"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage."
If I could use one word to describe myself, it would be “courageous.” A native of San Diego-- the city whose name is synonymous with “paradise--” I found that the move to North Carolina was anything but simple. The physical distance has never been an impediment, however, it has been something that had kept me from fully involving myself in all the opportunities that Duke has to offer. Upon reflection I realized that insecurities thrive on the fear of failure, uncertainty, anonymity, and instability. In order to ward off these feelings of angst I had to come to terms with the reality that I would no longer have the comfort of my regular family members and stable friends, and this was evident upon arriving to campus. I knew that it was the beginning of a journey that would not be “set in stone,” on the contrary; it would be a time for a variety of new experiences. The combination of resilience and plasticity within an individual could be the sole determinant between success and failure. I brought my passions for education reform, economics, and leadership to the community, and as time passes these passions continue to transform. With every interaction and academic course that I take, my opinions and my character gradually change, reflecting the impact of the individuals who have influenced me. It takes courage and humility to keep an open mind and let the world that spirals around you shape your being.
Courage, although very important, is not always the only way that the transition is facilitated. Every child grows up searching for a model to emulate, whether it is a parent, family member, peer, politician, or social activist; and to some extent, this person ends up contributing to the core beliefs of the individual-- and more importantly, serves as an gateway to explore new waters. However, sometimes there isn’t a back-up plan or someone who has treaded through those similar waters. Oftentimes, individuals in brand-new situations find themselves feeling vulnerable. The transition to an elite university such as Duke may feel that way, but support and role models are never scarce. I continue to find that whether you are a Baldwin or not, the Baldwin’s provide an amazing support system that is always prepared to help.
The Baldwin welcoming is like no other and I look forward to spending the next four years learning from each one of the scholars. My values-- courage, hard work and altruism-- have been constant through my life, even though the environment or people around me change. That being said, it takes a lot of courage to come to Duke and apply to the Baldwin scholars but I can say that these are a few of my best decisions. I can already sense that even after graduation I will still be a Baldwin Scholar.