“You mean there’s more to you than chronic illness?”
The wild concept that is discussed by all those who suffer from chronic illness, whether mental or physical. While my illnesses take up a major amount of time in my life, they aren’t all of who I am. I am so much more.
1. I am a musician.
Ever since I was young, I have been singing. I first started to sing when my parents got me a mini plush football that when you caught it or it hit the ground, it played the Eagles’ Fight Song. That was the first song I ever learned to sing. I joined choir in the 4th grade and have continued to sing at home, in cars, showers, and choirs even now as college student. I am also an instrumentalist. I first began to play the piano when I was 7, and since then, I have picked up the clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, flute, and baritone. I’ve played in several ensembles from marching band to jazz band to concert band in Pennsylvania, California, Germany, and Austria. Music is one of my passions, and I am continuing to pursue this passion in college as one of my majors is Music Composition.
2. I am an advocate and philanthropist.
After the passing of my father in March of 2015, I was convinced that I was made to become a doctor. What I didn’t know at the time was that I wanted to be a doctor for all the wrong reasons. After recovering from my eating disorder and other mental health issues, I was able to discover that I wanted to be a doctor out of revenge. I wanted to get back at all the doctors who couldn’t save my father by becoming a better doctor than them. I wanted to save people in a way that my dad couldn’t be saved. It was an emotional rollercoaster, and I eventually realized in my first semester of college how much I actually hated science. I did not want to be doctor, but I realized that I wanted to help people who could not speak for themselves, or did not know how to speak for themselves.
Today, I am an active member of a few organizations that I hold near and dear to my heart. I am a volunteer for the University of Pittsburgh chapter of Project HEAL. Project HEAL is an organization that raises funds to provide treatment grants for those who cannot afford the treatment for eating disorders. I am the social media manager for Pitt’s chapter. Being a member of this group of strong recovery warriors has helped me to stay grounded in my recovery. Another organization that I have remained active with is a small club called P.A.C.T. (Pittsburgh Attacks Cancer Together) that was started by two students at the University of Pittsburgh who saw the impact of cancer on their friends’ and families’ lives, and they wanted to make a difference. Together, our club of composed of 180 members raises funds for the Hillman Cancer Center, the local cancer treatment facility in our area, and participates in community service with other local organizations to help reach our ultimate goal of eradicating cancer.
Currently, I am planning to attend law school in the future with the hope of doing advocacy work in the fields of either health and/or disability law, or music law. I am a member of the recruitment committee at the University of Pittsburgh’s Chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International. Since I have joined in the fall of 2017, I have met several other students who are Pre – Law, made connections with law school representatives, and have been able to confirm that law school is what I want to do. With the help of the resources that have been made accessible to me since joining PAD, and the professors I have met and courses I have taken as part of my Legal Studies minor, I am hoping to reach my goals.
3. I am logical.
NERD ALERT. While I’m the musical one, I am also the logical one. What many don’t know about me is that I have a second major in Philosophy. Now, you’re probably thinking, “A major in Music Composition and Philosophy? That doesn’t make any sense.” Well, you’re kinda right, but these are the things that I love. I’ve always loved trying to prove my argument right and another’s wrong with reasoning. When I was freshman in college, I took a course titled Introduction to Logic. The objective of the course was to use logical symbols and deductive reasoning to get rid of any ambiguity that comes along with the English language. It was not an easy course. I ended up finishing the course with a B+, which was extremely great compared to the class average of a C. My love for logic is what pushed me to finally declare my Philosophy major. I plan to take the second logic course, Symbolic logic this fall as I freakishly love it, and I later found out that logic was a key component for the LSAT, the admissions test for law school. I’m hoping that I have my background of logic in my corner when I go to take the test next Spring.
4. I am a world traveler.
I first got on a plane when I was 2 years old. I was going to the place that only the craziest of parents would be bold enough to take their young children – Disney World. I don’t remember the trip, but since then, I have been grateful to have been able to travel somewhere every summer from the ages of 4 – 11 and then some in between and as I got older. During my younger years, my dad worked as an insurance salesman, and every summer they got to go on a “business trip”. Since I was a child, the trips were basically free for me with the exception of the flight so I always got to go (except for the Rhein River cruise and I’m still salty about it). In more recent years, I have been lucky to be able to travel with my school’s language department to France, on a tour with an ensemble to perform with professional musicians in Germany and Austria, and perform with an honors marching band in the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California, and visit one of my college best friends at her house on a military base in Hawaii. This summer, I am so grateful to be able to study abroad in a place that I have never been before – I’m going to Africa! I’ll be studying West African Culture and Performance Arts and the connection between the two at the University of Ghana from the first week of May until mid June. I’m so excited as African Studies is another subject area that I study, and the chance to study Africa in Africa is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
So those are some things about me. If you want to know more, please feel free to send me a message. I’m an open book! Thank you for joining me on this journey!