Earlier, I wrote a piece, a list of 28 lessons that I had taken away from Ohio State and I wanted to end with the biggest thing I will take away from college, from the years 2013-2017. After writing it, I decided that number 29, deserved more space than a list of one-liners could give.

#29 is embodied the picture above. Each of these pots is a friend, two I met freshmen year, one in sophomore summer, and one in junior year. Each one is precious to me. At a crafting/game night, I asked if they could paint something for me that signified our friendship, either how we met, or what we will remember about each other.

For the yellow, I will remember taking my first MUNDO trip, a trip I now consider my first “college experience,” to see the Lion King and being worried about knowing no one. I will remember getting early to the bus circle and sitting by a stranger, and talking for hours on the bus there, at Wendy’s, on the way back from Pittsburgh. We tried to rock-climb half a dozen times first semester but would never remember to check the climbing schedule; we went together to our first Party at the Wex and found art that affected us and art where our attempt at interpretations made us laugh. She was the reason I switched my major to Neuroscience, the friend who would meet me in Lincoln’s lobby to talk barefoot at all the odd hours and the girl whose friendship and light continually inspired me to push through first year.

For the polka dots, I will remember seeing a girl set up her Doctor Who poster on the bottom bunk, and on the first day, recognizing pieces of my sister in my new roommate. I will remember afternoons studying side by side and being happily distracted by watching OUaT over her shoulder; I will remember her teasing at my daily and greasy to-go bags from Mirror Lake Creamery and my responding quips about her extremely colorful RPAC meals. She stayed up late to give me “The Talk,” complete with pictures and recommendations to Youtube videos, applied to Mirrors and eventually Sphinx Honorary with me and always served as my anchor in a sea of overwhelming newness. She was the recipient of my finals week Cheryl’s cookies boxes, an example of unabashed pride in what she loves and a mothering influence that give me my first family at OSU.

For the pink pot, I will remember unexpected meeting a girl in my lab one summer and finding out she was going to be my research partner. I will remember discovering that she was one of the girls’ who got the house my roommates and I were trying to lease the fall before, I will remember opening up to her early on for advice. We muddled through research together, learning how to present, perform behavioral assays and pretend like we knew what we were doing even when we didn’t. She taught me to how to recognize sarcasm (most of the time), exposed me to more Harry Potter trivia than I will ever need to know, and her courage in admitting pre-med wasn’t her life path and switching to her true passion gave me the courage to do the same.

For the blue pot, I will remember being flustered when a student introduced himself to me by formally shaking my hand and worrying that I didn’t have a proper business handshake. I will remember him giving me a safe space to talk about vulnerable parts of myself that I didn’t always acknowledge, I will remember his playful shock at my music taste when we exchanged playlists and my own surprise at what was on his. We unwound outside of class, spending time watching movies, playing Truth or Dare, learning how to box, play chess and quill. He let me cut his hair on a dare, cooks and crafts with me regularly, whether the project is Filipino food or sewing neck pillows, and is an unwavering pillar of support and kindness.

These pots are just four of the friends I have made—I still need to rope everyone else into painting a pot with me. But my friends—their stories, our connections—are the most valuable thing I will take away from 2013-2017. I have been told: surround yourself with excellence. I didn’t set out to do that, but in the process of making friends and family, I have found the most excellent people that I could ever imagine to find and I am blessed to have them.

Lessons Learned

The closer I get to the end of my OSU journey, the farther I look back. These past few weeks have been all about passing the torch: reviewing applications for the next crop of leaders in my organizations interviewing who will be the new Peer Mentors, going back to my hometown with University Admissions to tell high school seniors why they should become Buckeyes. The more I think about the next step, the more I appreciate the lessons that I’ve learned from Fall 2013 to Spring 2017.

