I've studied my surroundings all of my life. I've interpreted and re-interpreted my life through dancing, playing the flute and saxophone, singing, writing poetry, drawing, painting, quilting, journaling and photographing. I was also an observer. I could sit for hours observing others in a park or watching a squirrel gather food. I loved to research what others had studied on similar topics and I loved doing my own research about various things. I spent a lot of time trying to help others realize their dreams by researching for them. I've come to realize that the product of my efforts wasn't my high priority. The road to discovering the final product was most important to me even if the product wasn't for my benefit.
When I did my first research paper, I chose the topic of the portrayal of women in rap videos. I wanted to know how much affect the videos had on young women. I spent more time and effort reading articles, journals and books, interviewing the target audience and watching videos than I did writing the paper. And I loved every minute of it.
The same thing happened with my first web page page development. While my classmates were creating web pages of their online art portfolio, I chose to do a web page about the clinical trials of women in our county. At the time, I was curious about the treatment of pharmaceuticals that were only tested on white males and how that changed in the 20th century. The research itself of reading countless journal articles and medical magazines was time consuming. But it was so worth. I was proud of the knowledge I'd gained.
With both of these examples, the idea came from a question about life, but the outcome of my research didn't really benefit me. I could have just as well done projects relating to art and still receive an A for the class.
My fascination with art is innate. There is no beginning or end. I love it all. And I choose a medium that not only expresses the message I'm trying to convey but also to give the viewer and myself a feeling of the process I went through to achieve the results. Most of the time, it's a mixture of things.
My fascination with health is also innate. I've always been curious about the human body and nature. When I was very young, my aunt let me see her medical dictionary which was huge (no pocket size back then). At the time, she was in nursing school. I absolutely loved the book. I wasn't familiar with any of the words, of course, but the discovery of their meaning was fascinating. It became my night reading until the book was damaged.
It may seem that I should have known my path from an early age. But I didn't. I had only begun to explore my possibilities. I chose a major that was presented to me and looked like an exciting career. I was wrong. But I stuck with it, hoping that if I grew in the field, I would one day wake up feeling great about my career path. That day never came.
If I fast-forward through years of volunteering with various events, joining different organizations, countless hours spent in the library trying to figure it out, my grandmother's passing, a good friend of mines passing, having a child and attending conferences about teaching and going to a college orientation with interests in clinical research, I will reach the point where I finally made a choice: Health care.
It seemed perfect. In fact, it was suggested to me. When I received that first medical book, I did want to be a surgeon. But childhood dreams are flaky. For I also wanted to be a teacher, an architect, an engineer and a scientist before I reached high school. So needless to say, I had forgotten about it, until it was suggested to me by the friend who passed. She was dying of cancer.
I gave it a lot of thought and ended up back in school for pre-med. I volunteered for two hospitals, got a job in one of them and now I'm studying for the MCATs (second round). I've discovered the fields of art therapy, physicians assistant and other health care positions that are not a doctor or a nurse. The field is so broad. My focus was on cancer research and becoming an oncologist. But, I truly believe I can do so much more beyond just health care. I can incorporate my background, the things I am passionate about and have fulfillment in my career. Dr. W. Perkinson is a dentist who runs a dental school and several dental practices in my city and he's an artist. He filled up the dental school, nursing school and some of the main hospital with his watercolor paintings (as donations) that I think are absolutely beautiful. He has become my inspiration.
Some people say "you can't serve two Gods." I say to them, I only serve one God, my Lord and Savior. And He has multiple purposes for me. Joseph could interpret dreams and through that talent, he, eventually became the second most powerful person in Egypt. Barack Obama practiced law and did well. Through that, he eventually became the first African-American president of the United States of America. I am a good artist. And through my unique way of communicating with others (through art), I will become a great (blank). Whatever God has in store for me, I know it will be great and I will work hard and do Him proud.
Armstrong High School 1991-1995
Cornell University 1995-1999
George Mason University 1999-2001
Richmond Free Press 2001-2008
Virginia Commonwealth University 2008-2010
Richmond Free Press (PT), Massey Cancer Center (volunteer), Richmond Community Hospital (volunteer) 2010-2011
Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems 2011-present