Now I wouldn’t say that I “stole” the sign, I simply “transferred ownership”. The idea occurred to me at the end of my Senior year when I asked myself “What do I have to show for four years of the fine arts?”. My first thought was the sign, now there are two of these signs that would hang above in the hall. No one would even notice if one wasn’t there, and so my plan started. Being student council president I was in charge of the senior prank. I had propped a door open that night and let the senior class in the school in the dark of night. As they all poured in to start plopping googly eyes and pool noodles in the halls I found myself alone in the music hall. Just me and that sign, as if it was met to be.

The story truly was that I forgot to bring in a personal item but then I was wearing the ring that I asked my mom if I could wear the day before Monday. As a young child I would always be in my moms closet looking at her jewelry as well as trying them all on. I found out later that the top of her jewelry box had an opening that hid all her rings. There was an emerald ring (my sister's birthstone), pearl, light blue stone (my birthstone), one I broke later with a heart on it, and two sapphire rings. I thought all of these rings were something out of queen elizabeth's jewelry box, all so beautiful and elegant. The ring I am wearing is one of the sapphire rings with a gold band and jewels surrounding the one sapphire. Before asking my mom about the ring and how she got it, I thought that the ring was from her ex boyfriend but he actually gave her the other sapphire ring with three sapphires on it. The two rings are very similar, they both have the gold band and jewels surrounding the sapphires. The  ring with one sapphire stone my mom said she forgot where she got it from and told me to lie so I could make the story more interesting.

The medal in this photograph is a 2nd place district medal. I won this my senior year, and it effectively allowed me to qualify for the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament for the heavyweight weight class. I keep this medal on my keychain to remind myself that I achieved something and that hard-work pays off. It's been close to 9 months since I've earned this medal, and it's already full of scratches from tossing it in my pocket or cup holder. I also learned that the back of the medal, which has text, isn't engraved, but painted on. So the back of the medal says nothing because all of the paint has been scratched off from use, but it would've said something like "Heavyweight District Runner-up". 


I chose my tennis racket as my special possession because it represents my passion and dedication to the sport of tennis. This racket has been with me through countless matches, victories, and defeats, serving as an extension of myself on the court. It's not just a piece of equipment; it's a symbol of the hard work and hours of practice I've put into honing my skills. Holding it in my hand brings a sense of confidence and familiarity that can't be replicated by anything else. It reminds me of the joy I find in the game and the friendships I've formed through it. My tennis racket is not just an object; it's a part of my identity as a tennis player and a constant source of inspiration.

The pearl earrings are a gift from my mother. She is one of the most important people in my life. When I wear them, I feel her love like she’s hugging me from home, four hours away. My mother taught me to shine my beauty, not hide it. She’s always there to make sure my posture is good, “Shoulders back,” she’d say. These earrings help remind me that I know my worth. I take rejection, sit with it, and move on knowing that I am a strong, confident woman. 

My personal items are four rings I wear on my hand every day. I wear two rings on my ring finger, the first one at the bottom is a ring I wear for my grandfather, who passed away in 2017. The ring on top of that matches one that my best friend wears every day. I gave one to her for Christmas right before we went to college. The next ring is on my pointer finger, this ring was given to me by my best friend who was going to a different college. She gave it to me so that I know that she’s always going to be there for me. The last ring I wear is on my thumb. My mom gave it to me a really long time ago and it’s engraved with my favorite quote. I love all of my rings because of all the different people in my life that they represent and the reminder they give, each of them are part of me

Boxing is my favorite workout to do, and putting on my gloves gets me in the zone to do these workouts. I got these gloves in late 2021, they are custom designed and fitted to my hands. I like having a custom pair because they feel better, and they look cool. Boxing workouts let me escape from all the troubles and just focus on hitting the bag. It is also a really effective strength and cardio workout that benefits you when doing it correctly.

The item that I chose for our portraits was a wooden lion that my grandfather gave to me

when I was younger. He actually got it from Africa where he has worked and planted churches many times. He gave each one of my boy cousins and I a lion and told us that we must be strong and courageous just as a lion would be. That message has stuck with me to this day which is why this item is so important to me. It also just reminds me of the importance of family. Whenever I look at it I am reminded of the amazing family I was blessed with. So, at first glance it may seem like a lion but, it symbolizes my family and resilience in life.


