As an executive board member of Buckeye Food Alliance, I am proud of the growth we have seen through these crazy times. During the fiscal year 2019, BFA had 576 visits, and in the fiscal year 2020 BFA had about 2,522 visits. This fiscal year, BFA is on pace to have around 5,000 visits! Seeing these numbers rise is very inspiring; especially given the circumstances that so many college students are currently going through. I am excited to be a part of this growing organization and to have helped in the growth this year. So many of our policies have changed because of the pandemic, so my role looks a little different than it would have without COVID-19. We are not allowed to have non-executive board volunteers so each of the board members has had to take a larger role in counting inventory, stocking shelves, substantial cleaning, etc. Additionally, no one is allowed to touch the food except us. This means customers have to look at a menu and tell us what they want and we go into the pantry and get it for them. This is much more time-consuming than our pre-COVID-19 policies which were simply checking each person into PantryTrak and allowing them to shop for themselves. This all has taken time away from the bigger marketing tasks I would have likely had as assistant director of marketing, but that is alright given the experiences I have been able to gain. Because we are much more social with our customers due to the new policies, I have gotten to see smiles on faces as I bring food out, and hear much more often how much BFA means to people. Additionally, I have been able to practice marketing by promoting our info session in September and helping run our social media platforms. I also am enjoyed helping read applications from future executive board members and look forward to helping with the interview process. These experiences will help me so much in the future as I have seen how much of a role personal interaction and marketing both play in optometric practices.
I am using my ePortfolio as a way for people to get to know me outside of looking at my resume, social media, etc. My ePortfolio includes some of the highlights that I have had/will have during my undergraduate education. These highlights include things like the Buck-I-Serv trip I went on or the impact Buckeye Food Alliance has had on my professional skills. My hope for my ePortfolio in the future is for professionals to be able to get a glimpse into my undergraduate experience, as well as who I am on a more personal level than, again, my resume or social media accounts. This will allow them to better understand my interests, goals, and experiences.
This summer I have been working in an optometrist’s office in my hometown. The entire experience has been amazing. I have been able to learn how to take eye pressures, visual fields, fundus photos, OCTs, etc. Also, I have helped read out prescriptions, pick out glasses for customers, answer the phone, work on projects assigned by the doctor, and so much more. Dr. Fornara has really enabled me to learn from this summer rather than just work. Every time he gets a chance he calls me into the room to look through the slit-lamp and explain what I am seeing. After a patient leaves, he will really dive into the nitty-gritty details with me and I have learned so much. I have been able to see foreign body removals, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataract, cortical spokes, arcus senilis, etc. However, I saw something that really took my passion for optometry to a new level.
Our technician left for vacation today which means today was the first day I did the pre-testing for every patient throughout the day. Them, the last patient of the day comes in with a RFV of blurriness in his left eye that has become really bad in the past week. Once I got to the visual acuity he sees 20/20 minus 1 OD and then says he cannot see the 20/20, 20/25, or 20/30 lines OS. I go up step by step until he makes a letter out–this line was 20/400. I have never seen such a dramatic difference between eyes, personally, and when I test the near acuity he cannot make out the highest line on the card with his left eye (20/200). After taking a pressure that was typical and dilating him, I leave the room and tell Dr. Fornara everything going on. After examination, Dr. Fornara tells the gentleman that he has a retinal detachment that extends into his macula. We referred him to a retinal specialist for surgery.
This encounter alone has me so ready to go to optometry school I just about cannot stand it! This field is so incredible and diagnosing things like a retinal detachment is what gets me excited about becoming an optometrist. While that patient may never see well out of his left eye, at least he might not be blind in that eye after surgery. I love this field and cannot wait to continue learning about it.
My first year has been something to remember. I finished with a 3.94 GPA and was able to establish myself in many organizations. I am a welcome leader for the incoming freshman in Biological Sciences Scholars, and I am the assistant director of marketing for Buckeye Food Alliance. I went on a Buck-I-Serv trip in Lafayette, Louisiana which was so much fun and a great leadership/service experience. Most memorable perhaps, I was sent home after my trip to finish the semester online. While not a preferred way of learning for me, I made it work the best I could given the circumstances. My heart goes out to all who sacrificed more than I did to fight this virus. Those on the front lines of this time should be celebrated for their actions. This upcoming semester should be very interesting as COVID-19 continues to impact the world and Ohio State.
