A Day in the Life

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When I was young, I remember going to work on special days with my father at the Cleveland Clinic, a tertiary care hospital.  We would walk down the long, narrow, white halls and I would watch him as we sat down in giant office chairs overlooking blinding computer screens.  The brisk, sterile scent of the hospital and its busy environment was very unique to me.  Ever since then, I’ve always considered getting my very own white coat like my father.

For my senior project in high school, I decided to observe Dr. Shannon Phillips in the pediatric ward of the Cleveland Clinic for four weeks. I was exposed to a variety of inpatients, the intensive care unit, the operating room, and the academic world of medicine.  I quickly became accustomed to going on rounds with the residents, meeting new patients, and learning about new diseases as each case was presented to the rest of the medical team.  I was certainly learned a lot of new terminology and observed a wide variety of different methods to help people.  I was exposed to people who actually had very unique and severe diseases and nearly all of them displayed very obvious symptoms of their disorders.  Because of the number and breadth of illnesses present at such a facility, I soon became able to apply my knowledge from previous cases, thereby reinforcing my understanding of the pediatric medical field.

Perhaps the most interesting case I came across involved a teenage girl who was admitted for a tumor located in her brainstem (the part of the brain that connects the brain to the spinal cord and is responsible for basic survival needs such as breathing, level of alertness, regulating heart rate, etc.).  In order to determine the type of cells in the mass, it was necessary for the doctors to take a sample of the fluid bathing the brain and spinal cord.  The problem in this particular case was that the mass was located in a rather inconvenient spot that cannot be readily sampled directly by surgical means without risking damage to vital functions in the girl’s brain.  Alternatively, the doctors could even hurt the child by sampling the fluid because of the critical location of the mass.  This case was a real challenge.  The girl was eventually released because there was nothing the hospital could immediately do to help her.   After consulting the family, they pursued a conservative approach and elected to wait to see how the tumor evolved over time and work from there.

I could not stop thinking about this girl.  I became obsessed with looking at MRI scans, the electronic medical charts, and reading about different methods to help her.  I really was amazed that there was nothing that anyone could do to get rid of her tumor.  I couldn’t help but feel empathy for her and her parents.

This single case really opened my eyes and exposed me to the emotions that doctors encounter and have to manage on a daily basis.  When I previously thought about being a doctor, I thought of cells, catheters, and MRI machines, which are physical things that are used to heal or diagnose patients.  Patients’ emotions were never really much of a consideration when I thought about becoming a doctor.  It was not until I was placed directly into a such a serious situation that I began to understand what the patient was facing and I quickly realized that patients’ feelings  and well being are both top priorities for the patients’ management.

Before my senior project, I wasn’t entirely sure whether I really wanted to go to medical school after my undergraduate studies were completed at The Ohio State University.  Interestingly, this teenage patient really called my attention to the personal and emotional aspects of becoming a doctor which made the profession seem like less of a job and more like an experience that I could easily turn into an enjoyable and rewarding, yet challenging, career.  I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my preliminary four weeks at the hospital and I realized just how excited I was to get started everyday.  I began to recognize that I continued to formulate questions about the cases I saw, even after I returned home each night.  My mind was focused solely on the patients and their disorders and I recognized that I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Realistically, that means I have a long road ahead of me if I am to achieve this goal.  I also am not naive enough to know that I am still young and I have many experiences ahead of me that will continue to refocus my trajectory in life.  The Ohio State University is only the first step along that path.


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

With a Hint of Personality

Self Portrait Pastel

During my junior year of high school, my art class was given the assignment of creating a “slice of life” portrait of a person that was to be drafted and completed in two weeks time.  Originally, I debated whether to recreate a family member or a close friend, but I eventually decided that I wanted to draw a self-portrait.  The only other self-portrait that I had ever drawn was in a relatively conventional pose but I thought it might be preferable to depict my personality through this next work of art.  I wanted a pose that was somewhat simple while also out of the ordinary in contrast to my usual works in which the subject is depicted in a picture perfect, pristine pose.  The photograph that this work was based on was taken on a whim and sent to a friend as a joke, but after some consideration, I decided it was the exact image of myself that I was hoping to portray.  The expression reflected the fact that I am somewhat spunky, not very uptight, and it also showed that the little things in life, like blowing a large bubble with gum, can sometimes be pretty surprising and exciting!  When I began layering pastels to create different shades and colors for the piece, I made sure to stick to a relatively strict color palette.  I wanted to use bright pinks throughout my skin to complement the color of the bubblegum and to sharply contrast against the dark browns in my hair and my eyes.  By the end of the two weeks, I was exhausted from working tirelessly for days and many long nights to ensure that the final product actually looked like me.  Ultimately, I was especially proud of myself because it was such a challenge to complete in such little time and it actually looked like me.

I had originally become interested in art because of my early visits to museums with my family and because of my admiration for my grandfather’s artistic talents.  I began taking art courses in high school and realized that I had an intrinsic talent for it.  I explored quite a few different types of media but drawing is definitely my favorite method.  Drawing seems to provide me a bit more control over my art since it permits me to gradually introduce subtle modifications to achieve the final product I desire.  Perhaps, this insight also reflects the perfectionist nature of my personality.  Looking back on this particular example of my work, I am proud that I was able to express who I am and to demonstrate my own personal style of drawing through my self portrait.  My hard work eventually paid off because this piece was chosen to be displayed at a local competitive art show because of its technical quality, realism and likely the atypical pose.  Although I did not win the competition, the honor of being included in the collection served as a nice reinforcement that my skills in art had developed nicely over time.

About Me

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Mary Ruggieri is a first-year student from Pepper Pike, Ohio who is majoring in biomedical engineering.  She is currently pursuing pre-med studies with the intention of entering medical school after she receives her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University.  Mary was very involved with clubs during high school and is excited to see all that OSU has to offer.  She has participated in projects like reading books with middle school students who struggled with their reading skills and mentoring opportunities with elementary school teachers and children.  During her free time, Mary enjoys creating art projects and staying active with physical training at the gym and playing field hockey.


Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]