Humans of UC — Sophia Menyhert
By Paige Chu
If you’ve ever wondered whether your complaints about the laundry machines are being taken seriously, just know that Sophia Menyhert of Ferguson house is on it. She’s the type of person to grab five Oykos honey yogurts from the dining hall for her friend because “She loves these things and they never seem to have them”. You know you can trust someone like that.
The prospective International Relations major wants to take her altruism, well, international, “Like refugee-work or something. I just know I don’t want to be sitting at a desk.” She’s all about the hands-on experience, really seeing the difference she could be making instead of staring at paperwork. To her, there’s nothing appealing about a career at a desk, and unlike a good fraction of social science students, Sophia has no interest in law and claims she can’t see herself in that line of work. What she is interested in is feminism, animals, the environment… anything that demands attention and improvement, she’s ready to take on the challenge, which is why she decided to run for house president back in September.
“I genuinely believed I could make a difference in my housemates lives, which sounds like a grandiose statement but I mean, I just believed I could be a good liason.” What started off as an attempt to get involved turned into a schedule filled to the brim with meetings. “I find UCRC meetings interesting, like, I actually find discussing budgets and stuff like that fun. It’s enjoyable for me, which is how I’m able to keep doing it.”
Hard work and self-discipline are not foreign concepts to the dancer with 17 years of classical ballet training under her belt. She also once competed with her studio at YAGP, the largest annual international student dance competition. Over the years the art had become very much a large part of her identity, but the competitions began to take away from her studying, and when their beloved dance teacher passed away of cancer, the new instructor wasn’t greeted with the warmest welcome from the studio. Dance Moms wasn’t completely wrong about the ferocity of dance moms.
“There was this one dance mom that basically bullied our new teacher. She’d always been a bit of a bully, and everyone just let it happen because she was so involved with the studio she was practically running it.” One day in the change rooms before class, Sophia claims she “just lost it” and was the first to say something about the bullying.
“It was awful because it was right before class so we still had to, you know, do class after all that yelling and crying.” The bullying then turned on her and she was isolated from the community she once called her second home, where she had her closest group of friends and where she had dedicated a chunk of her life to. “But I don’t regret what I did. At all. I put her in her place.”
After seeing how time-consuming the training was becoming, the sacrifices she’d have to continue to make at the detriment of her education, and the toxicity that came with such a competitive environment, Sophia finished up the season and said she “kind of fell out of love with dance.”
“But it’s really weird that I don’t dance as much anymore. It sounds kind dramatic but I’ve been having an identity crisis, like, ‘Who am I without dance?’” She says what she misses the most is not actually performing but the rehearsals, the memories of dancing with her friends with the mothers in the other room working on the costumes and other behind-the-scenes experiences she’d gained. Though, evidently, her schedule was only momentarily empty before she’s managed to fill it once again with new commitments. She says despite the close friendships at the studio, dancing competitively makes ballet very much an art focused on the individual and everyone still knew how to look out for themselves first.
Now, she’s found activities that allow her to satisfy her ambitions of working in a team and helping others. Potentially freeing her peers of double-washing and double-drying would be no small feat.
First, laundry; next, world domination?