Alumna and writer Anna Quindlen says that she “majored in unafraid” at Barnard. Tell us about a time when you majored in unafraid. (1000 characters)

I wasn’t scared of pens, but I was afraid. They were exiled to the bottom of my backpack, and pencils ruled my hand, the lines soft and erasable. Pencils were comforting in their transience, their lack of commitment. Pens were an obligation that required confidence; one must be as bold as the message written. To use a pen is to record fearlessly, produce assertively; it is a voice—one that as I, as an awkward preteen in boys jeans and band-T’s simply had not yet developed. Entering high school, I clung to a bottle of white out, my lifesaver in a sea of unattainable, ball pointed perfection. However, with each crumpled ball of paper and every adolescent milestone, I began to slash through mistakes easily and slice errors viciously; my pen was my ally. These dark, sporadic lines became evidence of my hard work and growth. They, even more than my end product, were my pride. My pen is my confidence, my voice, and my weapon. I majored in unafraid when I majored in pen.