I’m a 2nd Year With a Big Ol’ Project Proposal!!

…And this is it!!

 

For my 2nd semester 2nd year project, I am transitioning away from being a mentor to restoring and maintaining the ecosystem at the Fawcett center. I enjoyed my time as a mentor, and I now understand the complex balance that the mentor council tried to find between letting the saplings make their own choices and having mentor guidance. The experience was a good one, though the role of mentor fundamentally changed several times throughout the semester, and that made it difficult for me to discern exactly what my role as a mentor could and should be for my saplings. I am sad to see this option go, but I am excited to volunteer my time for the physical betterment of the Olentangy ecosystem.

The restoration and maintenance of the Fawcett center ecosystem is one of the very real ways that ENR scholars presents its ability to produce change to the world. I am excited to take part in this project, and excited to learn more about the ecosystem of the area. While the area is relatively small, keeping it clean and natural can send a message to other groups that if we just work a little bit, the Olentangy River could shed its nickname ‘The Old an’ Dingy.’ From this project, I hope to build personal skills through volunteerism as well as physically impact the area near where I live. The project will not necessarily be difficult, but it will require some sensitivity. This is because the ecosystem in the area is very fragile and, as was learned in the past few semesters, despite the invasive species, the plants and animals of the area are finding a natural balance. Likewise, any project actions will have to be carefully coordinated so as not to disrupt research areas along the riverbank. Overall, I am excited to get started and see what good I and my group can do for the area!

I’m A Second-Year Who Has An End of Semester Project Check-in!

…And this is that (very, VERY late) check-in!

Over the course of this past semester, I faced some hard times and hard truths about what it means to be at Ohio State. I have also had some very positive experiences that made moving forward with my studies and my extra-curriculars worth it. I think that my third semester in ENR was one of these positive experiences. As a mentor, I had the chance to make my second-year project more meaningful personally, as it meant connecting with, and lending support to, the incoming ENR class. It was really insightful, albeit a little nostalgic, to see my mentees go from being freshmen at a strange school to a close-knit group of OSU Scholars. I learned a lot about what I had been through last year, and I saw just how lost I really was then. It was good to know that I wasn’t alone in being totally lost when I first came to OSU.

I could tell even just between weekly meetings that my mentees were starting to find their own places in ENR, and I was shocked to see just how fast they really got comfortable with the program, and with OSU as a whole. Though, as the semester went on, I saw more and more of my mentees stop struggling socially and begin to really struggle with their schoolwork. Being a mostly-engineer mentor group, I sympathized with my mentees as they slogged through the busywork and math and science courses that I too had slogged through just months ago. It was really sobering to see, and honestly a little difficult to watch people struggle with the same things that I had, but not really being able to help. It was just a matter of my mentees figuring out how to study and how to balance their work with their other interests. It was difficult, at certain times, for me to be able to make time for my mentees, as I was also going through a really rough semester, and had to devote so much time and effort to my own studies. But I made the time to meet with my mentees when they needed it, and that made me feel helpful and made the whole semester a little less bland.

I missed the annual camping trip this year, sadly, and that was really disappointing for me. I love camping, and to miss the trip (one of very few chances I have to actually go camping anymore) was really lame. Though, given the fact that I missed the camping trip to go to California with my brother to camp out at a heavy metal festival, I can’t really complain too much, except that having those weekend coincide was truly a bummer of the highest degree.

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the semester as a whole, I think I can say that ENR was a positive experience. I learned a lot about how to step back and let my mentees struggle and grow for themselves. I definitely feel like I’ve further developed my leadership skills because of my role in ENR, and I am excited to see where next semester takes the program!

 

To close, I just want to apologize for how late this assignment is! I also am sorry for any inconvenience.

 

Happy Holidays!

I’m a Second-Year Who Has a Mid-Semester Check-In!

….And this is that check-in!

My Second-year project is being completed through my role as an ENR mentor. I have been working with my saplings to make them feel comfortable in the ENR program and make them feel like they have someone to ask questions of, if they should need to. My work as a mentor really began over the summer, when I first emailed or otherwise contacted my saplings to let them know that I would be serving as one of their mentors. I attended the ice-breaker meeting and Olentangy River service project, as well as the induction ceremony outside the Drake. I have been there to provide advice and guidance with regards to scheduling to my saplings, at times having long conversations to discus their options in the Engineering program at Ohio State. My last organized contact with my saplings was the Sapling-Mentor Interviews. These interviews proved to be a less-formal way for me to get to know my saplings better, especially since they were one-on-one interviews. During these interviews, I got a sense of how each first year was adjusting to their first semester at Ohio State. Albeit, these interviews had to take place just as midterms were beginning to pop up for all of us, which may have caused my saplings (as well as me) to be a little more on-edge, stressed, and tired than either party otherwise would have been. However, since my saplings are all either in engineering or are in classes I have taken previously, I was able to see their concerns and offer reassurance that they will be fine when the semester is all said and done. None of my saplings seem to be taking their coursework or the Ohio State experience poorly, which was reassuring to see. In fact, they all seemed very happy with their current spot, even if their coursework was a little overwhelming. I hope to continue to offer support and guidance to the saplings, and to continue to be there if they have any questions. It’s been a good experience so far!

