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August 13, 2015


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Scholars Speak: Chasing Fear

August 13, 2015

2015 Point Scholar Julian Turner will start his freshman year at the University of Southern California this August. He shares with us some of his thoughts about this new chapter in his life.


Next week my mother and I will board a jet flying from New Orleans, Louisiana to Los Angeles, California. My mother’s travel is roundtrip; mine is one-way.

LAX airport will scare her, but she will never admit that. Instead, she will do everything in her power to leave as soon as possible. She’ll create excuses as to why we should rush to get our rental car. After getting the car, we will head out of the airport into the tremendous L.A. traffic. This is when my mother will start to yell.


My Future Home Julian's future home in Los Angeles.


She’ll yell because I didn’t tell her to take that exit soon enough or didn’t tell her to merge lanes early enough. She’ll yell because she’s scared, and I’ll yell back because that’s what I do when she yells; we just have a dynamic.

Eventually, after many missed exits and turns, we will make it to our hotel. The next morning she’ll wake me up too early, and we’ll go shopping. Pots, pans, a longboard, a printer, toiletries, towels, and new clothes (I love clothes) will be thrown into baskets and hauled to the car. Once back at the hotel, she’ll grab her book of crossword puzzles, and I’ll head to the gym for an hour or so. When I get back, she’ll be lying in bed. Now that she knows I’ve returned safely, she’ll fall asleep. I’ll head out, finding a bench to sit on for a few hours while the night washes over me. Eventually – probably after my phone battery becomes terrifyingly low – I’ll head back to the room and go to sleep.

The next day will be a blur of moving in, picking up textbooks, more yelling, and an unceremonious goodbye. My mother may cry, but I won’t. She’ll already be scared enough, and I don’t need to give her a reason to think I’m scared too. She’ll climb into her rental car and after one last kiss, she’ll be gone. This is when I’ll start to get numerous telephone calls from various family members asking how my move-in was and to not forget them.

This boring list is a testimony to how steadfast my family is in its ways. I love them to death, but they never change.

My family is very afraid of the fact that I’m leaving. Up until now I haven’t been afraid at all, but sometimes I can feel it coming. The claws of fear are constantly reaching out these days, waiting for my fortitude to fail. The fear lives in the eyes of my family members when they ask if I’m ready. The fear lives in the messages from my roommates asking if I have everything I need. The fear lives in my suitcase, which I check three times a day to make sure is packed. The fear lives inside the recesses of my mind, delivering little whispers that question my readiness for this move. The fear is ambient, nearly suffocating, but the fear is also so beautiful.


Poster Boy Julian shows off his poster presentation at Point's 2015 Final Selections in Los Angeles.


This country boy from small-town Louisiana has not feared anything in years. I mean, when nothing ever changes other than a new restaurant every few years, what is there to fear? And when there is nothing to fear, how do you feel alive? Life is passion. Life is a rush. Life is the spark in your head and the skip of a heartbeat. Life is the excitement you feel when you try something new, and you’re not quite sure how it will work out. To live is to embrace the fear of the unknown.

One week from today I will be pushed into a completely different environment. A place with cultures I did not even know exists and languages I have only heard on TV. I have lived my entire life in the same house within the same community where nothing ever changes. Now, all of a sudden, nothing will be the same. It may be too much; it may be too fast. Anyone would rightfully be afraid at the thought. Some people would shy away from it, but not I; I’m ready.

I am ready to embrace my fear.

I am ready to jump into something new.

I am ready to live.

This post was written by HSBC Point Scholar Julian Turner
Julian-TurnerGrowing up in a small town near New Orleans, Louisiana, Julian Turner experienced racism, homophobia, and discrimination from the moment he stepped into the world. In the summer of 2014, Julian came out as gay to his father in the backseat of his sister’s car. By the time they left the car, there was a permanent rift between him and his father. Unlike in the past where he would have been spiteful, Julian saw an opportunity to make a difference. He realized that the altercation with his father provided him an experience to use to impact the world.

Read more about Julian here.

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