Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ink and Paper

      Growing up in a family of artists, I was considered the anomaly of the bunch. My father, an architect; my mother, an interior designer; my aunt, a fashion designer; my grandfather, a movie director; my brother, architecture graduate. And then, there was me, a lowly girl wanting to study brains. Whether my choice to pursue anything but art was a byproduct of wishing to be “different” from the rest or the consequence of my disillusionment of the artist life, my drive towards a non-artsy pursuit was something I took pride in. Though my coursework and extracurriculars in brain sciences were intriguing and continually inspiring(to say the least), given the background I grew up in, the inclination to crave for art was acutely present. At multiple points, I felt that there was a lack of creative outlet amidst the stultifying toil of college life and a sense of deprivation of the artistic spirit that used to inundate my daily life. 

      So, to take matters into my own hand, since the beginning of my sophomore year, I set out to bring art back into my life. I sang with the Peabody choir, applied for research examining color perception, and, perhaps most rewarding of all, enrolled in a visual arts class. As it being my first ever art class at a college setting, Introduction to Printmaking seemed daunting and unfeasible – an airy-fairy pursuit. Contrary to belief, it has proven to be one of the most inclusive and supportive environments I have ever been in. Cathartic yet stimulating, the class is full of people of diverse majors (ranging from Writing Sems to Computer Science) and of diverse ages who encourage each other, regardless of previous artistic experience, and help one another when things get out of control. On top of the support system within the student body, the physical nature of the studio – a sun-lit room where canvases lay astray in the room with paint-stained desks & chairs scattered all over- naturally elicits and calls forth a sense of relaxed creativity within all of us. In addition, because we are now people of a digital and pixelated age, the hands-on, paper & ink art class has become a necessary respite from the numbing illumination of a computer screen.

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      This class reminds me of a saying that has always stuck with me: “Bernstein’s greatest point of enthusiasm was his lifelong devotion to enamoring young people with [art]. He understood that love and learning are inextricably linked, that learning is a kind of love and love a kind of learning.” 

      At the onset of my sophomore year, my zest for art has been jolted through the resources that Hopkins offered and I can say, with ease, that I am enamored by it. Through the vessel of art, I hope I can love to learn, and learn to love. 

Research at the Med Campus

While many moan and groan the grueling rigmarole of college, one of the many things that people laud about the college life is the experience they get from research. Surely, the lessons taught through research is not only practical but also inspirational due to its showing nature of our personality and our qualities as a teammate and a critical thinker. Over the past few years, I have been a part of various research across a wide gamut of topics that taught me invaluable things: ranging from educational research to child development research to vision research to stroke patient research (which I am currently participating in). I could easily say that my research experience played a huge role in securing my pursuits of becoming a doctor. 

I first got in contact with my research PI by simply cold-emailing him of my interest. Before emailing him, I did a brief research on his past projects and the medical trajectory he was leading. After confirming my meeting time with him, we had a brief discussion about how my passion align with the current projects that are transpiring in his department (namely, the neurology department) and what I seek to gain from the research experience. 

He, being a such a supportive and welcoming research PI, invited me to come to his clinical rounds and shadow him during his patient viewings. While I tagged along behind him like a dog’s tail, it was one of the most moving experiences that showed me the gravity of the responsibility this position holds and how the dedication of becoming a doctor could be so rewarding both for the doctor and for the patient. Being surrounded by principled people in an amicable environment filled with people who are simply trying to help was the assurance I needed to confirm my passion and to get a taste of what it is like in the real-world. 

Not to mention, the experience of research urged me to challenge myself as a critical thinker in the projects we pursued and the papers we were publishing. I was able to have countless detailed and constructive discussion with my research PI about how to analyze MRI scans and deduce crucial information from patient notes and their bloodwork data. Being privy to this opportunity to get a hands-on experience on actual patients and what it is like to put our heads together to analyze the patients current state and how we can address the problem at hand was simply motivating. 

Through my time spent at the medical hospital, I have grown and learned more about myself than the couple of years spent in class. It is these applicable experiences that shape my values and guide my passion – a place no other than Hopkins can provide.