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Month of Action: Mid Point Check In

So far I have done item numbers 1, 3, and 6. First, I became a vegan. It has been slightly difficult to adjust to a vegan lifestyle at college, but I have made it work. I have slipped up a few times as I have not realized that products I use daily aren’t vegan, but I have overall enjoyed my experience and plan on remaining vegan after the month of action is over. I have also calculated my water footprint to see what areas I am strong in and weak in with my water usage. I calculated this information via this website and my results are attached below.

 

My average was nearly half the US’s average, and I owe this to my newly adopted vegan diet and lifestyle. I have been trying to cut back my water usage overall, and my number was so low because of this. The leading factors to my number being the amount it is was my diet, which used half the amount of water a meat eater used. I also haven’t bought any new items this semester, and have instead thrifted for new clothing. Had I only bought new items and fast fashion, my number would have been much higher. I also calculated my number as if I was the only one in my household. I would be interested to see what the number my suite would be if we all took the quiz. There is only one other vegan in the suite and a few people who occasionally eat vegetarian. I believe that our number would collectively be quite high.

For my last item I cooked a vegan meal for a someone who is vegetarian most of the time, Mallory, and someone who eats meat all the time, her sister Ellen. I decided to make a meal any meatlover would enjoy, vegan meatball subs and asparagus. The meal did not cost a lot of money, however I forgot to take note of the prices of items and didn’t ask for a receipt to save paper. I also made sure the items I bought came from the US as to not waste lots of water during production. I would have rather gotten food from a farmers market, however with the weather being the way it was and my budget, that was not an option. We had a lot of left overs afterward, enough to make an entire new batch of subs. I educated them on why I became vegan, and how much water eating meat wasted. While Ellen was not “converted” to be a vegetarian or vegan, she said that she would definitely be open to eating vegan meals more often!  

 

I have learned a lot about myself, others, and how to navigate college now as a vegan. I cannot eat out at many places anymore, which is both a curse to my stomach but a blessing to my wallet. For me, not eating meat is simple because I haven’t eaten it in nearly a decade. It was easier for me to become vegan during this year because I am not used to eating meat at every meal like most Americans. It was good to see that I was saving even more water than before with my diet. I also learned how to cook a really delicious and easy vegan meal and share it with others. I enjoyed talking to people of two different eating styles about my project regarding veganism and water use. They were very susceptible to this new information and planned on changing their water intake and eating more vegan meals.

Month of Action: Plan

  1. Become a vegan! If this is not possible, try becoming a vegetarian. If neither of those options are a possibility, try having ‘meatless mondays’, which is not as expensive as the other options, and allows you to lessen your water footprint.
  2. Educate others about how much water producing animal products and other foods actually use.
  3. Cook vegan meals for yourself others. Try to use locally sourced ingredients and fresh produce that doesn’t have packaging. By showing others how easy and delicious vegan meals can be, you may just encourage someone to change their diet.
  4. Explore your local vegan restaurants. This can give you ideas for meals to recreate yourself. Research where they source their food and keep in mind what kind of ingredients they use. Though they don’t use meat in their products, they may use nuts, which take a lot of water to process.
  5. Start drinking tea instead of coffee. It takes much more water to produce coffee than tea, as coffee uses about 840 L per pot, and tea only uses 90 L per pot. Tea also is better for you and contains different antioxidants and boost your immune system.
  6. Find out what your water footprint is online. You can find out what areas of your life you should cut down your water usage in, and what areas you are proficient in. This can help you figure out how to make changes in your lifestyle to conserve water.
  7. Eat more fresh and/or locally sourced foods and less processed foods. It takes a lot of water at each point of production and during transportation, so choosing food with the least amount of steps to create the food, package it, and transport it is ideal.
  8. Carpool, use public transportation, ride a bike, or walk places. It takes “3/4 of a gallon of water to extract, refine and transport the gas used to drive one mile”, and most people drive many miles a day. By carpooling or using public transportation, you use less water. By biking or walking, you use even less.
  9. In your bathroom: take shorter showers,  make sure you fully shut off the water and reuse your towel a couple times before washing. Additionally, adopt the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” ideology of not flushing the toilet every time you use it. And make sure to fully turn off the sink when you wash your hands or brush your teeth.
  10. This is another issue one can take to lessen their water footprint, and it has to do with clothing. Try to purchase items that you know are sustainably made or purchase clothing at a thrift store! It takes many gallons of water to make clothing, and not buying brand new items every time you shop saves a lot of water.

