Another Virtual Explore Columbus?

Due to the pandemic, Taylor and I were unfortunate with an in person exploration of Columbus this semester. Both of us decided not to return to campus for Spring semester. Thus, I held our explore Columbus assignment via Zoom again. Similar to last semester, I would have taken Taylor to two places in Columbus to better the understanding of each other and Columbus. Obviously, it was not the same as being in person. However, I believe this virtual experience allowed for us to still connect and soak in the beauty of Columbus. If anything, this limitation will make the in person experience ten times better when the world returns back to normal! I hope Taylor and I do get the opportunity in the future. 

The first place on the exploration list would have been Columbus’s Palace theater. The Palace theater is this majestic building, which provides numerous events for its audience. The specific event I had in mind dealt with string instruments, more specifically a symphony. Four years ago, I had the pleasure and opportunity to attend the Akron Symphony Orchestra. The experience was beautiful and one that I will never forget. I remember sitting in my seat and being so in love with the sounds of string instruments. I remember feeling the music resonate in the big room. I remember the beauty of it all. The Palace theater would have been perfect for us; Taylor and I both played the violin in middle school. I knew we both appreciated the art of playing string instruments. As I told Taylor, I believe everyone should experience the beauty of string instruments; it has a unique sound to it that I believe is the best.

The second place on the exploration list would have been Johnson’s Real Ice Cream shop in Bexley! First, who does not love dessert, especially around dinnertime? Secondly, I felt the night would have ended perfectly by snacking on some good ice cream! Especially around spring time when the weather is perfect for it. I have a HUGE love for ice cream and so does Taylor!! Taylor expressed to me that the shop was perfect and that she would have ordered strawberry ice cream (her favorite). This shop also serves lunch food, so this would have been a perfect place to snack at after enjoying a nice concerto! Although, I could not find a lunch menu for this location, however I am sure they would have the basic lunch menu (sandwiches, soup, chips, etc.) The shop is conveniently located as well because it is only a thirteen minute drive down the road! The night would have been perfect and it is unfortunate that Taylor and I could not experience it. 

Due to being at home, I unfortunately only had my laptop and google like last semester. We explored each website and looked at the different options they offered to the public. We also explored images to view people’s reactions or to see the place in more detail. It is unfortunate that this virus happened because Taylor and I would have had so much fun at these places. However, the internet resources came in handy to understand the atmosphere of both places. Again, Taylor and I decided to stay at home, so there is nothing new to report in terms of challenges exploring the campus/city. Though, if we were in person, I would have hoped that both Taylor and I have a better idea of Columbus, more specifically the campus. Especially with it being second semester, students in general should have a good understanding of Ohio State life and campus. I know for a fact I would have shown her more of the campus; Ohio State is both enormous and beautiful! 

Last semester, Taylor and I both expressed an understanding of being busy. We both came to an agreement that communication may be scarce, however, that would not take away from the fact that I will be here whenever she needs me. We both came to understand that our lives have priorities, and this mentorship pairing may not be in the top three spots (but it is definitely up there). Because Taylor and I are both quite busy this semester, I believe we mentally agreed that communication may not change compared to last semester. Taylor and I both are already two people who necessarily can go long without communication. Especially with everything online, it has added to that fact about each of us. Again, it is agreed upon that if she ever needs me, she can text, call, or however she pleases! I know I can do the same with her as well. But Taylpr understands that I am always here if she ever needs anything.


A New Year; A New Understanding of Mentorship Pair

   It is safe to say that Taylor Johnson did well last semester! I am very proud of her for staying on top of classes, especially during a pandemic. It was not easy, but she stayed focused and came out on top! I believe she got all A’s her first semester, or something close to straight A’s! That is a huge accomplishment, especially at a school as rigorous as The Ohio State University. I was happy to have learned that because she is Black excellence at its finest. Taylor did not do much over winter break! I do not blame her because we all needed to destress over a hectic semester-the one month went by so fast though. Also, there is a pandemic and I am hoping she did not get out much. No need to be out during a virus and winter season-terrible combination in my opinion. I was excited to see that Taylor is managing well, and to also hear her short-term changes and goals. During this brief interview, I did learn a few new things about Taylor- it adds more excitement to this mentor/mentee pairing! 

   First, I was curious to know more about her academic situation since she did so well last semester! I assisted in knowing whether or not she enjoys her major, and also if she developed successful study habits from last semester! The answers to these questions were shocking and interesting, however. I found out that Taylor switched her major from Psychology to Neuroscience! Taylor explained that she found Neuroscience to be more interesting and understanding to her. More details about the switch come later in the interview! However, she did note that her new major is more workload, but she does not let that slow down her interest and drive. She does not mind because she enjoys what she is learning within her new focus. Because of this switch, Taylor developed sufficient study habits to manage the major and course workload. She uses quizlets, specifically for vocabulary terms, to help study and digest information. Quizlet is an essential tool to use because it gives students various methods (flashcards, tests, games) to study the material. Also, because the topics, such as Biology and Chemistry, are dense, Taylor developed a method to separate pages for the readings based on the number of days before the reading is due-as to not be overwhelmed with all of the information! This is a smart idea, especially for topics like those and I applauded Taylor for carefully and consistently planning that out!

