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.