Through my project, Being, I aim to explore the human experience and challenge our notions of otherness through ordinary ideas, thoughts, beliefs, stories, and philosophies of strangers. I visually present diverse voices through the medium of design.

To do this, I passed out anonymous surveys to collect accounts of individuals' experiences. These surveys contained a list of 45 prompts, including questions such as: “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life?” and “How do you deal with anger?” After the surveys were returned, I created an image from each response. The design of the image corresponds with something from the response that I felt defined the character of the respondent. Through presenting these images to the public, I hope that people may discover meaningful connections with total strangers and build a greater sense of empathy. I want people to realize that these stories could very well belong to strangers sitting next to them, or the acquaintances that they see every day but do not know much about. Ultimately we are all human and we have a lot more in common than we think. I believe that by sharing these accounts of the human experience, I can help people become more aware of the connections we inherently hold as humans. Hopefully this understanding will help people find the motivation to treat all others with kindness and respect.

This blog consists of nine images followed by the written responses that served as their inspiration. Passages or phrases that particularly stood out to me are colored light yellow.

Thanks for your interest!

-Masami Chin


3. Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
My father has definitely had one of the biggest impacts on my life. His patience, hard-working, and simply dedicated personality has always touched me. Whenever unfortunate events are happening within our family we always turn to him to hold us together and provide us with the solution. When my mom got diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had little chance/no chance of surviving, my dad never wavered, and gave the support and guidance we were all looking for at the time. He never gave up and never abandoned any of us. I think that was one of the most life-changing moments for me. His outlook on life is another influence he has had on me. He always sees the best in people as well as in life. His favorite phrase is “Always try your best” which I have adopted into my own life as well. In the end, my father is my strength and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.

6. What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life, is simply to enjoy the small things in life (and yes, I partly got that from Zombieland). However, it is truly a saying I live by. It’s funny how the little things sometimes set us apart, break us, touch our soul the deepest, or change us entirely. Every moment in life is precious and I simply want to enjoy them all. Someone once told me that humans are one of the only animals on Earth who actually are aware and conscious of time. Sometimes I think that is both a curse and a blessing, for we go through life so fast then. Time is our constant but also our restraint. Always counting down the hours, minutes, and seconds of each and every day. We should learn to stop killing time and to start enjoying it.

8. What are you proudest of in your life?
I think the thing that I am proudest of is simply where I am and the person I have become. Of course there are things I regret, things I wish I could do better, people I wish I could be like, places I want to go, but yet, where I am now is also quite auspicious to me. I am happy as I look back at what I have done with my life and the person I have become due to it. I know in the future I will continue to discover myself and make tons of mistakes, but hopefully I will still retain this feeling of proudness for who I am. 

11. How would you like to be remembered?
I think I would like to be remembered as just someone who lived life to the fullest. I want to enjoy life and help others to enjoy it as well and if I’m remembered for that one thing alone, I think I would be quite content.

13. What does your future hold?
I hope in my future that I can change the world or at least impact the people within it. Even if it is one person at a time, I want to help someone. I want to make them laugh, smile, brighten their day. I want to help change the world and make it a happier, brighter place.

18. Do you believe in love at first sight?
No, I don’t. I feel like in order to truly love someone you need to know them completely: the good and the bad. As cheesy, and movie cliché as it is, I feel like you can only truly love someone once you accept that person for themselves, which can only be done by getting to know them one step at a time. 

20. What lessons have you learned from your relationships?
Probably the most significant lesson I have learned is to simply be yourself. As hard as it can be, you just need to be you. It can be so difficult sometimes, especially when you have pressure from your peers, your family, media and your significant other even, to change and be someone different. But in the end, if you pretend to be someone you’re not, you are really just cheating yourself as well as your significant other of a true relationship anyways. I think another important lesson I have learned is not to be afraid to let someone in. I myself can be quite closed off, especially about certain things. However, if you’re too afraid to let someone in, no one will ever touch your heart. Sometimes, as it has been said before, it’s about taking a leap of faith.

21. Can you tell me about your religious beliefs? What is your religion?
I am Christian.

24. Do you believe in God?
Yes, I do. I always have. Somehow ever since I was young I have always been quite innate and self-assured in this belief, which is quite unusual for some people. It has been one of the most constant things about myself that has never changed and that I can define myself by. It truly is a part of me and impacts how I view the world significantly.

22. Have you experienced any miracles?
Yes, I have. My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when I was only eight years old and was given almost no chance of surviving chemotherapy. At the time, I was so young. All I truly remembered was parents giving me their condolences, my grandparents taking care of us, my father looking sleepless and unkempt, and my mother lying in a hospital bed, with wires and tubes sticking our of her. It was a tough time for us all and the doctors said she would most likely not even see us graduate high school. I guess you could say the miracle was when my mom not only survived, but is now about to watch my older sister graduate college (and hopefully see me graduate LMU in the future as well). I still thank the Lord and fate itself for allowing my mother to still be a part of my life. 

26. When you meet God, what do you want to say to Him?
When I meet God, I would definitely simply thank him for giving me such a wonderful and fruitful life. I have had such great experiences thus far and I’m sure I will continue to have numerous more as well. Our mistakes are our own and I would simply express my gratitude to him for continuing to guide me on my path even when I may stray away at times. I am simply thankful for all the people I have met so far, my loving family, the roof over my head, being able to go to college, and so much more and I would definitely want the chance to thank him for everything he has bestowed upon me in this lifetime. 

42. How do you deal with sadness? Anger?
The way I deal with both is definitely internal. I hate showing either emotion, simply because I consider them as private and a more intimate part of myself. I hate bestowing my problems onto others, which is why I usually deal with my anger/sadness by simply going to my room or a quiet place and just taking the time to be alone and get myself together. 

44. What is the most important tangible thing you own?
I would have to say my Beats by Dre headphones. They were something I have wanted for a few years now and when I finally received them I was so happy. I feel like the older you get the less materialistic things you truly desire, which was why these were so important to me. It was the only thing I actually asked for Christmas this year. However, as much as I wanted them, the reason they are the most important thing to me is because they present me with an escape. It’s difficult to be alone, especially here at college, yet when I put on my headphones I can basically do just that. I am able to tone out everything around me and just immerse myself in my music. It’s how I deal with my emotions and simply find my center.