I originally got this from an official Lego store in Cincinnati, Ohio while on a trip with some of my best friends. This all started when we were on a school band trip to Disney World and we jokingly said that since the four of us were rooming together we should go on a “final” trip after three of us graduated. Well one thing led to another and we actually had a five day trip planned to go to 3 amusement parks and a water park. Our first day was spent driving to and being at Six Flags Chicago to then go to our first Airbnb in Indiana, three hours away from Chicago (It was a long night when we got there at 1 am). We then got about 5 hours of sleep to drive to our next destination, Indiana Beach. The next day is when we went to Cincinnati and spent about 2.5 hours at Coney Island water park because it was very underwhelming. However, this is what gave us the time to go around Cincinnati for a bit and to the Lego store and see the Bengals stadium. The next day we drove to Sandusky, Ohio for the reason we started this trip in the first place, Cedar Point. The park is amazing and is home to multiple of our favorite roller coasters. After this journey of a trip we went to our last Airbnb to prepare for the 8 hour trip home knowing that this will be one of the most memorable trips of our lives.

The item that I brought into class for the self portrait was a jade Buddha idol, as well as a jade ring I happened to wear during the picture. I got them both at a small local business in Chinatown, New York City. The lady who was selling these had made nearly everything in the store by hand or some other machine manufacturing done by herself. There were lucky cats, talismans, homemade jewelry, jade and copper sculptures, incense fountains, a lot of stuff. Since I’ve had the idol, I have taken an interest in the values of Buddhism, and it is actually what motivated me to pursue a religious studies minor at UNI. I am still very much a beginner, but I find its core concepts and principles of life very interesting and inspiring. 

My personal item is my favorite (and only) teddy bear, Midge. The story behind him starts when my girlfriend realized that I have never been to Build-a-Bear. This was an absolutely preposterous concept to her as she has made many Build-a-Bears before. It is simply a matter that anyone has to experience, according to her. After a long and arduous journey north to the great city of Minneapolis, we had found our destination. The Mall of America, the closest Build-a-Bear location and also a great excuse to go shopping. After a few hours of shopping and waiting for lines to die down at the store I had created my own precious bear. I am now left with Midge, a black bear with a cute bow tie and a top hat that my girlfriend and I created together.

I brought to class a small University of Northern Iowa Chico bag. The personal thing I have to do is that it represents my school. I got it for free originally thinking that it was just nothing but a small bag. Now, I know that the small bag actually unfolds into a grocery bag that you can reuse. I just liked it so much because it looked like a small duffle bag, and I want to keep it for that reason only. I probably wont ever use its full use, but hey its cool looking that's all that matters. I also wish there was a manual or something attached to it, so I would know what it was. 


The personal item I brought to self portrait day was a spread of baby photos. I couldn’t find them physically but I took a lot of pictures of them to show people on the fly. I picked them to kind of show a before and after or a comparison of me as a baby vs as an adult. The pictures are mainly from my first birthday and before. I think i was a very adorable baby and people usually start to go crazy about the dimples I had. the pictures are also well taken and the colors are matched and go together aesthetically. its also really funny to see my dad 20 years younger. Thats a very very long time. 

Being a frequent traveler, I have always adored the concept of collecting souvenirs. Anything from a magnet to a key chain or in this case, a mini sculpture of the eiffel tower. I bought this eiffel tower in remembrance of my trip to Paris back in 2019. I have always admired the stereotypical Parisian lifestyle through movies and books. Growing up, I even had a Paris themed room! My dad surprised me with a weekend trip to Paris as a pit stop on the way to our annual family vacation to Bosnia. Paris was everything that I had ever imagined and I have tentative plans to go back to visit next semester while I study abroad in Italy!

My personal item is my poetry notebook that holds quite a few personal meanings to me. I have loved writing for quite some time but never thought I was good enough to make it a future career of mine. Creative writing started as an interest in middle school for me but writing poetry didn’t happen until my sophomore/junior year of high school. The notebook is a place where I allow myself to be vulnerable, relatable, self-loathing and most importantly, just to feel something. I’ve been super adamant that the stories we read, the music we listen to, the people who give speeches we hear with the most emotion and connection are the ones that make us feel. Honestly speaking, it takes a lot for me to get to that level of feeling because I really need to be moved by something, it doesn’t happen all the time, which is normal and shouldn’t be downplayed by the public eye if we don’t connect to something other people do. Writing poems and my thoughts in the notebook I’ve kept private for awhile now follows the lines of the storytelling I’m hoping to tell. I don’t shy away from topics such as anxiety, suicide, alcoholism, toxic masculinity because even though I write for myself, I’m also writing for other people. Just because I haven’t experienced one of those things doesn’t mean other people haven’t. Releasing my inner thoughts, feelings and emotions on paper has opened my eyes to what is happening across the world currently. My poems follow a storyline I’ve maintained for quite some time and has helped this shy, natural introvert tell a story with words I never said before.