Today I met my PAL for the very first time. After speaking with her I learned that she has a daughter in Australia that she visits once a year and that she has traveled a lot her whole life. What surprised me is that I found out she is a nurse. Because she is older than me, I didn’t actually think she would still be able to be employed. I learned that even I have stereotypes ingrained in my brain that need to be changed. Just because people are older, it doesn’t mean they sit at home all day.
I really enjoyed this intergenerational program because it has already taught me so much in one day. It was a bit of a challenge at first because I don’t have grandparents and it was nice to be able to sit down with someone older than me, full of wisdom and stories. She has hearing aids but laughed about it and it didn’t bother her if she didn’t hear something right away. She is funny and witty, I enjoyed myself with her and can’t wait to meet up with her again next week.
Suzy Tavakoli, graduate student in Pharmacy
Today the PALETTE Program took a trip to the Visual Arts Center where we divided into different classes to learn about either book making, pottery, letter press or portraits. I had the opportunity to attend the book making class. Unfortunately my PAL was unable to attend class today. However, since we were in a small class I was able to interact with some of the other PALs in the book making class which gave me the opportunity to meet new people and learn about them through the books we created. It was interesting to hear why people selected the clippings and colors they used for their book and how it pertained to their life and current feelings they had. I felt that by creating the art with them I was able to learn more about them on a deeper level that I wouldn’t have gotten to by just talking with them. We were able to laugh and help each other out with our books as a class. I enjoyed everyone sharing their creations. It is hard for me to believe that the program is almost over for the semester! I have thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to meet new people of different generations and learn about the many different art techniques there are. It has been such an enlightening and enjoyable experience for me.
Emily Johnson, graduate student in Dental Hygiene.
Each week Anne and I spend more time together, I realize how great of a friendship we have developed. Painting portraits of each other this week truly exemplified how much fun we have together attempting to make art, even though we both typically excel at stick figures, and being able to laugh about it with ourselves. Before beginning our projects today, she told me a story that really touched my heart and showed me how our meetings have impacted each other’s lives. Anne recently had surgery and was concerned about taking her pain medication that was for post-surgery pain with other medications she was currently taking. She said she was worrying a little over how she would figure out what to do and contemplated just not taking anything at all, when she thought of me and how a pharmacist could be a quick and easy way to ease her mind. She talked with her local pharmacist and all was resolved. It was so nice to hear that getting to know each other and talking about our lives (ie. my career goals in this instance) really made an impact on her everday life. It amazes me how great of a fit Anne and I are for each other and have really grown to become friends who think about one another outside of just our Sunday meetings. I hope we continue to stay in touch once this program is over.
Jennifer Walters, graduate student in Pharmacy.
We all have objects that evoke particular memories from past experiences in our lives. Today, we each brought an object that held a memory and we exchanged them with our PALs. Without looking at the other person’s object, we were instructed to paint a memory or a feeling that we thought of, based on our PALs object. This activity opened a lot of opportunies for conversation and bonding with our PALs. My PAL, Edith, brought a necklace that she got at her retirement party. When I felt the necklace, my first thought was of my friends and family. Whenever I’ve gotten necklaces, they have been as gifts from loved ones. I painted a picture of a summer sunset at Stinson Beach, where I spent one of my last days in California before leaving for Virginia. The object I brought for Edith was a toy horse. The memory that it evoked for her was a time where she use to walk her dog and drive in the 2nd car she had ever owned. Overall, we had a great time sharing and bonding over our memories with the rest of the class. Our background experiences are what shaped the person we are today and oftentimes we get so caught up with our day to day lives that we forget about the little memories in our past that brought us joy. Today’s event allowed us to take some time to reminisce about the small moments in our past and share it with our new friends.
Janice Chan, first year Dentistry student
Sometimes the most random objects can bring back the most special memories. I brought in a toy car that my grandparents had given me as a symbolic gift one year. Feeling this car without seeing it, reminded Edith of the second car that she owned: a pink Plymouth. Telling the story of her car put such a light in Edith’s eyes. She gushed about how special the car was to her and how much she loved it. We recognized our age specific cultural differences by describing our favorite cars. I told Edith how pink cars are a very rare sight now and how most people my age buy black and white cars. Edith shared that hot pink and light blue cars were very popular when she got her car.
Edith brought a Faberge egg necklace that was given to her at her retirement party. She said that she had retired two times prior, but kept returning to work. The necklace was dainty and simple. It reminded me of the future that lies ahead of me in the workforce. Although I did not view the necklace until after our paintings were complete, I used the chain and raised details of the necklace to inspire my artwork.
Grace Prestiy, graduate student in Social Work