I’m A Second-Year Who Has A Project!

…And that project is being an ENR Mentor!

As an ENR Mentor, I hope to grow my interpersonal skills, to welcome new students to the ENR program, gain leadership experience, connect with new people, and to learn more about sustainable living. As a mentor, I hope to help engage the first year students, as well as benefit from their class theme. I hope to accomplish these through the weekly/biweekly meetings of ENR, where I can see my saplings face to face, as well as through emails and text correspondence. These emails will contain helpful reminders and tips for the stressful times in the first year of college, like midterms and finals. Living in Morrill Tower, I am not more than a few flights of stairs from the majority of the saplings, which should make connecting and meeting with them easier for both of us! I also plan on organizing events as a saplings group, separate from ENR, such as trips to the OAC. The majority of my saplings are engineering majors, and as an engineering major myself, I hope to help guide the first years through the confusing and difficult first year in the OSU College of Engineering. I will continue to make myself available for questions and advice on how to navigate coursework in any of the OSU colleges.

Beyond ENR, I hope to help my saplings mature as students and encourage them to learn about themselves through service. I hope to aid in instilling in them the values of the ENR Scholars Program, and to organize events that will become lifelong memories.

My First Year as an ENR Scholar

During my first year as an ENR scholar, I have noticed stark changes in my lifestyle. I am now more conscious of what I throw away, how much I throw away, and whether or not what i am about to throw away is recyclable or reusable. I try to get involved in my community as much as I can, through service and through leadership organizations. My first semester taught me a lot about how to live both more efficiently, and more conscious of the environment.

From the outset of the year, I learned to be conscious of the material things in my life. Living in a small dorm space, as well as living in a community of people who were also learning to be conscious in the same way were a large help in my efforts to live more simply. I began to identify things that I had packed up and brought down to Columbus that I really just did not need. I began removing these items on my first trip home. I began to consolidate my material goods at school into smaller containers, putting away unneeded items so I could take them home the next time.  From this, I began to intentionally alter my lifestyle around having less. I left a decent portion of my wardrobe and other things at home over winter break, to make my room less hectic. I didn’t take flyers that I did not need. I looked out for recycling cans, instead of just throwing cans and bottles away as trash. I largely stopped buying disposable containers. Instead, I just always kept a bottle of water on my person. By the end of my first semester, i had become committed to living a healthier lifestyle. Instead of playing on my computer,I would go to the RPAC and work out. I would have a big salad with each and every meal, instead of another helping of meat. I began to drink water instead of soda or sugary soft drinks.

Thus far, all these changes I have made have had an incredible impact on my health. I feel better every day, and have more energy. This translates to me doing my schoolwork more efficiently, giving me more time to focus on things I enjoy doing.

I hope, in the coming years, to maintain my commitment to healthiness, and to expand my efforts. I hope to run two or three times a week, eat a regular, healthy diet, and find new ways to live with less stuff. I’d like to continue making healthy choices, and maybe inspire others to do the same.

I first began to realize that I needed to implement some changes in my lifestyle when I moved to college. The reduced space and communal living areas made it obvious that my old habits I had fallen into while growing up weren’t the best way to live. If I could trim off some of the less important items from my life, I could focus my attention on my school work and on my involvement at OSU. ENR scholars encouraged me further to find ways to combat excess and waste, and through weekly exposure to this encouragement and daily routine of living in a dorm, I began to actually make these changes for myself.

I am now more keenly aware of my impact on the world, and the impact of the world on me. I like to think that I take in from the world all the knowledge, skills, and experience that I can. In return, I try to give to the world all of the effort I can muster. I take each day as an opportunity to learn something new about the world, and each day I try my hardest at all of my schoolwork and for every extracurricular activity that I participate in. I my best one hundred percent of the time as my way of giving back to the world. I hope, by creating the highest quality work that I can, and doing well as a Civil Engineering student, to one day build quality infrastructure that people will use every day, and to make that infrastructure strong, long-lasting, efficient, and safe.

The Scholars Earth Month Challenge was the real test of how much progress I had made over the year. My choices for the Earth Month Challenge were designed to help me identify small ways of eliminating energy use in my every day life. My choices did end up having this desired effect, as I now have largely implemented my rule about charging appliances only during the day, and I avoid the elevator whenever I can in my every day life. These choices showed me that it is in fact very easy to save energy in little ways in our every day lives. I will continue these challenges and others that I come up with over time for as long as I am able.

