So far, I have done all of the actions except use a reusable bag. I honestly do not shop that much. When I did go shopping, though, I only bought two things so I just carried them. In hindsight, I should have added ‘buying in bulk’ to my list of actions. However, at the time, I forgot that I would have access to a Costco. My mom and I are going grocery shopping this week, so I am going to have a good time explaining to her why I do not eat individually-wrapped NutriGrain bars now (she may die a little inside). I have learned that it is not as hard as it seems to adjust my lifestyle in order to better the environment. I definitely recognize that I lived a very privileged life, so it was easy for me to make these changes whereas in someone else’s case, it could be hard for them to purchase reusable utensils and use those instead of plastic. I am very grateful that it is easy for me to make these changes, and I hope to someday help others be able to do the same. Finally, here is a photo of me using my world-renowned reusable straw:
- Don’t use plastic straws!! If you are really attached to straws and need them, invest in reusable straws. There are several good options on Amazon.
- Bring reusable bags when you go shopping. A lot of shops have started incentives for customers that bring their own bags, so it is a win-win situation.
- Recycle correctly!!! Recycling, in theory, is amazing. However, when people recycle contaminated items, it can ruin the whole batch.
- Say no to plastic utensils and to-go boxes. Bring your own utensils!! Use a reusable container! Use a reusable coffee cup! Sure, the workers may give you an annoyed look, but I am sure they will be thanking you once our world is SAVED.
- Buy things in bulk! This will be cheaper in the long run, and there is a LOT less waste involved. Individually packaged items are the enemy.
- REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES. Water is a necessity to live. Yes. However, nobody ever said that you need to drink it from a plastic water bottle. Go to the dollar store, get yourself a nice reusable water bottle, and you’ll most likely never have to pay for water again. Mic drop.
- Avoid plastic lighters! Use matches as much as possible. Think of all the little plastic lighters you have thrown away in just your lifetime. Then, multiply that by about 7 billion. Not cool.
- Make your own juice. I know it’s really easy to buy your own bottle of Naked, and it tastes good, I know. But it’s time that we all channel our inner Rachel Ray and break out that blender we forgot we had.
- Avoid the Ziploc baggies! I know it feels really good to pack your own lunch because it honestly makes you feel like you have your whole life together, but listen. None of that matters if you have to throw away a useless plastic baggie at the end of that amazing lunch. Put your sandwich in a reusable minions* Tupperware container, for all I care. Just avoid the baggies! *Minions are my least favorite, so the fact that I am advising someone to purchase one of their products is almost iconic.
- Stop chewing gum. Honestly, who wants to chew on something that is basically flavored rubber? I’m not saying by any means that you shouldn’t freshen your breath, just saying that maybe your alternative could be mints.
For my Month of Action, I am going to:
- not use plastic straws or utensils
- bring reusable bags when I shop
- Avoid plastic lighters
- stop chewing gum
- use reusable water bottle
In addition to these actions, I am going to do my part in educating Morrill Tower about the risks of plastic and how residents can lower their impact on the planet. I work as an OA and I feel that this provides a very unique opportunity to let my voice be heard in the residence hall community.
I could definitely face some challenges this month. I am a very forgetful person and I ALWAYS forget to bring a reusable bag with me to shop. To combat this, I am going to set a reminder on my phone that will always be there so I remember to bring a bag when I shop. Another challenge I will face is my irrational fear of matches. I hate them. I don’t get them. However, I will be home for spring break so I know that I will be lighting candles at least once a day. I will have to swallow my distaste of matches and become close to them. You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
I hope that during this Month of Action, I learn to integrate these actions into my daily lifestyle. I also hope to learn how to become more confident in telling people good ways to reduce their ecological footprint. I want to be able to practice what I preach.
Plastic waste is a huge issue because people use single-use plastic every day. The root cause of this issue is that we live in a world where ease is prioritized over the environment. If someone is in a rush on their way to work, why would they make their own sandwich for lunch when they can stop at a gas station on the way and pick up an already made sandwich? Why would someone go out of their way to bring silverware that they have to wash later when there are disposable spoons and forks right at their fingertips? The majority of the world’s population is not seeing gyres of plastic gather up on coastlines or in the ocean, so it is easy to forget that it is such a problem. I think one of the greatest challenges is that once your life is easy, it is hard to have incentive to make your life more difficult. The plastic issue greatly impacts the Ohio State community. Ohio State claims to be a “zero-waste campus”, however, a lot of the recycled items end up being thrown away due to 10% contamination. If one item in a bunch of recyclables is contaminated, typically the whole batch is thrown away. There are organizations on campus working toward a better fate for these disposed items. For example, there is Students for Recycling. However, I do not feel that my mission aligns with theirs. I completely agree that OSU needs to do a better job of actually recycling things. I also think, though, that the bigger problem is how much access to single-use plastics OSU provides. If I go down to the Morrill C-Store there is a disposer of plastic utensils. There is no limit to how many spoons, forks, or knives I could get. I could potentially be set for life if I took enough. I watched a Ted Talk on this issue given by Dianna Cohen entitled “Tough truths about plastic pollution”. This talk is definitely biased considering that Cohen is a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Being a part of this organization would definitely influence Cohen’s outlook on plastic use/waste. Cohen’s talk was very eye-opening to me because she said that we can clean gyres over and over and over again, but it really won’t matter until we stop the root of the problem: plastic waste. If you continue to use single-use plastics, gyres will continue to exist in our oceans.
