The following story is a small part of an interview I conducted with one of my fellow DC Semester Students, Jordan Taverner. -Brenna Cowardin ’19
“I don’t know if I’ve figured that out [who I am yet], but it’s definitely changed. Even in the last few weeks, figuring out what I want to do, and stuff that I really care about. When I was applying for the DC program, I talked a lot in my essay and the interview about women’s issues and how that is something that I want to work with.
In high school, one of our teachers was killed by her husband, along with her son and her mom. It was huge, and it shook the community. I had her as a teacher, but she was the drama teacher and some of my friends were really close to her, and I can still see how it really impacted them. This is what got me involved with wanting to do the program which is weird since it’s nation building and South Asia, but I’m looking at it from the perspective of relationships and this is how you build communities and this is something that I really want to work with.
I first heard about it when Sam came to my psychology class, and I thought, ‘Oh this looks kind of cool.’ I didn’t have a plan for a major, or anything I wanted to do. It got to the night of the information session and it was pretty cold and late, but I said to myself, ‘You know what, just go.’ I get to Blow, and I was trying to find out where it was, and the directions took me to nowhere, and the door was locked, but I was like, ‘No, just go.’ So I go the other way, and I get in there, and I’m the only person there. They have all these boxes of cupcakes, and it’s just me. I’m like, ‘What does this mean?’ It was Sam and Roxane and Zutshi, and I started asking questions about it. I didn’t have any connection to it, but it was really interesting.
They gave me cupcakes to take to my hall because they had so many, and I got back to my dorm and I remember that over the next few days I was really excited about it. It was the first time I’d been really excited about something, so that made me really want to apply. I called my mom and I told her I was excited about it, asking for her opinion since I had never done anything like that before, and she told me that I should go for it.
When I went into the interview and I was writing my paper, I think that might be one of the reasons that I got in. I was passionate. Even when I was applying for internships, I talked about women’s issues and rights, things that were important to me.
When I got here and we started talking about India and Pakistan, I realized that there is so much that the world needs help with. I wasn’t focused just on women’s issues, I was focused on food sustainability, and more. How can I choose a direction when there are so many causes? So then I thought, what needs the most help? Well, the environment, but my mentor even told me that a professor told him once that if you really want to change the world you would be working in environmental advocacy, and stuff like that. I care about food sustainability and stuff like that, but then recently I’ve been thinking about stuff that I actually care about and how doing things like that actually helps the most. I went to visit my friend last weekend, and she loves her economics class. Econ is something I hated in college, but if she loves it and does an amazing job with it, then she should do that.
If I love helping people with women’s advocacy then I should focus on that. You shouldn’t focus on what you think the world needs, you should do what you love and that will be what the world needs.”