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.