My second-year project was going on an OAC spring break trip, sea kayaking in the everglades for the week. I completed my project by driving down to the Everglades with a group of OSU students and leaders from the OAC where we took all of our gear and shoved off from the mainland, kayaking throughout the Everglades and the 10,000 Islands Wildlife Refuge.
I found my project highly rewarding. It was amazing going out of my comfort zone and going on an adventure beyond a hike in the woods that is just a few minutes or hours away. I spent a week out in nature, experiencing so many different thigs and having a great time bonding with the others that went on the trip as well. I found it rejuvenating being out in such a beautiful spot of nature unlike anything I had yet experienced and I am so grateful I was able to do so at a rather inexpensive cost. Being out in nature, cutoff from the outside world, from all of the drama and technology, and people stuck in with their heads in their phones. The water was beautiful with the most vibrant colors in the sky and the trees.
If I could start over, I don’t think I would change anything. I enjoyed going on the trip with so many of my friends as well as a few new people that I could get to know. It made going out of my comfort zone more attainable and less frightening. I suppose I would have changed my preparation for the trip in trying to strengthen my core more so that kayaking for hours on end did not aggravate my back as much as it did. It put a damper on the trip, but it was still fascinating and enlightening.
I gained a greater ability or comfort of stepping out of my comfort zone. This is a good thing considering I will be jumping very far out of that zone when I travel to Turks and Caicos- my first time out of the country and flying, let alone by myself. I also gained a greater appreciation for nature. Sure, I‘ve been hiking in woods around Ohio and have seen nature documentaries, but there’s something very different about experiencing different ecosystems and environments. It’s more beautiful than any screen can create. I gained so much from this trip and am so grateful I took the necessary steps to do so.
I plan to use the spring break sea kayaking trip for my second year project. On this trip I will be paddling along the coast of Florida, exploring the 10,000 surrounding islands. While traveling, I’ll be learning about marine estuaries and mangroves that shape the ecosystems of the islands. I will be the beneficiary of this project. I will learn how to sea kayak and endure an arduous adventure for a longer-than-normal duration. I will learn more in depth about leave no trace, and learn about marine influences on terrestrial ecosystems, an area that truly interests me. This could also give me some background information and up close experience for my summer study abroad trip. On the trip I will be learning how to assess and maintain the health of marine ecosystems, which includes mangroves. I would like to work on this project because I believe I will gain applicable skills such as sea kayaking, and leave no trace, as well as personal skills. Enduring swarms of bugs, pushing through arduous journeys while still taking in the beauty, and appreciating nature for so many days are some of the areas I hope to grow in. Experiencing nature face on, with no barriers like glamping or a simple day hike-actually immersing myself in nature is another aspect I am ecstatic for on this trip. I don’t think I have ever done a trip quite this long or quite this arduous. However, I believe that by attending this trip, I will reinforce my decision to pursue my major in the environment because the majority of the “wild” nature I have seen has been in books and documentaries. Experiencing something like the Everglades, something that is so far away and seems so intangible, will show me natural areas like this are much more tangible than I had originally believed. I hope that this will in turn spur me into action in seeing the nearby sites that had previously seemed so far.
This semester I chose to use mentor council as my project. I completed 15+ hours with going to the seminar and reading their e-portfolio’s and interviews. I went about completing my project by going to the seminars and interacting with my mentees, catching up with how their week has been, being friendly when I see them and talking with them when we pass each other. I also didn’t push them to hang out or do things because I know some of them probably made a smooth transition and didn’t want to seem like a “helicopter mentor”. I just wanted them to know I was there if they needed and wanted to make myself approachable if they had any questions. While I completed the project and put in the required hours, it would have been more rewarding if I had changed a few things. Going back, I would have tried harder to go down to their floor to hang out. I did that one evening and it was really fun so if I did that more than once I think it could have solidified our relationship whether it was mentor-mentee or just friends. I also wish we had actually made plans to hang out as a mentor group. We talked about it multiple times, we just never followed through with it. Even though there are some things I would have changed, I still learned some things from this project. I gained the experience of being a mentor in the sense of letting them know you’re there for them, but not being like a parent, more like a friend. I also learned how to facilitate conversations when no one in the group wants to participate or how to help a mentee who is an introvert get their word in and have their voice heard.
My project is mentor council, and I haven’t really started working on it because Hayley or I haven’t been able to organize any events because we have been super busy with classes and STEP and life. To actually begin the project, I need to sit down with Hayley to find a time that we are free and see if any of our saplings are and plan an event. I know one event we really want to do is a pasta night because Hayley has a pasta-maker and learned how to use it over fall break. We’re not sure though if they really need us; some of them are giving the vibe that they are fine, don’t need help learning how to balance, while others we’re not entirely sure about. I think at this point I should be at the point where I can talk easily with them, go hang out on their floor and just talk, hang out, be a friend and if they need offer advice when they ask. As of right now, I am not meeting my expectations because I am not able to just talk to them, I still feel a little self-conscious around them. However, that would probably change once I start spending more time with them, I just need to find time in my schedule to do so. I don’t believe I need to change my plan for my project, I just need to take a step back and find time to plan an event and then after that transition to just going down to their floor and hanging out and talking. I did that last month when some of my saplings had a blanket fort in their common room so I went down to see it and then hung out there for a little bit talking and watching Grey’s Anatomy. If I follow that, I think I will be back on track for my project.