All in all, I really enjoyed ENR in my first year, and I am excited to see where this next year goes!

Spring Columbus To-Do List

For the remainder of my Columbus To-Do List, I decided to make a switch to the Coffee Shop list. I realized that the end of the semester had snuck up on me, and that I would not have time to do the OAC list before the deadline. I went in with an open mind, and found that I enjoyed the coffee shop list! I went to Mission, Imperro, One Line, Kafe Kerouac, and Boston Stoker coffee shops.

Mission Coffee is a coffee shop unique unto its own. The shop is in what was once probably a garage, and the front wall is to this day still a glass and wood garage door. Despite the humble space, there is plenty of room on the finished wood floors at tables and in chairs. While there, I saw many people studying, taking a lunch break, and meeting in business attire. The hot chocolate here is for real. Some of the best. I’d recommend this shop highly to anyone who needs to study or needs to chill. The store is open and has not only plenty of room for work, but also plenty of chairs for chilling for a few hours.

THIS ONE - MISSION

 

Imperro coffee has a unique feel to it. Being right on High St., the shop has a little more hustle and bustle than other shops, but offsets this with a darker, more relaxed mood. The trek down to Imperro was not bad either, as the shop is closer to campus than Melt. I would definitely recommend this shop to a friend. The shop, even though it is right in the middle of High, feels a little bit out of the way, and is a good place to go to for some quiet.

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One Line coffee is an experience in itself. The shop is just a little ways down from Imperro, yet has its own unique feel. The shop is well lit, which is strange for coffee shops nowadays, and has large, street-facing windows. This gives the shop a very open feel, along with the interior, which is sparse, save for the counter where the coffee magic happens. The coffees offered may be a tad expensive, but are definitely exotic and flavorful. I would recommend this shop to a friend with a more serious appreciation of coffee. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that anyone attempt to study here, though. The tables and seating areas were sparse and compact, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for work.

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Kafe Kerouac seems like a nothing-special coffee shop on the outside, but inside the store has a comfortable, homey feel. The staff were friendly as well. I would recommend this shop to anyone who is willing to travel a little ways North of campus for a pretty decent cup of coffee. I completely forgot to get a picture of the shop, sadly, otherwise one could begin to appreciate the feeling of  hometown coffee shop that Kafe Kerouac gives off.

 

The Boston Stoker shop is a fairly long walk from campus. But, if one has some time and a bike, the shop is well within reach. The shop itself doesn’t draw much attention to itself, as it is located in a strip mall adjoined to a Giant Eagle. Though it is a small shop, what they sell is worth the journey. I got a strawberry banana smoothie, just to shake things up, and it was one of the best smoothies I have had. Though the drinks are a little pricey, a good drink every once in a while is well worth it. I’d recommend this place to any real coffee nerd, as the selection isn’t massive, but what the shop does have is not of poor quality.

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I enjoyed, more than the shops themselves, walking to the shops. It was a good way to see the city, and made me notice a lot of the smaller stores scattered along the city streets of Columbus. I want now to take some time finding my way round the city, stopping into new shops that you don’t really notice as you go by on a bus or in a car. I’ve learned to think smaller and more numerous when thinking of Columbus treasures. In this city, it isn’t about big monuments or landmarks, but about small shops and groups of people.

 

Earth Month – The Week After the Week After Week 2

For my last challenge of Earth Month, I decided to take only the stairs down out of Morrill, and the stairs up to my room at least once daily. This was a lifestyle change, for sure. I actually had a hard time even remembering to take the stairs, in fact, because using the elevator is so second nature to me now. I feel a deeper appreciation for the elevators now, after spending a week almost without them. Even though they break down all the time, don’t always come when called, and get pretty crowded early in the morning, the elevators are a central fixture in Morrill Tower life, and deserve a little appreciation now and again.

Overall, I would describe my Earth Month experience as positive. I learned a lot about how to find little, easy ways to reduce my carbon, energy, and waste footprints. I flt accomplished every time I turned off a light or took the stairs. I have a more acute understanding of how modern conveniences play into my lifestyle, and how unnecessary many of them are. I’ve learned that I can, more easily than I thought, make small lifestyle changes over time, culminating in big impacts. I will continue at least some of these challenges in my daily life, for sure, and hope to add many more little challenges going forward. Namely, I will continue to unplug the things I don’t use, and only charge my things during the day. I will use colder water in my showers, and will limit my time in the shower altogether. I hope to be able to keep up the motivation to take the stairs before the elevator.

I think it would be interesting to begin another challenge, maybe one in the field of food and waste. I hear often about how wasteful many modern practices are, with respect to food. I could start limiting my red meat intake every week, begin eating more vegetarian options, and maybe even have some days where all I eat is vegetarian options, cutting out meat completely for a day or two every week or every other week. I will continue to experience with ways to make my life more efficient in the future.

