Both necklaces are very important to me, but the gray moonstone pendant is something that reminds me of home. I’m very close with my grandmother, and she gave me the silver chain which holds the pendant. The pendant itself is one I got at a store in Lakewood, my hometown, called Lion and Blue. The day I bought it was when I was getting ready to leave for Ohio State. I walked to Lion and Blue on an early August day, and the sky clouded over as I walked and it began to pour. I didn’t mind, though. It smelled sweet as I walked and I was cooled down by the rain. Once I walked into the store, I saw friends and acquaintances old and new, all laughing and talking to one another. The store clerks were chatting with the customers and their children, playing games with the children and reading storybooks to them. There was a certain feeling of happiness, contentedness, and community in the air that I realized I was going to miss from Lakewood. Although Lakewood has 55,000 people, it somehow feels like the perfect mix between a suburb and a city. People are always walking down the street, talking and laughing with one another, but there’s a quaintness and quietness that always falls over the town at night. Every day this necklace reminds me of how grateful I am for Lakewood and the childhood it gave me.
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One of the most influential, impactful times of my life so far was the spring break of my senior year of high school. I was fortunate enough to visit Ecuador with my school; we went to Quito, Otavalo, and the Galapagos Islands. This trip was incredibly humbling, reminding me of the beauty in the world around us and to avoid allowing the mundaneness of trivial, everyday tasks to prevent me from seeing this beauty and wonder in everything I do. It might sound cliche, but the Galapagos Islands is the only place I have ever seen animals and humans live in harmony; animals are not scared of humans, and humans share their space and belongings with the other beings on the islands.
I remember one night, we were staying at a hostel on Isabela Island and the power went out. Everyone flooded outside, laughing and making a show out of the power outage. Our tour guide said something that stuck with me: “Things are different here than in America,” he said, “the reason you feel one with nature is because we make sacrifices to coexist with the natural world. We realize that that might mean the power goes out, or that things cannot be on that tight of a schedule. If we didn’t share the land, though, we wouldn’t see 80% of what we see here now.” This moment is the first that comes to mind when I think about my trip to the Galapagos; I remember realizing that everything is connected in a unique way, and to experience a true love for the world around us, we need to realize the importance of every being and express gratitude for every single molecule, every single animate and inanimate piece of matter. This trip is what solidified the fact that I want to use biochemistry to go into environmental science, and focus on the small details of environmental issues.
My name is Emily Erhardt; I was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio, a western suburb of Cleveland. As a product of being raised in a family of researchers and doctors, I currently intend on majoring in Biochemistry and hope to somehow fuse this field with Environmental Science. Although I plan on majoring in a STEM field, I have always had a deep appreciation for the humanities, specifically music and English. I have found solace in playing piano for over thirteen years, and flute for around eight years.