The items I have chosen to do are 1, 2, 3, 6, and 10, though I expect to do more. These items highlight my main focus of veganism while also exploring the issue of water usage as a whole. Action items #2 and #3 highlight the root cause of lack of information, education, and the ignorance of Americans regarding water use and eating habits. By completing these two action items, more people will be able to talk about the water usage issue, and I may be able to encourage some people to change their diets or how they source their food in order to conserve water.

I am not expecting to face too many hard challenges throughout my month of action. The action plans I picked will not be incredibly hard to carry out, and I chose these on purpose to be easy to achieve by the average college student. I know that I will most likely not be able to convince anyone to go vegan. However, I hope to educate them and help them try other items on the list.

I hope to learn more about my water footprint during this month of action. I hope to learn how to embrace my vegan diet and a more water conscious lifestyle. I also hope to figure out cost effective ways to reduce my footprint, as it is often more expensive to buy local foods and local clothing.

 

Sources:

https://en.reset.org/act/save-water-reduce-your-water-footprint

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/home-and-family/5-ways-to-reduce-your-water-footprint/view-all/

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20161223/coffee-vs-tea-is-one-better-health#1

https://printage.wordpress.com/category/environment/water-footprint/

It takes a Bathtub of Water to Produce One Cup of Coffee…

Gasoline

Issue Exploration

Some of the main reasons overuse and pollution of water occurs in the United States is agriculture, accessibility (in some areas) leading to overuse, lack of education an awareness, and ignorance. Most Americans do not realize how little freshwater is on the planet for us to use (less than 1%) and think it is only a problem in places like Africa. However this is not the case and many people are without water, often because certain communities use too much. People are also ignorant when it comes to veganism. Many people have this notion in their mind that all vegans are tree hugging animal rights activists, and they eat meat so they don’t fall into that category.  These issues are up against many years of societal norms build up in the United States. Meat used to be very expensive, but once America’s economy improved people began to afford more meat, and started to have it with every meal. This is now an American staple, and it is uncommon to see a typical meal served without meat. Many people also do not know how much water they use in a given day, and how much water they waste. Anything from taking a long shower to having a leaky pipe can cost someone money and can waste gallons of water a day.

To my knowledge, there are no official policies to decrease the water footprint of Americans. However there are policies governments could adopt to reduce national water use. Columbus Utilities suggests a policy of: “setting maximum sustainable limits for water consumption and water pollution in river basins and aquifers to ensure the appropriate balance between water people and nature. These limits can be defined through a geographic Water Footprint Assessment, which provides information on river basins’ and aquifers’ water availability and pollution assimilation capacity”. Also, importing less foreign goods will decrease the amount of water consumption and use in our country.

There are organizations in Columbus that are offering ways for citizens to conserve water, however. Columbus City Utilities offers ways for people to save many gallons of water each day such as: getting energy efficient washing machines and dishwashers, watering your lawn in the morning while making sure you only water vegetation and not the street or sidewalk, and covering your pool during the summer.

There are a few places in Columbus highlighting veganism, locally sourced foods, and water waste. One restaurant in particular, Little Eater, with locations in Clintonville and North Market serves vegetarian food with local produce and its menu is based on what produce is in season at the time. They partner directly with farmers in the area and highlight on their website exactly what produce they get from each organization. Another organization located in Hillard, called The Eco Plumbers, strives to help save water for their customers. Their current goal is to save a billion gallons of water, and some of their workers have cut back their water usage by 40%. Their employees have been trained to use sustainable practices and their products go through a five-part accreditation in environmental and technical issues. They also offer education to their clients on how to become more sustainable and better stewards of the environment;.

