A spider makes its way across the wall in front of me. It, like all living things, will eventually die. Its movements are frantic and irregular. It is limping. One of its legs is missing. I look at it, and it pauses, almost as if it’s waiting for me to kill it. I leave it … Continue reading “Vanity”

Reflections on an Exhibition

I have recently visited the Chicago Institute of Art, spending most of my time mesmerized by their contemporary and modern collections. One exhibition in particular, featuring avant-garde Chinese videographer Zhang Peili, made me feel particularly anxious and uncomfortable almost immediately. I walked into the miniature theater to a black-and-white Chinese revolutionary movie scene with one … Continue reading “Reflections on an Exhibition”

“To Be or Not to Be”: A Reflection on Life and Passing

Prior to my time volunteering at a hospice, the closest I had ever been to death was when my grandfather passed away when I was seven years old. And even then, my experience with the grief and aftermath of his passing was felt thousands of miles away from the tiny Pakistani village encased by acres … Continue reading ““To Be or Not to Be”: A Reflection on Life and Passing”

Beginnings and Ends

Beginnings and Ends Katherine is always a ray of sunshine. She shines brighter than me. From her stories about traveling throughout Europe, to her descriptions of her children and grandchildren, her age and experience always shine through her conversations. Every time I talk to her, she never fails to remind me to enjoy life. Her … Continue reading “Beginnings and Ends”

Lessons on Life from Hospice Care

I signed up to volunteer with Hospice at a time when I still didn’t understand what it meant to have a terminal illness, to be beyond treatment options, and to want to live out your days in peace. As someone who is science-minded, it is easy to fall into the trap of always wanting to … Continue reading “Lessons on Life from Hospice Care”

Introduction to Palliative Care and Meaningful Experiences

Volunteering with Ascend Hospice this year has given me both a new outlook on my future career and on my personal life. By interacting with some very special end-of-life patients, I have been able to reflect more carefully on my role in the comfort of others and how I, in my life, can be helpful … Continue reading “Introduction to Palliative Care and Meaningful Experiences”

A Difficult Dance

I treasure many of my interactions with hospice patients—each patient taught me something different and valuable about the process of dying and reflecting on one’s life. One interaction that stands out in particular involved a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, named Anne. Anne was incredibly unreceptive to my attempts to engage with her. In fact, she … Continue reading “A Difficult Dance”

First Hospice Visit Experience

My first visit under the Ascend Hospice volunteer program was to Brookdale Hamilton, a senior living community that provides end-of-life care to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. I distinctly remember one patient, a woman in her mid-80s with late stage Alzheimer’s. She wholeheartedly believed that she knew who I was and began … Continue reading “First Hospice Visit Experience”


Hospice volunteering has been one of the most enriching experiences of my entire Princeton career. I entered the program unsure of what to expect. I envisioned long, sterile hallways, desperate patients, and emotionally harrowing visits. I’d never seen someone at the end of their life, and I was worried it might be a graceless time, … Continue reading “Grace”

Being a Hospice Volunteer – Combining Youth and Old

Throughout my year volunteering at Hospice, my character and personhood have grown in unique ways because of my experiences and interactions with the patients. Almost every Friday, I visit PCC for a couple of hours, and the aging clients that I have met have turned into inspiring compassions. They have grown on me so much … Continue reading “Being a Hospice Volunteer – Combining Youth and Old”