Why, hello there! My name is Aleenah, and I’m a college student studying Human Centered Design and Engineering while taking classes in just about everything else. Welcome to this little portfolio/website I’ve created to showcase some of my published work, personal writing, and photography – I hope you enjoy poking around.

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to do what’s “right” and “good.” I started college as an intended Bioengineering major on the pre-med track hoping to make my family proud. My plan was to work in a research lab, take science classes in preparation to attend a top 10 medical school, and start a private practice and give back to the community that raised me. That was the plan, the ostensible path to success that would bring happiness and fulfillment … right?

But somewhere along the way, I realized that I didn’t really want any of these things. Sure, I wanted to do impactful work and empower people to pursue meaningful projects and learn their trade, but this path that I was choosing wasn’t right for me.

As I write this blog, I feel like I’m being the most authentic form of myself – and I swear I’ve been looking for this feeling for the past 2 years in between 7 hours of Organic Chemistry lab a week and study sessions for content that bored me to tears. I spent all that time looking forward to the moment when I could pull up a document on my computer titled “Reflections,” where I freely shared everything and everything on my mind. It’s been extremely liberating to just write about whatever mattered to me, not in an effort to meet some word limit or address a prompt that wasn’t relevant to me but because writing gives me life the way nothing else can. So, my writing has always been a private practice that took place exclusively on notebook margins and corners of textbooks – until now. I’ve wrestled with it, the idea that my peers are working in research labs and doing book problems and I was just writing away, pages and pages of thoughts that popped into my head that refused to be ignored until I gave them a place to belong on paper. In some ways, I felt like I was taking the easy way out by choosing to write all the time because I didn’t want to impact people’s lives through medicine – maybe I could do that through storytelling or journalism. But right now, writing without a fear of sharing and just being completely honest with myself and others, makes me happier than anything else. And it’s scary because now my work is out there and can be judged by anyone. But I believe there’s too much good stuff to not share. 

So, I welcome you to the inner workings of my mind, one of my favorite lyrics from the song “Hurricane” by New York-based duo MS MR. I’ve always been inspired by song lyrics, and almost every page of notes has a few written in the corner surrounded by musical notes, so the same will be true in my blog. If you see a quote from songs (mostly 2005), know that I was probably  humming it as I wrote these posts on the bus or in between classes because I can’t do anything without a headphone in one ear and lyrics floating around in my mind. 

So here’s to writing more than ever, to sharing my work and welcoming your feedback and comments. This will be a space for encumbered thoughts – I hope you’ll find something that you’ll want to take to go.