man, my criminal record was finally expunged in January 2020. Expungement served as a benchmark of progress I?d made over the last ten years. Growing up without a father and being primarily raised by a mentally ill and drug addicted mother fostered a great attraction to anti-social and self-destructive behaviors within me. After a final period of incarceration at the age of nineteen, I?d had enough. I was done being in and out of detention or correctional facilities, seeing the shadows of my potential future in the faces of older inmates, drowning in anxiety due to the existential uncertainty of my lifestyle. Upon release I dedicated myself to school, attended therapy, built healthy relationships, and worked full time in and attempt to holistically rehabilitate myself while refraining from reciprocating. Hours of introspection, pushing myself to study for the first time since middle school, and working menial jobs for long hours all cascaded into a singular green piece of paper signed by a district court judge. This paper symbolized my freedom to pursue the career in nursing I?d waited all this time for. Providing me with the tenacity I needed to complete A.S(s) in Allied Health and Natural Science, an A.A-T in Psychology, and become a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant while working full-time and co-parenting my four year old daughter; freeing me from the mistakes of my past.
“Imagine a historical figure is brought back to life. Who is it? What’s their favorite mobile app?”
1/10/1963. @BettyFriedan21 writes: ‘The Problem That Has No Name: a thread (1/32). In 1963, Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique propelled the feminist movement into mainstream visibility, translating its theories to the white middle class. In order to reach her target audience- the American housewife- Friedan took up a medium this demographic had access to: the printed book. However, with its mainstream visibility came a very particular narrative of feminism. The needs of Black, queer, indigenous, poor, and disabled folks were sidelined for the centrality of the white, upper-middle class housewife. The Feminine Mystique, while a radical and transformative text, also helped pave the way for a racist, classist, and homophobic mainstream feminism whose legacies persist today.
I like to think that, were Friedan to be brought back to life now, she would embrace intersectionality and the movements for Black, queer, economic, indigenous, and disability rights. In order to do so, she would need new tactics which don’t center the privileged white woman. In the pursuit of more inclusive, accessible forms of activism and theory, Twitter is more than just an app; it is a medium being used, among other things, to create a feminist politics that addresses disparities within the movement. Friedan was out-spoken, tempestuous, witty, and opinionated. In other words, the perfect Twitter personality.
@BettyFriedan21 would be able to share her ideas while also learning from Black, queer, poor, and disabled persons, using retweets, mentions, and other tactics of activist Twitter to center voices marginalized in mainstream, second-wave feminism.
We all know the infamous tale of Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb, but that isn’t where the story began. It started more than seventy years prior to Edison filing his patent in 1879. To be clear, Thomas Edison is rightly credited with the invention of the first commercially successful light bulbs; however, many others contributed to the creation. Most notably, Joseph Swan, who invented the first affordable light bulb that used carbonized paper filaments as opposed to the expensive platinum filaments in earlier models. He received a patent in the United Kingdom, and proceeded to demonstrate his version of the light bulb in Newcastle, England, and though the prototype he exhibited worked well at the time, it wasn’t a viable option due to a relatively short life span. Thomas Edison recognized the issue with Swan’s light bulb. He knew if he put thinner filaments inside the vacuum sealed bulb it would take less energy to create light making a more practical design. By 1880 Edison had created a light bulb that lasted over 1200 hours. This design was produced commercially and was successful across the world. If I could bring one person back to life it would be Joseph Swan, and I believe his favorite app would be Google. Most of us have the google app on our phones and use it regularly to access information. With the creation of the internet more people know about the true inventor of the first light bulb, and Joseph Swan gets the credit he deserves.”
Slowly opening my eyes, as the sunlight temporarily blinds me, I notice the place I once called home changed from the past. Not only that, but I had the strangest device in my hand that glowed with some type of magic. I somehow turned it on, which showed a game called Cross Switch. I quickly fell in love with this device as I had stitch up over 50 pictures. Though confusion sets in, wondering what could have caused my return to a strange point in time. I didn’t have much time to ponder on that thought, as I set my eyes on a large building. It was larger than anything I have ever laid my eyes on. Because I needed answers to filled this void, I venture into the building. I glanced at the old war coats from my time before I notice a large statue of a person; I didn’t recognize this man, until I read the inscription: George Washington. I smiled at the familiar name, the only thing that makes sense here. Leaving Washington behind, I stopped in my tracks as I stared, eyes wide open, at a flag. The same flag that had the 13 five pointed stars, with the stripes. I almost teared up; my work from a humble seamstress is being notice for the world to see. I knew then that the miracles of God had wanted me to see this, as a single tear fell down my face. I am Betsy Ross.
