This year at Ohio State has been tumultuous at the very least. Many things about my life has changed, including where I live and how I choose to live there. Moving into a new environment forces you to make your own decisions, and these decisions often define what is important to you. These values are deeply rooted, and should reflect the very best qualities in yourself. Throughout this year as a student, I’ve learned more about what is important to me and what I value most.
Being a member of ENR scholars excited me from the start, but experiencing it made a difference in me. I truly enjoyed what we did as a group and the lessons we learn. I expected the program to be more like an environmental science class from the beginning, but I was quickly shown otherwise. Instead of a class, being a part of scholars was more like a club that everyone wanted to be a part of. We all shared the same values and beliefs about the natural environment. I believe that this encouraged me to take more steps towards my goal of reducing my environmental impact and living more honestly in the world (respective to nature).By this, I mean that I was forced to see the negative things that I was doing such as wasting water or not taking the time to do things as simple as recycling. Seeing this made it easier to change this aspect of my life. Since arriving at Ohio State, I’ve made some major changes in my effort to conserve the water and electricity that I use. I had made this change early, but I really began making large changes during and after the Earth Month Challenge. As a result, I am consuming fewer resources and hopefully reducing my footprint on the Earth.
I’m not completely done making changes concerning my lifestyle. As I said during my Earth Month Challenge culmination, I am more than willing to take on someone else’s challenge. I have been interested in seeing what other ways I could continue to make a difference in my life to help conserve or protect the environment. I haven’t ever considered going fully vegetarian or vegan, but I would be open to either reducing or eliminating meat-eating on certain days of the week or certain weeks of the month. I think that this would be more than enough to promote good habits and make a difference myself. I am willing to take on any other possible challenges that come my way and make a positive change.
Before coming to Ohio State, I did not have the same mindset that I do now in terms of taking on personal challenges that benefit the environment. To an extent, I would do positive things that support an environmentalist view, but never anything as drastic as testing my limits and potential change. This is a relatively recent change. I believe that the main reason I have never done this before is because I never really had to. Living at home, I mostly developed a routine as I grew up which did not alter from year to year. My energy use from one year to the next was probably very close to the same as any other time. Since moving to Ohio State and to Morrill Tower, I have noticed how easy it is to over use certain resources -especially water. It can be very easy after a long day to sit in the shower for a long time, leave water running when brushing teeth, or overuse it in other ways. This is mainly because of the lifestyle change, and because there is no observable negative reaction to doing this. I grew up in a house that valued conservation. If I had ever wasted power or water growing up, I would definitely hear about it later from my parents. I noticed how much I used at Morrill, and quickly started to change my bad habits. This was emphasized during my challenge month, and will more than likely continue when I move out.
This year at Ohio State was very important to me. The past year has shown me what kinds of things I value most and how I want to live when I am on my own. Just as importantly, being a member of the scholars program forced me to challenge myself beyond the academic sense. Making lifestyle changes are often very difficult, but knowing that the changes you make can produce real results in the world makes it easier to continue. I plan on continuing to make informed decisions when it comes to my habits that affect the environment.