Every sexual assault is different. Every victim’s story is unique. In my case, nearly 14 years ago, Harvard stepped up.
I’m writing this piece as I’m sitting in my own dining hall, only a few tables away from the guy who pressured me into sexual activity in his bedroom, one night last spring.
The buffer zone itself is a compromise—it is unnecessary and illogical to further compromise the safety of those seeking abortions by shrinking the buffer zone size to eight feet.
As I waited to hear back from schools, I developed elaborate college preference rankings in my mind. “Brown’s okay,” I said to myself, “but is it really, truly my first choice? Maybe I’d be better off at Yale.” So it went, my mind spinning elaborate illusions in which I had to choose between all six of my reach schools. How would I ever pick?
Almost immediately after I submitted my early decision application to Brown, I got my interview notification. I’d be meeting up with a recent graduate, now a PhD student in ethnomusicology, at a local coffee shop. “How Brown!” I thought to myself as I prepared my go-to interview outfit: black slacks, leather boots, and a patterned cardigan over a white t-shirt. For good luck, I’d wear a necklace my friend got me in China. Though I knew it was only a tiny component of my application package, I tried to have a successful interview, though I was pretty nervous. Was I supposed to order coffee? I wasn’t a big fan of coffee! But if I didn’t order coffee, what would I do with my hands? Getting a muffin would be childish. In the end I settled on getting black coffee—ultra-sophisticated!—and drinking it with feigned enthusiasm.
I first attempted the Common Application essay one August evening at the end of the summer. I was staying with my father at a family friend’s house for the night. I reclined in an unfamiliar chair and tried to think about what I wanted to say to the world (or, barring that, the Brown admissions committee).