Along with the ACES community, I am a part of two other communities: The Buckeyes First Student Organization and the Undergraduate Student Government. In those two communities, I had the opportunity to meet and converse with people of different races and cultures. These conversations have developed my character because it broadened my knowledge by exposing me to new ideas. Within USG, I am constantly collaborating with different people to create and develop projects that will possibly lead to change on the Ohio State University campus. I enjoy collaborating with a group of diverse people because I learn something new each day and I become more aware of the problems that are facing certain groups. In the future, I plan to participate in a study abroad program. I want to expand on my knowledge about different groups around the world and become more aware. Participating in a study abroad program will be beneficial to me because I will have a diverse class setting in the future and what I learn from the trips will help in the future. It also will be beneficial for me because I have the opportunity to study and learn about the different educational systems in some parts of the world, which will help me determine which system of teaching works best for the students.
During the 2020-2021 school year of the ACES program, I had the opportunity and pleasure to mentor Taylor Johnson. She is a Columbus native, however, she has decided to stay at home for the time being. At the start of the school year, Taylor entered OSU as a psychology major with aspirations to be a psychiatrist. However, Taylor had an epiphany and soon she would be switching to Neuroscience to become a Neurologist specialist. Beautiful how she was able to find a more passionate career during her first semester? Let me not get too ahead of myself, however, because that is one thing we had in common! It was a pleasure to speak and ‘virtually’ explore with Taylor because I see another young, smart, and beautiful Black woman who is going to succeed in life. Taylor and I have different career interests, however, our love for Black beauty and art is what kept this pair interesting. Also, our personalities are fairly the same in which we love to talk about what we are passionate about and we also get along well with those seemingly different. We love going with the vibe of the situation, and finding inner peace within ourselves. It is unfortunate, due to the virus, that I was not able to share in person experiences with Taylor. It would have made this mentorship pairing even better. And allowed for more opportunities to prosper and really understand each other.
Because of the constraints and limits with virtual mentoring and education, Taylor and I were unfortunately not able to form the type of relationship I wanted for us. Both of us, especially myself, were busy people during this online school year and the pandemic. It affected us greatly, and communication was scarce because of it. However, Taylor and I both knew that if we needed the other, it was only a text away. The moments we did briefly chat via Zoom and text, it felt endless because we each had something to add to the conversation! It was in those moments that I cherished and remembered how thankful I am for Taylor. She is an extraordinary woman and I enjoyed speaking with her. However, virtual is not the same as in person and I wish I got to create more bonding moments with Taylor. If none of this happened to the world, I would have taken Taylor out for dinner each week and regularly saw her during the week (since the both dorms were directly down the street from each other). Though, time is endless and we may have next school year to makeup for this school year. I do know that Taylor will have me (and vice versa) to contact if anything becomes tough as we both progress through college.
I believe both Taylor and I grew to be aware and successful with our academics. Because of everything being online the entire school year, both Taylor and I ran into trouble with managing time wisely. Especially with everything online and a lot of free time being available. However, since Taylor is a freshman and I am a sophomore, we both also understood that it was up to us to be on task and up to date with assignments. Taylor told me at the beginning that she had a plan to map out her assignments and do them accordingly, especially since college is different from high school. She had a plan, a few bumps in the road, but she came out on top overall. For myself, I knew what college was like yet online was an entirely new experience for everyone. I had trouble adjusting first and truly using my time wisely. However, as the months progressed, I slowly developed a plan and mindset to stay on top of my academics. Online education was frustrating for us all, but Taylor and I have adapted to it well. Therefore, transitioning from first to second semester was an easy and well needed growth for both of us. I feel that Taylor and I could conclude that we would be fine if online education continues. Transitioning from first to second semester was no problem for Taylor, especially since she switched majors. However, she switched to a more interesting and comfortable major. She will do amazing the remaining years of college and I am excited to witness her success!
Honestly, because of the current situation, I did not feel like much of a leader to Taylor. The constraints of online mentoring/education has put a block on the intended impact I wanted for this mentorship pairing. Do not get me wrong, this experience has made me fall back in love with being a mentor and offering words of encouragement. Getting to know and help a fellow Black woman was the only thing I loved about this mentorship program. Taylor and I both reiterated how terrible we are at communicating, but I wish I had done more to create more of those opportunities. I tried not to overbare Taylor, especially with her new major being Neuroscience and her focus being on succeeding. However, I knew Taylor did not need me much because she reflected my work ethic and personality; an independent woman who will get the job down no matter what. This experience has allowed me to connect and grow within my passion of helping and guiding others. I aspire to be a teacher and to make a change for the younger generation. I hope my voice and wisdom leads those down the road to success. This mentorship program has allowed me to grow a bit more in those areas, but improvements could have been made throughout. Nonetheless, Taylor and I were able to develop a good relationship that is reliant after this mentorship program.
I gave Taylor the best advice that I could for a freshman at The Ohio State University – advice I wish I had received. In terms of orientation, Taylor and I discussed a lot about what it is like to be a Black individual at a pwi (predominantly white institute). I offered words of advice to Taylor about finding homage in the Black community that is on campus. I explained to Taylor that she is not alone, especially within her major, and that is why I stressed with her to communicate with others like herself. Due to the pandemic and Taylor staying at home, I made it a point for her to be involved with a few organizations. Even if it is virtual, a relationship could be developed with other peers in her major, clubs, or scholar group! She needed to build those friendships to help her through college. She followed my advice and as the second semester approached, she is involved with two to three organizations now! She is making a tremendous impact in each and I am very proud of her. In terms of mentoring, Taylor and I were previous mentors and we both expressed our interest for that. I told Taylor that being a mentor was amazing, but I do not suggest it if it will be online. It is not the same as being in person, however, I am not sure if Taylor would have approached it as I did. However, mentoring is something that Taylor truly loves and I know for a fact she will be an amazing addition to whatever mentoring program she picks. A mentoring program has a lot of benefits, but I believe the main one is being able to help a younger peer. Being able to help someone set forth on a path of success is a wonderful thing. I knew Taylor already had it in her, but I believe guidance and encouragement meant a lot coming from a fellow Black woman. I reiterate with Taylor that we will be successful and we will be the change the world needs. I love the mentoring program because it gave me that opportunity to lead and provide in my own little way. Do I wish it was a different experience? Yes, but I can only be thankful for and cherish the experience I did have with Taylor. And may I say, it was a wonderful one that will blossom soon.
Since the beginning of the semester, I have been volunteering whenever I have free time in my schedule. Thus far, I have been mostly volunteering at the ACES food pantry and within another organization that I am a part of, for example, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Further, into the semester and next year, I plan to branch out and volunteer at different places. I am specifically looking to volunteer at different schools in Columbus. My goal is to further develop my teaching skills and volunteering at a local school will expose and help me achieve that goal. However, I enjoy volunteering at the food pantry and at different events with USG and plan to continue throughout my years at OSU.