Senior Essay: Barnard College Supplmental Essay


By Maddie Morales ’18, Lifestyle Editor

Pick one woman in history or fiction to converse with for an hour and explain your choice. What would you talk about? (100-250 words)

I hated hyenas: ruthless scavengers that took others’ food and were concerned only for themselves. I saw their cynical smiles and matted fur and thought “how disgusting.” Disney conned me into loathing hyenas before I even encountered one.

But I was wrong. If I were to converse with any female, I would like to meet a female hyena. Female hyenas’ official name is “bitch.”  These strong warriors are the alphas of the pack.  A recent study proved female hyenas are naturally more resourceful survivalists, thus inclined to lead the clan instead of males. Hyenas not only scavenge, but hunt. Hyena mothers birth their offspring, but care for all cubs as if they were their own because other females die during the hunts. These mothers look out for each other and form a strong matriarchal clan. I would like to have learned from the first female hyena how she decided “I’m ruthless, and no animals in this savannah are like me. I’m smart, and will always work for my clan to thrive.” I would find out how this plucky bitch developed her cool confidence despite being small, misunderstood, and overlooked. I would ask how she is able to fend for herself in a scary world, yet constantly support her sisters. How to take on a lion when I’m only a hyena? Hyenas don’t think that. They have grit and guts, and back the others. Brazen bitches, yes, but empathetic too. This balance of toughness and kindness has earned them my respect.