College Essay: Jade Abu Bakr to attend Hampton University

College Essay: Jade Abu Bakr to attend Hampton University

Jade Abu Bakr, News Editor '22

I’m a Marvel fan, first and foremost. Anybody that knows anybody that knows me knows that, at least. In 2012, I was about to move into a new home with my younger brother and parents, I would get my own closet and bedroom. However, my excitement, joy, and memories start in the movie theatre. The smell of popcorn and sweets and the atmosphere from the crowd engulfed me. The fictional characters I fell in love with on screen showed me what it takes to be a hero.

“There was an idea.” Four words is all it took to expand the MCU, to expand my idea of what a hero could look like. To this day, I continue to take that idea and apply it to my own life. How can I be the best version of myself? First, I must understand that life comes with choices. It comes with responsibility. It comes with sacrifice as much as it does success. What’s incredible about the MCU is that no one individual can achieve a goal alone. Marvel fans are a family. There are over 100+ characters embedded in the grand concept that is the Avengers’ Initiative. Whether you’re human, a super soldier, a god or goddess, a sorcerer, you are part of this hope and aspiration that the world can be something more, something better, something that you continue to fight for. My hope is being able to work both on the front lines as well as behind the curtain, so that I can understand the skills it takes to collaborate peacefully within a world. One Marvel character that I share a multitude of qualities with is Shuri from Black Panther. Her intellect is unmatched, but she is passionate and loyal to the causes she fights for; her strength comes from her family, spirit,and her ability to make strides through science. With her primary outlet being technology, she gets the opportunity to help her people as well as others worldwide. Writing and public speaking have been tools that I have begun to mold and shape for myself because I value the importance of communication and conversation.

My understanding that “not all heroes wear capes” grew with my ability to compare each fictional world to reality. This past summer teaching at Breakthrough Cincinnati showed me what some of our biggest heroes do every day. Some of my favorite teachers were the ones that showed me how to walk in this world. How to speak my truth with intent and make sure that I am present and seen at every table I choose to sit at. As an alumnus of the program, teaching 7th grade English for six-weeks and bonding with my students and colleagues allowed me to understand the importance of how to reach our future generations: through honesty, encouragement, allowing them to explore their individuality and ability to create. What also came with that, both in my years as a student and teacher, was cultural awareness. Being present in the classroom and showing strong individuals that I could identify with, that my students could identify with, was imperative. A majority of the MCU films I watched lacked that representation, that Black excellence. Now, more layers and depth have been embedded into the journey of these characters, allowing them to become more than illustrations on a page. They embody and reflect more and moreof the heroes we see present-day; those willing to solve problems and work effortlessly because they see the bigger picture.

Most importantly, being a hero involves growth in the process. I know that I have encountered nowhere near the number of obstacles, roadblocks, or bypasses I am going to face. However, that also means I have not surpassed the number of triumphs, lessons, and support I will acquire. Each piece of my identity—strength, morality, intelligence, empathy, pride— is reflected in this fictitious world that I love.