I interviewed Nikita Ashcherkin who is a medical student at the University of Toledo. He told me a lot about his story and the process of getting into medical school, as well as what life is like in medical school. Nikita is from Russia and he moved to the United States when he was 11. He felt that this set him apart from other applicants because he was able to write all about this in his personal statement. He strongly emphasized to do service and other activities that I am truly passionate about so that I am able to talk extensively about them in a personal statement or interview. Nikita also gave me a lot of great advice and little tips about studying for the MCAT and finding the right school for me. We talked a lot about the difference between DO and MD. I am strongly considering the DO path and it was interesting to here his perspective. He applied to DO schools as well as MD schools and had a lot to say about both. Nikita was super helpful and talked to me for almost 2 hours. He even followed up by sending me some information about opportunities that I mentioned I was interested in. It was really great to here someone else’s perspective and their experiences. Nikita gave me a lot of great advice that will definitely help me moving forward.
During my second year at Ohio State I got involved with volunteering as a BASICS Facilitator at the Student Wellness Center. BASICS stands for Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students and it is a program for Ohio State students who want to explore their alcohol use, but a program geared towards educating them on the harmful consequences of heavy drinking. BASICS focuses on risk reduction and prevention methods for alcohol related problems. It is composed of two one-on-one, 1 hour sessions usually over the course of two weeks. This program is not abstinence based and everything is completely confidential. Most of the students that are sent to BASICS had an offense in the dorms or have to fulfill a court order. We do however, see some self-referrals. I do sessions every Monday and Wednesday from 12-1. I have 21 hours actually in session, 6 hours of monthly meetings, 8 hours of shadowing sessions, and 10 hours of preparing and studying for the actual sessions. I have done 44 hours total of service this year in the Wellness Center. I plan to continue with BASICS. I really love this program because I meet people from all different walks of life. I am also very passionate about providing education about alcohol. Alcohol is so prevalent in our society, especially on a college campus and it is extremely underestimated.
For this part of my project I went to eat indian food with some of my friends at Mughal Darbar. It was a new experience for me and a lot of my friends. We ordered a bunch of food for the whole table to share. My favorite was the naan! I really enjoyed eating new food with some of my great Health Science Scholars friends.
I have changed so much this year. College has shaped me into a new young adult. This past summer I was still living at home and I had no idea what college or life as an adult really entailed. The amount of things I have learned this year at college is endless. I honestly thought I would have so much time on my hands because I wasn’t working or playing any sports. However, between Health Science Scholars, volunteering at the James, a hard school schedule, and everything else college throws at you, I had barley enough time to breath. I never pulled an all nighter until this year. I also learned to really appreciate caffeine. I am very appreciative for Health Science Scholars. It has brought me some of my closest friends. I am living with a bunch of Health Science scholars next year. I did however, expect more medical exposure. Although I enjoyed all the information about public health, I would have liked more information on other topics. I also would love to go on a retreat like other scholar’s programs. I hope next year I can narrow down my interests and be dedicated to things that I most enjoy. I want to take on the step program as well as go on another Buckiserv trip. I also want to pursue experiences within disability studies. Lastly, I hope that our new coordinator will bring new things to the table. Someone with a science background will be a good addition to the Health Science Scholars Program.
During the second semester of my first year here at Ohio State, I was introduced to Recreation Unlimited, a camp for people with various physical and mental disabilities. My RA has worked there for about five years, and one weekend he suggested that I come with him and volunteer. I did not have much experience working with special needs so I did not know what to expect. By the second day at camp I fell in love. After the weekend was over, I did not want to leave. I was hooked and I volunteered another weekend. After my second weekend there they offered me a job as a camp counselor for this summer. I just finished my training and now I am a camp counselor at Recreation Unlimited. It is awesome because I am able to provide personal care and see the medical side of many of these disabilities as well as form personal bonds with many of my campers. This experience has significantly changed my life. I have met so many incredible people and I have found a new love. I want to continue working with people with disabilities. Working here has also inspired me to take sign language for my foreign language credit because we use baby sign with a lot of the campers to communicate. I am also interested in the Nisonger Center at Ohio State. The Nisonger Center is an autism center. Hopefully I can volunteer or do some research there. Recreation Unlimited has showed me a new a new passion.
The strategic life plan has shaped how I view my college career. I explore new things however I always keep in mind what is most important to me. The little activities that I did while following my strategic life plan has helped me keep up with my overall goal. School can be very overwhelming and very consuming, but taking time to complete a resume, taking to faculty, or interviewing an upperclassman has given me a better understanding to the bigger picture. I absolutely love what I am doing here at Ohio State and I wouldn’t want to change anything. I have a plan B but I know if I work hard I can do whatever I put my mind to. I am still learning how to balance my time but I keep a detailed planner and I always try to make time for myself and friends. It can be really hard to do these things when you are so consumed with school but it is so important to stay connected with friends, family and the community. I have also learned how important reaching out to faculty and upperclassmen. There are so many resources and opportunities here, however it is your job to go looking for them. The biggest thing I have learned here at Ohio State is that hard work pays off and to do the things you love. It is not worth anyone’s time to do something that you have no interest in pursuing. As I approach the next semester and the rest of my time here at Ohio State I want to keep the big picture in the back of my mind.