By Mehrnaz Djahanshahi in 2012
It is hard to condense a person's life in a page or two, but what makes Jasmine’s even harder is her bigger than life personality, and true to her nature, she has done everything in her short life to deem this task impossible.
Let's start where everyone starts- Jasmine was born on July 15th, 1990. She loved music and dance and started to do both at an early age. She was also an excellent skier. She generally did well in everything she started since she would not have tolerated being mediocre in anything. Jasmine auditioned and was accepted as a piano major to Bak Middle School of Art and Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. High School of The Arts, two art magnet schools in West Palm Beach, Florida.
After graduation, she moved to California to double major in Political Science and History in University of California, Berkeley. She loved her school. Her biggest and only complaint was the fact that she was not allowed to remain a professional student due to cost and time constraints.
She chose Science Po, an elite university in Paris, France as the place to do her study abroad. Jasmine loved French language and culture and saw Paris as the place to live out her dreams. That is not to say Paris was the only place she desired. She traveled to many places in Asia and Europe and, if she was given the time, there is no doubt that she would have trekked the globe.
On April 14, 2011, Jasmine died in an Apartment fire in Paris that took the life of four others and injured 57. The fire was preventable and the condition of the building was unexpectedly bleak for a developed country. The lack of knowledge about fire prevention in different countries and a need to better disseminate information to all, but specifically students abroad, gave birth to JUSTICE.
What made Jasmine different was not what she did but who she was. She was caring, talented, funny, and ferocious in achieving what she desired, and idleness was not a word in her vocabulary. "She was one of the most studious people I knew," said Joanna Brockhouse, a UC Berkley junior and former employee of The Daily Californian who lived with Jasmine last year. "She had extraordinary follow-through and did everything she set out to accomplish."
Megan Clement, Jasmine’s friend and roommate at Berkeley describes her tenacity as such; “Jasmine never wasted time. When she worked, she barely slept or spoke to anyone. She never stopped studying because, she told me, she could never know everything, so how was she supposed to know when to stop? On the other hand, anyone who’s shared a room with Jasmine knows, she even slept with intensity. Whatever she did, it was in her nature to do it with her entire being. This is how she accomplished so much. She couldn’t stop until she felt finished (and she never felt finished). She wouldn’t stop until she was on empty (and then she would pass out)."
"Whenever I was with her, I felt like she knew something about life that I did not," says Lauren Wiles, one of Jasmine's friends who is a senior at Florida Atlantic University. Zoe Friedland, another friend who is now a senior at Dartmouth College, describes Jasmine as being "absolutely fearless" and having a "fine-tuned" sense of humor.
"My ribs hurting. That is literally the most vivid memory I have of Jasmine," said Zoe. "For hours, and sometimes even days after spending time with her, my ribs would hurt because how much she made me laugh. Jasmine was one of my closest friends because she inspired me to do great things and because I admired her with all my heart, but I craved her presence for the laughter. Jasmine’s sense of humor was epic. She had the ability to take life's absurdities and turn them into insights that were funnier than most standup comedy shows."
Reed Johnson, her boyfriend from college says, "She understood that life is not supposed to be easy; that you are supposed to work terribly hard at times, to become and remain someone you can be happy with. It is especially remarkable that she did this without trying."
Her other friends describe her life perspective in a similar way, "She told me that she saw suffering as a central, inevitable element of human life. And it was for that very reason that, to her, love and tolerance were also at the center of life," says Charlie Fawell, Jasmine's friend from Science Po.
Another friend from her stay in France, Jared Daraie, describes her in a similar manner: "She surrounded herself effortlessly with interesting, talented, great people and always seemed to be having a better time than anyone else. There was this air of confidence that only Jasmine could exude. It was potent and intimidating, and her humor was contagious. I was always happier in Jasmine's presence."
Jasmine learned to see with her heart through her mom’s battle with cancer. She grew from an ambitious rambunctious teenager to a caring human being and a loving daughter. She ends an entry in her diary with a statement from Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s The Little Prince that sums it up the best:
“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”.