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Julia's Story

Julia DeRidder, a junior majoring in professional writing, expects to graduate in 2023.She is the current associate editor of the Bay Path Student Newsroom and Network News, the student-run digital publication.  Julia loves to write creatively, and her other passions include reading, singing, and analyzing media.

“I grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. I had an interesting and unconventional schooling experience; growing up, I struggled with some mental health issues, so I was in and out of my house, enrolled in different programs. When I was in high school, I ended up at a boarding school in Eastern Massachusetts designed to help students who were struggling psychologically.

Unfortunately, through these experiences, I found that when adults are put in charge of mentally struggling children and teenagers, adults go on a power trip. Situations like gaslighting and sexual abuse can occur. I recognize that not every program is bad, but many of these therapeutic boarding schools in America cause more harm than good. Luckily, I made it out as a stronger and more self-assured person, despite my experiences.

Writing has always been one of my strengths. Growing up, writing and singing were the two things I was told I was good at and they were the two things I really enjoyed as well. I enjoy journaling, and it serves as a kind of therapy for me. I also write a lot of poetry.

Since I lived away from home during my high school years, I wanted to go to a college that was close to where I lived so that I could be with my family. I like how the campus is small, and how it is really beautiful and picturesque. The student environment is very warm and welcoming. Both my mother and my grandmother went to historically all-women’s colleges, so I’m following in their footsteps. I also went to the preschool that used to operate on Bay Path’s campus, so you could say I started my education at Bay Path, and now I’m ending it here, too.

Diversity and inclusion mean accepting everyone regardless of their background, promoting safe environments for all people to thrive in, and actively rooting out racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all other types of bigotry. It is important to listen to and try to understand other people’s experiences, especially when they’re different from yours. For me, I try to be nonjudgmental and do the best that I can every day for myself and for others, in order to lift their voices up.”