This summer, my STEP funds allowed me to stay in Columbus so I could participate in a summer internship in the Depression Research Lab. Since I was able to stay in Columbus, I actually earned a second unpaid internship working for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS). I worked for the Depression Lab in the mornings and OMHAS in the afternoons.
Going into this summer, I did not know what to expect. This would be the first summer I spent away from my home and my family. I was living with people I didn’t know in a house I was not familiar with. I was starting new jobs that I didn’t have prior experience for. It was extremely overwhelming in May. I had to learn to pay bills on time, grocery shop for myself, arrange a cleaning schedule with my brand new roommates, and ensure that I was excelling at my brand new jobs. I found it extremely difficult to be away from my family for so long. I thought the summer would be just like school, but I was so wrong. I missed my family more, I interacted with my peers less, and for the first time I truly felt like I was alone.
As I took a step back and evaluated my personal identity and my purpose at Ohio State and in the world in general, I began to evolve as a person. I became stronger in my convictions. I was able to become self-sufficient. I gained the confidence to take care of me without having my mom or dad as a safety net during the summer. I learned that relationships with family and friends could grow stronger as distance separates you. I learned that the world could be a scary place when you feel alone and lost, but it’s vital to fight through those feelings in order to get to the bright side. I have the power to be resilient, and my resiliency helps define who I am and who I have become.
When I began my job at OMHAS, I had no idea what to expect. I was thrown into the fire on day one and I was truly terrified. However, I realized that if I didn’t ask questions, I would never understand what was going on. Being confident in myself and my ability allowed me to get guidance when I needed it in order to excel at my job. My questions allowed me to excel at detailed oriented work, which was extremely important since we had so many different hard deadlines during the summer. Working on a project that Governor Kasich publicly prioritized, The Community Transition Project, is a lot of pressure, but the lines of communication I opened up from the beginning allowed for a much smoother transition into work.
I formed a close relationship with the other interns who are also students at Ohio State. This really helped me gain confidence in my ability to gain friends and maintain relationships. My relationship with my supervisor is incredible. I know I can trust her and that she is always looking out for my best interests. She told me she is more than willing to help me apply to graduate schools and write letters of recommendation for me whenever I need them. This will help me for the rest of school and when I enter the job force, which is invaluable. STEP allowed me to form a connection that I would have never gained if I had not stayed here this summer. This has the ability to alter my life forever.
When I earned new responsibilities in the Depression Lab on campus, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to live up to expectations. My responsibilities were outlined before I took the job, but it was very different to experience the added responsibilities instead of just reading them. I had to set schedules and answer any questions that the other transcribers had during the summer. I was responsible for making sure people were showing up to sessions and completing work in a timely manner. It was not easy to have to reprimand other students my age, but it taught me another aspect of what it means to be a leader and a boss. I learned effective strategies for motivating others to complete work that can at times seem monotonous or arduous.
These skills and interactions are what taught me to be a better daughter, a better sister, and a better peer. Being comfortable and empowered in your own skin allows you to open up and transform your life and the lives of others. I believe I made an impact in many lives this summer. I became more responsible and more confident in my identity. This has allowed me to excel this fall semester as well, which I am incredibly thankful for.
This continued development of who I am as a person has changed my view of the world and myself. I now know I can reach my academic goals of going to graduate school. Resiliency can be a difficult lesson to learn, but it only made me realize how strong I am as a person. I began to realize that my strength will benefit me in the future with relationships in school and personal life, my academics, and when I enter the work force eventually. I learned that being uncomfortable in situations could be an empowering experience. Through my uncomfortable beginnings at my new jobs with new roommates away from my family, I learned to open up and try new things and ask questions when I have them. In the future, I will have an easier time being successful in classes, in new friendships, and interviewing for graduate school and future job opportunities. STEP changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.