“Surprise! You just got elected president. What’s your first Tweet?”
Listen. Listen to each other. I will listen to you. The strength of our nation is in our diversity of ideas. When we listen, we thrive.
“Weighing the expected investment and return, is college worth it for you? Why?”
“I’ve never seen people like you read for fun.” Every time I heard this statement, my head throbbed and my motivation wavered with the emphasis of one devastating, degrading truth: it was not expected of me because of my background. It only got worse with the mention of college. As a first generation, low -income Hispanic woman, the weight of such low expectations seems to drag me down endlessly into the dark abyss of failure. How will I afford it? How will I travel there? Who honestly expects me to make it past freshman year? Is college really worth the effort?
Whenever I get home, my questions are answered. My mother leaps forward clutching yet another college acceptance letter. Her joy is palpable, and soon I am smiling along as well. She notices my reluctance and takes my face between her calloused hands. “In America, anybody can make it,” she assures me in broken English. Gazing into her adoring eyes, I realize that no amount of student debt or condescending comments can stop my mother from believing in my success. Not only would I have a career because of college, but she will also be proud. Her faith strengthens my resolve. Her joy encourages me to look past all the barriers.
Yes, I assure myself once again. College is worth the investment.
“What’s the biggest challenge facing college students today, and how can it be addressed?”
It is the ruler of all monsters. Reckless and cruel it carries the pain of a thousand knives. With the skills of a professional assassin, it consumes its favorite snack, me, selfishly feeding off my darkness. The mystery monster goes by the name stress. In reality, stress does not sound that scary; however, stress is a relentless battle that college students have to face on a daily basis. When most people first start college, they fall into a whirlpool of debt, loads of homework, a never ending list of deadlines, and complicated personal relationships. As students are distracted by everyday life, stress is able to sneak up on its prey and do what it does best…destroy.
So how do college students fight back and slay stress? Simple! Go out and have fun. Learn to successfully take time out for yourself while managing to maintain good grades and spending your money wisely. Watch an action packed movie with a friend or read a mushy gushy romantic book while relaxing at the park. Basically, find time to laugh. You laugh once. The beast is weakened but still strong. You laugh again. The monster has fallen to its knees. You laugh some more. It is weak and begging for mercy. You laugh one final time. You have finally beaten the monster…yes, you beat stress.
January to March 2015 Winners
“Racist. Sexist. Ageist. Don’t be an ist. Things like race, gender, sexual orientation, and age are important parts of your identity, but the stereotypes that accompany them are not what define you, despite the social forces that try to tell you otherwise. In 200 words or less, tell us how you defied a stereotype someone had of you, or defied a stereotype you had of others.”
Port St. Lucie, FL
“You are a girl. Wear dresses, play with dolls. Be graceful, elegant, and gentle—be lady-like.” Words thrown at me, meaningless pebbles smacking against my skin. They are heavy and infuriate me, this inane stereotype that all girls must grow into porcelain women who move like water, speaking softly and laughing like bells. When I grew, I resisted dresses, the pink hues and the idea that I must be covered like some shameful idol—that my skin mustn’t tempt others. I grew into myself instead, this defiance of the Catholic expectation of ‘woman’. I tore off my skirts, skinned my knees, and spoke like the boys. I planned tattoos and sought not to be seen as a manufactured object, but a woman even with my short hair and sharp tongue. I became the daughter who played with the sons, the daughter who fell for other daughters, yet all the while stayed a woman. I destroyed their notion of a perfect, pearl paragon, and yet I was a woman nonetheless. A girl does not always need to flow like oil or be silent as night; she can be as loud as fire, as tough as leather, and remain just as beautiful.
My wallet and dorm keys? Lost. My phone? Dead. Metro station? Closed. To top it all off, I was stuck in an unknown part of D.C., at night, and I was scared. What didn’t help matters was the homeless man sitting on the bench with me staring at the side of my face. I was on full alert ready to scream for help. I’d heard the rumors and horror stories about the homeless population of D.C. None of which I wanted to experience firsthand.