   In terms of involvement, Taylor was able to be involved with some organizations during her first semester! That is dedication in my opinion, especially during a virus. It was shocking because I know a lot of students slowed down on their organization involvement because of this overwhelming pandemic. I assumed a lot of first-year students would do the same; at least in their first semester of college to get a hang of college, and to the pandemic’s effects. However, Taylor does not only want to be subjected to Zoom meetings and homework; she wants to develop her knowledge and leadership skills. She wants to gain new experiences and friends while in college. I respect her for that and that is why I am very proud of her entire being. She joined Empowering Mentors, which is an organization dedicated to mentoring students at local schools. She also joined an organization called Mindversity, which speaks about closing the gap between students of color and topics of mental health. Very soon, she intends to apply to be a University Ambassador as well! I was very proud of how involved she has gotten on campus and I know it will benefit her greatly in the future. 

   I was curious to know how she was doing within ACES, especially on top of classes and other organizations. More specifically, I wanted to know and understand how she enjoyed ACES her first semester-during a pandemic and with everything being online. Taylor simply stated that ACES was “cool I guess”. She did not have much to speak on since time and interactions with ACES have been limited, unfortunately. I told Taylor that I understand because it is extremely difficult to be as involved when everything is computer-based. I let her know that ACES would have been ten times better if this pandemic never happened! Aside from that, Taylor did say that ACES is an excellent way to do service. It is an excellent way for her to accumulate service hours for both ACES and her new major. Taylor also said the ACES events that did occur were fun and informative, which I agree 100% with that statement! Kim and the leadership team, you guys are doing a good job! Keep up the good work and hopefully, things will be back to normal. From ACES, what surprised her the most was how diverse the group is in terms of majors. Taylor initially thought this organization would mostly consist of Education Majors. However, Taylor soon discovered that ACES has an array of majors and that events benefit those other majors as well. That is the unique thing about ACES and I love it!

   Going back to her switching majors, I had to know why it occurred in the first place! I also needed to know of her new career path because her new major is intriguing. I knew she enjoyed Neuroscience, however, I did not think she would pursue a career in it! I had a roommate (Julia), whose major was Neuroscience and I knew that took a toll on her. I was both happy and concerned for Taylor because of that. However, Julia managed it, so I know Taylor definitely can! Plus, it is not my place to question, but to be supportive and proud of her. Taylor’s reasoning for switching majors/careers made complete sense. She stated that Neuroscience was more interesting because she took a neuropsychology class in the first semester. Everything about the ideas and material interested Taylor more than regular Psychology. Also, Taylor made a brief comment that 80% of students get admitted to medical school-Taylor saw this major as an opportunity to accomplish that! Again, I am very proud of Taylor because I could not handle the stress of science…let alone NEUROSCIENCE. I know Taylor is a smart girl and I know she will do well in the future! I cannot wait to see her dreams come true and become Dr. Taylor!

   Lastly, I wanted to focus on her goals for this semester, especially since she switched majors. Taylor stated that she would need to learn and truly digest the material. She said that the MCAT is cumulative, thus she needs a good base to understand the material so she does not do terribly on the test! That is her number one goal for the semester; nothing else came to mind for her. I respect her goal because I understand how difficult the MCAT and how stressed people are with studying for it. I am happy she is taking this initiative so early in her college years-it goes to show how invested she is with her new major. Taylor already told me that she studies a lot throughout her day and even stays up late to do so! I know she will manifest her success very soon and I cannot wait to see her fully live it. Taylor is a special mentee, simply because I see myself a lot in both her personality and work ethic. I am happy to have gotten paired with her and to see her thrive in her Black excellence. I am excited for what the future holds for both of us; I will forever bask in the glory that we both will receive one day! 

   I tend to use this information to help Taylor along the way if she possibly needs it. I state it a lot, but Taylor is a smart and hardworking girl. Based on this new information, some future days will not be easy. However, I plan to provide advice and knowledge on how to manage all of that. I may not have the same major or organizations, but I understand the difficulty to manage all of those. I have no doubt in Taylor’s ability to manage all of that-but I will be here to pick her up and to guide her if times are rough. I believe Taylor and I both developed ways to manage online schooling that will help this semester. However, times are tough and times do change-I will make sure to be an attentive and supportive mentor during (hopefully) this last semester of online schooling.