Summary of Mentorship Experience

This semester I had the pleasure to mentor Payton Harvey through our scholar’s program, Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars (ACES). As part of my final year capstone project, I have documented my mentoring journey. As the spring semester concludes, this is my final entry.

Payton is a first-year student from a small town in Ohio. She studies psychology with a planned minor in art. She hopes to become an art therapist. She is a first-gen college student. A middle child, Payton’s older sister currently attends Ohio State with plans to work in the medical field. She is a junior and lived on campus this year. Payton and her family have been visiting the campus since her sister began at the university. Payton’s transition to college has been greatly eased by her older sister the experience she had with OSU before enrolling. (Unfortunately for her little sister it has been hard to have both of her siblings away from home over these last nine months.)

Payton has enjoyed her first year at Ohio State despite the challenges that come with the transition to college and social distancing as a young adult. She lived in the connector of Smith-Steeb where she became very close with her hallmates. (She is next-door neighbors to my old room!) She has succeeded in her coursework and especially enjoyed her in-person classes. She is hopeful for next fall as most of her classes will be in person.

Payton and I share a love of the outdoors and reading and an interest in helping people learn and develop. We both have a connection to small-town America and bonded over the similarities of our extended family dynamics. At the beginning of the program, I was unsure why Payton preferenced me as we had differing majors, hometowns, and listed interests. However, after meeting for the first time I realized we have similar temperaments and zest for life. After speaking to other mentor and mentee pairs this became very clear.

Over the course of her freshmen year, Payton has grown into a confident and capable college student. She has soared socially as she has connected with people on her floor, in ACES, and wherever on earth she manages to make friends in a pandemic with almost exclusively online classes and virtual clubs. In reflecting on the year, I realize I envy her ability to make new friends in this socially distanced world. Payton has strengthened her ability to study and complete school work. She has adjusted to the rigor of college well.

Participation in the mentorship program enabled me to grow personally, academically, and professionally. I believe that personal growth, community contribution, and strong relationships are the triad upon which happiness is built. I proactively pursue growth in each of these areas in all of my endeavors. Every goal that I set for myself must align with at least one of these three objectives. This mentorship program built my skills as a leader inside and out of the university context, assisted a fellow buckeye in their transition into our OSU community, and built a fulfilling personal relationship.

The ACES mentoring program provided me with an introduction to mentoring and peer support that I will use in my role this summer and next academic year as a First Year Experience Peer Leader. I can only hope that my 300 students will be a tenth as amazing as Payton is. Working with her has advanced my relationship-building and outreach skills, task management, and charisma.

Mentoring Payton demanded I build and maintain a close personal/academic relationship. I enhanced my cooperation, communication, and trust-building skills by working as part of a partnership to complete a project. Working on a project following the capstone guidelines and deadlines strengthened my ability to accomplish tasks efficiently. These skills will transfer to professional roles in the future. Maintaining contact and meeting with my mentee strengthened my communication, specifically interpersonal communication, skills. This experience made me a more charismatic individual.

Over the last two semesters, I have supported Payton by checking in with her periodically on her transition to the university and areas where she may need support. I have provided her with personal advice and shared my own first-year experiences so she does not feel alone in her challenges.

The mentoring program allows you to form a connection with a fellow buckeye while deepening your involvement with your scholar program. Mentoring Payton has been the highlight of my ACES experience this year. While I didn’t technically have a mentor my first year (long story!), I highly recommend the program to all of my fellow and future ACES.

Payton and I with Brutus

Visiting the Book Loft with My Mentee

Yesterday I had the pleasure to meet up with my mentee, Payton, and share with her one of my favorite Columbus hidden gems and neighborhoods, The Book Loft in German Village. The Book Loft is a quirky book store nestled in the heart of one of Columbus’s oldest neighborhoods. Thousands of books are stacked on the shelves in each of the 32 tiny rooms of the historic home that the shop resides in.

Payton has been coming to Columbus semi regularly for the last few years as her sister in a current OSU junior. She has explored much of the city with her family, but never made it to German Village. She has a friend who raves about, so she was happy to make the trip when I suggested it for our spring explore Columbus outing.

Payton is an avid reader. She’s shared her book worm habits with me before. This is why I thought the trip would be an excellent choice for us.

We met up outside of Smith-Steeb, Payton’s dorm hall and my former residence, on an early spring afternoon. We crossed the campus green to High Street to wait for the bus that would take us South into the city. We rode the number 2 down through Short North, chatting as we went. Payton had recently tried a new restaurant in the neighborhood, NorthStar. She visited for a floormate’s birthday the night before. We discussed the neighborhood and how there was a big divide between the college side and the young professionals/downtown side. High Street was busy with people decked out in green for St. Patrick’s day.

Payton is working on her resume to apply for the Wexner Center for the Arts Internships that just opened up. She is interested in the Art and Resilience position as it aligns with her career interests of helping and healing people through art. Payton is working towards becoming an art therapist. She’s also working on pursuing research opportunities as she anticipates they will be beneficial when it comes time for her to apply to graduate school.

