1. Name: Julia Davatzes
2. Year: Class of 2019
3. Major: Civil Engineering (Environment and Water Resources Track); Global Sustainability Minor
4. Who inspires you?
I am inspired and constantly in awe of people who actively search for ways to help others and will go out of their way to do so, all without being asked. I am lucky enough to be friends with people like this, and they constantly motivate me to be a better friend to others.
5. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to “trust your gut.” You knew that despite some teasing, being good at math was not a bad thing. You knew that a group of people that make you feel ingenuine, around whom you constantly apologize for being yourself, were not worth sticking around for. There is no shame in following what you are passionate about and choosing to surround yourself with people that make you feel confident. One day, you will walk into a room full of people, whether it is your own apartment or a long Wednesday night meeting, and be totally and completely comfortable as yourself. When you are around these people, you will feel seen, feel like you are wanted there, all without asking for it. They will help you become the best version of yourself. Those people and that comfort is ahead of you, but, in the meantime, trust yourself. And always try to be most authentically yourself, even if you don’t know who that is yet.
6. How do you try to make a difference in the world?
Serving our community in an effective and respectful way is one way in which I try to make a difference. Charlottesville has so many incredible organizations that look to tackle different issues, and it has been very humbling to get to serve them during my time at UVa. Even menial tasks, like moving mulch or organizing tools, can be meaningful to the organizations that needed those jobs done, and longer term projects, like building benches or painting sheds, can have impact for years to come. But I do believe that it is the little things that can make a world of difference. I try my best to do at least one act of kindness each day, something that may be a little out-of-the-way and require intentional effort on my end. I have found this personal commitment to be the best way I can make a positive impact on the people around me.
7. What is one world issue you are passionate about?
One issue near and dear to my heart is gun violence and school safety. It is a cause that I have been passionate about since high school, and am continually frustrated by the arguments against legislation for stricter gun laws and safer communities. I will never understand why some people believe that a right to an assault rifle is more important than a student’s right to be and feel safe in their own place of learning. The #Enough campaign, recently initiated by Parkland students and taken on by students across the world, has given me hope that we can make real, positive change. This may be the cause of our generation, and I for one am ready to fight for it.