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Humans of Rutgers

"I think that it's very important to remember who you are. My grandmother was a polish Jew and my mom's side has German and English and Native American so, you know, half my side of the family tried to kill the other side, nothing wrong with that right? But I think we should take a look at everything that we are and try and embrace it, you know? I go to pow-wows, I burn sage, and I'd really like to go to a reservation one day. I've gone to church with my mom's side of the family, but I've never been to synagogue, unfortunately. I'd like to learn some languages, eat the food, travel to Europe and see England and Ireland and all those places too."
"How do you think being from all these different backgrounds has changed you?
"I don't know if it has changed me. I'd like to think that maybe just being so many things makes me more inclined to be open with people and accepting of certain things. My grandfather was half Native American, half African American and then my dad's mom was straight Polish, so I got a little bit of everything in me going on."

"I'm moving to DC, I have a job lined up. And my hope is to show my friends that you can do it, you know, break the stereotypes. It's so much harder to express, because either which way you put it, words will never be able to say what it is that you feel; the oppression of mindset. It's not even an intention in society because I don't really think anyone wants to oppress someone else, but I think it's just there and it's something that you can't verbalize at times, something that affects you. And you can show people that you don't have to let anything but what you believe affect you, you know what I mean? So that's personal to me and I'm just doing my best to succeed."

"I'm trying to get to a semi-professional level at all my crafts. And to tour is the main thing I want to do, along with maybe find a band one day and release my music to the public. I've played in bands since I was 14 nonstop, but it's been really hard playing in bands with kids that just don't want it as much as I do. I used to travel out to Pennsylvania once a week to practice with these kids, and even though I was working and going to school full time, I still knew all my parts and the ins and outs of everything I needed to know. And then there were those who barely worked part time and sat at home doing nothing who I wished had that same drive. So I basically kind of gave up on doing bands for a while until the right kids come along. But as long as you make yourself stand out and really work hard, people will acknowledge that."

"I never fully understood the saying 'don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes' until my mom died of cancer last January. She passed away early in the morning but I decided to go to my evening lecture in an attempt to feel more sane about things. During that class I wasn't visibly distraught so the people sitting around me were completely unaware that just that morning I had been woken up by my dad telling me that my mom was gone forever. I think the weirdest feeling was knowing that no one in the room had any idea that hours earlier I had stood in front of my mom's lifeless body wondering how I was ever going to feel normal again. In everyday life I think it's easy to pass judgements onto others for things they do or the way they act. In reality though, it's impossible to know exactly what someone is going through and why he or she might be acting a certain way."
- Secrets from the Sole

"I recently went to a festival with my mother and we were racially harassed by a man. And it was such an impactful moment because I've never experienced that and you hear about it, but I had never actually experienced it. And I'm not gonna lie, we were going back and forth and I was getting angrier and angrier because I just didn't understand. He ended up telling us that if we left our car that he'd do something to it, so as we were leaving, my mom told the man 'Go to hell.'
Next thing I know, he stumbles backwards and falls. But before he fell, he said, 'The only way I'm going to hell is if you meet me there,' and he falls. We're about to drive off and I see that we're being recorded by bystanders, so I roll my window down to see what's going on. A lady comes up to us and tells me that she saw us arguing, but that the man was having a seizure. We ended up waiting there, praying for him for 30-40 minutes. But he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Our last words to this man were 'Go to hell,' so for one moment, we were both the same level of evil. If I could spread any message, it would be to watch your words. It's hard, and I've thought about it for the past couple of days, but you really can't let negativity bring you down; especially to a point where you match that negativity."

"When I met my fiancé, I was kind of lost, didn't really know what to do. I wasn't in school at the time, but right before I met her I was considering going back to school and she helped push me and she helped me financially as well to return to school. So three years later, I graduated from a community college, and then I transferred here.
When I met her, I really liked her, and I'd been in other summer flings and relationships before, which never really worked out. And I think it's because I didn't have any direction and I wasn't motivated to do anything. So I really wanted to make sure this relationship lasted. I was kind of motivated to push myself to show her that I had something to bring to the relationship, and something to offer her so we could have a future together. She's one of the only people that is going to support me emotionally; my parents help me a lot, but they have their own problems, they have their own issues, they're working and still trying to raise up my younger brother. They can't be there all the time. My fiancé's someone I can lean on, and really go to for emotional support. We're getting married next year."