Little did I know that the man sitting next to me was a veteran. He’d served in the US Armed Forces for five years and was discharged after being diagnosed with PTSD. How do I know this? He told me, but only after he paid my bus fare and rode with me to assure I made it safely to campus. Needless to say, I was ashamed of how I had first perceived him. As a black female, I know all too well how harmful and crippling stereotypes can be to society and to one’s own humanity. Now, I’m glad I lost my wallet, because I found something much more valuable that night, an open mind.
October to December 2014 Winners
“Where are you going? … In school? … In life? Share your journey and tell us where you want to go.”
San Antonio, TX
One life is a solo, two lives — a duet. But multiple lives? That’s a symphony. An extravagant blend of timbre and passion. A collaborative effort to a common goal. A journey to no destination, for the destination lies within the journey. I want to go there. To dedicate my life to the path of music. To fill my soul with the joy and innovation which lies within. To bring music to others. To teach its wonders. To see its blessings. That is my calling. To broaden my horizons. Reach higher, but be the ladder for others to climb. To walk with others, rather than leading the way. My journey is my destination. My music is my life. But more importantly, it is the life of everyone. An eternal symphony. That is where I must go.
To go or not to go — that is the question:Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to braveThe kinks and obstacles of tortuous paths,Or to stay immobile against the fate of lifeAnd, by opposing, end it. To act, to lose —No more — and by a loss to say we avoidThe beauty and the thousand natural occurrencesThat flesh is heir to — ‘tis a misjudgmentWrongly to be wished. To act, to lose —To lose, perchance to free. Ay, there’s the rub,For in that loss of action what freedom may come,When we have escaped this lethargic veneer,Must give us pause. For who wouldForfeit the joys and hitches of time?Thus, ‘tis no question at all — there is only “to go.”Th’ tortuous path, the less traveled by road,The pangs of rigorous education, the heart’s call,The patient task of change, the occupation of the Earth,The tests of parentage, and the luresThat destiny leads of th’ uprooted soul —When I myself decide to go is all where I’llSoon be. Thus I want to goTo where the winds may blow,And thus I, a drop of dust, will inexorably grow.
The pager goes off, they call me awake.It’s 3 a.m. and I feel great.I know what’s coming. I’ve done it before.I know what’s at stake. I bolt out the door.A surgery’s pending, a heart to mendSyringe and anesthetic; my ink and pen.“Will it hurt?” I’m asked. “No, don’t be scared.Count to ten.” I say. They’re caught unpreparedas their eyes roll back. With their mouth unglued,They’re fast asleep before they say “two.”A life to lose or a life to saveA cut here, blood there, time to be brave.The sun comes up and then goes down,Lives in danger now safe and sound.At home again I blink some sleepwhen the pager goes off and starts to beep.I open my eyes, I’m wide awake.It’s 3 a.m. and I feel great.
July to September 2014 Winners
“Which five words illustrate what your life will be like 10 years after college graduation?”
Five words:Animation, determination, direct, audience, film
Animation is my life you seeA film can bring such happiness and gleeThrough determination and sweat the process moves onAll the way through the break of dawnBut to direct a film with such a featAnd have the audience on their feetNow that is the future I hope to seeAnd I welcome it with much glee
Five words:Gyunyu, Tamago, Gohan, Calpico, Omocha
Milk, eggs, rice,a soft drink, and a toy
Groceries for the nightA drink unique to homeA small surprise for my little girl/or boy
6 years in JapanRoots now planted back in my homelandSatisfied for the night, running errands
Milk, eggs, and riceBasic sustenance for lifePowering this professor to teach English
A family and a classroom to call my ownA country, a child, and a home
Appreciative of everydayI prepare for the next oneSipping Calpico from the can
Blue Springs, MO
Five words:Baking, blooming, beating, burdenless, buoyant
Like the smell of cookies baking, my life will draw people closer to me. Like a flower slowly blooming, I will know my journey is only still beginning. Like a heartbeat, I will steadily be working. No longer needing to figure out a major or apply for internships, my burdens will be lifted. I will have a light air about me, seeking ways to keep others afloat with me.
San Anselmo, CA
Five words:Focusing, challenging, solving, inspiring, connecting
Unigo. You and I go.A unique entrepreneurial business model.You and I go forward together, collaboratively.Focusing, challenging, solving, inspiring, connecting.Focusing will identify opportunities to act on.Challenging norms, stigmas, concerns, issues and applications.Solving problems that confront our community.Launching into this world, I will inspire.A role model for those around me to find the courage to lead from inside themselves.You and I go … forward, together, connecting through an entrepreneurship model to change the future.
