For the past several months, I have been working with a team of peers to plan and implement multiple service projects with local agencies for Legacy Week through the Mount Leadership Society Scholars Program. For Legacy Week, we chose what we wanted to focus on and joined a team. I chose Team Environment. Our first service project was working with the Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) to pickup litter at Tuttle Park near campus. Despite the cold weather, my friends and I had a lot of fun cleaning up the environment and making a difference in our local community. Our second service project consisted of staining benches and picking up litter in the snow for the Scioto Audubon Columbus Metro Parks. Unfortunately, our third and last service project had to be rescheduled due to inclement weather, but we were supposed to remove honeysuckle for FLOW because it is an invasive species. Legacy Week definitely taught me a lot about leadership and I grew very close to my teammates over the course of the months we worked together. I’m excited to complete our last service project when the weather improves and I can’t wait to see what next year’s class of Mount will choose to work on.
This past weekend, I was lucky enough to participate in the annual first-year Mount Retreat. After interviewing Mount alums and talking to second-year Mounties and post-Mounts, I was excited to see what the retreat would hold for me. I heard many stories about how the retreat was everyone’s favorite memory from their first year in Mount and how they made some of their best and closest friends while on the retreat. Well, I can now say that the stories I’ve hear don’t do the retreat justice. Over the course of the two days, we did team bonding activities, nature hikes, and developed our leadership skills more. One of my favorite parts was when we went star gazing at night. I’ve never seen so many stars before. It was truly breathtaking. After the very first group activity, I already felt closer to everyone there. Secrets were shared and bonds were formed. I never realized how much relationships could develop in less than twenty-four hours, but now I know that Mount’s motto of “together for good” really means for good. We all made memories–and friendships–to last a lifetime. The entire experience was truly eye opening. I can’t wait to continue nurturing these relationships throughout the next four years and go on the second-year Mount retreat next year!
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This past semester has been one crazy rollercoaster ride with many up and many downs. When I first moved into Bowen House on August 16th, I never would have even imagined that this is where my path would take me. Like everyone else, I knew that many college freshmen struggle with the transition to college, but I never thought I’d be one of them. Of course, there’s no better way to learn than making a few mistakes and having to pick yourself up again. I’ll admit I made many mistakes my first semester at OSU. I didn’t study nearly as much as I should have, and I spread myself too thin in an attempt to make the most out of my time here.
Don’t get me wrong, the activities I was involved in were amazing. The Mount Leadership Society Scholars Program allowed me to volunteer at a variety of service events throughout the semester, and it played a vital role in introducing me to my friends and connecting me with health professionals in my field of study. I was also involved in other clubs on campus. One of the most notable ones is the Women in Surgery Empowerment Club. This club was started my first semester and it gave me the opportunity to meet other undergraduates who are just as passionate about helping others and becoming surgeons as I am. Through this club, I was also able to meet several women surgeons and medical students who are aspiring surgeons. These two organizations provided me with great experiences that I’ll never forget, and I hope to continue my journey with them.
As much as I enjoyed all of the amazing opportunities OSU has to offer, I wasn’t able to balance my personal life and my academics very well. That way of living just wasn’t sustainable for very long. I wasn’t getting enough sleep, I wasn’t eating a healthy diet, and I wasn’t doing what was best for my future. I focused on all of the wrong things and forgot the real reasons I came to Ohio State. Months had passed and I realized I was no longer happy with the path I was on, so I decided to make a change. I refocused my energy on doing what was best for me and reevaluated my priorities. I started by reaching out to the people in my life who cared about me and who I knew could help me get my life back on track. No one can get their life back together on their own, everyone needs help. In addition to seeking help from friends and family, I started making more healthy habits. I started eating healthier and going to the gym daily. I also started using a schedule planner, which was immensely helpful in keeping me accountable for setting aside study time. Thanksgiving Break gave me the rest I needed from school, and when I got back to campus I was reenergized and ready to start living a better life. After I got the hang of everything, I was finally back to where I wanted to be.
If there’s one thing I can’t stress enough, it’s that the people you hang around will greatly impact your life in many unexpected ways, so choose wisely. I started surrounding myself with a good group of friends who made sure I took care of myself and stayed on top of my studies. My roommate and I grew closer to each other, and now I can honestly say that she is one of the most important and positive influences in my life. And on top of all of that, I had started doing better on my exams and in all of my classes overall. Learning how to study was definitely a huge barrier, but once I got past that it was all uphill from there. I’ll admit things were pretty rough at the beginning of the year, but it’s never too late to turn things around. Everyone struggles. It just takes a little patience and a little time.
People say it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, and I agree. However, there’s nothing wrong with trying to make the journey a little more enjoyable for yourself. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that no matter how many times life knocks you down, you have to get back up again. Now I’m on a journey to where I want to be, and I couldn’t be more excited to see where this next semester takes me. Whatever struggles lie ahead, I know I have an amazing support group who will help me persist.
[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.
Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]
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This past Saturday, September 30, a large group of Mount Scholars spent the day volunteering at the Fall Harvest Jamboree. The event offered many activities for kids and their families such as apple archery, corn mazes, a tractor ride, etc. I was lucky enough to help with parking and horseback riding. While I had never helped park cars for such a large event before, I quickly learned that organization and spatial awareness were necessary skills because there was no parking lot with defined lines. The cars had to park in a grass field. It took some time, but with the help of others, we were able to figure out how to efficiently park all the families who visited. Horseback riding was a different challenge altogether. I had never worked closely with children before so I had to adapt to figure out how to talk to them to make sure they understood me and make them feel comfortable. The parents were trusting me to make sure their kids were safe while on the horses, and I couldn’t let them down. Whether it was making sure each child put on a helmet that fit correctly or making sure everyone knew how to mount and dismount a horse, communication was key in effectively helping people. Overall, the Fall Harvest Jamboree served as a great place to spend time in nature and develop new skills I never knew I needed. It’s been one of my favorite service events so far and I hope I can help out again next year!
Lan-Anh Doan is a first year student at The Ohio State University from Centerville, Ohio. She is currently majoring in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a minor in Bioethics. In high school, she devoted her time to a variety of activities such as Health Occupation Students of America, Diversity Council, and the Varsity Golf team. At OSU, she plans on continuing to stay involved around campus through organizations and clubs including the Mount Leadership Society Scholars program, Medlife, and the Vietnamese Student Association. She also hopes to participate in various volunteering and undergraduate research opportunities. In her free time, Lan-Anh enjoys playing golf, watching TED Talks, and exploring cities. After undergraduate school, she hopes to further her education at a medical school where she will expand her knowledge of cardiology.