January 12, 2018, was a day of surreal delight that will be ingrained in my soul forever. Here’s why.
On this day, I served as a translator to seven members of the Massachusetts delegation, including Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, during their visit to the Hospital del Niño in Puerto Rico to assess the inadequate federal disaster response to Hurricane Maria. I also had the opportunity to tell this group about Mount Holyoke College, and how it has changed my life and my trajectory in more ways than I ever expected. My voice was shaking, my cheeks were numb from smiling and my tongue felt heavy with feelings. (That’s me in the white shirt, in the photos above.)
I’ve been involved in theater throughout most my entire life. From short productions on my elementary school’s dingy stage to behind-the-scenes work at a nonprofit theater in Los Angeles, I’ve always had some stake in it. Whether it was watching from the house (where the audience sits), performing on the stage, reaching out to the community or costuming in the wings, I simply can’t get away from it. It brings me so much joy. I don’t know if I can accurately put my love for theater into words.
Despite titles of leadership conferred upon me in high school — delegate to my town’s youth commission and teen ambassador for my local Junior League — I never truly considered myself a leader until I came to Mount Holyoke College. Here’s why.
You might know that Mount Holyoke has been home to pioneers since its founding in 1837. But did you know it’s also the first women’s college to host a hackathon?
“Have you built a restaurant for the school?” a teacher asked on his first visit to the Baale Parwaz Library. I laughed in response. The space—bare except for some newly set up furniture—did not yet give off much of a library feeling. The books had not even been delivered yet. But his question revealed something even greater: a cultural lack of familiarity with an open, peaceful space for studying and collaborating.