  1. This school may seem big, but you’d be amazed how far your reputation, positive or negative, can spread.
  2. Don’t network, connect.
  3. It’s better to be an inch wide and a mile deep than a mile wide and an inch deep.
  4. An opportunity for one is an opportunity for all.
  5. You are always worth it.
  6. Get a will from Student Legal Services before you leave-you’ll save yourself time and hundreds of dollars in the future.
  7. There is nothing wrong with not knowing where you’re going.
  8. Sometimes college will stink. Sometimes all-nighters, Math 4181 midterms, homesickness, culture shock and too much coffee will break you. It’s all about getting back up.
  9. Your struggle is no less valid than the person’s next to you and theirs is no less valid than yours.
  10. At some point, make a Buckeye Bucket List and try to cross everything off by the time you graduate.
  11. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about documenting your experiences. Some blog, some post to Instagram, some take millions of pictures. All experiences are valid.
  12. A test is not more important than your health, mental or physical.
  13. Needing a fifth or sixth year is no shame—you’re just taking a victory lap.
  14. Find a mentor and be a mentor. The first will make you better, the second will let you do the same for another.
  15. Take a free RPAC class.
  16. Always carry yourself like your younger sibling is watching and learning.
  17. Build a community that surrounds you with dignity, respect, support and love.
  18. There is no such thing as an “easy major.”
  19. Be it science or humanities, all research is “real research.”
  20. Figure out your values and live by them.
  21. You are more than your GPA, your MCAT/LSAT/GRE score and your extracurriculars.
  22. You might find yourself needing to bow out of some commitments—do it respectfully and in a way that doesn’t leave hard feelings when you leave.
  23. Explore the different libraries—they each have their own character and vibe!
  24. Instant connections can be made just by seeing someone rock scarlet and gray.
  25. Friendships can be made in moments.
  26. It’s okay–no one knows what they’re doing either.
  27. Don’t be ashamed of what you love.
  28. When you leave, you will be changed by your campus, and your campus will have been changed by you.

*There’s actually a #29, but that’s another story.

KindCarts By-the-Numbers Update

Just a few KindCarts volunteers being silly at our second anniversary party!

KindCarts celebrates its second official anniversary on February 17th, Random Acts of Kindness Day!

We’ve done a lot in our two years:

  • Volunteered a combined 855 hours!
  • Helped over 1000 patients!
  • Gave away 1771 donations to the patients of the James Cancer Hospital and Nationwide Children’s!
  • Had 194 volunteers total who volunteered at least once, comprising those in the military, adults, children, Greek life, international students, pre-med students, etc.
    • 14 regular volunteers
  • Executed 53 diverse projects
  • Collaborated with 14 different on-campus groups
  • Won 3 awards/grants (from Honors and Scholars, Critical Difference for Women, and Undergraduate Student Government) for KindCarts’ service/work
  • Organized 3 outside service events with Buckeye Village to benefit children/families and/or the military
  • Received 6 sets of major donations from other organizations
  • Made 32 different types of donations
  • Held 2 programs focused on grassroots service and the importance of giving back
  • Ran/running a magazine drive to gather reading materials for Spring 2017 semester

I’m so happy to have had the chance to found KindCarts and meet such passionate volunteers and lovely patients. This experience has given me so much over the years and I am so lucky to have had the privilege, the support, and the ability to head this amazing project.

Finally a Published Author!

So excited to become a published author in Molecular Psychiatry! This paper and its research was the product of so many hands and minds coming together to learn more about the mechanisms of stress and anxiety as it relates to our neuroimmunological systems.

Leadershape Institute Video

This summer, I posted a letter to myself from my time at the Leadershape Institute. It was full of hope, and excitement, of dreams waiting to be fulfilled and a girl ready to embody her values and change the world. It was the energizer I needed to make now the right time, rather than waiting for the right time. It’s almost time for Leadershape once more, so this video is our cohort’s letter to the rest of Ohio State to take part in this amazing experience.


H&S Chronicle Article

Not sure how to use the eportfolio? Check out the Honors & Scholars Chronicle to see how I, and other students on campus use this unique tool! (Article: H&S ePortfolio helps students track their GOALS)