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I was born in Bath, Maine but I grew up in Orange, Massachusetts. I attended high school at Saint Bernard’s Central Catholic High School in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Why did you decide to attend Boston College?
I was initially attracted to BC because of its location right outside the city of Boston. Having grown up in a very small town in western Massachusetts, the idea of living in the ‘big city’ was an exciting prospect. I had visions of Red Sox games, morning runs along the Charles, and frequently shopping on Newbury Street. While my actual experiences at Boston College—football games at Alumni, late-night runs around the reservoir, and frequently shopping at CVS—have been quite different than what I had imagined, I am still thrilled with my decision to attend school here.
What is your major and why did you choose it?
I’m registered as pre-law, and pursuing a degree in philosophy. I chose philosophy as my major not because I enjoy discussing Plato’s thoughts on the city-state, but because I found that all of the ‘alternative’-type classes that interested me were often, coincidentally, philosophy classes. Courses like Technology and Culture, and Gandhi, Satyagraha, and Society—courses that uprooted my assumptions and questioned my values—were some of the most valuable learning experiences of my life.
What is your favorite class or professor?
Currently, my favorite class is Peace or War, taught by Professor Charles Derber. The class investigates various U.S. wars, largely in the Third World, such as the conflicts of Vietnam, El Salvador, and Iraq. Much of the course is devoted to exploring the potential roots or causes of war, and how to turn to peace instead. We are asked to consider questions like, “Does the U.S. really go to war to defend democracy and freedom? Or to simply maintain stability and order? Or do we fight for oil, profit, and power?” I really enjoy the content of the course, as well as the interactive and provocative teaching style of Derber. Each class is filled with just the right amount of controversy and respectful debate to make for a deeply intellectual and thought-provoking experience. Professor Derber encourages us to think about the theories we are learning in class while following the campaigns for Romney and Obama’, thus greatly enriching my understanding of political issues. I’m looking forward to nourishing my worldview even more as the semester progresses.
Thus far, what has been your most memorable BC experience?
Studying abroad in Nepal as a junior was something that has profoundly shaped me and my goals for the future. Prior to my semester in Nepal, I had been aspiring to attend a top-tier law school after my time at Boston College. I decided to study in Nepal because I thought it would be interesting to gain a new perspective on things through experiencing life in a Third World country. I had no idea what was in store for me! Cockroaches in my bed, cold showers, no electricity… Let’s just say that life in Nepal took some getting used to.
I lived in Boudhanath, Nepal and studied at the Center for Buddhist Studies at Rangjung Yeshe Institute (accredited by Kathmandu University). Boudhanath is renowned as the holiest Tibetan Buddhist site outside of Tibet, and, accordingly, is “home” for many Tibetan exiles and refugees who have been driven out of their homeland by the Chinese government. After spending four months in Boudhanath, Nepal living with a Tibetan host family, and studying at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, I began to question things that I had once overlooked. My classes in Buddhist philosophy encouraged me to cherish the oneness of all living beings, and through my new-found sense of oneness, I began to reflect on the violation of human rights that the Tibetan refugees in Nepal (and elsewhere) face. People are all interconnected, yet some people do not enjoy the same freedoms that others do. Tibetan refugees are unjustly oppressed and exiled from their nation, while I am free to travel wherever I please. Why? I started to feel responsible for advocating for the rights of my Tibetan friends. Suddenly, I was seeing life through a new lens. I decided that law school wasn’t for me.
Since my visit to Nepal, I have come to value human rights work and the notions of social responsibility and sustainable development. I think it is immensely important to preserve the most fundamental of human freedoms around the globe.
What are your aspirations after graduation?
After graduation, I would like to conduct a service trip or small-scale sustainable development project in a poor, coffee-growing village of Africa. Although I don’t have definite plans yet, I have been in touch with a few fair-trade coffee companies that conduct business with farmer cooperatives in Africa, and I am hoping to work with one of those companies and their coffee farmers to design a meaningful grassroots-type project in which I will be able to help a community in a direct, sustainable, hands-on way.
Someday, I hope to achieve a Master’s degree in Development or Peace and Conflict Resolution. However, I have come to see that the type of work that I am interested in does not require qualifications or degrees. Helping other people is something that anyone can do, anywhere, at any time.