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- The quality and equity of the English department at the University of Washington will assist me in honing my existing skillset in studying comparative literature, which is the major I am primarily interested in. My current goal is to pursue literature studies at a graduate level. At Green River College, I took an American Latinx Literature class to continue the work of expanding the definition of what literature is meaningful to study. This class has made a lasting impact on how integral marginal identities are to the fabric of American culture. In other, more general literature classes, I was emboldened and overjoyed to see how much my curriculum included authors from diverse and varying backgrounds, a stark contrast from the monoculture that I was taught in high school. With academic resources available to the University of Washington, I hope that I can participate in creating a more accurate, accessible, and necessarily diverse ways of conceiving and teaching the merits and realities of literature.
- In the years of 2011 – 2012, I enrolled in a running start program at Highline Community College. This was a scheme to graduate on time. My struggles with undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, alongside frequent bullying, had an extremely negative impact in my freshman year of high school. Throughout high school, I was working against a year that was taken from me. Many in my situation drop out or pursue accelerated programs. Coming into my own a bit, I realized there were some things I still had control over, and was able set my sights higher than my doubts. I turned around my GPA as a junior in order to pursue running start as a senior. This opened a pathway to graduate on time with my class. I did.
- However, I performed poorly in the running start program. My grades were barely passable. This was dispiriting. Often, people retrospectively profess that they weren’t ready for college. In my case, I was still not ready for the rigors of life. Mental illness and varying amounts of isolation ravaged my psyche. I made the decision to not continue my education out of concern for my own safety. During the interim period, I stumbled into own self-motivated academic pursuits. While doing hard labor, I would come home to read essays, research concepts, and dream up my own art projects. My interests are at the intersection of alternative fiction, LGBT art movements, new media, experimental videogames, and critical/aesthetic theory. Writings of mine have been published—though a greater amount being self-published—exploring these topics in innovative, contemporary, and accessible ways.
- As I get older, I realize the ever-true adage that no person is an island. Being neurodivergent has made it difficult to get along with people, but has not stymied my desire to. As I accumulate knowledge, and so connections between the truth of things, I began to feel that I was in some way hording my findings. I’m very thankful for my friends and readers that have supported my essays, and art projects, but my overall impact, so to say, is very small. There is only so much one person can do, of course. I would still like to do more to share my knowledge, to help bridge understandings, in order to participate in shaping a more inclusive and just world. Teaching and academic access seems like a straightforward way to work at this goal of mine.
- This catalyzed me to return to my schooling. As of this writing, I have received a 4.0 in each class I’ve taken at Green River College. I would like to say this is a testament to my dedication and hard work—but it is also evidence of how fortunate and privileged I am to have a stable environment to study in, to have access to wider social communities that supported my own self-driven academic progress, to have ample time to dedicate to my studies, and to have friends and family eager to support me emotionally and financially. My other goal is to do right by the people who have inspired and supported me on this journey by doing the most comprehensive and empathetic job possible, to the best of my ability.
- As someone who is mildly disabled, and on top of that, manages a serious mental illness, it is has been difficult to continue my studies. Honestly, even with accommodations, classrooms are just not equipped to fully be there for people who live with disability. My wellspring of motivation needs to be deep and consistent to succeed at school. Yet daily I find my classes enriching and rewarding as I learn new information, connect with peers, find my perspectives challenged, and envision exciting new pathways for my academic development. I find this consistency motivating, because a quality education will allow me to give back to communities that support my development. This tension also gives me intimate insights into advocacy for those that have mental disorders and/or disabilities, because I am a part of those communities. This invisible marginalization is a de facto reason why I believe and am committed to cultural studies as a way toward social justice-orientated education. Literature is a powerful way to show, understand, and convince people of ways of being they may have never considered. It is the University of Washington that can give me the tools and skills to be on the vanguard of empathetic justice.
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