My STEP Project: Australia and New Zealand Leadership

Hmm where do I even begin? This trip was the trip of a lifetime. 22 others and I explored the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand and the adventures Australia had to offer. We hiked, kayaked, bused, boated, snorkled, hiked again (and again and again), and more for 23 days. Not to mention, every day, two people were “Leaders of the Day” and they had to guide our group to the finish of that day’s journey by working together and fine-tuning their leadership skills.

This trip transformed me in more ways than one, and this aspect honestly surprised me the most. Never did I think I would become so close to a group of people I had only met a month before. Never did I think that the beauty of nature would bring tears to my eyes. Never did I think I would go bungy jumping AND sky diving. But, those are all events that happened, and I am exponentially grateful. My eyes are now open to the possibilities in the world around me. I have the ability to take on so much and accomplish whatever I put my mind to.

I have always been shy, I tend to struggle to make new friends because of this fact. When I signed up for this trip, I feared with all of my heart the the people alongside me would just carry-on and forget I existed, while I watched from the outside. I mean, this has been happening my whole life, so I am quite used to it after all. But, that was Never the case. Everyone was so warm and open to making friends that I felt included from the beginning. I never realized that making friends should be easy and fun. This makes me think that all my life I have been trying to befriend the wrong people. I’ll keep this lesson close to my heart in the future.

Secondly, I love our earth and everything she has to offer. But, I have never been so moved by her beauty that I have actually cried. Well, the Doubtful Sound in New Zealand changed that. When the heavy reality of all that surrounds us hit me, I lost it. I will always remember this moment and now will try to appreciate the beauty of nature every single day.

And lastly, I learned I have some grit. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would go bungy jumping off of a bridge in freezing temperatures or skydiving at 5 a.m. to have a 360 degree sunrise surrounding me as a plummeted to earth. But, I did. I did because I was terrified, but I sucked it up. I saw everyone around me so excited for these events, so I decided to throw away my nerves and be excited, too. I know now, I can do anything I put my mind to, and I can so it with a smile on my face.

My ultimate life goal is to be happy. Just genuinely, truly, and utterly happy. On this trip, I felt that happiness. Happiness without constraints. The joy wasn’t just from being in Australia and New Zealand, it was from discovering that life is what you make it. Who says I can’t be friends with people who make me laugh until my ribs ache? Who says I have to sit at a desk and work before I can enjoy life for what it is? Who says I can’t seek adrenaline on a random Tuesday afternoon. Basically, my transformation was from someone constantly waiting for life to bring her a smile into someone who will actively seek out that joy every single day. Life is wasted if you spend it dreaming of the “what ifs.” Now, I’m going to turns those dreams into reality.



G.O.A.L.S: Academic Enrichment

This year, I participated in S.T.E.P, or the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program. I was very fortunate to have an amazing adviser for my specific cohort. She helped me develop my project from a dream into reality–and now in less than a month I am flying to Australia and New Zealand. She also happens to be the head of the Psychology department at OSU. Lucky enough for me, my minor is developmental psychology. After I disclosed this to her, she was so excited to talk to me about it. We talked for half an hour about my future plans, why I chose my major and minor, and more. I told her that I had always found psychology interesting but my major, Health Sciences, was more in line with my career path of physical therapy. But, minoring in developmental psychology could help me understand and connect with my patients on a more personal level. She agreed with me, gave me tips on how to succeed in my classes now, and in the future. I am so thankful to have been matched with her by chance through S.T.E.P. Now, I feel confident that I have a staff member I can turn to if I ever am seeking help.


For my 2nd year service project, I was a part of Pan PALS through OSU. PALS stands far Peers Advancing Literacy in Students. In this program, we get partnered up with a child from a school in Columbus City School District. The idea is to help improve the writing and literacy of the kids. These children in low income schools face challenges to learn every day. With our help, we try and develop a personal connection with our partner while helping them learn to write a letter at the same time.

This experience was very fun for me, yet also a bit challenging. I loved taking an hour out of my week and writing to Josh, my pen pal, and reading what he had to say back to me. We talked about our families, friends, pets, hopes and dreams, favorite foods and movies, you name it. Josh was a fourth grader but I could hardly make out what he wrote most of the time. By the end of the year, his handwriting had improved and he finally began formatting his letters more correctly. That was really rewarding to get to witness first hand. Unfortunately, Josh was unable to visit OSU on the day when the other children came because he had behavioral issues. So, I never got to meet him in person. But that is okay. I still loved the letters and had an amazing time this year. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll meet in person? The world is very unpredictable, or at least that’s what I believe. Josh knows this, I told him in a letter one time.

