Home Faces of GRCC Ava Gumowski, 22, Grand Rapids

Ava Gumowski, 22, Grand Rapids

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“I’m majoring in fine arts. I want to major in medical illustration because I need to take care of my parents in their old age because I’m an only child. I feel as though I owe them that much. As far as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a starving artist. People told me I couldn’t do it.

“I definitely know I can make my own way if I produce enough work and market myself well…It is something that’s always come easy to me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I have to do it to keep on living.

“My life philosophy is that you just have to let it come as it goes.

“In the past five years I’ve experienced more traumatic experiences than most people would in their whole lifetime. In the past five years I’ve been stalked, assaulted, raped, accosted, involved in a drive-by (BB gun) and hit by a car on my bike. In spite of all this, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. These experiences have changed my outlook on life for the better. Bringing me closer to my strengths. Providing me with the motivation to confront my weaknesses. It makes me stronger as I just have to keep going. I have to do what makes me happy and have to just exist.”

Reporting and photo by Matt Smith