The Earth Month Challenge assignment as  whole is a very solid idea, I think. I really did enjoy trimming unnecessary habits from my every day life. As a student in ENR, I think it very prudent that ENR lead the way in publicizing and participating in green and sustainable activities, and I believe that this challenge is a very good way to do that.

Earth Month – The Week After Week 2

For my Earth Month Week 3 challenge, I chose to charge all my electronics (which consist of my laptop and phone) during the day, so that I would be awake to disconnect the chargers from the outlets as soon as the devices were charged. This challenge was supposed to help me reduce the wasted power my inactive chargers consume during a week.

This challenge was really a success. Depending on the charger, significant amounts of energy can be wasted by simply being plugged in for long periods of time. I found that unplugging the chargers was not a difficult task, and was one I could remember to do, until the point where unplugging all inactive devices became habit. I didn’t feel like this challenge was much of a challenge or a burden. Though, the ease of this challenge isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Earth Month Challenge is, to me, a way to show participants that there are multitudes of easy, inexpensive, and economical ways to reduce our personal energy footprint. I believe I have found such a way in this challenge. For this reason, I say that my week three was a success! I will continue to unplug and consciously recharge my computers and phones in the future. My only difficulty in this challenge was finding stretches of time where I was home and could remember to charge my phone and laptop while I was awake, as opposed to my usual practice of doing so whilst asleep. This dissipated, though,as the week progressed and I became more aware of how little my life is made easier by overnight charging.

Next week, I move on to the most physically difficult challenge I have committed to; I will be taking the stairs all the way down from the 10th floor of Morrill Tower each time I have to leave. Likewise, I will be climbing all the way up these stairs at least once daily. This practice will reduce the energy I use in taking the elevator by about half. I anticipate he most difficult aspect of this challenge will be floors 8 and 9. That is to say, I’m probably going to be at a loss for motivation by the time I climb up to floor 8. I also anticipate coming out of the final week of Earth Month with a more profound appreciation for the Morrill Tower elevators and the legwork that they save.

Earth Month – Week 2

For the second week of Earth Month, I challenged myself to use my bedroom light only in times of true need. This challenge was designed to both reduce my energy footprint and serve as a lesson in appreciation of modern comforts.

Originally, I had thought this challenge would not be difficult at all, as I only really ever enter my bedroom to go to sleep at night. At least, this is what I thought. I had to remind myself each time I passed through the threshold of my room that I was not to use the overhead light if at all possible; that I was instead to rely on whatever light came through from the ridiculous floodlights trained on the outside of the building, urban light pollution, and natural sunlight. I realized I enter and exit my bedroom far more often than I previously thought, which is just an interesting insight into my own lifestyle and habits. By the end of the week, all in all, I had decided that the challenge went well. I only used the lights a handful of times, after all. There were however a few lapses in my memory where I used the lights. To aid with this, I could put a piece of paper or tape over the light switch so that there is a physical barrier actively preventing me from forgetting and mindlessly flipping the switch on my way into the room.

Next week I will be adopting the practice of charging my electronics only when I am awake and around to monitor them. I hope to, in this way, reduce the amount of electricity I use in my day-to-day life, as well as prolong the health of my batteries (or, at least the batteries that are old enough to be ruined by overcharging). I anticipate this minor routine change will go smoothly. I look forward to being without my phone for a few hours every day, and likewise with my laptop.

Earth Month – Week 1

For my first challenge of Earth Month, I chose to take colder showers, as well as limit my time in the shower altogether. While I still took just as many showers as normal (because otherwise this week would have been a little gross and unhealthy), I did manage to cut down on the time I spent (and the water I spent) in the shower. I also managed to shower with water that got progressively colder with each passing day.

Last week was refreshing, to say the least. Cold showers are definitely a crisp, mildly uncomfortable way to wake up in the morning, which is a bonus for a tired engineering student. Through this challenge, I learned just how much my morning routine centered round warm water. It made me realize that with minimal effort, I could use significantly less energy than I normally do when showering. I thought deeply about how important it is to me that I have some slightly warmer water for a few minutes every morning, versus what the impact of getting that water is. I also learned that, while i used to take cold showers every morning in high school, getting back into the practice of cold showering is for more difficult than the transition to warm water was.

Next week, my challenge is to never once turn on my bedroom light, unless it is night outside and I absolutely need to see. The inspiration for this challenge comes from my ability to generally navigate my bedroom without anything more than ambient light. I want to see if I can go a whole week without using the light, just to see how necessary it is. I anticipate that I won’t notice a difference for a few days, but it will get more difficult as the week goes on. I anticipate coming out of next week with a deeper appreciation for indoor lighting.