About me

A little history

photo of me in Spain

I was born on September 27, 1986 in Miami, Florida. My wonderful parents are Alfred and Sharmila Ford. I was treated like a queen until my sister came along eight years later, and I am thankful to her every day for humbling me. Where I am shy and reserved, she is spunky and extroverted, and I can't imagine life without her. My family and I survived Hurricane Andrew and watched all our cars float away to sea. Things were just not the same after that. So we decided to move to Gainesville, Florida, which at the time was voted the number one place to live in the U.S. We went from one extreme to another and bought a 200-acre farm just outside of Gainesville in the town of Alachua. It came complete with pecan trees, a cow and a sheep (the cow and sheep weren't actually ours- we just kept them for our neighbors). Growing up on the farm was more fun than I can put into words, and between hidden creek beds and endless forests to explore, there was always something to do. My sister and I went to school in Gainesville, and after six years of the grueling 30-minute drive on I-75 back and forth from school, my parents decided to move to Gainesville. It was around this time that I started driving, and for my sixteenth birthday my parents bought me the safest car on the market, a Volvo SUV. That car has served me well during my few fender-benders over the years. While a lot of people tell me they hated high school, I credit my high school years with giving me some of my fondest memories. I think it was the fact that I had teachers who instilled in us the desire to learn and only 56 other classmates, most of whom I had gone to school with and grown up with since the third grade. My best friends from high school are still my best friends today. I graduated from high school in 2005 and decided to attend UF after much deliberation. I realize now that things happen for a reason and living 15 minutes away from my family has been a blessing. College has been an incredible growing experience and I can't believe it's almost over!

My Indian heritage

I come from an interesting background because my mom is Indian and my dad is caucasian. This has made for a pretty dynamic household growing up due to the mixing, and sometimes clashing, of both cultures. Indian culture and values have had a strong presence in my life primarily because of my religion, which is Hinduism. Everyone in my family practices Hinduism and it is a major part of my life. Every two weeks I do a fast in which I obstain from all foods that are made from grains, like bread, pasta, rice, etc. I am also a vegetarian and I don't eat any animal products. Incorporating God into our daily lives is a major part of Hinduism and regardless of how busy I am, I try to do 20 minutes of prayer every day. Outside of my religion, I am also a big fan of Indian movies (in India it's called Bollywood) and dance. I also own a lot of saris, which I wear to temple or to more formal occasions. I also love spicy Indian food and I'm lucky that my mom is an amazing cook. I've been to India a couple of times to visit family there, and I've never been to a country with so much culture and spirituality. I'm grateful for the duality in my life because it has shaped the open-minded person that I am.

Special people in my life

my family in Rome

There are so many people that have touched my life that I cannot possibly mention them all here. First and foremost I want to recognize my family, who along with God, are the pillars in my life. My mom is a brilliant woman who has taught me the value of hard work and dedication. She is caring to a fault. My father is the kindest person I know and has a heart of gold. He has taught me humility and has always encouraged me in everything I've done. My sister is my confidant and even though there are eight years between us, she is extremely mature and I tell her everything. My grandparents are living with us now, and over the years they have showered me with constant love and encouragement. They are very dear to me. My best friends, Andra, Whitney, and Kittery, are all amazing, successful young women who have brought immense laughter and joy to my life. David, JT, Tommy, and Fahim will always be the best guy friends a girl could wish for. In college, I met Niki, Pooja, Megan, Hena, Malati, Zahra and so many others who have made my college years adventurous and fun. Every one of these people has made a positive impact on my life.

What I do when I'm not studying

Since I am pre-med with a journalism major, finding time when I'm not studying in the library or doing work for school is rare. But of course I do make time for other things to keep my sanity. I am involved in several campus organizations, one of which is called Recurso. Recurso is a non-profit and its mission is to promote awareness of poverty and all other related issues in developing countries. I am a mentor to a group of first-generation college students at UF. From time to time I volunteer at camps across Florida specifically for children who suffer from chronic illnesses. Their courage and optimism inspires me. I am also conducting my own research study on Parkinson's Disease at the UF Brain Institute. Outside of school I enjoy:

My ideal night is staying in and watching a movie with friends.

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