Meredith’s Supplemental Essay

Meredith Gibson, Contributor

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Describe a time when you engaged others in meaningful dialogue around an issue that was important to you. Did this exchange create change, new perspectives, or deeper relationships?

After returning home from a two-week long expedition to Guatemala, the group I went with gave a presentation about the trip to those interested in hearing about it. I spoke about the unexpected: things you should know before going that no one really warns you about. Like how all the food has the same baby-food texture and that no matter how much you love dogs, you can’t pet the strays you meet on the street. But my main point was the extent of genuine kindness and generosity I witnessed in so many people who, to us, have so little. I talked about how much the people in Guatemala can make out of so little, and how little we make out of so much. These people may not have everything they ever wanted, but they’re happy with just what they need because they have something we will likely never achieve: true, long term happiness. I was hoping that maybe my speech would touch one or two people, if I was lucky. But the reality was unimaginable: there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when I was done. Two women came up to me and complimented my work; a man told me I should publish my speech; another woman sat and talked with me for an hour about the issues in Guatemala and what we can do about them. The trip changed my outlook on life and my words accomplished that for others–it was the most impactful thing I’ve ever done.


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