What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

“Thanks to you I got a new thing started, Thanks to you I’m not the broken-hearted, Thanks to you I’m finally thinking about me” — Kelly Clarkson

The camera shows a panorama of the coast of Florida. The waves of the Gulf Coast are crashing against the white sand, bringing in sea shells and crisp seaweed. There is a slight breeze — sweeping the leaves of the palm trees along the road. As the camera stops circling, it zooms in on the side of a young woman’s face. She is sitting in the sand, dipping her feet in the waves and pondering about life. Her gaze sets the mood of the introduction to this movie; the audience’s immediate impression is that she has a dark past but has learned to overcome her struggles. Given the environment, she is in a happy place. The scene carries on for a few more moments, and suddenly the frame cuts to a flashback. Imagine a black and white scene of the young female sitting in the corner of gloomy room in the fetal position. She is shaking and staring off into the distance with tears running down her face. There are so many voices in her head and she is hallucinating — hearing harsh shrieks and her conscious telling her to kill herself.


People’s first impression of me is often incorrect. I have the daily schedule of an average college student: wake up, get dressed, go to classes, study, eat, sleep (sometimes), and repeat. What people fail to realize — about anyone — is what the person is hiding. Those on the outside just see me as the Indian/Panamanian girl who was born and raised in Lilburn, Georgia with a loving family. They see a former soccer player who is an intended Exercise and Sports Science major with hopes of becoming a physical therapist one day; they see a girl who loves to knit and paint; they see a girl who would help anyone in any given situation no matter what time of day. I have an older brother and sister who are quite successful and parents who have sacrificed so much just to come to this country. I know I have a lot to be thankful for and all of my values and morals were instilled due to the struggles that both my family and I have faced. Even though I am only 18, I have faced several life-altering events, such as graduating, making it to college, having multiple surgeries, living through poverty and wealthy lifestyles, and even hitting a personal rock-bottom. I come off as the girl who won the best smile superlative for her graduating class — constantly smiling — but the average person does not see what is underneath the mask. I have had my share of self-doubt and sadness, but getting through it only made me a fighter and a survivor. I have a story to tell and that is what makes me an enjoyable book to read.


Professor Simrill and I dressed up as characters from Quentin Tarantino movies. Here, I am posing and dressed up as one of my favorites, The Bride from “Kill Bill Vol. I”

Quentin Tarantino is notably recognized for his variety of films. Although there are many common characteristics between his movies, they differ in the personalities of the characters. Some are drug dealers, rapists, and pimps, but others are people with a harsh past and have learned to overcome their barriers. If I were a character in a Quentin Tarantino movie, I see myself as someone who is the female heroine, driven off of personal successes. My life has had its fair share of ups and downs. I have struggled and sacrificed so much to get to where I am today. When the thought of coming up with a character of myself in a Quentin Tarantino movie was brought up, my initial idea was the female figure in the movie who gets her happy ending after having been through so much. My introduction on the beach and flashback to a dark time will later be elaborated on through a climactic scene. The theme song that would best describe me is “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. Not only do the lyrics in the song accurately portray my life, but it gives me motivation to keep doing my best whenever I hit a bump in the road.

“You don’t know what you’ll do until you’re put under pressure. Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester.”

A classic theme song in a Quentin Tarantino movie is the song, Across 110th Street. It is played throughout the movie, Jackie Brown, and is associated with the character Jackie Brown. By introducing this character through this song, the viewers can gain insight on the type of person she is. “Doing whatever I had to do to survive, I’m not saying what I did was alright, trying to break out of the ghetto was a day to day fight.” Similar to this, my theme song’s lyrics would allow the viewers to realize what my character’s personality would be. “Think you left me broken down, think that I’d come running back. Baby you don’t know me, cause you’re dead wrong.” I see this song playing in a scene where I make an unbelievable breakthrough in the movie. For example, I come out of a situation intended to break me down, but I only come out stronger because I know how to fight, given all of the trouble I have experienced in the past.


Certainly the root of the dark time in my life is very personal and should be left unsaid. However, I can say that the connecting theme of my essays in this portfolio allude to my life. Nepotism is the topic that can be used to discuss my work, and I have been exposed to this phenomenon. As the youngest child in my family, my parents have constantly nurtured me and protected me. They want what is best for me, and I know that because of them I have many things to be thankful for. Through them, I have gained several connections in which nepotism has come into play, and I have learned many valuable lessons. People will do anything for their own blood, and I certainly believe that my selfless nature allows me to connect to the theme that unites my portfolio.