In our third week of the semester, I wanted to highlight a story from one of our students last year. This past year, he started working at the Medical Heritage Center (MHC) as he continues his studies. His story, Scar: Souvenirs of the Soul, is a deeply personal story that I’m glad he felt able to share. While our course is focused on doing MHS research, we recognize that its original purpose as a vehicle for personal reflection what makes digital storytelling as a learning tool so powerful.
Thinking back to Autumn Semester 2014, I would have never expected my life to take such a series of twists and turns as it did during that term. I had just enrolled in my final semester as an undergraduate student at OSU and was prepared to graduate from a place that I had called home for a very long time, 2003 to be exact. And while the semester started out like every other, almost halfway in between things began to change, at first for the worse, but ultimately for the better…
In order for you to understand my plight, I must take a little step back, so you can fully comprehend the matter at hand. Late in the summer of 2014, I had the distinct displeasure of contracting West Nile Virus during a vacation to see my family in Georgia. While I enjoyed most of the trip, I ultimately ended up in the hospital afterwards, reeling from a series of complications, including that of vertigo, light sensitivity, and overall nausea. As the summer passed, many of these issues dissipated; however, midway through fall, a series of new complications began to develop. I recall the day when I woke up, nearly falling as I got out of bed. I was having trouble using my right arm and leg. Was it the 40 hour work week I was putting in? Or was it the full time class load that I was packing on top of everything? Or was I just simply tired from it all? While I didn’t know the answer, a network of neurologists did. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something I could easily sleep off and recover from. I would need time, more time than I initially was willing to give myself.
As much as I yearned to graduate from OSU during the fall, I knew it ultimately would not be possible considering the complications from the virus that I contracted. Walking was difficult, even with an ankle brace, so I had to choose between damaging muscle or changing my class load and postponing graduation. Of course, I chose the latter, which brought me to ASC2194: Digital Storytelling in the Medical Heritage Center.
Taking this class with Kristin and Brian was one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had here at The Ohio State University. Initially, I was interested in the class due to the medical aspect (as I plan to attend medical school and become a physician); however, after enrolling in the class I was amazed by the course’s ability to interweave research and personal narrative. I always wanted the ability to tell my story, and for people to understand exactly where I came from. Thanks to this class, I ultimately got that chance.
ASC 2194: Digital Storytelling in the Medical Heritage Center gave me the opportunity to not only learn about the MHC but also to learn about myself through the connections I researched. The selection of an artifact was something that I didn’t think I could connect with at first, but over time I learned that something as novel as an 19th century scarificator could take me back into the depths of my mind. I am forever thankful that I was able to tell the world how I made it to Ohio State in 2003 and how I ended up back home and able to stand here today, with my sights set on medical school in 2016 and a career in medicine for years to come. I will never forget the memories that I shared from the seven week journey of the course, as I made a number of new connections to not only my future profession but also to the experiences that surround my personal life.