The TED Talk I chose to watch is called “Why I’m a weekday vegetarian” by Graham Hill. I chose this TED Talk rather than one given by a “radical” vegan because I know that it is more likely for people to slightly modify their diets rather than change them all together. Many people I know would never dream of becoming vegan, let alone vegetarian and the speaker notes how he doesn’t like how dietary lifestyles need to be binary. This TED Talk takes into account modern day American lifestyles as well as the fact that many Americans want to be sustainable. He also says that when people do eat meat, to make sure it is not red or processed meat, but sustainably harvested meats. He highlights many benefits for adopting the Weekday Veg diet, such as saving money, the environment, animals, and feeling healthier and has lost weight.

Sources:

Graham Hill: Why I’m a weekday vegetarian | TED Talk

https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/07/19/why-wasting-water-is-a-much-bigger-problem-than-you-think/#6395c8d95af2

About

Partners

https://www.ecoplumbers.com/Conservation.aspx

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/06/26/155720538/the-making-of-meat-eating-america

Water Conservation

Water Conservation

Issue Selection

The issue I have chosen to explore is Water Usage with an emphasis on Veganism. I believe that this is an issue that can be helped by small actions taken by individuals, thus a great issue for me to explore and makes me feel like I have made a difference. Americans on average have the second largest water footprint in the world. So much less water could be used if people simply did not eat meat with every meal or took shorter showers. I initially became vegetarian when I was 11 because I cared about animal welfare. However as I have taken animal science classes, done more research, and have become more passionate about the environment, I have moved away from my original reason for ceasing to eat meat. I now am vegetarian and recently vegan because of the negative impacts agriculture has on our environment. I had previously tried to explore the issue of lack of environmental education in schools, however the issue is simply too complex for me to try to solve at this point in my education.

I will definitely be using many online resources to do research on my issue. I will try to use sources that are unbiased, though many sources written about veganism or non-veganism are usually quite biased. I will have to be more conscious about where my food comes from and what is in it. It will be difficult to do this, especially on a student’s budget. It will be a challenge to stick to a vegan diet, especially at college. I had trouble finding options before I decided to be a vegan, and it will be even harder to find options now. It will also be difficult to encourage others to eat less animal products, as eating meat with every meal is such a norm in our society and many people would never consider eating any differently. I hope to be able to educate my peers and encourage them to use less water in their daily lives, as small positive contributions from many people towards the issue can make a big impact.

Sources:

http://www.gracelinks.org/1361/the-water-footprint-of-food

Food’s Big Water Footprint

Water Footprint Comparisons by Country

 

Issue Change

I have decided to switch my issue to Veganism and Water Use from Environmental Education after much thinking. I did not realize that this issue would be too much for me to tackle, especially in my freshman year. With many classes, dealing with mental health issues, and not having the knowledge or resources to execute a well done project, I made this decision. I had already started to eat vegan before I switched my topic, and I decided to change my eating lifestyle in order to be better to the environment. I learned how much water meat eaters and even vegetarians use in order to sustain their diets in my Introduction to Environmental Science class, and thought that I could be doing more in terms of cutting down my water use and helping the environment. Agriculture is one of the leading contributors to global warming and pesticide/herbicide runoff. Though I haven’t eaten meat for 7 years, I still used many animal products daily. I used to eat dairy and eggs every day and while that is not as bad as eating meat three meals a day, it still isn’t as good for the environment as eating vegan. I plan on returning to my original issue in the future after I have had more experience with environmental education. I would like to take more classes about environmental education and make more connections through jobs and internships before coming back to it. I believe my lack of knowledge and resources held me back from exploring this issue I was very passionate about.

Issue Selection

An issue I have been passionate about for a long time has been the lack of environmental education in schools. While I was fortunate enough to be able to attend environmental education programs as a child, many children are not as fortunate. By integrating regular environmental programs in schools, all children can benefit.

