As my first semester at Appalachian comes to an end, I have been reflecting on the tremendous impact that the Wilson Scholarship program has had in shaping my experience thus far, as well as how it will continue to shape my experience at Appalachian in a positive way for the rest of my undergraduate career.
I do not shy away from discomfort, and I often purposefully place myself into unfamiliar situations with the goal of exercising my personal resilience. This semester has been no less of a challenge, both personally and academically. Throughout my academic career, I have thrived in the arts, language, literature, and humanities. As an actress who has a passion for history and the beauty of language, I have experienced the most discernable personal growth from courses which embody extensive reading, writing, and oration. However, this semester, I opted for a schedule of primarily Biology and Chemistry labs and lectures. For the first time, I saw that my grades were not where I was accustomed to having them. The hard work, resilience, and patience (with myself for making this decision and in my abilities) that I channeled into my academic work this semester is something that I am truly proud of. Additionally, the person that I have become due to these experiences is much stronger, more courageous, and has greater insight into what it means to truly be successful as a student. Although it was a hard journey to take, upon reflection I wouldn’t change anything about these decisions.
My growth from this experience propelled me further towards exploring new ideas, organizations, and programs which feed my soul and allow me to sustain my best effort as both a student and contributor to society. I find myself in absolute reverence of the Sustainable Development Program at Appalachian. To my peers, friends, and family, I describe the program as the marriage of the noble disciplines of human rights, environmental, economic, anthropological, and gender studies. I also had the incredible opportunity of working as the engineering chair for the Equity in STEM club on campus, where I visited Hardin Park Elementary School and taught the kids how to create simple hydroponics systems using reusable materials (such as plastic bottles and old cloth).
Next semester, I look forward to performing in the Vagina Monologues (hosted by the ASU Women’s Center) and raising awareness for the V-Day movement, an international movement to end violence against women and girls, while also working in the Women’s Center as a desk volunteer. I am also looking forward to continuing my work with Equity in STEM club, the Office of Sustainability, and the Sustainable Development Student Alliance Club.
As the feminist, accomplished poet, and civil right activist Dr. Maya Angelou once said, “One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” This semester, I am proud of my sustained courage and the doors that it has allowed me to open. I am grateful for all that the Wilson Scholarship team has done to support me and empower me throughout this journey. While I have worked hard to be where I am today, the feeling that I get when I reflect upon these experiences is almost serendipitous. However, I am a believer in the notion that we create our own “good fortune” through our attitudes towards adversity, courage, and sense of self-belief.
I am looking forward to the upcoming spring semester and continuing my amazing experience as a Wilson Scholar.
Written by: Anisha Sharma