As part of the Division of Student Affairs’ initiative for Diversity and Inclusion, we at I Am Rutgers have started the #RUIDProject to highlight the many diverse identities, experiences, and reflections of the Rutgers student body. Students featured in this project share how they choose to identify themselves and how Rutgers either helps them express their identity or has helped shape their identity. If you would like to be featured in this project, share a picture of yourself and how you choose to identify using the hashtag #RUIDProject on Instagram or contact us via email.
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Growing up, I always felt I had
an abundance of wasted potential. My mother used to say I was the jack of all trades, master of none; meaning I would be interested and kind of good in many different areas but I was never really good at one thing. As a kid, I always thought of that as a bad thing, that it made me this kind of lost wanderer with no real direction. Looking back now, I think that’s exactly what I needed to do at the time. People say that college is the time to explore different areas and take many different classes so that you can find what you’re passionate about and then pick a major. If they’re saying this to college kids, then it’s especially true for kids in high school or younger.
Throughout my grade school years, I put time and effort into learning to play the piano, followed by the violin, cello, flute, and guitar. I took swimming lessons, played softball, and danced with the Project D Dance Company. In high school I continued to gain new interests in things; I joined the marching band and started getting really into photography.
After concerts, recitals, performances, and games, I still entered college not knowing what I should do. My mother always wanted me to go to nursing school and had been pushing me towards that career path since I was
very young. When freshman year of college came around, we compromised and I went to the University of Pittsburgh, a university with an outstanding nursing program, that also had a liberal arts college for me to explore. I took a number of classes and they were all okay, but the one that stood out to me the most was my film analysis course. It was a 4-hour class twice a week and demanded so much time and attention. Although it was a lot of work, I still enjoyed the class. I took this as a sign. I never thought I’d be the type of person to go to art school because I can’t draw very well and have never painted anything particularly outstanding. After doing some research, I found that art school is much more than just drawing or painting. There’s sculpture, video, film, photography, printmaking, design and so much more.
to Rutgers University as part of Mason Gross School of the Arts in the fall of 2016 and haven’t looked back since. Mason Gross offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual and Performing Arts with concentrations in various skills such as graphic design or photography. This is something that wasn’t possible at my old school, and with Mason Gross’ high credibility and Rutgers’ large community, I knew this was the right school for me. Rutgers has provided me with the opportunity to take classes that I actually wanted to take and make good work for. I was introduced to a student and faculty community of so many different kinds of talented artists all producing work within the school I was attending. The large community of the entire university also gave me opportunities to internships and organizations that have allowed me to put all my different interests and skills to use. At Rutgers, I have managed to pinpoint what ignites the passion inside me. From stories by all my teachers, advisors, and friends, I’ve learned that we’ve all found a home to focus, grow, and prepare ourselves for the world, here at Rutgers.
Photography by Rodrigo Araujo