I have chosen plastic waste as my issue to explore. I selected this because in my junior year of high school I took an IB Environmental class and we went to a landfill and I just remember being so disgusted by seeing so many things that did not need to be there. Straws, plastic utensils, water bottles, etc. This was so profound for me because while I may not care that much about a landfill, I could not help but think how much of this was going to the ocean. I have loved the ocean since I was old enough to know what it was. I find the vastness of oceans and the mystery of them so appealing. After I came home from the landfill, I looked up how much plastic was in the ocean. 90%. 90% of the trash in the ocean is plastic. I considered focusing on solely straws, but I feel that plastic, in the big picture, is the main issue. While exploring this issue, I may find challenges. For example, a lot of the time when you go out to eat or get something to-go, restaurants automatically include a straw or they use plastic utensils. I think the challenge there would be me having to be that person that asks the workers to go out of their way in order for me to reach my goal. I think that since I have worked in food before I realize just how annoying one small thing can make your job, and I hate to be the inconvenience. However, I feel like I will be able to get over this anxiety and if the server is too upset I can just explain how plastic is killing our Earth.
My favorite experience from this project was definitely the Roosevelt because even though it wasn’t my first time there it was so cool experiencing it with someone new. I learned that Columbus has something for everyone and most of it can be reached via public transportation. I want to explore the neighborhoods of Columbus and more of the coffee shops. I went to Kafe Kerouac during this and forgot to take a photo, but I loved it there. To someone endeavoring in this project, I would recommend planning ahead and not be nervous to invite people to go places with you. It can be hard reaching out to people sometimes, but it really will be worth it in the end because you get to share a new adventure together, and that’s pretty amazing.
The Columbus Zoo Wildlights. I try go to zoo lights every year, but typically I go to Cincinnati because I am from Dayton and they are closer. I love the zoo lights. When you are walking around surrounded by lights and animals drinking a hot chocolate, everything just seems right. I have to be honest, I think I prefer Cincinnati’s lights just because they are what I know and I think of my parents when I think of them, but Columbus was a close second. I think the only few downsides are that it is always super crowded and there are so many children on leashes. But I won’t get into that. I think the best part of this experience is that I got to go for free and I splurged for the souvenir cup for my hot chocolate because #sustainable. I learned that Doug walks very aggressively through crowds. I would definitely go back and recommend to a friend.
The Roosevelt Coffeehouse. I love the Roosevelt. Before OSU, I made it a point to come here every time I was in Columbus. I love what they stand for and I love knowing that me buying a coffee is making a difference. When I went on this day, however, I decided to get their new apple cider. Big mistake. It kind of burned my throat, but I was not about to back on a $4 purchase. I think this is a great place to talk, study, or just chill out at in general. As I am writing this, I want to go back. I would definitely go back and bring all of my friends.
Ah, the Olentangy Trail. It is so nice to have a trail right outside of Morrill. If I am ever stressed or just need to be outside, it’s such a nice place to go. My favorite part of it is probably how close it is, and how hard it is to get lost on it. I lack a sense of direction. It is kind of sad. I would definitely recommend it to a friend, especially one that enjoys being outside.
The Scioto Mile. I just have one question. What is up with all of the deer!!! The poses of them are so funny. Also, there are so many spiders on the bridge. I splashed around in the water and I felt like I was in one of the Step Up movies. I think this is a really cool way to see downtown and I would definitely come back. I loved the lights.
Right now, in my career exploration process, I am in the self-assessment phase. I think that this process is so difficult for me right now because I would be happy doing a lot of things. I could see myself as a teacher or as a lobbyist or even as a social worker, so I think that’s hard because they are similar but really different. I learned in this workshop that I am very social and would thrive the most working with people. I believe I had an idea of that, but this solidified it for me. The code I got was SIA, social, investigative and artistic. O*Net recommends a lot of things for my code, but what stuck out the most for me was the amount of teaching jobs, political scientist and sociologist.
