I am the child of multiple generations of immigrants, and there are many language barriers between the people in my family. Since I was often unable to communicate with many family members through words, I remember spending much of our time together looking through family photos. That was the beginning of my love for photography. I learned to appreciate how a photo can capture so much without words, and how it can allow you to carry a memory to the future and share it with others.
Growing up, I didn’t have a camera, so I painted and sketched to capture moments and share them with my family and friends. In high school art classes, I continued to be fascinated by photography, but I was also intimidated by it. There is so much technique that goes into taking high-quality photos, and I was never confident in my ability to pick up such a technical skill. Once I came to college and began balancing a pre-med curriculum, extracurriculars, and work, I slowly cut art out of my life and gave up on my dream of learning how to take photos. While I am happy with my career path, I want to reawaken my passion for art and follow it down a new path by pursuing photography. That is why I want to use my STEP (Second-Year Transformational Experience Program) grant to take photography classes and create a portfolio of my own photos during this summer.
Learning is one of the things that I value the most. I plan to utilize photography workshop-based classes to contribute to my academic repertoire by allowing me to learn a skill that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to pursue as a Biology major. Throughout my travel around Ohio, I will broaden my personal views and ways of thinking by experiencing different cultures and ideologies firsthand. A college education that truly prepares students to be global citizens is composed of lessons learned in the classroom as well as those learned outside of it. Through this project, I have the opportunity to obtain an alternative academic experience by taking classes with non-college students in a setting different from a typical classroom or lecture hall. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for personal growth and development by gaining self confidence and life experience.
I plan to join the medical profession, and as healthcare becomes increasingly more interdisciplinary and team-based, it is crucial that future physicians are comfortable working with people from different walks of life. Additionally, as the US population grows more diverse, doctors will care for a more ethnically and socioeconomically varied patient population. Spending time exploring the different cultures that come together to form an area of the United States where I have lived most of my life, and interacting with people while photographing new environments, cultures, and historical sites, I will learn how to work with people who have completely different backgrounds than my own. I will also see first-hand how culture can impact all aspects of life. My hope is to increase my cultural competence and use this opportunity to set me on a path to become a compassionate and effective physician. Medicine is a field where uncertainty is faced every day. Physicians need to function through the uncertainty in order to help their patients. Whether regarding a patient’s diagnosis or the best treatment strategy for a disease, doctors work with incomplete information and with unknown variables. This is analogous to the process of budgeting a project and executing it by myself. I will have to work hard to live within my means and complete all of my objectives. Through this process, I expect to set myself up to succeed in medicine by becoming comfortable with the unknown.
After extensive research of possible programs, I am excited to have the opportunity to pursue this independant project! I believe that taking photography classes and exploring diverse areas of my home state to create my own photo portfolio is an ideal match for my personal, academic, and career goals; it will provide for an experience that will be truly transformative to my student career.