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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices 27

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“It also gives me the satisfaction of helping other people reach their goals. You can’t really describe the happiness of helping someone reach their goal.”
Chicago, IL
I tutor reading and memorizing Quran (the Islamic sacred text) and MCAT (medical school entrance exam). When I tutor, I do two main things.

On a personal level, it helps me keep up with my own progress. That can be knowledge of the Quran or scientific material.

It also gives me the satisfaction of helping other people reach their goals. You can’t really describe the happiness of helping someone reach their goal.

I like to say I’m making their goal my goal, and we work together towards it. A critical part is forming a relationship and having a common goal.

Sometimes the first 20 minutes of a session will be catching up on each other’s personal lives. We discuss any relevant or irrelevant concerns. Once we get through that, then we naturally get into the subject material itself.

Part of my training was to create an environment conducive to that relationship, to provide a source of support.

The material is not the focus. It’s more about creating a sense of support, someone who’s following up, someone who’s concerned about your success.

I feel more comfortable with my Quran tutoring. I’ve been doing that for four years, instead of five months.

My tutoring reflects two of my identities. I’m a pre-med student and also a young man trying to become more spiritual and more religious.

The religion aspect is an outlet for the stresses associated with premed studies. It’s pretty rigorous across the board.

I’m in the position to teach these skills because I’ve been in these positions before. I can relate very intimately to both of these situations.

I had to go out and find people who served a similar role. What motivated me to take these positions is to be more accessible than I found my elders to be.

I don’t want my students to follow my same path. I help them avoid my mistakes and build upon what I thought I did correctly.

Part of my philosophy is that my students aren’t in need of me. I’m just a tool or medium. It’s more of an opportunity for me to serve than it is assistance to them.

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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices 65

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“I started getting into several artists’ work, such as Alex Grey, and I realized that I could put my feelings into what I was doing. I do abstract art so that my feelings can be visually observed.”
Salisbury, MD
I loved drawing when I was younger but, as I got older, I realized that I could do a lot with art. Portraying my emotions, telling a story about my life visually, etc. I started getting into several artists’ work, such as Alex Grey, and I realized that I could put my feelings into a hobby that I already liked.

I do abstract art so that my feelings can be visually observed. Art, for me, is very therapeutic and it helps me to understand how I feel. My art can also be used to work out my emotions by physically drawing and visually seeing them.

For the most part, I draw mandala style. Because of that, there is usually not a specific subject that I focus on. My various lines and patterns just change based on what I am feeling at that time.

I draw in my mandala style because I like to express my emotions in this abstract way. Rather than trying to replicate something exactly, my style allows my hand to flow freely based on my feelings.

I have thought about taking art classes to improve my expertise, but I have not actually taken a serious one yet. Even though it is not in an art classroom, I do show my abstract art to people who I feel comfortable with, like close friends or relatives. I do not show it do everyone since my work is personal to and for me.

Someone negatively judging my art is the same as them negatively judging me. So, I show my art to the people I trust. For example, I show my work to my family, especially my mom.

My sister used to draw, but she does not anymore, so I am the only one who draws now. When people do see my drawings, I usually get nervous.

I am basically exposing a part of myself by showing them an art piece. But, depending on the reaction of the person I show, I may also end up feeling accomplished.

That feeling of accomplishment is partly why I would recommend drawing to others. Any art form in general. I think it’s a great outlet for people who enjoy art.

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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices 64

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“Tending to plants or even just looking at them helps me clear my mind. It’s a great stress reliever.”
Queens, NY
I like to keep plants. I definitely consider myself a plant mom.

I have a bunch in my house. I started with succulents because those are almost impossible to kill.

I definitely don’t have a natural green thumb. I’ve killed my fair share of plants.

I’ve even killed a cactus before. I’m getting a lot better now. I have about 12 plants in my house and they are all alive and doing well.

I just have to remember to water them. I also talk to my plants. I like to think it helps them grow.

I feel like I’m bonding with them. I give them names too.

I love having plants in my house. They clean the air and make my house look nice and lively. It makes me so happy to see all the life in my house.

Tending to plants or even just looking at them helps me clear my mind. It’s a great stress reliever.

Next spring, I want to start planting a garden in my backyard. I’m really excited for it. I want to plant a bunch of veggies and fruits that I can eat in the summer.

It would be so amazing to have fresh produce right outside my house. It would save me money, be good for the environment, and be a good outlet for me after my stressful days at work.

I’m trying to live more sustainably and I think gardening could help. Eventually, I really want to get into urban farming. That way I’d get to spend more time gardening and working with plants.

Plus, I’d be able to grow all my own food and be self-sufficient. I’m a long way away from there, but it’s a nice goal to have.

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Self-Expression

Self-Expression – Voices 63

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“I never felt like I was truly being myself on stage or screen before acting in comedy.”
Los Angeles, CA
Ever since I was young, I always loved acting. Growing up in California, I admired the glamorous lifestyles of actors and actresses. I just found it so fascinating that they could transform into whoever they wanted to be.

They inspired me and gave me ideas for what type of productions I would like to be a part of. I remember when I was around four years old, I would put on plays for my family.

I would have my siblings and cousins play the supporting roles, but they never had many lines! As you can see from a young age, I enjoyed how acting gives people the ability to collaborate with others.

However, this soon was enough for me. I wanted to act in a theater group with a real organized cast. Soon enough, I was in acting classes and starred in many musicals and plays throughout my childhood.

I took pride in my work and took it very seriously. Acting in theater group also helped me expand and perfect my craft.

Learning from professionals who were so passionate about acting really inspired me to keep growing as an actress. Furthermore, I was also inspired by my cast mates who have become some of my lifelong friends to this day. Even though we all now young adults with busy lives, we still make a point to keep in touch.

Currently, acting is still a hobby of mine. However, I am not currently in a theater group and have strayed away from theater quite a bit.

It is not that I do not enjoy theater, but I found a such a profound love for comedy. Personally, I feel that comedy is very underrated and should be celebrated more in society.

It’s such a great genre that brings smiles to those who watch and those who act in the field. I first became hooked on this genre after acting in a comedy seminar around two years ago.

It complimented my outspoken and bubbly personality perfectly. Also, I never felt like I was truly being myself on stage or screen before acting in comedy.

This was never a problem for me though, as I loved portraying different characters. However, comedy makes me feel like I am truly being myself and expressing myself in the most natural way!

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