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My previous, nearly life-long goal to save lives has been overtaken by the simple desire to save the world. Halfway through my college applications, I went back to page one and changed my major from biology to architecture in response to my high school’s environmental science course and the deep conviction I felt for the depressing trajectory of our natural environment. I rerouted my projected course from becoming a pediatrician to designing sustainable architecture that can inspire appreciation and love for nature. This power that the built environment has on its users, the ability to impact how both the individual and society function, is what excites me the most about architecture. I’ve learned that architecture isn’t just designing something that’s pretty to look at. Architecture is a way to connect with humanity through means of artistic problem-solving, and though its effects remain subtle and often unnoticed by most people, architecture can be the factor that either guides a community to dysfunction or beautiful success. “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Within the first semester of my first year pursuing architecture, I’ve found that Winston Churchill’s statement to the British Parliament is undoubtedly true, and I believe in the achievements humanity can accomplish and our ability to create and design successful solutions for the problems we face now and in the future.With every dream, there are obstacles, and as a young woman of a minority race, I am aware of the current gender imbalances and sadly profound lack of racial diversity in the architecture field, however, I prefer to look to the advancements toward equality and a brighter future. There are so many more positives to look forward to with the slowly but surely improving diversity within the profession. Diversity is the key to widening our view and our methodology. My mother, supporting my passions and dreams in sustainability design, loves to share how traditional Korean housing was built with careful consideration to have harmony with nature, so the buildings had the optimal position for sun, shade, wind, rain, temperature changes, soil, and resources, resulting some of the most sustainable designs without modern technology. If not for being exposed to my mother’s culture and history, I may have not been aware of such inspiration for a long time. Without the knowledge and understanding of differences that diversity provides, how is architecture supposed to connect to the differences in society and between communities? How is architecture supposed to be designed to serve its own unique community. Diversity develops our ability to perceive and discover these intricate nuances within societal workings to be able to effectively tailor to their needs while also opening doors to a broad variety of inspiration and solutions that can originate from any corner of the world. This in turn increases a building’s quality and overall value to become a cherished piece of a community, a culture, and even history. As for me, a first year architecture student with my whole life still ahead of me, I’ve embraced my passions and my differences not only as a vital piece of my identity, but also as a vital piece to bring into my future as an architect.

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