I can only hope I brought a little smile to his face every week, like he did mine.

Service Reflection

For the spring 2017 semester, I volunteered in the S.M.A.R.T. Lab, a service through the Student Wellness Center. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Stress Management and Resiliency Training.

The SMART lab is a service for students feeling stressed about school, home, everyday life or anything you can imagine to come in and learn how to breathe to lower stress levels basically. Signing up for the Semester of Service program I didn’t really know what to expect except that I would be learning about mental health, a topic I am passionate about. I thought the SMART lab sounded intriguing, so I signed up for that as my service site. I never thought the whole program would be able to teach me how to manage my own stress better, become more of a leader and allow me to develop organizational skills as I balance volunteering with school, a job and other commitments. All in all the smart lab has been so fun to be a part of, to watch clients come in an sit in awe as they physically watch their “coherence levels” rise right in front of their eyes. Getting a hang of the technology and procedure we use has definitely been the trickiest part, but I feel I have come a long way. Everyone who I have encountered has been so nice and supportive of the smart lab, as it is a brand new service so there are still some bumps along the way. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

I have been able to learn so much about mental health through this program. Mental health is an aspect of society that many people do not want to address and I find that so disheartening. Currently I am majoring in Health Sciences and I am pre-physical therapy. However, I have definitely considered a career in the social aspect of health as a second option. Social work as of right now sits as my backup plan. I would love especially to help children who may not receive all the resources or support they need. As of right now though, I plan to continue volunteering with a site advocating for mental health awareness.

The SMART lab created a way for me to interact first hand with people dealing with stress affecting their everyday lives. I thought that was so beneficial because it opened my eyes to how most people in society deal with a great amount of stress in their lives but keep it hidden away. By talking to some people, I was able to learn that there are all kinds of different stressors and ways people cope with stress. This eye opening experience has already allowed me to help some of my friends and family take care of their stress levels, whether it be just talking to them or recommending professional help. The Smart lab is brand new this year, and there are still revisions being made to the procedure and maintenance operations. But all in all, it’s going very smoothly I personally believe. In the lab, I was in charge of running the Facebook page to create a platform on social media and running the lab and seeing clients with Maria on Mondays.

I plan to continue volunteering the mental health field throughout college to gain more and more knowledge to help more and more people. Hopefully as I continue to volunteering with mental health I will be able to gain more leadership responsibilities.

Upper Classman Interview

I interviewed my RA Ren Kuzmanovich. Ren is a third year Biology major and Spanish minor. She is a member of Health Sciences Scholars. She is currently premed and is going to take the MCAT on June 16th. She is doing something different and researching farm life this summer and highly encourages getting involved in research. Fun facts about Ren: she loved participating in BuckeyeThon and loves Syndey, Australia. She also finds PT interesting–this is the field I plan on going into. Overall, we both plan on entering the health care field and are passionate about it. She has continually given me and others good advice throughout the school year on how to be successful in college and our future careers.

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “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: 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.]


The sections of the strategic life plan have helped me map out my Ohio State career. I was able to find a major—Health Sciences—that I strongly believe will suit my desired career: physical therapy. However, I did find a backup plan in case I change my mind. For my second career option, I decided I could major in psychology and become a clinical psychologist. The OSU campus has many resources that helped me come to my conclusion, such as the various shadowing opportunities and helpful information online. While academics are my main focus in college, I still have to stay healthy. In order to remain physically stable I always eat three meals a day and try to workout at least three times a week. I also have extracurricular activities I am a part of, including MedLife and Pre PT/OT Club. I find time to attend as many events as I can by completing my schoolwork throughout the day. Luckily, I can socialize with my friends during study or breaks. I believe that if I can continue to balance everything as I have been doing, I will be able to stick to all my commitments. Faculty members and upperclassman can be vital resources when on campus and thinking about my future. Professors will aid students having trouble understanding material. Upperclassman serve as role models, showing that us underclassman will survive even if we fail one midterm. I have already learned in three short months that relationships are an extremely important part of college. All in all, I would like to continue growing through knowledge and experiences in my future at Ohio State. I do not want to completely rid myself of the old me, but I want to be an extension—someone bigger, better and stronger than before.


Without my parents, I would never have been able to get to college let alone my dream college OSU to pursue a great career.


Although I was afraid I would have trouble making new friends, I managed to find these amazing people to take on the grueling life of science majors with me.


Ultimately, my goal is to become a physical therapist, the reason I am here.ph2010081806979


[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation is a reflective description of the artifact that attempts to communicate its significance.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]