I do not necessarily have a current path right now, as I am between two majors: Environmental Policy and Decision Making and Middle School Education. I have struggled a lot this first semester with choosing one of them, and as I schedule classes for the spring semester I realize that I still haven’t chosen. I know everyone says I don’t have to know what I want to do yet, but I just don’t think that applies since the two are so different. If someone chose my major for me, and I found a job within that, I would honestly be happy with that. I think the thing that makes me so unhappy and unsettled with college is the amount of choices I have to make. I always feel like I am choosing one thing or the other, when I would like to have it all.
The RIASEC assessment will once again take me back to the drawing board to figure out what I want to do, because now I realize that I have even more options. Usually I would say that my next step would be to avoid the problem until I am under pressure, but I feel like I have so many resources here that I don’t want to go to waste. I will take as many neutral classes as I can to see if they spark any interest, and apply for internships, and probably annoy Trish to no end in Kottman 210 so I can figure out what I want to do. Honestly, I think both Esther and Amanda’a jobs are so amazing, but I feel like there’s no way to apply for that.
For this semester, I have chosen the ‘build your own’ list, because I fear commitment. I am really looking forward to getting to know Columbus, and the COTA, because I have zero sense of direction and it is honestly hard to watch myself try to get around. With that being said, I hope to get a better sense of my surroundings, and I hope to get to know some of my ENR pals better.
The first place I got to check off was Fox in the Snow! Maddy and I went on a greyish day, but that didn’t stop us from having a grand ole time. We took the COTA and got a little lost when it got to the whole walking part, but we made it and that’s all that matters. The day we went to the coffee shop, I, for some ungodly reason, decided that I was going to try to start drinking my coffee black. So, I ordered an iced coffee as so and a blueberry danish. In order to finish the coffee bean water, as I like to call it, I had to take a bite of the danish and then sip the coffee. Lesson learned.
Maddy and I had a very nice conversation, though and I was so glad we got to hang out. We didn’t run out of things to talk about, and then we ended up seeing Doug. But that’s a story for another time. I would definitely recommend Fox in the Snow to a friend, it has very nice vibes and the natural lighting is phenomenal. Also, the plant collection was amazing!
I learned a lot from Tatum during our lunch. We have talked on other occasions besides today and I kind of get the feeling that my freshman experience is a little similar to hers. I think that the transition has been really rough and I just find myself missing things that I am familiar with a lot more than I thought I would. Also, I went into school very confident with my major, but now I find myself questioning what I even want to do. Tatum and I talked a lot about how she felt like this too. She went into her freshman year as an animal science major hoping to be a vet. However, as she took more classes pertaining to her major, she began to wonder if it was what she really wanted to do (especially after taking Chem). When I asked her about places she liked to study, she mentioned the Morrill C-Store which I found funny because I study there ALL THE TIME.
I have found it really hard to balance involvement with school this semester and Tatum told me that that was completely normal and that her first semester she was only really involved with ENR. I found this to be reassuring because I thought that I wasn’t doing enough even being in two clubs outside of ENR. She also told me that getting involved helped her realize that she didn’t want to do what she had planned on doing. I am really relieved to go to a school that has so many clubs to get involved with, so I can find more things that I am interested in.
When we talked about ENR scholars, Tatum really suggested that I should get as involved as possible and take advantage of the opportunities it offers. She also told me that a lot of the second years didn’t realize they would miss living together as much as they do now, and I find that interesting because I feel like a lot of us have already talked about next year getting sad thinking about not being with each other every second of the day. (#MorrilRoundTwo?) She also said to utilize Esther and Amanda as resources because they are very understanding and also have a lot of connections that are very helpful.
Tatum is really set on going to grad school, which I cannot really relate to as of now because it doesn’t sound very appealing to me. I understand why people love grad school, but I just haven’t looked into it a lot yet. She wants to be a clinical psychologist for adolescents because she says she understands that teenagers go through a lot of hard times and their voices aren’t always heard, and on top of that, teens are fun to talk to.
When I asked her for tips, she told me that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes and to remember the reason that I am here. I think it’s hard to get lost in the “college experience” misconception because I always feel like I should be having the time of my life. It was refreshing to hear that I don’t have to have it all together right now.
My top five strengths on the VIA test were curiosity, fairness, gratitude, humor and kindness.
Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.
Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.
Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.
Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.
I think the order of these is fairly accurate, although I did not think that curiosity would be as high as it is. I feel like I use kindness quite a bit in my daily life to try to make other’s happier. I try to remember as much as I can about people so they know that I am genuinely listening to what they have to say, and I feel like that can go a long way. I kind of wish Love had been higher on my list, even though it was number eight. All the things I do, I do out of love so I thought it would be higher. My favorite strength is probably humor or kindness, I don’t really like to pick favorites, but those two made me the happiest to read. In fact, my photo below is meant to be a depiction of my humor, that’s about as good as it gets.
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