April to June 2014 Winners
“How do you picture your success after college?”
As a teacher, I dream to inspire; To be that match that sets others on fire; To raise up my students, to help them come higher; From the day I am hired ’til the day I retire.
I’m committed to teach history with far more passion than anyone ever before!
Vacationing from work at a beach in paradise.Sounds like success, right?But, that’s not me.See that figure parachuting in the distance?That’s me, dropping in to a remote villageon the island awaiting access to healthcare,and I’m their bridge.Now that’s success, and the sky’s the limit!
Traverse City, MI
Do you see that stubborn little plant? That’s me, well on my way to a successful job in the publishing industry. With my roots seeded deeply into the books I love and the endless possibilities sprouting like leaves, my future as a book enthusiast is boundless and worth every word.
A bundle of nerves Deep thought, precision, dedication Life’s most wonderful application Stretching in every possible direction What a move, a touch, a prime navigation
A bundle of nerves Job’s main love White coat, mindset, latex glove Patients fearless, brain is open A smile, a success, a neurosurgeon has won
Life contained in a little bowlToo much moxie for it to holdWorlds of wonder within my soulA future waiting to be toldDetermined not to sink or failI’ll brave the deep and unknownMingle among the shark and whaleThis little fish will hold her own
January to March 2014 Winners
“Building an awesome future starts with finding the right school for you. If you could design your ideal college experience, what would it be and how would it help your future?”
A Recipe for Flight Instruction level: Challenging Materials: A bowl, a camera, and an open mind.
For best results, collaborate with others of similar drive. Allow room for innovation. This ought to be a memorable experience — be sure to make good use of that camera before you are done.
Congratulations! You’ve concocted Potential!
To test, take the Potential, go outside, and throw it to the birds. Watch — they fly.
College is the key: the key to education, the key to fulfillment, the key to life.
For me, college is large, urban, diverse: ready and willing to prepare me for a world of academia.
College is a challenge, an awakening, an illumination.
For me, college needs to have my interests: linguistics, French, translation studies.
College is a home, a way, a life.
For me, college can be: vast when it needs to be, intimate when it needs to be, the rest of the time, somewhere in between.
College is friends, teachers, community.
For me, college is a support system: on day one, at graduation, throughout life.
College is my training, my experience, my career.
For me, college needs to prepare me for: graduate school, professorship, and a rigorous academic career.
College is a goal, a rite of passage, my next step.
For me, college needs to bridge the transition: between my high school life, my undergraduate life, and my graduate life.
College is my personality, my expectations, my apprehensions.
For me, college should need me, I should need it, we should need each other.
For me, college is a place to grow and become.
Let’s plant the seed.
Not just a place Where childhood dreams Come true
Not just a place Where your future Blossoms
It’s where you learn To create and believe The impossible
It’s where the fire Burning in you Explodes
Where your new life And your new dreams Are born
Don’t wish, just do … Possibilities Are endless
Won’t let my dreams Just be dreams I’ll shine
Walk with purpose, Collide with destiny, Believe
Never give up, Work with passion — Succeed
This is college. I only have one chance. Let’s go.
My world is waiting for me.
Oak Harbor, WA
In an age where lords and barons no longer exist, many will emerge wiser than a sage, more precarious than a saber-tooth, and far more relentless than a reciprocating saw.
The dojo becomes their domicile to train in every facet of human endeavors: philosophy, humanities, science, art, logic, technology and rabblerousing. Balance is perfection.
The hand of fellowship is always extended towards them; the unity of their peers is like an invisible strength comparable to those jelly jars that won’t ever open. Those who know them don’t really know them. Those who don’t know them can’t forget them.
Nature is a rival due to her simplicity and consistency and discipline and longevity and variety and cyclical beauty, not to mention she is highly photogenic. On account of their desire to be like her, they spend much time at her feet, learning through observation and experience.
I tell you the things that they do, not so you know what they do, but so the things that they do tell you who they are.
This is the future of education; these are the students of the future.
Welcome to Life University!
We prepare you for life because we are life. Our programs are built around the individual, so each curriculum is unique. Your education is distinctively designed, based on your career ambitions. Here’s how it works:
Experience is the best teacher. Don’t spend years in a traditional classroom when you can learn by working, gaining valuable experience and making a positive contribution in the career you desire — right now! Get more out of life. Learn to think beyond the ordinary. Come and experience Life University!
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Enter to win a scholarship just by reviewing your college!
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