Throughout our lives, if we’re lucky, we will come across people and experiences that genuinely help us grow and change us for the better. Glimpse was more than luck; it was destiny.
I joined Glimpse in 2020 from my apartment in New York City, amidst a global pandemic in one of the epicenters of the virus, BLM protests on my block, and an election that would decide the future of our nation. I had just recently come to the University of Southern California as a freshman in 2019, still yearning for a sense of community, a strong purpose, and a group of friends that would invigorate my belief that USC was the right choice for me.
From the moment I joined Glimpse, I knew I had arrived at the right place, that place being a Zoom with 15 other students calling in from around the world. And the truth is I just stumbled upon this organization and applied based on a convincing email from the international relations department — the lesson being to take all the shots given to you in life.
I think the Zoom that day felt just right because of the similar connections and shared sense of values I had with the people on the call. On this call I found fellow East Coasters, students also taking comedy classes in addition to their international relations course load, and even a student that attended similar Model UN conferences to me in high school. But, most importantly, I found people that cared about the world and how their actions affected our ecosystem. There are things in life that inherently connect us. For this group it was caring; the thing that I believe makes humanity so strikingly beautiful. Some would say I found my other overthinking nerds. Rather, though, I found my best friends, making this experience all the more meaningful.
I don’t think these people being so similar to me was a coincidence, maybe a stroke of luck, but certainly not an accident. People like us belonged at Glimpse. Although in 2020 I did not know exactly what that meant, it would become my mission to grow and protect those values over the coming years.
While I did not know it in the Fall of 2020, I’d spend the next two years writing over twenty-five articles on a wide array of topics, running two campaigns for President, and leading this organization to become a bustling and thriving environment for global thinkers. As President over the past two years, with the support of my team, I have grown the organization from 20 to over 100 journalists, brought in more than 2,000,000 website and article views, constructed an executive team of over 30 members, built a multimedia team designed to match the journalistic needs of our time, and hosted various events for professional development. And I don’t say this to recite my resume, I write it so I can share a couple things I’ve realized in my time growing this organization.
I decided to join Glimpse in 2020 not just because I was bored at home, but because I felt stagnant as I was cozying up in my apartment waiting out the pandemic as our lives were being shifted and shaped by local, federal and international politics. I needed an outlet to express my concerns, to educate my peers and family members and to have a voice in the void of our social media era.
I stayed in Glimpse for the same reason. In my second term as President, as the organization grew, I remember sitting down with my partner and friend, Editor-In-Chief Sangeeta Kishore, to discuss our similar vision for the organization. We wanted the writing Glimpse published to reflect and highlight the strong diversity of our writers and community. For me, that’s where Glimpse really took off. This past year, we have had journalists write about their experiences abroad, their relationships to their identities, and even about performances and television shows that have affected them and our global community. Earlier this month, a peer came up to me and shared with me how impacted they have been by recent Glimpse articles due to their personal touch. I knew then that Sangeeta, the team, and I had done something really special.
Glimpse has made me realize that we need more spaces for civic engagement and a stronger show of democracy. Quality writing, discussion and discourse should not be limited to the writers at the New York Times. And readership should not be just accessible to coastal elites. Strong literacy and education should be a right of every citizen no matter their background – a pillar of American democracy, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. For Sangeeta and I, as well as my Vice-President Sasha Benke and Finance Chair Jake Wisnik, Glimpse from the Globe was a small part of that core American belief. As Americans we have forgotten our sense of responsibility and vigilance for upholding these principles and, amidst that, have lost who we are as a nation. We are a step in the right direction at a time where democracy seems to be waning.
The most significant objective to me as President was to build a strong community. As someone who found their community at Glimpse, I knew I needed to provide my younger peers with that same gift. Building community is everything. It serves as a tool for professional development, but it also provides people with a purpose, a place to go, a home in an often overwhelming world. A sense of purpose overcomes me when younger members reach out asking for advice or for a shoulder to cry on. Seeing younger groups of friends emerge in the organization makes the long nights of emails, scorching hot bake sales, and two-hour trips to Costco worth it. This University can often feel like a big place and there genuinely are not enough safety nets in place. All I ever wanted was for Glimpse to be that for people — I am happy to report that it has been for so many.
This last lesson being more personal, but nonetheless applicable, is do what you love with the people that you love no matter if it aligns exactly with your career goals or not. I have spent the majority of my college education honing in on my comedic performance studies, and, after graduating, I will be joining the United Talent Agency in their Comedy Touring Department. I may not be moving to D.C. to work for the State Department, at least not yet, but this experience, on top of it just being joyful, has made me more prepared for the world. Being a global thinker is invaluable, and understanding more about how the world works can only benefit me. It already has, including in the comedy industry, in more ways than I can recount. What you love doesn’t necessarily have to align with what you plan to do as long as it aligns with who you are. That is what makes life interesting and worthwhile.
The truth is, life is about caring for others; it’s really that simple. It’s about investing and engrossing yourself in the hard work because you believe in a mission. It’s about giving back and doing something instead of being complacent.
And that’s what we did at Glimpse, and what we will continue to do. Sangeeta is on her way to law school in hopes of one day becoming a human rights defender, Sasha soon on a flight to Uzbekistan as a Fulbright Scholar, and Jake moving into his new apartment in Krakow, Poland to invigorate Jewish life and help Ukrainian refugees. These are the people that make up Glimpse and provide my life with so much meaning. So while I may not be pursuing foreign affairs at this exact moment, the Glimpser will always be inside of me; a voracious writer, an advocate passionate about human rights, an empathetic community member, and a committed global citizen continually championing civic engagement and democracy. I can thank Glimpse for making me confident enough to put those qualities on full display. This organization made me, me.
Glimpse gave infinitely more than it took because of our conviction in its power. My advice to anyone reading this: believe in something, create that something, grow it, and then go fight for it.
All I can say at this point is thank you. It’s genuinely been an honor of a lifetime. I am overjoyed with excitement for our incoming President Sarra Hussien, Vice-President Zain Khan and Editor-In-Chief Mané Berikyan as well as the rest of the team. A cheers to more strokes of luck and leaps of faith.
So as I would end any good stand-up set, Glimpse being my greatest of all, thank you, that’s my time; I’m Lauren Schulsohn.