Before I came to Stanford, I knew two things: that I loved to film, and that I loved to write.
When it came to cinematography, I found beautiful potential in my every day surroundings. Upon leaving the house, I would often times tuck my SLR under the crook of my arm with the same instinctive gesture and natural capacity as one would slip a cellphone or wallet into a back pocket. Building a collection of films ranging from experimental works to paid film gigs, such as fundraising videos and corporate events, I entered a handful of film festivals and took first place at the Palo Alto GreenLight Earth Day Film Festival for a stop-animation video on water conservation.
Pencil in hand, I crafted story after story, exploring the written word through creative nonfiction, screenplay writing, poetry, and more. Passion paved the way for purpose. I dutifully journaled by night and devoted creative energy towards student newspapers and writing groups by day. I fell in love with dialogue, emotional expression, motivational theory, and the Oxford comma, all at once.
At the time, I felt divided between two distinctive passions -- caught between seemingly conflicting written and visual languages.
When I arrived at Stanford, I discovered Product Design Engineering and the Stanford d.school. Suddenly, everything clicked.
Film and writing turned out to be cut from the same fabric -- that of telling stories and understanding people -- and the Product Design major both captured everything I had learned to love and opened my eyes to an industry surrounding everything I sought to explore.
My first d.school course was taught by a team of designers led by David Kelley, who later became my personal Academic Advisor. Inspired, I enrolled in courses across the spectrum of design, from Mechanical Engineering and Physics to Studio Art and Psychology.
Once the ball started rolling, I couldn't let it stop. I taught myself Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator and poured over books on the design thinking methodology, creativity and innovation, gamification principles, and mindfulness.
I designed educational technology, received a grant from the d.school to conduct empathy research out of state, and became the President and Design Leadership Coach for Stanford's most successful product design group to date, Design for America.
I taught design thinking workshops to students from entrepreneurial programs, leading team-building exercises, improv games, ideation sessions, and story-boarding and prototyping workshops.
And last but not least, I discovered Philz Coffee.
I'm just getting started.
Most recently, I've been playing around with Adobe AfterEffects, logging hours in the Stanford Product Realization Lab, working on the teaching team for a d.school class on Engineering and Innovation, and designing and developing virtual world experiences in the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab.
I don't know where I'm going yet, but I do know that it will be somewhere in the heart of the design industry -- in a fast-paced working environment with modular workspaces, where I can stand while I speak and move while I think.
And wherever I end up, I'll never forget my dream: