It was the last week of our winter break in January 2019 when me and two of my friends, Vianna and Laura decided to go out and explore Kenny Center that is located near campus. We decided to go out on this day as it will be the last time we will get to enjoy ourselves and also because Laura was just released from the hospital, so we decided to take her out. In Kenny Center, there are various stores and restaurants that were geared towards Japanese culture, and we took a huge interest in looking at the different foods and gifts that were displayed in each shop.
We stopped at one store called J.Avenue, which is a store that mainly sells gifts and stationary from Japan. As we were looking around, I had stopped upon the earring section and saw that there was a wide array of assorted earrings that were of unique shapes and designs. Laura came over and we started comparing the different styles of earrings with each other and after a while, we decided on a pair that I had assumed was going to be for her.
We went back to the car to decide our next destination when she handed me a small paper bag with the earrings we had chosen. She had written a small note on the bag which had told me that these earrings were not chosen for her, but for me instead as a late Christmas present. I felt guilty that she was buying something for me when the purpose of the whole day out was mainly to celebrate her release from the hospital. Because of this, we all in the end treated each other to different items from the stores we visited as our late Christmas presents to each other to commemorate this relaxing day out.
During early Summer 2018, I participated in the annual local Columbus Asian Festival along with my group of friends. This festival showcases a variety of cultures and different performing arts associated with some of these cultures. Me and my friends had decided to participate in this and I was honestly very nervous as well as excited. After my surgery in 2017, I had never participated in any activities that would strain my back until we made this decision in Spring of 2018. Me and my friends have a huge interest in Kpop (Korean Pop Music) and there were certain songs that had amazing choreography that we had wanted to learn. Although we have an interest in this genre of music, we have never actually danced much to these songs, making this our first big public performance. Our practices caught the attention of our coordinator of the place we volunteer for and after a brief discussion, we decided to perform at the Asian Festival showcasing Korean Pop Music, which has been an increasing trend that has spread throughout the whole world.
After weeks of practice, we finally reached the day of the performance and we were all nervous performing in front of such a big crowd. But once we hit the stage, we all let the adrenaline take over and just had lots of fun. We performed twice and after our last performance, we felt great satisfaction after seeing how we managed to pull through this event without any issues. I bought this little toy puppy from the festival as a memory of everyone’s hard work in allowing this to happen and also as commemoration of our first big public performance with many more to come.
While I am wrapping up my second year here at Ohio State, I was able to engage in service opportunities through my Scholars group and also through my own efforts. From fulfilling these service opportunities, I am able to serve my community and learn more about the diverse society in which we live in. Participating in these service opportunities has allowed me to learn about the different types of roles that other people in our community would normally take on. While there is only so much we as university students can do, each service opportunity that we take on is rewarding for both us and those that we serve. I’ve learned that there is no task that is too big and there is never a task that will be considered not beneficial. Every time a service event is completed, I would always go home with the hope that my small contribution would have some sort of impact on those I have served.
Through my volunteering experience, I continue to develop my leadership skills that I can use throughout my educational and professional career. I volunteer for a youth program that runs throughout the year, but I devote most of my time volunteering during the summer time. There is a six hour long summer program that consists of more kids that are usually present during the school year and this requires more staff and volunteers to be present to help organize and facilitate activities.
I am part of the teens that help facilitate the program and if necessary, run my own group of kids. We often have an uneven staff to camper ratio and when this occurs, it often requires teens to help step in and take charge of our own group of children for different activities. I’ve done this multiple times whenever we are short of staff and I feel comfortable and confident in doing so. There have also been times when there are a few of the younger teens who don’t feel as confident in leading groups, and I accompany them in their groups so that they can adjust to this role.
Through these opportunities, I feel that I am able to continue developing my leadership skills so that they may be useful in a professional setting. I also use opportunities in my classes to develop my leadership skills through the forms of group projects or group presentations. Through such opportunities, I work alongside my peers as we work together towards the same goal and accomplish our tasks as efficiently as possible through teamwork.
During my autumn semester of my second year at Ohio State, I took a class called Abnormal Psychology. Originally, I thought of this class as nothing more but another class to fill a General Education requirement. However, as I progressed through the class, I had learned about many different psychological disorders that I had only heard of and even had the opportunity to do compose an essay about a disorder (or a category of disorders) of my choosing: Eating Disorders.
My paper required me to utilize all the information that I had learned in the class as well as conduct my own research with the university library database. Upon completing this assignment, I realized that the minority population (referring to those in the psychological disorder category) are often stigmatized by the public, and the main reason for this stigmatization occurring is due to the fact that people are often under the influence of “unconscious bias”, having preexisting thoughts and attitudes towards individuals with psychological disorders.
