How do you define “home”?
“Home is where the heart is.” Home is (and should always be) a safe place where you are free to be yourself without judgment or ridicule. It is a place where cherished memories are held.
How are you misunderstood?
Sometimes I’m a bit antisocial and extremely introverted. I’m slowly working toward being more open. However, there are moments where I need alone time to recharge. This helps me deal with the stress that comes with being a student. I’m an only child—sorry!
Which program has influenced you the most at Northeastern?
The ChicagoCHEC Research Program has definitely had the biggest impact on me and my outlook on life. I always knew that I wanted to be a physician but never had the courage to say it. When it came to applying to medical schools, I didn’t know where to begin—not to mention that I’d never seen a black physician in person. If it wasn’t for the mentoring and coaching in the program, I would have changed my career trajectory a long time ago. Thinking that you can be a doctor one day and actually believing that you can be one are two very different things to me. The program took me out of my comfort zone and helped me realize that being an introvert is not an excuse to not being an activist or speaking out against injustices such as health inequities.
What has been your most eye-opening class?
A class that has had the biggest impact on me was an African/African American Studies course during my freshman year. Coming up as a child, history was always taught to me in a Euro-centric manner: Black history started with American chattel slavery and ended with the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s. I never knew or considered the civilizations and inventions that were created thousands of years prior to colonization. In that class, I truly found myself and my history.
What is your favorite place in Chicago?
Loyola Park. It’s in Rogers Park, and I love going to the beach there. It’s really serene, and I have a lot of childhood memories there. I grew up in Rogers Park and it was very diverse. It has changed a lot over the years, but I will always consider that my community.
If you had the power to change one thing in the country, what would you do?
We are living in tumultuous times, and I’d like this country to see our environment as a top priority. Natural resources are limited and ecosystems are being destroyed for the sake of money. It’s not right and it really worries me. One way that I’m trying to help fight climate change is to eat a meat-free diet. It’s really a challenge and I am in the beginning stages of veganism. Eating a meat-free diet conserves water and helps the planet overall. Again, it’s challenging and some days I cave in but it’s very rewarding.