I’m Cynthia Chockalingam and I am from the Chicago Metropolitan Area. I am a junior in high school and I hope to one day be involved in international affairs. I am primarily interested in this area because as the first person born in America from my family, which is from India, I have been able to experience my culture through Indian classical dance, bharathanatyam, and speaking another language, Tamil, at home. However, I often travel there as well, so seeing the differences in life all around the world, but still coming down to a couple of key issues everywhere has inspired me to join the change-making community.
The biggest challenge the youth is facing today is how to use our voice. Often times, we can lament of how awful the school is in handling certain issues, such as unhealthy school start times, ranging to global issues, like the effects of climate change we have seen and will see in our lives. However, many lack the motivation to make a change following this or do not know how. Contrastingly, we seem to not notice that sometimes, our voices are heard. One key time is when we use our voices to tear down others around us, whether it just be in a passing moment or joke.
My biggest takeaway from Global Scholar was to always be cognizant of those around me. What may seem like a joke in one person’s mind can hurt another. Further, if I notice someone being hurt near me, it is my job to stand up, otherwise I am being complacent and not recognizing the respect we all deserve.
I would recommend this program for change-making because it opens you up to a whole new community of students who are just as driven as you and also want to see the world in a better place. It helps you build a network of great people who will be there on the opposite side of the world supporting you in each step you take because you all realize we are all working for the same goal.