Day 18: Making connections; pause and reevaluate

Today’s inane image of the day:

This is how it all happens…

Have you ever considered how powerful and pivotal a computer/laptop keyboard is to your life? Through these keys, we paint a picture of ourselves and entitle them “Personal Statements.” Behind the masked of anonymity, we are able to express thoughts to strangers over the internet that may later blossom into a relationship. By tapping away at these all-too-familiar letters, numbers and symbols, we end up shaping the rest of our lives.

I still remember my frustration with learning to type “proper” way in middle school. I never envisioned how much of a necessity typing would become to my livelihood, my future. Alas, I have yet to correct certain habits that stuck [I don’t know how any one actually uses their tiniest phalanx bone to reach and hit the “Q” or “P” keys — or, maybe I should start workout regime on these two particular trouble fingers]. Proper typing ability aside, I am still in awe of the fact that I expanded my network through the use of this keyboard.

Last night I had the opportunity to connect with a fellow medical student and talented writer, Shara Yurkiewicz to discuss her experience with the AAAS Mass Media Fellows program. Although I will no longer be applying to the program, I took her advice on how to develop myself as a writer, to heart. When the conversation ended an hour later, I had to pause for a moment to digest what just took place; for months, I have been following her blog and only just recently mustered up the courage to leave a comment. In that same visit, I discovered the AAAS Mass Media Fellows program and after some research, deemed it a good fit for next summer. Since I wasn’t satisfied with the information I found to go forward with the application, I sent an email to Shara with a slew of questions. Six hours later, I had a response and a phone date for the following evening.

Admittedly, I build an image in my head of the person writing the blogs I follow — but it’s a unique experience to be able to connect a voice, a personality a person to their written words. I hope that I’ll be able to connect with more of my favorite bloggers in the future!

Following my conversation with Shara, I felt the need to pause and reevaluate. Our chat called into question who I was targeting with my writing and what I wanted to accomplish through my words. Obviously, I want to help someone, somewhere, but with what? Who is that amorphous someone? Can what I say really influence the life of someone I have never met?

I started this blog as a way to capture my thoughts in a very particular moment in time so that in ten, twenty, or fifty years from now, I can look back and chuckle at myself. But by recording my experience through the application cycle, I was helping current and future applicants. By sharing my thoughts, I may be influencing a complete stranger’s life. But am I influencing lives in the way that I want to? How can I more effectively advance the lives of strangers?

There are a lot of questions floating around in my head right now and not enough answers.

6 thoughts on “Day 18: Making connections; pause and reevaluate

  • September 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    My hands naturally rest on FEWA and JIO; on my laptop keyboard, and then I use my ring finger to hit Q and P. My right pinky is usually dedicated to shifting, and my left one is used for hitting Control (which I have mapped to my Caps Lock key, since Caps Lock is stupid). Yes, my middle school computer class teacher would probably have a fit, but at the same time, I can use vim and she can’t.

  • September 1, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    @Kyle: Wow. That’s intense. Now I’m curious to watch you type… maybe the next time I’m in Ann Arbor I’ll come by the bullpen! [Which, actually, I’ll be around in October…]

  • September 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Amanda, great to hear that you want to develop as a writer. I put your blog in my Google Reader, and I look forward to following your medical school experiences!

    Kelly Chi
    freelance clinical editor, Medscape Med Students

  • September 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    @Kelly: Thank you for stopping by and subscribing to my blog! I appreciate it and hope you’ll enjoy the content I post.

  • September 18, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Oh, I totally missed this post (I’ve been following daily… almost… I guess). It was a pleasure “meeting” you too! I’m still asking myself those same questions we talked about. You want to write for yourself but for others as well, and it’s hard to picture who is out there reading your stuff. How much do you want to cater? Are we too young to develop a “brand”? I feel like I’m still broad and undecided enough not to have found a niche yet.

    I love your dedication in writing so frequently, especially on top of what sounds like a fairly grueling course schedule. Keep going, keep going!

  • September 19, 2011 at 10:54 am

    @Shara: Thank you, thank you. You continue to inspire me with your words!

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