New Explorer Helps Incoming Students Connect to Instagram
Nursing student Clare Park launched the La Salle Class of 2024 Instagram account, where first-year explorers connect virtually.
New La Salle University freshmen who have found a roommate, study partner, or new friend through the Instagram account @ lasalleclassof24 have Clare Park to thank.
Park, a new freshman herself, is from Takoma Park, MD, just outside of Washington, DC. She set up the account so that her future classmates would have the opportunity to form relationships online before reaching campus. She admitted that communicating through likes, comments and direct messages on Instagram does not replace meeting in person with other explorers, but Park stressed that any connection is useful during times of isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Social media isn’t the same as in-person interaction, but I think I’ve gotten to know the makeup of our class, although I don’t yet have a close relationship with someone from other, “said Park, who will specialize in breastfeeding. “We haven’t had the chance to have a blue and gold day (in person) so we haven’t really been able to meet each other yet, but people are logging in (via the Instagram account). I’m excited because I see people who are so different, but they all share the excitement of starting La Salle.
The sense of connection is important to Park, whose father was born in South Korea. Although she was raised in the shadow of Washington, the nation’s capital known as a melting pot and hub for international relations, Park said the lack of other Koreans in the suburb where she grew up was left struggling with her identity. . Last summer, she took a three-week trip to Seoul for a language program, and during her stay, she stayed with her paternal grandparents. She noted the experience as a turning point in her life.
“My identity as a Korean is something I’ve struggled with,” said Park, whose maternal grandfather, Frank Batavick, graduated in English from La Salle in 1967. “Where I have Growing up, there aren’t many Koreans around, so that was a part of me that I wasn’t very connected with before I went to Seoul. This trip specifically helped me appreciate this side of my family and my culture and it allowed me to connect much more to my grandparents.
For Park, entering La Salle’s nursing program represents an ideal opportunity to pursue her long-standing goal of becoming a nurse while also working to improve the health care needs of a community.
During his high school career, Park volunteered at a hospital based in a low-income neighborhood in Washington, DC. to a lack of funding.
“(Volunteering) gave me a passion for public health and the social justice aspect of health care,” Park said. “I can’t wait to gain nursing experience at La Salle on the clinical side, and to have the experience of learning and being in a city. I think a city’s health care system is unique, in that there may be a hospital two miles from where you live, but you can still be in a health care wasteland.
When she arrives at La Salle, Park said, she plans to become an actively engaged member of a new community, one that has developed a sense of belonging through the Instagram account @ lasalleclassof24.
“La Salle seems to care a lot about volunteering and helping the community,” she said. “I think seeing Philadelphia from a health care perspective will be very instructive for me.”