Wow, what a trip! Over Spring break this semester I was able to go to Lafayette, Louisiana and serve for Habitat for Humanity (H4H). As a group of 12, we helped in two different houses that are toward the end of the building process. We were able to help lay flooring in one house, paint exterior portions of both houses, pint and install trim pieces, and paint doors that go throughout the houses. I was able to be part of a group that volunteered 348 hours and I do not believe anyone would say a single hour felt like “work.” The staff was full of amazing people who made everything fun while teaching skills effectively and providing plenty of independence to allow each person to feel they, personally, were contributing. I was able to learn how to lay flooring, true techniques of painting, and the process a house from H4H goes through to get to families in need. Outside of volunteering our group got to eat authentic Louisiana cuisine including homemade seafood gumbo at a Lousinana native’s house! Additionally, we were able to tour Lafayette which I did not realize how special of a city it was. It was not a big city/beach city, yet I enjoyed it so much that I eventually want to go back and visit the area. The group of people in the Buck-I-Serv group were all so amazing. We had only truly met each other on a Saturday, and by the next Saturday, we were family. In fact, we stopp at Skyline in Cincinnati on the wa back to Columbus, and when our waitress was asked how long she thought our group had known each other she guessed, “at least a year.” Overall, I will be participating in future BuckiServ trips because the experience was unlike anything I’ve ever done. Between the community built between our group and the staff and the skills learned Buck-I-Serv trips are well worth the time and money. I cannot wait for my next trip!
Today, I completed R.E.A.C.H Training, and I am so happy that I did. Due to the training, I feel better prepared if I ever have to have a conversation with someone who I believe may be trying to complete suicide. I was taught how to go about asking a person if they have considered suicide and then how to respond appropriately. Additionally, I am more aware of the warning signs and will hopefully be able to help to pick up on the warnings better now than I would have before. One main statistic that I learned and that really stood out was that 47,000 people complete suicide per year. The surprising part, however, was that the average number of suicides per day is therefore 129 and was compared to if a plane crashed every single day. This analogy blew my mind because to think about the news coverage a plane crash has in comparison to the people who take their own lives each day is astonishing. Overall, it was a great opportunity and I am glad to now have an idea of what to do if I ever have to be in a situation where someone wants to take their own life.
Over the 2019 Christmas break, I was able to shadow at two different optometry practices; both for four hours. I really enjoyed my time shadowing because I reestablished my interest in the field of optometry. I had shadowed one time in high school, also for four hours, but was able to get so much more out of this shadowing experience. Some things I learned about during the experience were gas permeable and scleral contact lenses, and arcus senilis. Some things I was able to see hands-on were dry eyes, cataracts, and the optic nerve. Lastly, things that I noticed between different practices were ways to test pressure, when in the exam dilatation drops can be put in, and different ways to test the patient’s peripheral vision. This experience has reassured me that I am on the right track for the right profession for me, and I look forward to experiencing further opportunities in the field.
Tonight, I was able to attend the Buckeye Food Alliance Advisory Meeting as a member of the Buckeye Food Alliance (BFA) executive board. The Advisory board is made up of one Ohio State University Student Wellness employee, the two founders of BFA, and a board of trustees with ranging occupations. The meeting gave me a feel of the type of meetings seen on television shows when CEO’s meet to talk about their company! Also, I was able to experience a presentation given by four students who are pursuing their MBAs. The graduate students were presenting about an amazing project that they were working on for BFA which consisted of creating an improved inventory tracking system. The experience as a whole gave me a new perspective on businesses, non-profit organizations, and student organizations all-in-one! I believe this experience will help me when I am in formal, business situations as the occasion would no longer be a new experience. Likewise, it will give me a boost of confidence when speaking to very important people in organizations because I was able to observe how they talk to each other as well as the body language that is common in those situations.
This semester has forced me to grow both academically and personally. I have been challenged academically more in the past 3 months than ever before. With so much freedom here at college, time management becomes tremendously more important than in high school. Thankfully, I feel that I am very good at managing my time between the clubs I have joined, the friends I have met, and my academic studies. Personally, a skill that I may not have completely had a grasp on before was conversing with people I have never met before. Coming to college, everyone was someone I had never met before. Interpersonal connection is a skill that I have quickly developed in the past few months, and it will only continue to develop further. This has been a great semester so far, and I cannot wait to continue to experience everything I can from The Ohio State University!