The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Senior Izzy Nino de Rivera-Krieger writes about Compassion for their SLOHS Senior Essay


  Every year, San Luis Obispo High School seniors applied to a plethora of colleges across the country and at times, around the world. The Common Application for most private colleges and some public out-of-state colleges was one of the most frequent applications filled out.

  This essay was written by senior managing editor Izzy Nino de Rivera-Krieger for the Common Application. Nino de Rivera-Krieger committed to the University of San Francisco as a Comparative Literature & Philosophy major, with hopes of becoming a high school teacher or college professor in the future.

Common App prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  Compassion is described in the Oxford Dictionary as “the feeling or emotion when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it”.

  To me, compassion is more than that. 

  Compassion is a light when no one else is there. It is the willingness to give parts of yourself for the betterment of yourself and the world around you. 

  Throughout my life, compassion partially came naturally, but it was through lived experience that taught me what the word truly means.

  My idea of compassion as a child was shallow. “Treat others the way you want to be treated” is what we knew from a young age. I never challenged such a simple mindset.

  Compassion was rare in my family – I seemed to be the only one who cared enough to get to know people, to want to keep up with them, and to show that I cared about their well-being beyond a cordial level. Often, self-interest was prioritized and they’d do anything to advance themselves at everyone else’s cost. I looked out at the example of kindness I had and I knew I wanted something different. Never being grateful for people and simply using them for one’s own advancement wasn’t a sustainable or healthy way to live.

  After being hospitalized in the 7th grade and meeting other resilient people who showed me that compassion is necessary for all aspects of life to get through the day, I began to live my life wanting to care for others, even through my hardships. Post-hospitalization, I began to see life in the world again after that image had been destroyed for me.

  But there’s one important part of compassion, this “talent” of mine that’s missing from its definition – and it’s all the more important.

  Community.  This is the most significant part of compassion for me. No one goes through life alone. Creating safe spaces for other people has been what I have strived for in school through my work with social justice-oriented clubs. 

  In class, I often speak on behalf of experiences where the not-so-privileged don’t have a voice in the classroom. After my experiences with childhood poverty, overcoming a language barrier, and always being the odd one out, someone had to speak for those “lesser than”. I always talk to students to garner empathy for marginalized groups in discussions. Giving students a platform to speak and elevating key voices in our community has been one of my lifelong missions. 

  Throughout our community, I’m known as an activist who fought for racial justice and equity, often drawing from my own experiences in privileged San Luis Obispo to create understanding and empathy. However, it isn’t me doing all the work – I’ve been beyond grateful and privileged to work with community leaders, elected officials, and organizations that work towards a better tomorrow. 

  I have always been a fighter and will forever be a fighter; however, I’m a fighter on the side of love. I’ll always push for a better world, both as an activist and a teacher—for myself and my kids.

Seniors, send in those admission essays! Message @slohsexpressions on Instagram with a digital copy of your essay, the prompt you answered, and the school you will be attending.

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