The Art of Describing Yourself

In the midst of med school apps a couple weeks ago, I ran across these essays in the NY Times last week. They were a part of this main article that discussed a “new” type of college essays that are emerging, ones where the writers take huge risks in relation to what one usually thinks of concerning typical admissions essays. It got me thinking about my own applications, since the all important personal statement is a large part of the process. Reading the four essays, they were certainly different from what I’d seen before. Sometimes I found myself going, “What are they even talking about?” while reading the essays. But in the end, the essays were fantastic, and they ultimately painted a unique picture of each applicant’s personality and style.

A few days ago, I was reading and came across an artist named Leonid Afremov mentioned in the book. I (naturally) looked him up because the book mentioned his paintings of Paris vignettes; it turns out he’s a Russian-Israeli modern impressionist. He likes to paint things that allow the viewer to see the subject through his point of view. His style reminded me of neo-Impressionism (aka, Pointillism, which is my favorite art period) a bit, so I was instantly drawn to his works. The reason I was so drawn to his paintings isn’t just because they are so colorful. Mainly, I love that the colors, though not necessarily blended, come together to paint a complex picture of Paris: the light radiating off of the Eiffel Tower at night or off of Notre Dame in the afternoon, or reflecting in the cafe windows in early morning aren’t just a spectacular yellow-orange color. The light also returns to the eye as blues, greens, and reds as it works to highlight the rest of the surrounding scenery in each painting – the deep blue skies, the well-manicured trees, the autumn leaves and blaring shop signs.

And I was drawn to his paintings because this is exactly how I want to come across while writing all those answers in the med school secondaries I’m now doing: I want to paint a picture of myself, with specific descriptions and attributes, yet I want all of those values to come together and make a beautiful picture, subtly reflecting and highlighting other areas of my life in the undertones.

Guess I better get to work.

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*All photos attributed to and

Last Day

Undergraduate years are (basically) officially over. This feels weird. No one really talks about how it feels to finish university after 16 years of the same schedule.

I can’t thank God, my family, and my friends enough for helping to get me through these past 4 years though. Rice is the only educational institution I’ve been to for 4 years (I switched high schools after sophomore year so that I could participate in the International Baccalaureate program – and it was a superb blessing to do so! I’m really thankful for that time in my life.), and it is as difficult as universities come. The professors and peers (rightly) expect a lot from the students here, and it is definitely grueling – mentally, physically, and emotionally. All in all, the hard work over these past years, no matter what the outcome of my classes have been, has been completely worth it. I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to spend my college years at a place like Rice, where I’ve met lifelong friends and learned lifelong things that I can carry with me for… well, a lifetime. So thank you, Rice, because even when it was an excruciatingly difficult experience, I still came away from the situation having learned so very much.

Happy last day of classes to all my Rice friends! Hopefully there has been some light and joy in the midst of this week for everyone.

Seasons Change

This past weekend, my suite mates and I took senior pictures together on campus to commemorate our senior year at Rice. It was a lovely time – at first I thought it would be a bit stressful with so many things to look after, but our wonderful photographer, Alison Chang, of alison wanderland photography was so calm and kind, funny and creative, that she quickly banished any thoughts of “Oh my goodness! Must. Make. Sure. Hair is in place at. All. Times” from my head. Below I share my absolute favorites from the shoot. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did taking them.


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*The post title is a reference to a song I really enjoy called Seasons Change by Corinne Bailey Rae. And indeed, as we draw toward the last week of classes, I can slowly feel our seasons changing.


About four or so days ago, I took the MCAT. I can’t express how HUGE it is for me: it seems that a weight was directly lifted off of my mind. Taking the exam really gets the ball rolling with my applications to medical school coming up soon… it’s all so much more real! I haven’t been able to stop smiling since it’s been over (seriously though, I’ll be sitting at my computer working and a smile will randomly creep up on my face; It feels great to be done). And I realize that many people despair afterwards, or try to forget it, or think about the next available time to retake it, but for me? None of that. All I’ve experienced is an immense sense of peace and relaxation. It’s truly a beautiful and joyful blessing for me to have had such a wonderful experience after completing the MCAT.

I really think that the already-large amount of warm fuzzies in my heart were greatly compounded by my family and the many, many friends who came up to me afterwards, asked how the exam went, hugged me, prayed for me, wished me well, brought me celebratory meals and snacks, wrote me notes, and overall rejoiced with me as I closed that chapter of my life. One friend said, “You’ve just made a huge step in becoming a doctor by completing the MCAT!” I hadn’t thought of it that way before; sure, the MCAT is important, but I didn’t think of it as a major achievement to cross off my application to-do list.

But now, I see it for exactly what it was. A true accomplishment. And I’m just incredibly blessed to have shared that experience with the many wonderful, amazing people God has placed in my life.