As a tactile learner, it is extremely important for me to see and feel concepts demonstrated in the real world. From attending environmental education programs outside of school on the weekends and during the summer, I was able to understand many concepts I had struggled with in class. I also believe that getting kids outside encourages learning and focus outside as well as inside the classroom. Environmental education also promotes confidence and curiosity. I have seen countless children come out of their shells and grow over the span of the summer. By learning and understanding concepts, they teach others and want to explore more. Seeing their excitement to learn is what has really inspired me to want to become an environmental educator. I know that without environmental education, I myself would be less confident. Being able to understand and effectively teach these concepts have allowed me to be proud of myself and find things that stimulate my interests. Lastly, getting children outside and appreciating the environment also will fight against the stigma of “technology is cool and I never leave my house”. I had too many friends in high school that hated going outside and were afraid of the smallest insects. Most people I grew up with would rather play video games all weekend than go on hikes or scoop a pond. While video games aren’t bad, I think that it is important for children to have balance.

Perhaps most importantly, by educating children about environmental issues now, they will be able to more efficiently tackle them in the future. Right now we are struggling in our current administration to deal with these issues, as many officials simply do not understand that environmental issues are not political problems, they are human problems.  If they could simply understand the science and what is at stake for the planet, these problems would not be as hotly debated.

I thought about pursuing other topics such as recycling and composting, as they are issues specifically on campus that I believe need more attention. The university, to my knowledge, has not been dealing with these issues as well as other universities. The lack of compost bins in dining halls, around campus, and in dorms is upsetting to me. However I knew that these issues would most likely be explored by my peers and are already being addressed by organizations on campus. I wanted to choose an issue that is less commonly explored.

I know that I will definitely need to interact with environmental educators as well as school teachers. I plan on emailing mentors and old bosses from my time at Audubon Greenwich, as many of them have been teaching and coordinating environmental education programs for many years. I would also like to reach out to professors at Ohio State and see if they have any connections It will be difficult for me to make a direct impact myself. I expect that I will have to collaborate with other program coordinators and professionals to be able to interact with any schools in Columbus. I know that this will be a challenge for me, but I hope to learn a lot and really push myself out of my comfort zone.

 

Sources:

I took the photo above this past summer while doing a river scoop with my campers at Audubon Greenwich.

http://epa.ohio.gov/oee/EnvironmentalEducation.aspx

https://www.neefusa.org/nature/water/benefits-environmental-education

Top 10 Benefits of Environmental Education

Columbus To Do List, Part 2

Parks!

For the remainder of the items on my Columbus To Do List, I went to places off the Nature and Outdoor Adventure list. I went to Goodale Park, Columbus Commons, the Topiary Garden, and Schiller Park. I attended the parks with Will, John, Doug, and Andrew S. I really enjoyed being able to time with them outside of the dorm and explore some of the parks of Columbus with them. It was also a nice stress reliever and way to wind down right before Thanksgiving break began. The first stop on our journey was Goodale Park. I didn’t realize how close it was and how huge it is! After we arrived we quickly found a playground and obviously began to play on it. After we had our fill of that, we went to Columbus Commons. It was interesting to see a tiny, but very green park wedged in between apartments and skyscrapers in the city. I would be interested in coming back to attend a free concert or event. We of course took the opportunity to take an O-H-I-O picture at this location, and it was quite special to me as it was the first O-H-I-O picture I have taken with friends at OSU. Next on the list was the Topiary Garden, a park with beautiful trees, interesting topiary sculptures, and a small pond. We had fun recreating the poses of the topiaries. I would love to come back with a book and read on one of the benches or eat lunch with a friend there at some point. The last stop was Schiller Park, which we spent a bit of time exploring. We took pictures on a bridge over a pond with a fountain, and of course found another playground that we played on for a long while. I had such a fun time that day and would love to go back to the parks with the guys or explore brand new ones with them.

