From a younger age, I was inspired by a mentor who spoke about the choices we would make in our lifetime and how each of those will alter some facet of our life. He also instilled in me the belief that every choice is in my own hands; that I am accountable for my decisions and the successes or failures that follow. I’ve reflected upon these lessons throughout the school year, especially in times where I face a difficult decision. Each choice would lead to a change in my life, anywhere from a miniscule detail to a completely different outlook on my future. This year has brought plenty of obstacles, but I believe I have grown from overcoming them and made a few everlasting memories along the way.
Living differently over the course of the past year has come in two forms: physically and mentally. The obvious changes being moving onto campus, having roommates, adjusting sleep schedules, and never having a home cooked meal. These all have combined to give me the “college experience” people dream of. I was blessed with wonderful roommates that became a close friend group for me. Before this year, I avoided friendships with girls as best I could because it is rare to find one that has a similar personality. Second semester, by total chance, I received an additional roommate that could not have come at a better time. My best friend that had been attending Ohio State transferred after first semester and I was down about being the lonely freshman once again. Rachel entered my life and has become one of the closest friends I’ve ever had. She truly changed my outlook on friendship and as well as religion. She still hasn’t accomplished her spiritual goal for me, but I have become much more open to the topic of religion and her and I worked together to have thoughtful conversation on the matter. I have chosen to live differently through making unexpected friendships and having conversations even where opinions differ.
The largest choice I’ve made about my lifestyle is in the way I view myself. Leaving high school, I felt like everything had come together for me and my life was at its peak. I came into college a bit unprepared for the environment change. I was previously coddled and praised by teachers and then thrown into college where it seemed the only supporter I had was myself. Especially after my best friend transferred mid-semester, I felt lonely and undervalued. Reflecting on my values, I knew that I could not let myself settle for these unpleasant thoughts. I became heavily involved with the band program and joined an honorary band fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi. This group completed service for the bands, something that has always had a spot in my heart. I made connections through KKPsi, and it opened a door for me to be hired on the staff of the Ohio State University Marching Band. Through this fraternity, I met numerous people, including my best friend to this day. Every person you allow into your life will impact it in their own way. Zack pushed me to be vulnerable, a skill I do not possess. I was reluctant at first, but I realized that having someone that cared was what I had been desiring.
Through the experience of the Environment and Natural Resources Scholars, I have chosen to live differently in ways that significantly impact the environment. I learned about proper recycling and tried to eliminate as much waste as possible. I have completed service that helped beautify our Earth and remove pollutants. The Earth Month Challenge set up four weeks of limiting waste and reducing toxins in my life. These choices have made me more aware of how I’m living and how my actions can directly impact the health of myself and my habitat.
While the previous choices have been positive, I faced plenty of challenges through the school year. I did not receive a high enough grade to remain in my neuroscience major after first semester, I did not get placed as a resident advisor for next school year, and I’ve had relationship troubles. Another belief I hold is that with every missed opportunity, comes an even greater one. You can let the defeat define you, or you can see what is now possible and strive for the highest. Leaving my major made me realize a passion I had that I never considered as a career because I was so determined on neuroscience. Without the time commitment of resident advisor, I was able to interview and get hired on the staff of the marching band. The end of a relationship allowed me to focus on me for once and reevaluate my values in a partner. The greatest choice to impact my life has been this sense of resilience and positivity. This year has tested my mental strength and I’ve proven I can handle anything life has in store.