Sarah is a fabulous friend of mine, who graduated from our university on May 9, 2020. She is an incredibly special person, worthy of being known by the world, so I interviewed her. These are the questions in the order they were asked.
SJ: What is the greatest life lesson you learned in college?
SH: I would say that the biggest life lesson I learned is a tie. First one I thought of is that it’s okay to fail. Whether it’s failing an expectation you had or a grade you hoped for or an event you try out for, those that don’t work out the way you had hoped are the ones you learn from, not the successes (even though those are nice to have). The other one is that people grow up at their own paces, and more often than not, it’s the reason friendships don’t seem to stick from high school and even freshman year of college. You have to reflect and decide if that friendship is worth your effort if you realize they didn’t grow up at the same pace. And if they didn’t grow at the same pace, are they worth waiting for? It gives you some perspective after an argument.
What is the best thing about being a woman?
The best thing about being a women is that people tend to underestimate you. Although it’s a lot of work to overcome that misconception, the reactions you get when you surprise someone with your personality or ambition or intelligence is redeeming!
What is the biggest issue, in the world or your country, that you advocate for?
Biggest issue I advocate for is a mix between equality and access to healthcare. The way people treat one another can be inspirational or depressing and the key difference is understanding the culture difference. The same issue comes to healthcare. I’ve worked as a medical interpreter and translator since my first year in college. Not understanding a language drastically cuts a person’s faith in health professionals because they either have problems with communicating their problems and have that fear of being deported if they say too much or not enough.
If you could go anywhere in the world and take whoever you want with you, where would you go and why? (in a world where Corona doesn’t exist)
I have no idea how to narrow that down. I love traveling and seeing the world and appreciating all of the differences that no one could imagine by staying in their town. It’s even more of an adventure when you go somewhere that doesn’t speak you language. I realize that I have lived a fairly privileged life, but finding yourself in a country where you are the minority in multiple ways is a precious learning experience. For example, when I lived in Spain, the gender roles brought females to the same level as objects. Cat calling was the norm. Our host family was extremely religious, which was not the case for my upbringing. Not to mention the racial diversity in Toledo and Madrid or Barcelona. It was a refreshing experience from growing up in East TN.
How do you keep your relationship with your significant other so strong?
Communication! And knowing how to calm the other person down. Having the ability to hash it out and know that your SO, even if they disagree with you, is actually considering your perspective is crucial. There is no winner in an argument. You have to go into the conversation with the understanding that you might be wrong or partly wrong and compromise is the result.
Do you have any advice for making new friends and/or keeping friends?
Coming from an extremely introverted person who is occasionally extroverted when the need arises, making new friends can be terrifying particularly in college. Walking into a class for the first time, you can cut the tension with a knife because everyone is so worried about first impressions. If the person is destined to be your friend then it’ll all work out. Be yourself and don’t try to assume to be the person that stranger expects you to be. Being yourself saves you the time and effort if that person doesn’t appreciate who you are. If that’s the case, you’re better off without them. As for keeping friends, communication and accepting the moments when you disagree with them.
Why is it important for women to support other women?
This is such a huge problem. Growing up I had a speech impediment and was bullied relentlessly. I was so shy and was walked all over by other girls. (Didn’t have the courage to talk to guys for ages!) I think that we’re raised to support the ego of males and see other women as our competitors. If we just stood by one another then the gender roles would change drastically.
Tell me a well-known or famous woman who inspires you.
Baby Halder. She’s absolutely incredible and her autobiography—A Life Less Ordinary—is one that continues to amaze no matter how old you are.
What is the biggest misconception (maybe assumption is the right word) about who you are?
The biggest misconception is that my life is perfect because I’m white and my dad is a doctor. People don’t realize that it doesn’t matter what race or socioeconomic status you are. Bullying, stereotypes, abusive relationships…those don’t discriminate.
Can you tell me (or I guess type me) something about yourself in Spanish?
Yo sé quién soy después de todo los obstáculos que me encontraban en mi vida. Mi lucha es mi fuerza.
(I know who I am after all of the obstacles I have encountered in my life. My struggle is my strength.)