"Because my dad's job was transferable, we would always have to move. So really, I've never really spent more than around two years in one state, except Mumbai. After spending five years in Mumbai, I migrated to America. I've always had to move to new schools, make new friends. I've actually lost count of all of the schools I've been transferred into.
Every time we moved, I'd be upset over having to go make new friends and settle all over again in a new place. It was very difficult. But now that I look back, I think it's the best thing that ever happened to me because today it helps me tell my story. Almost all my friends talk about going to see their childhood friends, but I can never really do that because my childhood friends are pretty scattered throughout different places in India. When you meet new people, meet different people, and learn from their stories, you don't realize that you carry all of these lessons and mannerisms with you as you go. You kind of just get a piece from everyone, everywhere you go and marinating in that, I've formed my own identity and personality."

"Being in a long distance relationship, I always worried about my boyfriend being faithful. But at some point last year, I didn't stay faithful to him myself. It was good in a way though because I realized I didnt want to be with anyone else."
- Secrets from the Sole

"We never did this when we went here, lazy around on a Saturday, so it's about time!"

"Working in the EMS system here and in my hometown, you get to see a lot of people at their absolute worst day of their life, while it's just another Saturday for me. And you have to learn how to detach yourself from that, but also be fully present for them at the same time, and then just put it all away, you know, go home, and eat dinner with your family. It's really difficult, but it's important to learn how to do that because I'm trying to go to medical school, so that's expected of you.
One time, I was working with my girlfriend's brother and a couple of other people in Edison, and this lady collapsed in her kitchen and split her head open. She was in cardiac arrest, the fire department was there doing compressions, we shocked her a couple of times, and we got her to come back. Her husband would tell the story: 'the best Christmas gift I ever got was my wife back,' because it was about a week before Christmas."

"I took up piano lessons from age five to this past June. My piano teacher, in the 80's, he started a piano organization that allows his students and other teachers' students to compete and perform in front of a couple judges. They like you, you win, and you get to play at Carnegie Hall. And I was lucky enough to, not only do that once, but do it seven times. So I played at Carnegie Hall for seven years in a row on Memorial Day Weekend. And it's something I will cherish forever."

"One of the hardest things I've had to learn in college isn't organic chemistry, calculus, or anything like that. Instead, it's learning to accept the fact that most people, whether they be friends, family, or just acquaintances, are only in our lives for a couple of seasons. Everyone is being pulled towards the different directions their dreams are leading them. That being said, I've come to understand that moving forward, it's extremely important to appreciate every single moment you have with the people around you now, and to learn as much as you can from them. Each and every person was chosen to be a part of GlobeMed, or any organization for that matter, because they possessed some unique talent, experience, or knowledge. Spending time with such passionate people has helped fill in the gaps of my character. Most importantly, I've learned that although the people you associate with now may not be in your life forever, the wisdom you can gain from being around them can serve you for a lifetime."

"We were just recently re-partnered with CALU, which is Change A Life Uganda which helps work with health education and micro-enterprise within rural Uganda. So this summer's initial trip is going to run for three weeks and it's really going to be about getting to know the organization, seeing where we can fit in, and how best we can work, and then hopefully drafting up some project ideas for the following year. We just found a project that we'll be working on while we're there this summer, but usually it's a more long-term project. This year, we'll be working with CALU's WASH program, which is Water and Sanitation and Hygiene as part of UNICEF. So we'll be working with the children in a school over there and basically what we'll be doing is taking activities that deal with our Global Heath Education segment and teach the kids about CALU's WASH program, and then eventually help them to make visual art projects or a newsletter to basically get the word out. We want the children to be the ones teaching the community about WASH and getting them to understand about health, sanitation and hygiene. And that'll be something they continue to do, to teach their community about water and how to properly use it and all the things that go into that. The overarching goal is always to re-partner, so we want them to get to the point where they don't need us and we can move on and work with a different organization. So that's the end-goal; self-sustainability."

"GlobeMed is a really important organization because it shows that a group of people can come through and work together as students to promote an ideology that's helping other people. And it's inspiring because I didn't think coming into college that it would really be any different from high school, you know, where there's an advisor and they're kind of telling you what to do. But now that I joined this organization, I see that it's fully run by the students. We have an advisor, but the students are the people that are making the decisions, we are the ones overseeing the money aspect, and we're overseeing the campaigns that we're running. So it's very student-run, and I feel like that's important, and it's empowering. That's why I feel like this organization especially is very empowering for me, and probably everyone else in the group. It's cool to see that peers can make a change."

