spirit colossal
(& daunted by always
nothing) you darling
diminutive person

jovial ego (&
mischevious tenderly
phoebeing alter)
clown of an angel

everywhere welcome
(but chiefly at home in
snowily nowheres
of winter his silence)

give me a trillionth
part of inquisitive
merrily humble
your livingest courage

- e.e. cummings

* * * * * * * * * * *

10 Things About Me 

1) I am a nineteen-year-old student at Hogwarts Community College studying liberal arts, international relations, and geographic information systems.  (So much to learn, so little time!)  I intend to transfer to Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 2011 to continue my studies in Geography.

2) I'm a major Harry Potter dork.  Yes, I own a wand.  

3) I live at home with my dad, two brothers, and two sisters.  Mom passed away in August 2010 after a long, miserable battle with Crohn's disease.  It's a relief to know she will never have to suffer or be unhappy again.

4) I am a rape victim survivor.  I was violated by a stranger in July 2010 while visiting Nainital, a hill station in the Himalayas.  I view What Happened in Nainital as a an important life-changing (HUGE TECTONIC CONTINENTAL SHIFTING) event, but not as my life's defining moment.

5) I am very interested in theories and methods of alternative schooling.  I think traditional schooling confines motivation for learning to a superficial reward system and disconnects knowledge from practical wisdom and learning experiences.  There are physical barriers, such as desks and lecture podiums, and there are mental barriers -- separation of rationality from emotions and aesthetic sensibility, separation of age, gender, and ethnic groups, etc.

6) I am currently employed by one of my professors working on a sociological study about African-American homeschooling families.  I guess one might find it strange that two people so interested in alternatives to the system are also very guilty of promulgating it.  Are we hypocrites?  Revolutionaries?  Too soon to tell?

7) I am also writing an undergraduate thesis about women's safety concerns in developing urban environments.  While the majority of crimes against women are domestic, I believe women most acutely perceive a lack of safety in their external environment and this limits their roles in the economy and society.

8) Service-learning is important to me.  I serve as my school's Student Government President, tutor high school students, support the arts in my community, and care for lost, abandoned, and abused animals through the SPCA.  My most recent major projects have included working on a Katrina and BP oil spill recovery mission in Biloxi, Mississippi, and as a schoolteacher for disadvantaged children in Faridabad, India.

9) Oh, yeah -- INDIA!  In addition to geeking over The Sorcerer's Stone, I am also an unofficial walking encyclopedia on the Indian subcontinent.  In our increasingly modern world, I believe India's social and economic progress is essential to the development of other post-colonial nations.  If India succeeds, she proves we all have the potential to succeed.

10) Happiness requires practice; optimism is key.  I remind myself of this daily.