To begin this story, I would prefer to skip over the initial days of my very dark, womb-embedded life—actually, I would prefer to skip over several of my childhood years—and begin where, in my opinion, my academically-driven self first formed. I will admit that it was never a struggle for me to get A’s on a piece of paper, but I will also admit that I was not always one who cared about moving forward as a person or even really as an intellectual. However, the day I was begrudgingly enrolled into my first — and my school’s first — honors class, I soon realized what I was missing. I was missing a kooky, life-long mentor, teacher and friend by the name of Mr. Dorman, and I was missing a hunger for knowledge
That first day of honors class is the moment that came to shape my entire life thus far, the moment that I began shaping myself, and the moment that basically made it possible for me to go to the University of Washington. The moment was, needless to say, pivotal. Granted, there are a multitude of other events in life that have shaped me as well, but nothing quite like my “Super Eights” honors class. If I had not gone to room 110, I doubt I would have even challenged myself with rigorous classes. But, the best part of it all is maintaining contact with Mr. Dorman, who helps and inspires me indefinitely.
Without this man and his genuine work, I never would have been inspired enough to dabble in creative writing or to renew my passion for art. I never would have read a poem by William Henley. I never would have continued to push myself the way I did through high school. To be quite frank, writing has been such a marvelous outlet for me that I question my existence without it. Writing proved to be my rock, my resort in a time of despair, anger, sadness, happiness, what have you. It formed into a passion.
Due to my love of writing, I always wanted to obtain a major in journalism. I soon realized that journalism has an even more enticing requirement: travel. With both traveling and writing on my mind, I have been determined to make journalism my future form of employment. However, growing up, I have also realized that magazines like The New Yorker and Reader’s Digest are getting less and less subscribers. I am horribly frightened by a future devoid of money, or worse, negatively devoid: debt. For mainly this reason, I have transferred my journalism major to journalism minor. The other half of the reason is that I was blessed with yet another wonderful teacher by the name of Mrs. Knight. She was my chemistry and AP chemistry teacher, and she ignited something entirely different inside me.
I formed a newfound love for chemistry. Knowing life on such a minute scale and how it functions simply blows my mind. Additionally, having the ability to cause chemical reactions, knowing exactly what caused them or how much of one specific element you need and if heat was released or sublimation occurred is all so ingenious. It simply makes me happy. For this reason, I have chosen my major to be related to that of chemistry, biochemistry in fact—but it is very liable to change.
I am not quite sure where I want to go from my position as a UW Freshman. I could launch into neuroscience in a few years, or I could actually love what biochemistry lays out for me. I could change my mind entirely and find yet another sparked interest. My projected future is changing as fast as an electron pops in and out of existence. All I know is that I want to continue what I know I love, be open to loving new things, and I most certainly want to travel. Of course, forming new bonds with mentors and friends are fairly important on my to-do list as well.
Kelsey Hamlin is finishing up her last year at the UW. Though her time is typically spent telling others' stories, here's a chance to get a peek at hers.