"To me, the most important project I ever worked with has been in the Amazonian jungle, working with the people from the communities in Riberalta and Guajara-Mirim, on the border of Bolivia and Brazil. And it was so important because they used to collect Brazil nuts, but they didn't know what else to do with them. So they would sell those to the Brazilian middle-man and then they would commercialize it.
Being there as a physician, the thing that I discovered many years ago, is that you cannot just, if you really want to, impact health, you have to also impact in terms of the economy. One and the other come together, and impact the location, which is why we are here today. So we managed to get, through the European community, a plan so that they could process the Brazil nuts, and those nuts are now going to Holland. That's the main port of entry to Europe. So they managed to become an independent community instead of going to the jungle and being dependent on what the middle-man in Brazil will do.
Now they own their own destinies. It's a difficult area but the people managed to become independent and to start producing by themselves. They invest in themselves and they now have some intensive replica of healthcare in the community. To me that's the most important of projects because it involves everything and the community doesn't need you anymore."
"Why is it important to be independent in a global health environment?"
"You have to be a master of your own destiny, in all of those countries. The more educated, and healthy, and the more you can deal with your own issues, the more you are going to progress in life. So we can be that catalyzer, but it has to come from the people otherwise it never works."

Seen at HOLI MOLI on Livingston Campus

"I go by the rule of no judging, and I mean I'm human, so I'm going to have preconceived notions, but I don't act on them because I know that's not fair, you know? You never know what someone's like. Just because someone has tattoos and piercings doesn't necessarily mean they're into punk rock or something. And because of that, I feel like it's easier for people to talk to me, because I don't care. If it doesn't have to do with me, I'm not going to judge you because of some action of yours. And I'm always open to questions and stuff. I'm Muslim, I'm Pakistani, so ask me questions please, you know? I just want people to know. I'm kind of tired of all these boxes that are like, 'you belong in this box, and because you belong in this box, you have all of these characteristics that link you.' There's so many times when people have done that to me, where someone didn't expect me to dress the way I do like, 'Oh, you're Muslim, you're brown, and so your beanies and my snapbacks don't make any sense.' But if you knew anything about me.
So, I mean, I don't fit into those boxes, so I think it's stupid to put others in those boxes. And I know people who have never met a Muslim before and they're all afraid that I'm going to get offended if they ask me questions, but why would I get offended? I'm just trying to raise awareness. We're all people in the end."

"I have an unfortunate habit of romanticizing. Experiences with other people that I thought defined our relationships sometimes go unremembered by them. I've always wondered if they reminisce about moments that I don't recall, but maybe I'm romanticizing that too. It's strange to think that some of the houses down memory lane could be plywood theater props if viewed from the other side."
- Secrets from the Sole

"I think a very important issue for me is not becoming complacent as an American, because you always hear about this American superiority, and a lot of people, both young and old will just sort of think that America's going to be on top just for however long because that's all we've grown up to know; that we're the number one nation in the world and we're so powerful. But in reality, I think that a lot can change, even in our generation and over the next 10, 20 to 50 years. There are nations like China, Russia, and these other developing countries that are really on the rise, and I think it's important to know that America is what we will make of it. It's not always just going to be number one, it's not always going to be the most powerful country in the world, but it's up to the people, obviously the citizens of America, to determine whether or not we will remain a powerful country. I mean you have high school students who are 14 to 18 years old who may not know about these issues, but to me it doesn't really matter what the issue is that you're learning about, just as long as it's something that interests you. Because there are so many different issues that make up the country and make up its future that it's not even worth it to sort of harp on one issue or the other. It's really important just to understand that everyone's going to take to a different issue, everyone's going to be more passionate about something that affects them. Whether that's gay marriage, whether that's equal rights, whether that's the wage gap, whether that's international economics, whether that's social justice issues, whether it's climate change, it doesn't matter; they're all equally important, and important to different people. But they're all important and the most important thing is that students themselves actually learn about the issues that are important to them, and then carry that with them and actually grow up into working adults. This way, the American people can make a difference, rather than America making the difference for them."

"It probably started when I was in maybe 10th grade. I went up to the Delaware Water Gap area, just once, for a day-walk up Mount Tammany to view the gap at the adjacent Kittatinny Ridge in Pennsylvania. Beautiful spot. And ever since I went and had seen that first, real panoramic view of the mountains, it really made me feel a certain way, man. A way I'll never forget. It was something intimate I guess you could say, but I knew that no matter what, nature would always be there. And that's where we started and that's where we should end.
Then in the year 2013, I hiked the Long Trail, which travels 272 miles from Williamstown, Massachusetts up to North Troy, a little bit before the Canadian border in Vermont. And that walk just moved me so. Because being in the woods for a day is one thing, but once you're away and you really remember what it was you had at home, the things you miss, the things you can't do without; when you're out there, nothing's better. The cicadas sing you to sleep, you know? Sometimes it can be strange, but strange in a way that's almost transformative."