2nd Year Project: Proposal
For my 2nd year ENR project I am planning to do Mentor Council which will benefit the first year saplings by giving them someone who has been through what they are currently going through and can give advice as well as provide a connection to other members of the scholars program. Being on the Mentor Council benefits me as well. By interacting with people younger than me and outside my already established friend group from ENR, I will learn how to be there for someone whether it’s as a mentor or a friend or a study buddy, anything they might need. I will also learn how to get out of my shell, to be more comfortable around people that I don’t see every day and yet am meant to help transition into college and be a friend to them. Along with learning to be comfortable around others, it will teach me to be comfortable with myself and not so self-conscious of what others are thinking. Lastly, I hope it will help me get more accustomed to mushy-feelings-sappy-uncomfortable talk that I am somewhat apprehensive about because it makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable. I would like to work on this project because I have been on LC for a little over a semester and so feel I have made good progress on the areas that I benefit from in being a part of that particular council and would like to focus on this newly appointed responsibility and learning opportunity to help me grow even more.
This year I have literally lived differently in the sense that this was the first time I shared a room, let alone with three other girls. However, it has allowed me to gain long-time friends and learn how to share space and to take into account their interests and habits. As weird as it sounds, I have also hung out with more guys, which I didn’t really do in high school. Mainly because I lived far away from everyone, so I didn’t even hang out with my girl friends that much outside of school either. Because of that, accompanied with my room situation and the layout of Morrill, I have made so many great and long-time friends that I’m going to continue to stay in contact with over summers and after graduation. Other decisions I’ve made this year, well this one is just in the past month and a half, but I chose to separate myself a bit more from my parents in visits and texts and such because throughout the rest of the year I felt that I was cheating by seeing them so often and them dropping off some supplies every once and a while. By separating myself, I finally felt as if I was on my own. Even though my parents hadn’t been staying with me, I wasn’t getting that separation I needed to help ‘find myself’ by doing things like going out with friends to things like football games-which are amazing and thrilling live. I have also chosen to be more active in the outdoors through my Scholars group. This has increased my love for the outdoors and nature and has exposed me to hiking and camping which I didn’t have really any experience with. Oh, and I know this list is getting kind of ling, but I have also chosen to live differently by applying for leadership council and mentor council because I didn’t use to get so involved in things or apply for leadership roles because I was anxious about what it would entail and if I would like, etc. but it has turned out as great thing.
Some other changes I would like to make is eating and living healthier next year. I want to find a more routine schedule for working out and have a better idea of what’s healthy to eat on campus. I believe I have a much better sense of it now, but I believe it can still be improved upon. Well, technically my ‘choice’ to share a room with three other girls wasn’t my choice, but now that I have gone through the experience I wouldn’t have it any other way. My reasons for creating more distance between myself and my family is to gain even more independence. My choices have been prompted by my environment, like Morrill making it so easy to make friends, my want for more independence, and a desire to break out of my shell a little more.
I have taken in the friendship of all of those around me from my friends, to those who were so welcoming on the leadership council. All of which made me feel accepted and that I would want to make sure others feel the same. Not only am I getting a sense of acceptance and friendship, but a sense of independence as there are more and more things that I do and need to do on my own. I’m also picking up on a love and desire to protect the environment. I’d like to think that I’m giving back friendship, a willingness to help and a passion for the environment.
I hadn’t gotten to thinking about that, but going vegetarian was meaningful. Especially after talking with Katie and Bugg one evening about the effects on the environment and economy of eating vegetarian versus meat, it became very meaningful in the sense that I was helping a system that was having such an effect on the environment. I won’t continue with the last two weeks of my challenge because those were eating vegetarian basically all the time. Unfortunately I still like meat, but I’m more aware of the effects of doing so, so I will be more aware of what I eat and try to eat vegetarian more often.
My experience with Earth Month Challenge was pretty good. It was cool knowing that what I was doing was for the benefit of the Earth. One night I was hanging out in my room with Katie and Bugg and she was looking up facts about red meat for a project in a different class, but they were very interesting; such as 50% of water in the U.S. goes to raising livestock and about 75% of grain goes to raising red meat livestock. It was very educational because I knew a lot of our resources went towards the raising of livestock but I never knew how much and knowing that is more powerful than just knowing ‘a lot’ is used. The challenge surprisingly wasn’t that hard. I was shocked that I didn’t crave meat at all during the days that I wasn’t able to eat meat. I think that was due to the fact that there was plenty of other options for food which is great for a campus to provide such things. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I am able to dedicate myself to a plan and stick to it, that it isn’t that difficult when I put my mind to it, which isn’t very original. However, I had been very good at things like that, but lately I had been doubting myself about whether I had that dedication and discipline anymore and it was nice to realize that it was still there. I also learned that I complain about things a lot and need to work on not oding that as much because it annoys the people around me, but I think I did better towards the end of my challenge. I won’t continue my challenge as far as my third and fourth week because I still like meat, even after learning those facts. However, I will have more days where I eat vegetarian, like meatless Mondays and such because I know even a little bit can help. I think this activity is a really good idea because it can be enlightening, if you choose the right challenge. I know that some people chose challenges that are difficult to do, especially on a college campus, so they had good intentions, but were unable to follow through as much as they may have wanted.
