UC Prompt #1: Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

I owe it all to Anna. Three years ago when she tapped my shoulder, I was an overwhelmed freshman lost in the pulsing sea known as Club Rush. Turning around, I found myself face-to-face with a petite, quivering girl. Although she held herself in a way I would learn was common for those with cerebral palsy, it was her wide eyes--shining, brown and reflective--that stopped me. Anna smiled and waved some flyers, swinging the neon paper like a pendulum in front of her. Wordlessly, she handed me one.

“BEST BUDDIES--A MOVEMENT FOR INCLUSION!” it advertised. Intrigued, I navigated my way through the horde of students to the crowded table where seniors were distributing more information to a large audience. Best Buddies, they said, matches students with intellectual disabilities to students without who are interested in breaking down social barriers through inclusion. Members eat lunch with their match in addition to attending monthly club-sponsored events like picnics. You can never have enough friends, I thought, while scrawling my name on the list to sign up.

Ironically, I was matched with Anna.

If this was a fairytale, I would say here that we had an instant bond. The truth is that Anna and I were painfully awkward together for weeks....

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