I realized that in our community, this issue is also present with other individuals as well, whether they are part of a minority group or not. There is a large amount of people who face stigmatization for even the littlest things and as a result, this often sparks debates within our communities that can even be a national issue. Such stigmatization and bias can easily be eradicated if everyone at least does a little bit of research about the topic of debate and understand the other party before making their claims. Unsupported claims often hurts others even though the person stating these claims did not mean any harm, and I believe that if everyone understands a little bit about each other first, then this issue can easily be fixed.
Wrapping up my first semester here, I had overcome many academic obstacles which were unknown to me before. Even though my schedule is currently filled with General Education classes, there is a great amount of pressure that I deal with as I make an attempt to obtain the grades needed to remain in good academic standing. My Microeconomics class has allowed me to test my skills as a critical thinker and has allowed me to have a glimpse of what the Business major looks like as I make my decision in applying for the college and deciding on a specialization. Though I don’t plan on pursuing Economics as my major, I do plan to utilize all the knowledge I’ve gained from this class and apply it to the real-world situations that I handle in the future, whether it correlates to the business world or not. Everything I have learned thus far has been very intuitive and all the different applications that are reviewed in the class have been very useful in reinforcing all the information that has been taught. Upon completion of this course, I believe I would have some of the most essential pieces of information in aiding me along my path to the business world.
I had first started taking Advanced Placement classes during my junior year in high school, and one of the most memorable classes out of the four that I have taken is my AP Chemistry class. This class was the first class in which I had experienced a great amount of stress but was also the first class in which I have put a tremendous amount of effort into. My class had a maximum of thirteen students, which had also allowed us to grow closer to each other through the various lab experiments and activities that we conducted. By the end of the second semester, we were all very close to one another and had discovered at least one interesting thing about each other. One of my artistic friends had drawn all of us in our typical classroom setting and the final result was a comedic drawing which surprisingly captured all of our unique personalities and habits during class, which also included my instructor going along with our classroom antics. This class has been very memorable for me as it had allowed me to grow closer to people whom I never thought I would interact with throughout high school and allowed me to see that even the most strenuous classes can have some very rewarding moments. I left this class not only with scientific knowledge but also with very wonderful memories.
Over the course of my high school career and my first semester in college, I have become even more aware of the different situations and backgrounds that people come from and that the people I interact with all have their own unique stories which make them who they are today. My closest friends, some whom I’ve known since childhood, and some whom I’ve grown close to over a couple years, have all experienced very difficult challenges throughout their lives, and as they mature, they grow stronger each day and become more appreciative of what they have. I can never come close enough to fully understanding each one of their stories and the pain they have all felt before, but I do understand that every single one of my friends is working hard in their own ways to provide for their own daily needs while keeping their families safe. Through my volunteering experience, I have met students who are struggling with the same hardships that my friends had gone through and seeing these kids who are only in elementary school show up to our program each day with a smile on their face without mentioning their personal issues had made me realize that our younger generations are starting to become stronger as they face challenges that usually involve teenagers or adults.
In the early summer of 2017, I had made the decision to get a spinal fusion surgery, which was a topic that I had debated on for 4 years. I had discovered that I had scoliosis when I was in 8th grade through a routine school check-up, and throughout my high school years, I had received physical therapy and a brace to prevent my condition from worsening, but unfortunately, it had gotten to the point where it would be beneficial for me to undergo surgery. While I was awaiting my big day, I had gone through a lot of mixed emotions, fear being a major one, but that was quickly cast aside when I had received the most caring response from my friends after breaking the last minute news to them. Tears had filled everyone’s eyes before I even had the chance to cry, but they quickly gave me encouragement and promised that they would always be thinking of me and would wait for my recovery. I walked into the hospital with smiles and when I woke up afterward, I couldn’t even remember why I had been worried. The surgery was successful and a day later, my friends had filled up my hospital room. Ever since that special day, I had realized that I had the support of the people that I don’t see every day, because of the bond that we had with one another and within our group, we would all be ready to support one another through the toughest times. I am glad to know that I have these amazing people in my life by my side.
I am Stephanie Huynh, and I am a part of the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars’ Program at the Ohio State University. I am currently enrolled in the Fisher College of Business specializing in Marketing. I am very cooperative with my peers and I have the drive to complete all my tasks efficiently, which I believe is not only vital to the career path I wish to take, but also towards being successful in life. With my ambition set, I hope that I can make the most of my college education as a first-generation student and accomplish everything that my parents weren’t given the opportunity to.
While I lack the proper support from my parents, I have a positive support system that I can rely on in my most troubling times that is comprised of all my friends that I have met throughout my life. I noticed that I have a tendency to hold myself back from placing my troubles on others as much as possible mainly because I believe achieving my dreams will be the most fulfilling if I can reach them with my own strengths. My biggest aim in life after college is to be able to support and give back to those that I have relied on the most and take on the role of being able to provide the proper support in return.