Alexandra Kristen Bono
MAJOR CATEGORY WINNER: Allowing Tragedy to Alter One’s Scholarship and Relationships



Alex received a phone call as she got into the car to go back to university. "Senior Year! Woo hoo," her friend said. Although she smiled and replied with a similar upbeat remark, Alex dreaded the thought of going back to school. How could this be? Alex was outgoing and upbeat, maintained high scholarship, had a great internship lined up for the semester. She was involved around both the campus and the community, loved the city and had formed many bonds while at school. Although she had made so many great memories while at school, she remembered the last feeling she felt while on campus: total loss and despair upon hearing of her brother's traumatic death.




Alex dreaded the question, "How was your summer?" After a summer from hell, how would she answer this question honestly? The thought of reliving her experience over-and-over for the next few weeks seemed like a nightmare.

Alex was nervous and anxious about starting school and trying to be "normal" around her friends and other students. Although her friends and family at home and school were very supportive of her, she wondered how the loss of her brother would affect her scholarship and relationships. Her life had been torn upside-down and her outlook on life had changed.


Professional Issue

On the first day of classes, Alex got up for her 8:00AM and saw a friend who said, "8:00AM! Gotta push through!" As she smiled and nodded, Alex thought to herself, "You have got to be kidding me."

While classmates stressed about homework and quizzes, Alex found it hard to concentrate on studying topics such as financial markets in the midst of all she had been through. She frequently thought, "Who cares? Why am I learning this?" But she knew that with graduation in her reach, giving up was not an option.

In addition to school, Alex had a great internship lined up for the semester but wondered if working 20hrs a week in addition to taking 4.5 classes would wear her down and cause her added stress.

Personal Issue           

Excitement. Fun. Friends. These are three words that come to the minds of most college seniors when thinking about one's social life on campus. Alex, on the other hand, feared her old friends would be awkward around her and she dreaded telling acquaintances of her loss. How could she relate to so many people. Stressing over "what to wear to Senior Bar Night" was not her top concern.

She knew she was going to have a tough readjustment back to school.