Beyond Surviving, I Hope to LIVE
Alex Ramer is no stranger to us, in fact he is a 5 time Jeremy Cares Scholarship winner. He is currently studying Biomedical and Electrical Engineering with a minor in Statistics at the University of Michigan.
“Because of my personal experiences with my brother and sister dealing with multiple cancers, I have been motivated to improve the lives of others in the biomedical field. I am working to give back to the local community as well as globally.”
This year we wanted to let the applicants get creative with their essays. We asked Alex what he would bring with him if stranded. Little did we know at the time that this would be so similar to what we are experiencing now.
"When I think of being isolated, I think of my brother being stuck in the hospital for months at a time. He needed physical things like medicine, IV pumps, and surgical supplies that were only found in the hospital. However, he also needed connection to the outside world. He never headed to the hospital without asking “Do you have a charger for my iPad?”.
If I was stranded on a beach and could select three things to bring with me, I would like to have a pocketknife, duct tape and a satellite phone. The pocketknife would be a valuable tool for maximizing the resources that are on the island. I could cut branches for shelter, sharpen sticks to make fishing spears, and build other things that I would need to survive. The duct tape would be practical for building rain collectors, bandages for wounds, and waterproofing the shelter.
Even assuming that I wouldn’t be allowed to call for help with the satellite phone, I could use the internet to look up which plants are edible or how to accomplish tasks that I wouldn’t otherwise know how to do. The collective human experiences and stories found on the internet would undoubtedly help with physical survival. However, they would also be invaluable for maintaining a positive mental headspace, while I waited to be rescued. I could listen to music, look up fun activities to do on the island, or read the latest headlines (and perhaps be happy that I’m still on the island).
Although having the physical tools to accomplish a task are important, having access to knowledge that is already out there would make the difference in survival. Like my brother who spent much time in the hospital, beyond simply surviving, I would hope to live. I recognize that having support from the community, even from a distance, increases the odds of both survival and living. "
Alex you never stop amazing us. We can not wait to see where you go and what you do next.