New England STEP Trip

Katharine DeSalvo

Artistic and Creative Endeavors

For my STEP signature project, I combined two of my passions: exploring new places and reflecting in the presence of beauty and nature. I used my STEP funds to travel to Newport and Providence, RI, Boston, MA, and Bar Harbor, ME. While exploring these cities, I captured the moments with photography.

My STEP project allowed me to experience a lot of personal growth. In addition to seeing the world in a new light, I was able to see new sides to myself. Before my STEP project, I could take a relatively decent picture on my iPhone. Throughout my STEP trip, I was able to take pictures in manual settings and set up the perfect shot. I am truly proud of how my photography skills have developed, and I am excited to continue to grow. In addition, my STEP trip helped to increase my confidence in myself. I proved to myself that I am able to survive in an unfamiliar city without relying on others for help. This greatly increased my confidence in my self-reliance abilities and I will be able to utilize those skills as a travel nurse living in an unfamiliar city.

In Boston, I stayed at a hotel called the Winthrop Arms. The hotel was located across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. Although I have seen a countless amount of sunsets over Lake Erie, I have never experienced a sunrise. I decided that Boston was the perfect place to watch my first sunrise. I dragged myself out of bed at five o’clock and walked across the street the deserted beach. The light pink and orange sky lit up the beach as I ran with my camera across the beach to a jetty. I was mesmerized by the scenic view in front of my eyes as the sun rose in the early hours of the morning. This experience allowed me to see the world in a way I had not before and opened my mind up to continue to chase after new experiences.

Portland, Maine is home to the Portland Head Light, a breathtaking lighthouse, and the small yet mighty Bug Lighthouse. In preparation for my visit to the Portland lighthouses, I experimented with my camera settings. I learned how to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings and how that affects the quality of the picture I took. Although I really struggled at first with how different settings affected the outcome of the photograph, I was encouraged every time I took a photograph I loved. Because I took the time to become familiar with my camera, I was confident in my abilities and chose to shoot in the manual setting while in Portland and the remainder of the trip. Now, I no longer have to rely on my camera to set up the perfect shot for me.

Throughout the duration of my STEP trip, I had to rely on myself and my abilities to navigate in unfamiliar cities. I learned how to book hotels and experiences. For the first time, I flew on an airplane by myself. I created a budget and followed it. I was held accountable for my spending through keeping receipts and suffered consequences when I forgot to get a receipt. I planned what cities to visit, how long I could spend in a particular city, and what activities I wanted to do in the city. In addition, I learned throughout the trip that plans may fall through and I often had to act quickly to come up with an alternative solution in an unfamiliar enviornment. For example, on the second day in Boston I planned to stay for dinner and then drive to Portland during the early evening. However, I had not planned for the incredibly time-consuming traffic in Boston. I made the decision to leave Boston earlier than planned to avoid the traffic. However, this provided me with the opportunity to explore Portland before night fall. Upon reflection, I realized that I can rely on my abilities and am more confident to travel in the future.

The transformation I experienced is very applicable to my future as a travel nurse. On my STEP trip, I developed my self-reliance skills. In addition, my STEP trip increased my confidence in my own abilities. After planning, executing, and trouble-shooting a trip in an unfamiliar city, I have confidence that I will be able to successfully navigate a new city that I am assigned to work in as a travel nurse. In addition, I have always desired to learn photography, however, I never had the proper resources. STEP has given me the opportunities and resources to learn photography and provided me with my own camera to practice the skills I learned. Photography enriches my nursing education and allows me to develop a meaningful skill set.

Link to my flickr profile:

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