"My Independent Study brought together my passions for dance, writing, and medicine, which gave me something to send along with my college applications and discuss in my college interviews that exemplified who I am as a student and person rather than being confined by my test scores or transcript," says Ana Worthington ’17.
Ana recently shared the work of her Independent Study with faculty and fellow students. Her presentation covered a number of poetic forms, including sonnets and sestinas, and the reading of a free verse set in an operating theater. She concluded with a video of a dance set to a reading of a poem she had written from Eve's point of view after the Fall.
"A personalized education provided by Randolph was nothing new to me by my senior year—my first experience of this was when Mr. Allen and Mrs. Elliott encouraged me to attend Columbia University's Advanced Creative Writing Program the summer before my junior year. There I discovered that I loved writing as a hobby, but not as a career. My junior year Interim was my first encounter with medicine and I fell in love with the idea of going to medical school and pursuing medicine as my career."
"Mrs. Elliott and I have developed a great relationship where we encourage each other to reach out to the contemporary poets who inspire us and to send out our original works for critique and possible publishing opportunities. In return, she was able to write me a letter of recommendation for college applications that advocated strongly for who I am as a student."
“Working with Ana Worthington on her independent study on poetry has focused my work as both a poet and teacher and reminded me of the importance of writing to my classroom practice,” says Upper School English teacher Alissa Elliott. "Ana’s commitment to beauty in the world and on the page has been the most consistent feature of our three years of work together; as a novelist, dancer, and poet, she keeps herself poised to answer life with art. Her independence and self-discipline allow her to plan and execute sophisticated projects with deceptive ease."
And, Mrs. Elliott notes, "She rewards support in kind; when I recommended her to a creative writing workshop at Columbia two years ago, Ana responded by encouraging me to apply to the Sewanee School of Letters, where I am now halfway through an MFA in poetry. I applaud her hard work and am proud of her accomplishments, but most of all, I am grateful for her thoughtful, inspiring company. I have certainly been impressed by Ana’s considerable growth as a writer over the course of the year, and I have been surprised by the extent to which this experience has expanded and strengthened my own sense of creative potential and artistic community."
“If You’re a Passer Outer Just Holler!”
Here, my hands have itched to move and
my brain has begged to know more.
I’ve tied my mask behind my head,
Clasped my gloved hands behind my blue scrub top
and disappeared in this room.
But today I came in early and there is a woman lying
Strapped down on a table by thick black cords.
She has a soft face and painted fingernails and pretty hair.
The nurse glances at my student badge before draping the blue curtain
Over the woman.
And as the Blue butchers her into pieces
I realize I can’t remember what color her hair is,
Or what it was about her face that seemed so soft and feminine.
How could I have missed this before—the whole to the pieces.
This is what he sees when he comes in through the double doors.
The doctors breathe the air they want to breath,
The words they want to speak.
See just the parts they need to see.
This is Linda Johnson.
She is forty-two years old.
Allergic to latex.
I know she’s strapped down naked on that table.
Talk quietly so she can’t hear us—or her two sisters sitting down the hall.
I know where her hand lies under the sheets.
Are you up for a game of golf this afternoon? He makes his next incision.
The knife cuts precisely, and with a smile.
I wonder what would happen if I touched her hand or her pretty red hair.
Did you see her boyfriend outside?
I want to whisper, “I can see you.”
With a grunt he puts his weight into pushing a long instrument deep into The woman’s stomach.
Their masks are shields and hands are double gloved in case they find a Tumor—or her soul.
I’m standing on my tip toes trying to see and almost slip,
but he doesn’t notice me.
That was when I realized that doctors can’t see blue.
These big girls are always hard to dig into.
Not me or you.
By Ana Worthington '17
(The patient’s name is made up.)
Ana has attended Randolph since the 1st grade. She was a competitive dancer at Jill’s Studio of Dance and then captain of Randolph's first dance team her senior year. She has served the School as a student ambassador her senior year and in 10th grade as SGA Secretary. She had shadowed for over 100 hours in different medical specialties. This summer she is volunteering at Huntsville Hospital as well as traveling to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with Gap Medics to help provide free healthcare to poor villages. She will attend Wake Forest University next year as a student on the premed track.