UGA Transfer Applicants – Insight Questions (max. 500 words)

Sean Rafferty

UGA Transfer Applicants – Insight Questions (max. 500 words)

  1. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

As a young woman growing up in a small Atlanta suburb, I thought that Barnard and NYC were the cures to my Baptist parish blues. I was yearning to breathe free, loose my soul in the light of the burning lamp, revel in the stories of an old starving bum, or a divorcé with pink liberty spikes on long walks through Riverside Park. Maybe even take off my cross and eat a girl out.

So, I rassled my recommendations, poured my heart into the essays, and sent off the app. It was in Diana’s hands. I’ll skip describing the weeks of trepidation—none of it mattered anyways, after I got my letter in the mail: “Congratulations! On behalf of the Committee on Admissions, I am pleased to inform you that you have been admitted to the Barnard College Class of 2017!”

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I was free at last! Free to express myself without restrictions! Free to speak my mind without judgment, pretense, or censorship! The girls in the pamphlets looked so liberated and self-realized with their scarves and unruly bushes. They probably went to amateur night at the Apollo! They probably knew Lou Reed! All in the palm of my hand.

I dm’ed my roommate a couple weeks before school started. She seemed pretty cool in her pictures. She thought black lives mattered, and so do I. She took great protest pics, and her squad smoked out of the prettiest pipes. She drank lots of lattés too, with designs in the foam, and I love coffee! I mean, my dad makes about five pots a day. But what most excited me was some screencaps of poems she posted. One of C.S. Lewis! I didn’t expect her to believer, but anything was possible.

Orientation was alright. The newbies moved in clumps and wore all black. Whenever someone would say something witty or resonant, they’d all snap, like at a poetry reading in a movie. Back home, when someone reads a good poem, we just clap, but the people there actually snapped their fingers. I didn’t know what to do. I could never snap my fingers. Like how some people can’t whistle, or have widely set vaginas, I just can’t make my fingers snap, and that’s never going to change.

At first I thought, Alright, just nod and laugh, just affirm. So, while they snapped, I tried to show my general approval. “Damn right,” I’d say, and, “Yeah, girl!” I was reprimanded for that one once. She said “girl” was infantilizing. No matter how hard I tried, failure to snap my fingers was leaving my peers with the impression that I hated them and wanted to take away their rights, and the rights of those who were different from me. I lived in complete solitude. Ate alone. My only solace was masturbating in Brooks with my electric toothbrush. The Columbia College boys were egotistic pigs who never learned how to handle a modicum of popularity. And the Dean just wouldn’t stop sending me these flirtatious emails about “Beginner’s Mind.”

UGA, I can’t snap my fingers, but I can damn sure belt Glory, Glory! and make some noise for my Bulldogs. Please take me back. I hate this gosh darn place.

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