Natasha Abadilla

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Name: Natasha Abadilla
University: Stanford University (graduated June 2014)
Field of Study/Major: Human Biology, Honors (pre-med)

What motto best describes your outlook on life?

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

What has being awarded the Grove Farm Scholarship meant to you?

I continue to feel truly honored when thinking about how fortunate I was to receive this scholarship. To me, it means that the leaders of Kauai have entrusted me with the future of our island so much so that they were willing to invest a considerable amount of money towards my education to prepare me to be a caretaker of Kauai, and its people, one day in the future.

What have you learned about yourself while you’ve been away?

First and foremost, I’ve learned that I’ll always be homesick for Kauai. No matter how pretty and picturesque the places I live are, whether it be sunny Palo Alto in California or in beautiful Kenya, I always find myself being pulled back by the small town, everyone-is-family attitude that exists on Kauai like no other place I’ve visited. I’ve also learned that I do my best work when I’m actually interested in whatever I’m doing, instead of forcing myself to do it to complete a requisite or simply get a grade. Finally, I learned the value of self-care – I can’t be effective as a volunteer or help anyone else for that matter if I cannot take care of myself, if I’m not happy with where I am and what I’m doing.

What drives you?

What originally drove me to do my best in elementary, middle, and even high school was the fact that I always wanted to make my parents proud. Nothing made me happier than knowing that they were proud enough to brag about me to their friends. Later on in high school, in college, and now, I think that what drives me even more so is an intrinsic motivation to work towards a career that will make me happy to go to work every day. Right now, I believe that this will involve working in the medical public health field as a physician.

What gives you hope for the future?

What gives me the most hope is knowing that there are role models – whether it be family members, teachers, actors and actresses, or sports figures – out there who are constantly encouraging our youth to chase after their dreams no matter how big or outlandish they may seem. While I am not a huge fan of how quickly technology is taking over our word (e.g. making it such that personal, face-to-face contact is becoming a novelty because of social networking sites), I do feel hopeful for the up and coming generations because they do have so much information and resources at their fingertips now. I really do think that, if utilized correctly and encouraged to do so by others, the youth can take the advantages they have now that other generations never had and create a more cohesive, open-minded, and productive world.