Students living and working together with common aspirations can create an unstoppable force for change. I cannot think of a more important time to be taking this step.

My college application essay, October 2009. Sybilline? They admitted me.

Divest (v)

To undress or dispossess, of power, property or title. The process by which the student leverages the wealth of hir elit(ist) institution for change, and finally begins their education.

Tight blue blazer and uncomfortable shoes. The President’s Office, mid June 2015. Five alumni, two students. Thirty minutes cut to fifteen. Three trustees, too little time: off the record, right? “We listen to any student concerns. Thank you for being so polite. Keep doing what you are doing.”

Action (n)

Intentional bringing about of change. Necessarily movement oriented. Designed to twist the dial to uncomfortable.

Assorted supporters, flowers aloft, banners and drums, marching through reams of prospective students and protective parents. Admitted students day. We chant: Boston College, practice what you preach, climate justice and free speech. Absent? The students of Climate Justice at Boston College. Barred from gathering, on insides of windows, hands pressed on glass, threatened by revocation of privilege.

Discomfort (n)

The edge of one’s comfort zone stretching. Results in a broader definition of reality, greater compassion for the complexity of the human experience.

A New England liberal arts college. Connector of country clubs, networks of darlings. Two storytelling cyclists, one Bowdoin Climate Action student, a green smoothie on a summer’s afternoon. For the common good? “Sure, we have liberal students. But they’re straight-laced. They have an aversion to discomfort, like most kids these days.” Do you like it here? “In spite of the average person, yes.”

Activist (n)

Self-identifier of being in the process of actualizing your dreams. A dedication to optimism and careful deconstruction of all that you have been told simply is how it is.

I’m told I do “a lot of volunteer work”. I respond I have no choice, that having listened to the tears of my great-granddaughter I cannot turn away. That I bear the burden of the pain inflicted by my conflicted consumption. Yet what of me is at stake? Heirloom upholstery will catch me if I fall. Policemen ask me if I am comfortable. My activism is clicks and cliques. I have a feeling the work is out there in the world, not contained within these few million pixels. Where shall I lay down my body? To my hastily typed anger at this ivy-covered process, a friend’s raw response: “Agreed, but what do we do?”

We (pron)

An unstoppable force for change. Looks to include the movers, shakers, refugees, dreamers, liberators, pollinators, artists, farmers, thinkers, prisoners, students, puppeteers, travelers, teachers, revolutionaries, storytellers and possibilitarians. Undergoing constant redefinition.

This changes everything, I am told. Why, then, do the gilded worlds in which I have spent my life continue to look so eerily the same? I still have more questions than answers. When will I divest myself of comfort? Disrobe and feel the prickle of fear of losing it all? A step, a leap, a fall. I cannot think of a more important time.

Consider this my application.