The Last few places we visited were the Audubon Society, Schmidt’s Fudge Haus, and Schiller Park. At the Audubon, we visited the obstacle course and climbed all over the monkey bars and wooden beams trying to get a good picture and just having a fun time goofing around. I definitely want to go back there because I think it would be a great resource to help get in shape and would be very fun to go through with friends! After that we went to Schmidt’s Fudge Haus which was awesome. There was a lot of fudge and chocolate, but a lot of cool merchandise as well. After a few minutes looking around and figuring out what to buy, we all checked out. When it was my turn, the guy rung me up and accidentally rung something up twice perhaps because the total was way more than it should have been so then he was trying to fix it. My total was $11.54 so I got $10 out an asked for the rest on my card and he said “Let’s just make it an even $10”. I was surprised and tried to give him the card but he said no, that he had already made me wait so long while he’s tried to figure out my total. It was so nice and something that’s so nice about little private owned shops because they do small things like that and are so friendly that they just make your day. Last on our list was Schiller Park. This park was so pretty with dogs all around playing with each other and the sun made everything so beautiful, especially this amazing little island that had an adorable tilting willow tree that looked so picturesque. I was very jealous when we were walking back to the car because there was a girl lying in the sun in the grass reading a book and it looked like a really good time. Both Schmidt’s and Schiller Park are places I would recommend for people to visit, especially because they get you to go down and just see German Village which is beautiful in and of itself.
My favorite experience has to be when we visited the book loft. That place it so adorable and just the atmosphere there is so calming and relaxing. It would be a great place to go for a break from studying for finals. It was also fun going there with friends and looking through all the books, especially the kid’s books because it was so nostalgic and made you think of your childhood and how stress free it was! I learned that I need to explore my city more because from what I have explored so far, it has so many little gems hidden here and there are must-sees. From watching the documentary on German Village, I learned that the Germans were one of the largest ethnic groups fighting for the Union and that Ohio was one of three of the largest providers of German born soldiers, one of the ways they gained acceptance into society in Columbus. For someone else trying to complete this to do list, I would strongly encourage them to go with friends because it makes the experience ten times better than if you were to do it alone. I would also recommend to visit it during the day when it’s nice out because you can really appreciate the skill and the beauty of everything it has to offer.
My third week actually went well and pretty smoothly. I was supposed to do vegetarian for Monday-Friday. As I said last week I had a problem of complaining about it too much, well not necessarily complaining, but just bringing it up a lot and talking about what I could or couldn’t eat depending on where I or we went to eat. Anyways, it also wasn’t that hard to find food to eat so I actually ended up eating vegetarian Monday thru Sunday afternoon and ate a turkey sandwich for dinner. Unfortunately I haven’t really been able to use any of my resources because I don’t have time to cook or go to a restaurant so I’m just utilizing the dining halls and the RPAC. Personally I don’t think there’s anything I need to do to help with my challenge since it’s going pretty well. Something I’ve learned about myself is that if I apply myself and focus, I can do a challenge like this, and can do it without “complaining”.
I anticipate that next week should go just as smoothly since I basically did my fourth week challenge this week. What’s also interesting is I am fine not eating meat. I’m not craving it and I feel fine without it. I forgot to ask how to figure out the CO2 and financial savings so I still can’t relay that, but I’m going to assume that I’m saving a lot of money and CO2.
My second challenge week went pretty well. Monday was tough because I went to Morrill for dinner with Katie and didn’t know what to get because since I couldn’t have meat I was unsure as to what to get as the main part of my meal because the only options were a bunch of sides. That’s where Katie said I was wrong because we weren’t made to eat as much meat as we do today. She broke down what each meal should mostly consist of and it was very interesting to think of and realize. Wednesday and Friday weren’t as difficult but I did have to think more about what options I could have, like what they had at Morrill I could eat or the RPAC. Friday was a good example because Katie and I went to Morrill and it was pasta night and normally I like pasta night because I can get their meatballs. t I realized I wasn’t able to do that and so I got pasta and rice with new Orleans sauce and both the marinara with the pasta and New Orleans sauce were spicy and there just weren’t that many great options for vegetarians that night.
Apparently I complain and talk about it going vegetarian too much so that is something I need to work on to not be so annoying to the people around me. Next week is upping the ante by making every weekday vegetarian. Unfortunately I still haven’t been able to figure out how to get the website to give me a reading on my Co2 and money savings so I am unable to give that information this week.