Northstar Cafe

I also visited some other places off the list with other people in Scholars. I went to Northstar Cafe with Jasmine and Amanda and had a great time. I consider them close friends of mine, however I have never sat down for a meal with them. We went after one of the football games, so the Short North and COTA busses were very crowded. The atmosphere of Northstar Cafe was really nice: dim lighting, soft music, and friendly staff. The food was delicious and we were all happy with our choices. The most interesting thing any of us ordered was mint iced coffee. Amanda had it and it was super interesting, sometime in the future we’d like to try and make it ourselves. We talked about many things and I feel closer to my suitemates as a result. I would definitely go back to Northstar Cafe, and have been craving another Buddha Bowl since I went!

Eden Burger and More Parks!

Mallory and I had lunch together at Eden Burger, and we easily had the best veggie burgers we’ve ever had. It’s always a blast hanging out with her, and I really enjoyed getting closer to her. Brooke then joined us and we went to a few parks as well! We visited the Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile, and I brought them back to the Topiary Garden. I was super excited to be able to go back to familiar parks and explore new ones with them! I would definitely love to go back to the Scioto Mile and Bicentennial Park once it gets warm out again. It seems like a wonderful place to have a picnic and hang out with friends. Right next to the parks is the Cultural Art Center, which we decided to explore as well. It was super cool to see locally made art in all types of mediums. An interesting piece was a black tent in the middle of the room which had words and shapes cut out of it, leaving a pattern on the floor where the light shone through. We also discovered that they offered weaving classes, and talked about taking a class in the future. It was nice to return to the Topiary Garden, however there were no ducks swimming around this time. We did however see a couple walking their pet cat! All in all, I’m really glad I decided to tag along with Mallory and Brooke to help them finish their list.

Overview

My favorite experience this semester from this project would definitely be when I visited the parks with the guys. Just being able to goof around for a few hours and be outside and spending time with people I care about was such a memorable experience.  I also loved being able to try new foods, and my next goal is to visit places on the Coffee & Tea list. I learned that Columbus is super easy to navigate and has so many fun places to explore.  I also learned that there are so many fun things to do outside of OSU with my friends. For someone else who is planning on going to places on the list, I would encourage them to step out of their comfort zone. I expected myself to just try coffee shops, however I visited all sorts of places on the to do list and had great experiences at all of them. 

Career Exploration Assignment

  • Where are you right now in your career exploration process?

Very recently I figured out that the career I thought was right for me and that I kept in mind when determining my major is not actually the one that will make me happy. For the past couple of years, I believed that I was going to become a veterinarian. A childhood dream that would actually come true, a career my parents would be proud of and could tell all their friends, and a job that would make me feel smart. However upon coming to Ohio State, being in ENR Scholars and Sierra Club, and taking Animal Science classes, I have realized that becoming a veterinarian is not my true goal in life. Right now, I know I want my career to have something to do with the environment. That may be accomplished as an environmental educator, naturalist, park ranger, or another career that I have not discovered yet. In this new field of interest, I am pretty early on in the career exploration process.

  • What did you learn about yourself from completing this workshop?

My code was SRA, which stands for Social, Realistic, and Artistic. I realized that even though I am introverted, I am very social, and most of my happiness comes from connecting with others and helping them. I know I will only be happy with a career that allows me to help and connect with others directly or indirectly. I also realized that while I do enjoy working with people, I also need to work with my hands. I am a tactile learner, and I know I will only be happy with a career that allows me to work with my hands and see concepts demonstrated in real life. I also found out that while my career may not be in the arts, I can still be a creator in my career.

I also realized that my career does not have to reflect all of my interests. I can love animals without having to become a veterinarian. However, I can use my love of the environment to help and teach others. I do not think I will be satisfied in my career unless I can share my knowledge and passions with others.

  • What careers does O*Net recommend for your code?

For my code, SRA, only one career is recommended, which is a Park Naturalist. This is not the exact career I had been thinking about, but incorporates many of my interests and seems like a job I would be happy having. For ARS, dancer and make up artist came up. For all other variations of my code, Park Naturalist was the only one that showed up.

