TASIS Alumni and Development Officer and Service Learning leader Zuleika Tipismana shared her incredible story with all High School students and faculty members to open the 2018–2019 Faculty Lecture Series on the morning of November 29. Her inspiring speech can be viewed in full below.
As Ms. Tipismana, whose life was altered inexorably when she lost her left arm and leg in a train accident that occurred while she was spending a semester abroad at Franklin University at the age of 21, told her story of hope, courage, and redemption, she encountered an audience that was as captivated and attentive as anyone has seen in the Palestra. She implored students not to be consumed by their fears and to instead find the courage to live the lives they desire. “Over these past 16 years, my life has taken me to places where fear has constantly been at my doorstep, almost like a constant companion,” she said. “But once again, courage has been the light in those dark moments and has helped me face the challenges with an open heart.”
Ms. Tipismana, who also told her story in a TASIS podcast several years ago and was recently featured in both Migros Magazine and Cooperation, explained how she moved from months of rehab, doctors, depression, and nostalgia to adjustment, acceptance, and activism. In every instance, the antidote to her fear, which was overwhelming in the beginning, was digging deeper and finding a courage within that she did not know existed. “The outcome to courage is always a gain,” she said. “The outcome to fear is continuous loss. I can’t stress that enough. The more we give in to those fears, the more we stand to lose.”
Her parting message to students was one they will be able to draw upon in times of despair: “When many of you leave TASIS and move on to bigger and brighter things, you’ll be scared at times. You’ll come across things that will make you question who you are and what you value. And I’m confident that just like me, you will also find your way, you will also find your voice.”
To learn more about Ms. Tipismana’s journey and her generous work on behalf of the disabled, be sure to check out her uplifting blog.