Szymon Zuberek

Rider Profile
HometownChicago, IL
UniversityUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
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Hello, I'm Szymon. I walk the Earth like Cain, but don't follow like Isaac. I wasn't born in a manger or in the backseat of a greyhound bus, though I've been on highway 41 - not much there to speak of. I read 10 books 10 pages at a time and it takes me 10 months to finish one, but the bits and pieces make for an intricate mosaic. It's slowly getting out of control. I did my undergraduate work at UIUC, where I majored in Political Science and German, and minored in Latin. My interest in languages brought me to UIC, where I have earned a Master's degree in German and Language Acquisition and am currently working on another one in Applied Linguistics. I love to learn and intend to do it for the rest of my life - next stop: PhD.

Personal Statement

I came to this world rather unexpectedly. It was in Poland, on a grim February evening of 1986. The first child of two medical students, born on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, in a country ravaged by martial law, I was perfectly positioned for a life of hardship. With my parents in absentia juggling their professional and academic responsibilities, living in an environment where food was rationed and where power shortages were as ubiquitous as military police on the streets, I was primed for a life of adversity. It was thanks to my great grandmother that I was able to avoid that fate. Having lived through 2 world wars, she was no stranger to hardship. During my parents' frequent absences she would take care of me, nursing me, and raising me until my parents were done with their schooling. Beyond that, when they were already established practitioners, she'd walk me to school, and welcome me home with lunch. During the week, she made sure that I wasn't running around hungry, and on weekends, that I didn't spend too much time in front of TV. Always vigilant, full of life and love, she was with me through good and bad - until the Spring of 2005 when her light stopped shining. She died of ovarian cancer, fighting a long, valiant and hard battle with the illness. Having moved to the States a few years before her death I was not around to witness her struggle. Though I'm sure she would have refused my help, I wanted to at least try to be there for her, to pay her back for the support she so generously and unconditionally gave me - alas, life had other plans. By riding with Illini4000 I would like to pay tribute to the incredible life and unconquerable spirit of my great grandmother, to finally earn a sense of closure after her passing, and to carry her light to those who need it most.