  • Does your current path come up with your code?

Yes, one of my possible career goals does line up with my code. When I was younger, being a professional dancer and makeup/hair artist were some of my dream jobs that I knew I would never actually pursue, but it was interesting to see them show up for a code similar to mine.

  • How does this apply to your current academic plans (major, minor, graduate/professional school, etc.)?

This helped be the final push to convince me to change my major and drop my pre-vet minor. It also has made be began to start thinking about attending graduate school, or not having to attend at all. Before, veterinary school was a must, but now I can make the decision to start my career right after college or get my Master’s degree. Even though I may not need to get a Master’s degree for some of my projected career paths, I think I would still like to earn one.

  • What are your next steps now?

My next steps now are to change my major to Natural Resource Management, talk to a career counselor, and start getting involved with organizations that may employ me in the future. I am also going to follow my passions and my interests, and not pick a career that I think will make others impressed or to appease my parents. I am also going to keep in mind that I should be happy in my career, and continue to modify my career search.

Columbus To Do List, Part 1

I could not pick just one thematic list from the Columbus To Do List website, so I’ve decided to pick and choose from all of the lists. I want to push myself to see all that Columbus has to offer and am excited to explore various different places from the different thematic lists. I’m most looking forward to visiting a place off of the Coffee and Tea thematic list. I have always wanted to go to a cafe that specializes in tea, and I am hoping to visit ZenCha Tea Salon off the list soon. I hope to visit locations with some people that I am not very close with yet in ENR Scholars. By doing this I hope to get closer with people who I may not talk to on a daily basis. I also hope to become closer with all of my ENR Scholars in general. I also think that I can find places I can return to throughout my four years at Ohio State, whether that be a coffee shop, park, or part of the city.

I have already gone to two places off of the Columbus To Do List! It was fun spending time getting to know my fellow ENR Scholars and exploring different parts of Columbus.

Gallery Hop in Short North

 

 

The first place I went to was the Gallery Hop in Short North off of the Art and Music thematic list. I went with Andrew Schrantz and we had a fun night! I had been wanting to do the Gallery Hop for a few months, and was happy that I was able to do it. We went after the Maryland football game, so the Short North was lively and full of people of all ages. Performers of various types lined the streets and each drew in people walking by. We heard a woman singing soul music, saw a jazz band across the street, and watched as a couple danced to and acoustic love song. The art in the galleries were of different mediums and some pieces really blew us away! We saw a few 3D pieces of art that hung down from the ceiling and used unconventional materials like pipes and fabric and netting. We also saw ceramic sculptures of animals and paintings of illusions of cats and fish. We also ate at one of the local Thai food restaurants after we finished exploring the galleries. I really enjoyed that a majority of the shops and restaurants were open late; it reminded me of being back in New York. I would definitely go to another Gallery Hop, and I would want to bring my suitemates with me!

Portia’s Cafe in Clintonville

I also went to Portia’s, which is a vegan cafe in Clintonville off of the Local Food Favorites thematic list. I went with Claire Murray, who I’ve gotten to bond with already over our vegan/vegetarian lifestyles. It took us two COTA busses to get there, but we made it! It was really nice to go somewhere that wasn’t on High Street or super close to campus. The cafe was small and had a very homey feel to it. The employees were upbeat and enthusiastic and the patrons included families and children. It took us quite a while to decide what we were going to eat, as everything looked delicious and it is rare for us to eat somewhere where there are more than one or two options for our dietary restrictions. We had chips and dip, wraps, and butternut squash and carrot soup. We almost got dessert too but didn’t so we’d have an excuse to come back soon. I loved getting to know Claire better and getting to explore a completely new area. I would definitely come back to Portia’s, but bring some of my meat loving friends, and maybe even my brother when he comes out to visit.

 

Saplings Mentor Meeting

On Wednesday, October 4th, I met with one of my peer mentors, Michelle. She is a second year ENR Scholar from Texas and is majoring in Natural Resource Management with a Sustainable Agriculture specialization. Michelle is a very outgoing and approachable person, and I was very excited to interview her for this assignment.

