My first-year mentee was Braylee Gaertner. Braylee is a Health Sciences major as of right now but is thinking about changing it to Human Development and Family Science after I partially talked her into it. She is planning on continuing her education onto graduate school to pursue her dream of becoming either a physical therapist or occupational therapist. She is from a small town in Pennsylvania called Gibsonia but because it is so small she just tells everyone she is for Pittsburgh. She came to Ohio state not knowing anyone because no one from her hometown came with her. She decided to apply here because she heard of what a great school it is and wanted to be a Buckeye. She does not have any family members that that went here so she is the first buckeye in her family. Many of her friends go to Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh. Her drive to school is about three and a half hours but she has not driven it herself because she does not have a car on campus. So far her parents have driven her back and forth.
Braylee and I have a ton in common. We are both pursuing the career of occupational therapy and are taking many of the same classes. We also are both in the pre-OT club and attend many of the social, volunteer, and informative meetings together. We also both love trying new types of food. For both of our Explore Columbus activities, we tried some new food places in the city. One more thing we have in common is that both of our families grew up in the Pittsburgh area. Something that Braylee and I don’t have in common is that she is a great dancer. She is in a dance club here and really enjoys is while I mainly dance in the car to Beyoncé songs using solely my upper extremities.
Braylee grew a ton from the beginning of the year to now. She came in a little shy. She was a little unsure of how her college experience was going to be like and like most people she was a little shy in the fall. Now, after doing our last Explore Columbus together she is really outgoing and knows exactly what she wants to do careerwise.
I think I also grew a lot from the beginning to now. In the beginning I was really nervous on being a mentor and felt like I did not meet the requirements. I had a really horrible first year in college and felt like I had no clue on how to have a positive experience here. In the beginning of the year I was really focused on being positive and learning new ways to navigate the tough times in school. Being a second-year mentor I feel has taught me that I don’t have to be perfect to mentor someone on my past experience. Having all the trouble that first year that I did actually made mentoring easier and a way to really help Braylee and I relate. Throughout the year I have been able to advise Braylee on difficulties that I learned from so hopefully they weren’t as bad for her. I can’t even count the number of times we laughed at some of my failures that she has gone through too. Together we have learned that many of the tough times at school are normal and sometimes you just have to laugh them off. As for my role as a leader, I think I am pretty good at it. At the beginning of the year I really second guessed my abilities to be a leader to a freshman in college but learned that a leader doesn’t have to be perfect and that imperfection actually really helps.
I helped Braylee in her navigation of freshman year by telling her all the mistakes I made. I remember telling her how important it is to get involved because being an outsider to Ohio can really make it hard to meet people. I also helped her in the classroom. We both have the same end goal of being an occupational therapist but are taking different paths. One thing I did to help was when I didn’t know an answer to a question she had on classes or majors, I asked my second-year friends to find it. Braylee was questioning about the health sciences major here and I asked fellow ACE Bailey Thomas for her advice.
I believe this program is awesome. I believe it really helped me relate to someone else here at school and become friends. I hopefully helped Braylee with some of the confusing times that come with being a freshman from out of state. Lastly, this program gave me confidence that I CAN be a leader and use my past experiences to help others.