Throughout this past year, I have been involved in a project I set up that was aimed towards offering service to those who suffer from dementia/Alzheimer’s disease. For this project, I spent most of my time constructing blankets, called “busy blankets”, which I am donating to the dementia unit at the nursing home where I work. These blankets are sort of like quilts that have activities built into them — zippers, buttons, different fabrics/textures, picture holders, beads, and so on. The purpose of these blankets is to provide tactile relief to patients who constantly fidget and have a need to keep busy or moving. In addition to constructing these blankets basically from scratch with the help of my mother, I have also volunteered on weekends in the dementia unit at a nursing home here in Columbus with the student organization Buckeyes Against Alzheimer’s. While patients who suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s do not remember like they used to, it is important that we as a community remember and appreciate them, their experiences, and what they have to offer us.
Pictured above are coffee beans. The coffee bean is representative not only of my appreciation and frequent consumption of coffee, but also of an assignment I received in high school requiring me to write a ten-page research paper that would account for a very large portion of our final grade in the class. With a lot already on my plate at the time, the assignment seemed very daunting and stressful. Luckily, my teacher allowed us students to choose the topic of our papers; I chose to write about the health benefits of coffee.
I am including the coffee bean and the experience of writing the paper that accompanies it because the assignment taught me much more than just how coffee can be beneficial. The thing I learned from the assignment that proved most significant is that I must try to pursue my true interests. Because I enjoy coffee and found my research on the subject very interesting, my paper turned out to actually be sixteen pages and is the piece of work of which I am most proud.
While it is true that I spent many long hours working on that piece and put in a huge amount of work, I know that I would not have executed half as well if I had been working on a piece centered around something I did not enjoy. The paper is also a reminder that hard work and dedication pay off as well. Researching and writing my piece required sacrifices but the end result proved to me that I need to take my work seriously and try to be the best I can so that when I continue on with school and enter the work force later in life I will be able to apply those skills and achieve my dreams.
The artifact pictured above is a wooden duck. Though it may seem somewhat odd, wooden ducks hold a strong significance towards my life and values. Although I am not sure why, my dad’s favorite animal is the duck. For this reason, my mother allowed him to decorate our family room, the room we spend the most time together in, with a duck theme which features a variety of wooden ducks such as the one pictured above. Additionally, my father also has his work offices adorned with ducks. For this reason, to me wooden ducks represent love, family, and dedication.
Despite the contrasting views of decor between my parents, the dedication of my mother to my father’s appreciation of ducks taught me to take the little things in life easy and focus on what really matters, in this case spending time together and appreciating each other’s company. Additionally, the ducks have always reminded me of the importance to embrace the things I care about.
Since I now spend the majority of my time away from home, having my own wooden duck is a constant reminder that my family is always near, just as my father’s ducks in his work office denote that we are always with him when he is busy at the office. I am very proud of the family I come from and keep my duck on my desk as a reminder to work hard and make my family proud.
I have been raised and attended school in a very conservative, Catholic environment. When I came to Columbus for college, I was emerged in a completely different atmosphere. Since I am going to enter the health field as a profession, I think it is necessary that I attempt to understand others and do what I can to be culturally competent. For this reason, one Saturday a friend and I decided to go out to a gay bar, Axis, despite my own heterosexual orientation. At first I felt out of my league, but very quickly into our arrival I started to have a blast and talked to all sorts of fun people. We even got free glow sticks and neon face paintings from drag queens! In the end I had a great night and got to experience something I never would have had the chance to see back home. Since my time here in Columbus at Ohio State, I have grown to understand on a much deeper and sincere level that some people just live a very different lifestyle than me and what I am used to seeing. I would definitely go back to Axis and would take even more friends with me next time!
Pictured above is Water Lilies by Mark Tansey. I include this picture because it reminds me of my recent trip to the Columbus Museum of Art, a place I had previously never been. On a Friday night this past semester, I went to the museum with some friends to see what art it had to offer. The only art museum I had been to before was the Dayton Art Museum but it was set for a specific exhibit rather than a variety of works so I was unsure of what to expect. Additionally, I am not well-trained in art at all so I felt a little out of my comfort zone. During our time at the museum, I felt like I was walking through a different time and place each time I entered a new room. The museum had art that could please all types of people and even offered stations that allowed viewers to write out their own interpretations of certain works. I had a great time viewing all the pieces the museum had on display and even felt a closer connection to Columbus after I left. I encourage others to visit the museum and would not mind going again, especially just to see my favorite piece which I mentioned above.
Growing up in a German/Irish/French household, meat has always been a large part of my diet. There are no vegetarians or vegans whatsoever on either side of my family and I never met any until a year or two ago. Now I am friends with three and spending time with them has taught me that protein really does not need to come from meat. In an effort to embrace their lifestyle for a meal one night, I decided to have a chipotle black bean burger at King Avenue 5. Surprisingly, the patty was much tastier than I expected and filled my craving for a burger. I would recommend this restaurant and dish to my friends!