We met for dinner at the Union and ended up talking for around two hours. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that we are very similar in many ways! I talked to Michelle about various things under the areas of Academics, Involvement, ENR Scholars, Careers, and General Advice.

Michelle came to Ohio State as a Natural Resource Management major. She knew that she wanted to be involved with environmental issues, however she wanted to deal with the people side of these issues rather than the strictly science side. This is why she chose NRM rather than Environmental Science or FFW. She realized this during high school when she took AP Environmental Science and when she worked at an outdoor school in Maryland during the gap year she took before attending Ohio State. She also realized this when she worked at an environmental testing lab in high school and hated it. She would just prepare samples, test them, and record results she didn’t understand, and realized this is also why she didn’t want to major in pure Environmental Science. She decided on Sustainable Agriculture when she found out that farmers are starving in the developing world, and wanted to be able to make a difference.

I was super interested in the internship and job she had during her gap year. During the fall she was hired as an intern, and in the spring she was hired as an employee. She worked with middle school age children, which she did not initially think she would enjoy, and had so much fun. She planned classes and taught lessons depending on what the school coming wanted them to teach. We both talked about our experiences with environmental education, as I also have been teaching children about the environment and nature for a few years during the summer. As she was explaining all of this to me, her face was just completely lit up and reiterated how happy she was at the end of almost every sentence. I want to be able to talk about my career or job like that one day.

Her ideal dream job is to work with governments of countries to set up education workshops for sustainable agriculture, and if the farmers adopt these practices they get subsidies from the government. She also knows that there are some organizations that already do this, so she thinks she can maybe work with one of those companies.

Michelle is involved in the Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife Club, which is the student chapter of the national societies. She isn’t positive how relevant it is completely to her interests, as they talk about hunting and trapping, but she is happy she is a member. She also wants to join a club where they eliminate poverty through entrepreneurship next semester when she has more time to dedicate to a club. She wants to join this club because the objective is the point of her specialization – as a farmer you are an entrepreneur of your crops.

Additionally, we talked about ENR Scholars specifically. Michelle really enjoyed being able to live with so many people who shared common interests with her. She said that all of her best friends are from ENR Scholars, and even though this year they all live on opposite sides of campus they hang out all the time. She also stressed how many opportunities there are through Scholars and how easy it is to take advantage of them. She said to make use of and connect with the guest speakers that come to ENR Scholars class. She also said that one of her favorite events is when she got to tour a Maple Sugar Farm where she got to see people harvest sap and got to hold a baby goat at the petting zoo. She also said to take advantage of meeting with Esther and Amanda during the school year and that they are a great resource.

Her words of advice were to show up to class and participate as much as possible, especially during my first semester. Also, that freshman year is hard and does feel horrible a considerable amount of the time. I really appreciated her honesty when I asked this question. She said that what no one told her was that it was okay for it to be horrible, especially because everyone else is having a horrible time but no one ever addresses it. She said that everyone seems fine until around November, and that’s when things start to fall apart for everyone. Everyone is most likely feeling as awful as I am, so it’s okay to talk about things to my friends. She said that it’s hard, but it’s okay to be hard. Everyone expects college kids to automatically know what they’re doing as soon as they move out, but we don’t! She said that it’s really okay for me to not know what I’m doing; and it’s going to take time. One of her words of advice that really hit me was that it’s really okay not to feel “okay” all the time. There is such a stigma of being “okay” all the time, and it’s really okay not to be. Additionally, she said that school doesn’t get easier, you just get more used to it. I really needed to hear this advice that day; I had been having a pretty bad couple of weeks and needed to hear from someone that it was normal for me to be feeling this way.

We talked for around two hours and I left the interview feeling much better than when I walked into it. I have taken all of Michelle’s advice to heart and it has helped me decide on the major I want to switch to, dealing with stress, and getting through college while taking advantage of all the opportunities OSU has to offer. I’m very glad I talked to Michelle and hope to hang out with her again soon!