misokwak's blog http://accessiblescience.org/blog/40 en Simple Joy http://accessiblescience.org/node/30 <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden view-mode-rss"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>Just two days after my summer break began, I went off to Catalina Island with a Christian fellowship I am part of at UCLA. About 150 of us and two other chapters in Southern California gathered at our campsite called Campus by the Sea, for a week long Bible study and fun. It was certainly an experience filled with spiritual growth and laughter for me. At the same time, it was an opportunity to reflect on how I fit in as a blind person among a large group of sighted people.</p> <p>As much as I dislike to admit this, I noticed how big of a role sight plays in lives of those who are sighted throughout the week. For instance, one of the first things we did was dance competition between the three chapters that were there. Another big activity throughout the week was playing sports such as basketball, volleyball, and Frisbee during short time of breaks between Bible study sessions and a 3 hours long free time in the middle of the day. Even during the talent show in which most of performances were based on words and music, there were several times I could not laugh or genuinely applaud along with the crowd because of inherently visual nature of things like choreography and nonverbal acting.</p> <p>I have been blind since birth, so such experiences were not foreign at all. However, throughout the week, there were handful of times I felt alone, then couldn’t help but wish I could play volleyball with my friends, or at least watch and cheer like my sighted friends when someone was showing off his/her dance moves or basketball skills. I am not sure what made me feel this way more greatly than usual, but it certainly caused me to question and think more about where my place is as a blind person living in the “sighted world.”</p> <p>I sat by the beach and under the trees alone a few times during the week thinking about this. I also intentionally tried to be comfortable being myself around my friends. Thankfully, I was able to really come to peace with this toward the end of my stay at Campus by the Sea.</p> <p>It is difficult to go through many moments of feeling more lonely and more different from my sighted peers than I want to admit. However, this journey of finding my place and finding who I am in itself is a blessing. For instance, I could not join in the competitive basketball tournament that took place one afternoon, but I could use that time to sit by the ocean, appreciating the relaxing atmosphere, and meet someone who was like-minded with me - in a sense that she also chose calm beach instead of basketball court where most of the crowd was. These were moments of simple but meaningful joy.</p> <p>To be completely honest, I don’t think I have found a clear answer on where I fit in when I am surrounded by culture dominated by visual elements. But through this aspect of my experience at Catalina Island, I was reminded that it is okay to feel lonely sometimes. Just make sure to have your heart open; there may be simple joy at unexpected moments.</p> </div></div></div> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 01:18:20 +0000 misokwak 30 at http://accessiblescience.org http://accessiblescience.org/node/30#comments The Beauty of Pushing Our Limits http://accessiblescience.org/node/29 <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden view-mode-rss"><div class="field-items"><div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"><p>“Don’t limit yourself.”<br /> My chemistry teacher from high school, Mr. Marquez said this one day in my sophomore year, when I was taking regular chemistry class with him. Sophomore year in high school was a tough one for me in many ways because I had a difficult time feeling confident and self-respect. Mr. Marquez’s “Don’t limit yourself” was one of encouragements I took it to heart at the time. It fueled my determination to go as far as I can despite feeling a lot of doubts about myself.</p> <p>Looking back now as a sophomore in college, chemistry has carried me farther than merely fulfilling one of high school graduation requirements. I decided to take a physics class with Mr. Marquez in the summer following my sophomore year, then unexpectedly ended up in AP Chemistry my junior year. Up to that point, I had never thought about taking AP chemistry. I thought I was neither smart nor gifted in science enough to take such a class. Mr. Marquez was truly pushing limits I had set for myself.</p> <p>Fast forward to my freshman year in college… AP Chemistry not only let me pass out of a college level general chemistry, but also opened the door for me to be a part of California Chemistry Camp as a mentor.</p> <p>The two times I have been a part of the camp, Mr. Marquez’s “Don’t limit yourself.” resonated with me. As Hoby says it many times at the camp, the camp provides an environment and many opportunities to push our limits. </p> <p>Personally, I ate redwood tree leaf and honey suckle for the first time. I also had an opportunity to make s’mores by my hands for the first time. Having grown up mostly in urban or suburban environment without much encounter with nature, these were new experiences for me.</p> <p>As a mentor, I witnessed a few campers fly without their parents for the first time. I also witnessed a few campers who clearly stepped out of their comfort zone by interacting with people around them. These moments were beautiful, and it is an honor for me to have been able to be a part of these experiences.</p> </div></div></div> Sat, 23 May 2015 19:51:05 +0000 misokwak 29 at http://accessiblescience.org http://accessiblescience.org/node/29#comments