Ever since I was a child I have always viewed myself as an individual. I saw myself as someone who had my own goals and aspirations, rather than living in someone else’s shadow. This view led me to try new things often and thoroughly engage with the community in which I lived; whether it was serving meals at a soup kitchen, volunteering with a therapeutic riding program, or serving as the president of my high school’s Animal Lover’s Club. From the time I started Kindergarten at a small Lutheran grade school, to attending a college-preparatory all girls’ Catholic high school, I have always been enthralled with learning and the knowledge it entails, without concern of other’s critique. Being at The Ohio State University is more than I could ever imagine, with its bountiful resources and outstanding programs. Four years from now I hope to see my name, Meredith Kitzel, on a diploma from The Ohio State University, and in another four years my name on a diploma from an accredited college of veterinary medicine. I am currently in my first year of undergrad, majoring in Animal Science, with the goal to become an equine vet.
Since I was young I had always loved animals, especially horses. When I was 8 years old I wanted to quit dance to ride horses, but it wasn’t until a full year later that I was able to convince my mom to let me trade my ballet shoes in for a pair of paddock boots. I have always been very committed to the things I find myself to be passionate about, and riding at that moment, 10 years ago to today, is one of them. I started riding at the age of 9 and have since competed through the intermediate level in the sport of eventing with my thoroughbred, Tex. Riding has taught me to accept failure, to be patient, and to become independent in many different ways throughout my young rider career. My goal is to successfully complete a CCI**, but I have currently not found the success I am striving for at the level. Roadblocks such as that, I view, are to test us and hopefully one day my hard work will finally pay off. I encounter these roadblocks in my day-to-day life, personally, socially, and academically in various forms.
In June of 2011, Tex, had emergency colic surgery here at Ohio State and simply experiencing his procedure and recovery set my mind on the goal to attend this world class university, to pursue a career in that field. Soon after Tex’s surgery I became more interested in STEM, through my desire to take more rigorous science and math courses in high school, and by getting a job at a small animal clinic in 2012, as well as an internship with an equine clinic during the summers of 2014 and 2015. Through my engagement of immersing myself more fully in the field of STEM, I have opened doors to explore my field of interest in veterinary medicine further, as well as my educational knowledge in the classroom.
When the opportunity to be a STEM EE scholar presented itself to me, I wanted the chance to develop connections with other students who share similar passions and to further my love for learning and STEM outside of the classroom. I enjoy collaboration with others to further enrich my own knowledge, as well as others. Often times I ask myself what I could do to better myself as well as others, and I feel like STEM is a valuable tool and resource to help me answer that question and learn more about the person I am and striving to become.
After taking the StrengthsFinder test, it was determined that my top five strengths are restorative, learner, individualization, responsibility, and discipline. By reading the descriptions of the strengths, it provided insight into how they may relate and be working in my life in regards to academics and future goals. These strengths are important tools to be able to utilize and can be a helpful resource to tap into.
My top strength was restorative, which indicates that I am good at dealing with problems and figuring out what is going wrong, in order to find a solution. In my current life, this strength plays a big role in helping me to deal with issues at hand whether it be figuring out how to best balance schoolwork and extracurricular activities or simply figuring out why my laptop is not working properly that day. Academically, I use this strength to identify why I may not be doing well in a class and as a result, develop a plan of how to raise my grades. This may include identifying study skills I have successfully used in the past or new study skills that I have been exposed to during my time here at Ohio State. Knowing that this is a specific strength of mine helps me to stay on track and always reflect on the work I have done and how I can better improve for next time. It helps support my goal of being a veterinarian because I know if I make a mistake, I will do everything I can to learn from it, to improve and make sure it is not made again. This, as a result, will help me find success and will help me to achieve my career goal by always working to fix my flaws and to learn from my mistakes.
The next strength that was identified for me was learner. As a learner, I have a strong desire to learn and always want to improve. This is very relatable for me, and in my current life I see this playing a role in my academic life especially. I always want to understand topics we are learning about completely and enjoy the feeling of finally being able to comprehend a difficult concept. Academically, I tend to focus on the things I know, and don’t know and how I can better help myself tackle those concepts that I struggle comprehending. Having the strength of being a learner supports my future goal to become a vet by helping me to focus on my weaknesses in order to improve them and I will utilize this strength in order to find academic success for vet school.
My third strength was identified to be individualization. This means that I am interested in the unique qualities of each person and have the ability to understand how different people can work together productively. In my current life, I am able to apply this strength when I am trying to understand relationships between certain people whether it is between two friends or a friend and me personally, in order to develop and maintain healthy relationships. Also, I use this in my current personal life to reflect on how to perform a skill to a higher degree of precision the next time I attempt it. Academically this can be useful in order to personally gain insights into my problem areas in order to not make the same mistakes. This can be related to and supports my future goals by helping me to perfect my abilities in order to do well academically in order to get into vet school and complete it successfully. This will help me achieve my professional goals, by helping me to be to be personable and work well with clients in my profession, as I am able to identify the best way to interact with various kinds of people.
Responsibility was the fourth strength that was identified for me as a result of the StrengthsFinder assessment. Having the strength of responsibility means that I take ownership for my actions and stay committed to my values related to loyalty and honesty. In my current life, I am mature and for the most part always follow through on what I said I would do. If I don’t I usually have the tendency to be upset with myself. Academically, being responsible helps me to stay on top of my work and to make sure I am prepared for any tests or quizzes. Being responsible helps to support my future goals by helping me to lay a foundation for what I need to do in order to accomplish the goals I have set out for myself to achieve. I can utilize my strength of responsibility in order to achieve my personal and professional goals, since I am dependable and can use my tendency to plan in order to organize what needs to be done and how to do it, without compromising my values. This will be useful in helping me to become a veterinarian, in order to provide the best care I can without losing sight of my values.
The last strength that was identified is discipline. This strength is described as enjoying routine and structure. Currently, this strength can be identified in my life when I am doing homework or am working to balance multiple activities. I regulate my time and create a structured schedule to follow in order to accomplish all of my goals. Academically, I am able to use the strength of discipline to complete all of my assignments on time and to be prepared for class, which stems from my reliance on familiar patterns to complete my work. Knowing my strength of discipline helps me to work to achieve my future goals by imposing structure on certain aspects of my life in order to meet deadlines, which will help me achieve better results that will help me get into vet school. Utilizing my strength of discipline to achieve my future goals helps to set an organized plan of action for me to follow in order to accomplish the task at hand successfully.
Overall, my five strengths summarized a very accurate representation of my characteristics that are useful assets in my life. They all tied together, and often overlapped in certain aspects such as organization and determination to learn from mistakes. These strengths are very important to my character and have a direct relationship with the successes I encounter related to those strengths.