Sophomore Rachel Douma receives inspiration from her family, but the passion and love she has for art and other people comes from within herself.
Rachel has always had a compassionate personality. This past summer, she dedicated her time to one of the local humane societies. Here, she got the chance to play with dogs and really understand the meaning of a home.
Although she has a love for animals, a vet is not what she desires to be. Instead, Rachel wants to take on the task of learning to be a nurse — an occupation where her compassion towards others will get a chance to shine.
“I feel like I help people before I help myself,” Rachel said. “I’ll help a friend who is in a tough situation before I help myself in a tough situation.”
Despite Rachel’s love for people, she did not always know she wanted to be a nurse. Instead, it was an instance of realization that led to the pursuit of the career. Aiding her in this realization is that fact that unlike most, Rachel lacks a fear of blood. Instead, the idea of how the body functions with all its working parts fascinate her. In order to further her knowledge, Rachel plans on taking every science class she can, especially because science, in general, is something she thoroughly enjoys.
Another way Rachel plans to help better her education for her future career is by attending the Health Career Immersion Program by Kent ISD, which consists of training two days a week for two and a half hours for a full semester. To help her have a better understanding of what she is learning through the program, Rachel will also shadow others and be given unique opportunities, one of which will include watching the birth of a child.
Although Rachel has a passion for people and science, she can dedicate both of these and the idea of becoming a nurse to her grandma. Rachel’s grandma worked as a nurse throughout her life and proved more than just a grandmother, but also a role model for her.
“[My grandma] is such a caring, selfless person,” Rachel said. “She worked with nursing her whole life and she’s still the medical volunteer at her church. I think her selflessness and her carefree, humorous ways [have inspired me]. I think I always try to be a little bit more like her. I wish I could be that selfless, carefree, and funny.”
Because of her strong love for others, it is no surprise that Rachel has joined a sport on behalf of some of her friends — a sport that would challenge her on the daily: water polo.
Rachel joined the sport in 7th grade when her friends and her decided they wanted to join a team together. After already participating in Goodwillie’s swim team, she and her friends thought it would be only fitting to join the water polo team.
“The team is amazing,” Rachel said. “We’re kind of like a big family of girls. You spend [all this] time together, so you bond and become a friendship-family. [They become] friends that you hang out with so much that you have inside jokes.”
Because water polo is such a time commitment, with practice every day and games on weekends, Rachel has a strict schedule to keep her on the right track. However, the stress of school can prove to be a bit of a challenge.
“[School life] does get more stressful, but I also think it’s the whole second-semester thing,” Rachel said. “Second-semester starts and suddenly it gets harder and harder for me. Polo does add some stress to it, but I love polo and I could never give it up for the stress of school.”
In order to help release stress, Rachel lets her artistic mind fly. The idea of being able to create anything captivates her, and she uses her passion for creating to produce all different kinds of art.
“I’ve been taking art my whole life,” Rachel said. “I don’t think I’ve ever [completed] a year of school without an art class; I have always loved creativity and being able to create my own stuff. I’ve painted for a long time and I love playing around with a bunch of new mediums for art like photography and ceramics.”
Although Rachel’s grandma fueled her passion for nursing, Rachel has taken inspiration for art from her mother, who shared the same desire for art. Rachel is also interested in the idea of minoring in art, just as her mother did.
“I think most of my creative genes came from her,” Rachel said. “She’s a teacher, and when she went to college, she thought she wanted to be an art teacher. She went in thinking she was going to major in art, but then she decided that she was going to minor in art and become a teacher.”
Rachel likes to define her artistic style similar to the likes of Bob Ross — carefree strokes and freestyle paintings. When she was younger, Rachel enjoyed not only watching cartoons but also trying to recreate them. From this, she started drawing things that she loved and moved onto painting and other mediums.
Rachel’s hard work and dedication to her passion for art have paid off. She has had three of her artworks displayed in the Fine Arts Center, one still being displayed in the middle school front hallway. Despite loving the freedom of art, Rachel has decided not to pursue it. Her desire of being a nurse, and also the pressure of only being paid off of what she creates would be too much stress for her to want it as a career. However, whatever career Rachel chooses, she knows her family will always be there to support her.
“I love my family because they let me do whatever I want, within reason,” Rachel said. “They don’t say that I have to do sports or I have to do art or say that I can’t do art. They’ve impacted everything. I feel like they are very committed to me, everywhere that I have to go, and everything that I have to do.”