Written by Te’Shauna Gray ’17
This post is written in response to a study away trip in the spring 2017 3-week to Chile led by Professor John Bolus.
As a 21 year old woman who grew up in…well, let’s just say, not the best circumstances of life, I never thought I would meet someone from my hometown who has excelled so much. On May 4, 2017, I along with my three other classmates had the opportunity to meet the United States Ambassador to Chile on my study abroad trip! She is not only is from Cleveland, Ohio, but she graduated from Hiram College.
Now just to go back to the first line in my blog to clear up why that’s my opening sentence. Ambassador Carol Perez, before an extensive talk about economics in Chile started, she asked to take a brief moment to have a “Girls Talk.” Now, most people reading this might assume she gave us a long talk about how, because we are female, we must have a strong back bone and work hard just to get to where we want to be. Well yes and no.
Ambassador Perez started off telling us her background as a political science major at Hiram and how difficult some classes were for her. One of her most difficult classes just so happened to be with Professor John Koritansky. Although she struggled she made it through the difficulties and graduated. She then asked us if we had mentors….and I watched and the other girls said yes, while I kind of shifted back in my seat. Then she said, “Oh that’s good and all, but do you know what a sponsor is?” We all said yes, but in my head I’m thinking, ” Another person in my life I’ve yet to encounter…great.” As she went on describing what she defined as a sponsor, I felt my heart sink. She told us that a sponsor is someone who sees the potential in you and has the means, connections, money etc., to help you get as far as possible in life, especially in a world dominated by men.
As she’s describing, every woman and man in my life that has pushed me to what seemed like my breaking point from my senior year in high school to now, just popped up in my head. I’m going to be 100 percent honest, my eyes began watering, because I realized I actually came far, and if it wasn’t for those people in my life I wouldn’t be here today.
After that conversation, she was curious to why we chose Hiram. I didn’t want to answer the question because I get emotional about it. Although it wasn’t my first choice, I’m happy I chose Hiram. So, I’m telling this story for the first time in front of my advisor, classmates, and THE AMBASSADOR OF CHILE! I am telling them of how my house was set on fire and I wasn’t supposed to come to college at all. In the middle of me telling the story, her face drops and she looks surprised. I’m immediately in shock and nervous and she says it was pretty much destined, because I wouldn’t be where I am and accomplished what I have so far without being at Hiram. Honestly, I couldn’t agree more, because although it was difficult at first, I wouldn’t have grown to be the young woman I am today!