I was three when I began to speak English. I was ten when I became a writer. I was fourteen when I published my first English novel. I was fifteen when it became a local bestseller. I was sixteen when it won the National Literary Award for best novel of the year.I was seventeen when I was nominated to represent my country at the Iowa International Writer’s Program.I was eighteen when I applied to college.I was nineteen when Bennington found me. I was nineteen when my life truly began.
In my first Field Work Term I wrote my second novel, which was a fictional story on privileged youth of the newly rich elite of Sri Lanka: an elite that was being formed due to corruption caused by the existing autocracy. Due to security reasons the story was censored in numerous ways. Many well wishing lawyers advised me not to publish it. One thing I learnt during my first few weeks at Bennington was to “never, ever play it safe.” So I published the censored version of the book. Its first edition sold out in a week. And four months later, a massive national campaign against corruption, nepotism and autocracy elected out the former President, restoring democracy.
My second Field Work Term I interned at the Ministry of Higher education in Sri Lanka. My Bennignton Plan focuses on using education as a tool to find sustainable solutions to issues in Post- Conflict nations and this Field Work Term truly helped mold my plan into a more practical one. I became more interested in understanding government institutions that are involved in the process of education reform and political reforms that make education reform possible.This summer I’m interning the Presidential Secretariat in Sri Lanka to learn further about government structures and their role in political reform. Working for the office of the first President they voted for is any Political Science student’s dream.
In many ways Bennington saved me. Bennington taught me that writing alone won’t change the world; you have to walk the walk as well. And that’s what Bennington students do; student from New York to Calcutta, Paris to Colombo, talk the talk and walk the walk. Nothing about what we do is easy.
So if I were you, I wouldn’t call Bennington Girls “EASY.”
I would dare to be one of them.