By Charis Tiamson | Staff Writer
Whitworth University houses nearly 2300 students, providing an avenue for students to grow in their respective fields and passions. Within the university are thousands of unique individuals with a variety of talents, skills and interests that are stories and legacies in the making.
In college, many students are still in the early stages of building themselves, figuring out their passions and goals and taking advantage of the opportunity to grow their craft and character in an educational environment.
Maintaining artistry while pursuing academics does not always have to be two separate paths, whether it is in line with what a student is pursuing academically or not. One can practice and develop their skills in their chosen artistic field, while also pursuing a formal education. An example of this is senior pre-med student, Humza Khan.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biology, Khan also works on producing music. When asked about his preferred genre, Khan reflected on the first song he connected with, saying, “The first song that I liked and the first rap song that I got to listen to was ‘Lose Yourself’ by Eminem. And I got it for free on Google, because Google would offer songs for free, and I listened to it,” he said.
He added, “I was just impressed with how much meaning could be put in such a work,” he said. “The way Eminem manages to make almost 70 to 80% of the words rhyme with one another is somehow so impressive, and I think that got me on the path of enjoying hip hop music.”
Khan has posted two original works on his YouTube channel, and more of his originals on SoundCloud. When it comes to producing music, Khan said: “I just want it to be authentic to me. . . I want to express myself, I want to put myself out there. I suppose in that way, what I’m trying to tell people is that, ‘this is who I am. . . [this is the] artistry that I have to offer to the world.’”
As a pre-med student with the hope of going into medical school, Khan has a lot to prepare for academically. When asked how he manages to balance his passion for science and music, Khan said, “It’s all about making time, and often time, if the thing is important enough to you, you will find the time to let it breathe.”
“If I can find a time to show my friends a song I’m currently writing, like performing for them live or doing a talent show and go out there and express myself, I can still express my passion without necessarily having to put in a ton of work in maintaining it,” he said. “It all comes down to if it’s worth it.”
Another student who actively finds time to work on her craft and allow her passions to “breathe” is sophomore Stephanie Sfeir.
Sfeir exhibits her artistry through the beauty of jewelry-making, focusing more on earrings.
Sfeir is talented in multiple artistic mediums, including sculpting and painting. “I used to be super big into painting and things like that, making portraits of people and trying to get emotion there. But I think I realized that sometimes symbolism can come in other aspects,” she said.
She added, “I’ve been trying to get into sculpting and finding different hidden meanings and creating something like that.”
Soon, Sfeir decided to invest in making jewelry more regularly. “I think I honestly just wanted to create something that was mine, making something that’s pretty unique,” she said. “Everything I make has a little bit of me. I think it’s a good way to express yourself in a simpler form.”
Sfeir participated in one of the student market fairs at Whitworth, wherein she was able to promote and sell her pieces.
This experience was something she found to be enjoyable. “I’m thinking of starting an Instagram shop, a lot of people seem to like them. I started off by just giving them away as gifts, but I think it’s fun to sell them.”
Within Whitworth grounds are talented individuals full of passion and dedication for their crafts, as seen through the stories of Khan and Sfeir.
Another student who shares a similar love for their craft and breaks the more common perception of what artistry should look like is first-year international student from Uzbekistan, studying computer science, Mukhammadyusuf Abdurakhimov.
Expressing artistry through the form of coding, business and videography, Abdurakhimov’s academic pursuit is heavily influenced by his passion for coding.
“I was always in the start-up mindset,” Abdurakhimov expressed. He explained that even at a young age he developed an interest in technology, and despite not knowing what start-up was, his entrepreneurial spirit could not be quenched.
“I started coding, watching the movie about Facebook called ‘The Social Network.’ I was very inspired by the movie and by the technology that students like us brought to this world, and I just started coding,” he explained. After graduating high school, Abdurakhimov expressed that his newfound free time enabled him to practice coding.
During that time, Abdurakhimov decided to pursue a passion project with his friends. In his words, they pulled all-nighters and coded for hours on end because they were so “passionate,” and “could not sleep” as a result.
“It was my first start-up idea, and my co-founders were good,” he explained. “One of them worked on marketing the product, I worked as the main developer.”
Eventually, Abdurakhimov and his friends’ hard work reaped results. “One day, one investor called me, a 17-year-old kid,” he said. “It was months before I was 18, but I already received an offer from an investor.”
His artistry however does not stop at bringing products to life. In addition to pursuing his artistry and academics, he intends to use his skills and talents to give back to his community.
Abdurakhimov posts creative educational reels and videos on his Instagram page where he talks about technology, business and many more of his interests.
Abdurakhimov shared, “If I see an opportunity, I don’t want that opportunity to be only working for me. I want my community or the people on the Internet to understand and get that as well. . . because maybe they have ideas that are better than mine.”
Abdurakhimov expressed his hope of having his informational vlogs be a helping hand to other programmers and entrepreneurs. His ultimate goal is that his videos could inspire the creation of the next unicorn (a $1 billion idea) in his home country Uzbekistan.
From music and arts to coding, Whitworthians display a deep commitment to the pursuit of their artistic endeavors.
As seen through the stories of these Whitworthians, the pursuit of art is not linear. It can come from different perceptions, angles and motivations, may it be through hand-making jewelry, producing cleverly written songs or even making videos in hopes of uplifting a community. Whatever the medium or art form, the spark of passion can truly ignite lives.