Hey, I just wanted to tell you something before I go.

I started last semester as a Cellular and Molecular Biology major, a vestige of my pre-med days.  Then, as I do most semesters, I found myself going to eight classes a day "just to see".  One of those classes was on documentary photography.  That was the beginning of the end.  My sister and I had done environmental research during the summer of 2015 in China and had agreed to meet in India summer of 2016.  By some surreal coordination we both elected to make a go at journalism and over the course of a weekend we decided that we would do an environmental documentary, applied for grants, and sketched out a plan to spend 4 months documenting what buying imported products really means for the environment and what impact it has on humans. SiSA was the first to fund our project and when that email arrived the whole plan, including the significant life path adjustment for both of us that went along with it, went from "wouldn't it be cool if..." to something that was actually happening.  It's hard to describe how it feels to have all you're dreams and plans for your future dissolve to make way for another path.  I'd spent countless hours since high school imagining my life as a doctor, thinking about what that would mean, researching med schools, downloading MCAT apps, talking to doctors, watching videos of surgeries, only to have it fade away into something I used to want to do. I can't say how excited I am to try my hand at something that may become what I do with my life.  The opportunity to go dig deeper into the human and environmental costs of habits that I and I think many others in the U.S. take for granted feels important in a way that nothing I've done up to this point in my life.  That's not to say this project will be so important but just that it's a small step in a direction that I'd feel proud following for the rest of my life.

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About Samuel McMullen

Samuel is a Junior with a double major in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Philosophy. After graduation, Samuel is interested in pursuing a career in journalism. Samuel is passionate about environmental issues and photojournalism. In the past he has conducted environmental research in China and co-founded the University's first environmental fraternity. Samuel will be travelling throughout India for four months to document the effects of waste generated by the production of American goods across India. Samuel will document this through video interview, photography, and written work in hopes of shedding light on the impacts on people abroad of our choices at home. Samuel feels that bringing issues, especially ones as impersonal as climate change, onto the human plane is vital to motivating continued efforts to address this problem.

3 thoughts on “Hey, I just wanted to tell you something before I go.

  1. If it’s the first step in the direction of what you do with your life, it is absolutely an important step. If you are able to open the eyes of people who don’t know that much about the impact importing goods has on the world, that would be great. But if you see something new and that fosters development in continuing bringing important information to light, that’s investing in the future and in yourself. It’s great that things lined up with your sister and that you share similar passions. This will surely be a great experience! Looking forward to hearing more!

  2. Hi Sam! I wish you the best of luck at the beginning of your journey. I can really relate to the feelings you are having as you approach the end of your college career. I think it is very brave to recognize these feelings and open yourself to new experiences that may shape your future career decisions. I cannot wait to hear more about your time in India!

  3. Did you know you may feel tired with your journey, but many out there who want to be like you. get to travel, meet more people and learn the culture, learn from those who have a deficiency makes you understand the meaning of life, especially to share kindness to children. Your inspiring young women

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