Payton and I arrived at the book store and spent the next two hours browsing the stacks. Each room in the shop is organized around a different genre such as LGBTQIA+ Romance, United States History, Horror, or Science. Payton and I both agreed that our favorite room was the essay collections. We spent an embarrassingly long amount of time flipping through the pages of each postcard book in the room over. The Book Loft has feels like a grown up Scholastic book fair. There are many literacy accessories like the post cards, book marks, and tote bags displayed in between the shelves.

After roaming through each of the four wings Payton paid for a book of poems and we headed outside back to downtown to catch our bus. We rode the number 8 though downtown, the arena district, and Vicky Village. Payton hadn’t been to these parts of Columbus and enjoyed the new scenery.

Payton and I would definitely go back if given the chance. While it is a rather long bus ride (35 minutes from South campus) it is worth the commute. The Book Loft is like no other book store in Columbus or Ohio for that matter. German Village has a special kind of charm that is hard to find in a city of Columbus’s age.

If returning I would recommend going a little earlier in the day than us, (We arrived just before 4.) so you could grab lunch at Katzinger’s Deli before hand. Katzinger’s is a the go to place for delectable sandwiches in the city. Alternatively, visiting later in the night after sunset would also be a wonderful experience as the courtyard of the shop is wrapped in fairy lights and the star light makes German Village feel like it’s out of fairy tale.

I highly recommend the experience to my fellow scholars as they complete the mentorship this program spring. It is highly engaging and sure to be a crowd-pleaser for you and your mentee. Even if you’re not an avid reader the shop is so unique it is sure to be interesting.

This experience taught us about the the diversity of our city and the lived experiences of it’s residence. On the way we were given a window into the world’s of our neighbors on the bus, in German Village, and in the book store. While it very easy to stay in the 43210 as students, it is so enriching to get out in the community and experience what Columbus is like for it’s permanent residents.

Catching Up with my Mentee

Last Friday I was able to meet up with my ACES mentee, Payton Harvey, at the Ohio Union. We chatted about how the semester was going and areas where I could be of assistance as she finished up her first year at OSU.

Payton is a psychology major and plans on adding an art minor. She hopes to be an art therapist. We discussed the challenges of finding professional development opportunities during the pandemic. She has been researching art therapists in Columbus to better understand their experiences and credentials for working in the field. She is also considering reaching out to them to set up job shadowing if she is not able to secure a paid internship for over the summer. I mentioned an art therapist that did some project work at a previous job of mine that I could reach out to.

Payton is planning on applying for a Wexner Center for the Arts internship for the 2021-2022 academic year. She is also very interested in securing a research assistant position for her sophomore or junior year. She is considering taking an Excel course to become certified in the skill as she expects in could help her in the job search.

As a first generation college student, Payton was recommended to apply to be a First Year Experience Peer Leader. The job would entail running freshmen orientation and assisting first year students with their transition to Ohio State. I’ve recently been accepted for the position for the 2021-2022 academic year. I recommended she apply for next year as I thought she would be a good fit and could gain a lot from the experience. (Have you had the chance to explore your desired career through internships, field experience, etc.?)

Payton lives in the “connector” hallway of the ACES living-learning community. Her hallmates are all very close and enjoy being able to live so close together. Payton has continued to remain close with her roommate. While they are disappointed that one of their neighbors moved home to take online classes this semester they are hopeful that they will have as much fun and connection in their living- learning community as in the fall. (Have you enjoyed the ACES living-learning community in Smith-Steeb? Why or why not?)

We discussed the challenges of online learning and the transition back to in person. as a first year Payton has only had the opportunity to take classes under pandemic circumstances. She is concerned that while her grades are strong she isn’t really learning content. This is a particular worry for her pre-major and major courses. I shared with her that I was feeling the same and new of many others who were also concerned. I mentioned that I found making study guides helpful for retaining the content. She said that she did to and it was helpful for her in her bio course. (What kind of study habits have you developed? Did they work successfully in the fall?)

Payton has joined CHAARGE, Changing Health, Attitudes, and Actions to Recreate Girls. The student org provides opportunities for students to learn about health and fitness. Payton participates in a small group that meets over Zoom to complete at home workouts together. She’s enjoyed trying different types of exercise. Most recently they had a yoga session which she liked much more than she expected to.  (How have you gotten involved on campus?)

For the rest of the semester Payton plans to stay involved in her student orgs, be proactive in her academics and seek professional development opportunities. (What kind of goals have you set for yourself for this semester?)

Exploring Columbus with my Mentee

As a part of my experience as an Advocates for Communities and Education Scholar I participate in a second year capstone project to complete the program. As previously discussed on this page, I am mentoring a freshmen ACES scholar as they transition to OSU. My mentee, Payton, and I got together to explore Columbus and our interests on a cold evening in November.

When initialing being paired, Payton and I both spoke of our interests in fashion and sustainability. I thought that visiting a local thrift shop might be good for our “Explore Columbus” assignment. After speaking with Payton I knew just where to go!

In earlier conversations Payton had mentioned that her older sister who attends OSU loved to thrift shop in Columbus, but that she herself hadn’t had the chance to try it yet. Coming from a small hometown, Payton said that there were few second hand stores that she could shop at it. She said that she was excited to try thrifting in Columbus, but that she felt a little overwhelmed. I told her I would be happy to show her around as I have been living and thrifting in Columbus for going on six years.

We decided to go to the Goodwill on N High St, per my recommendation. The shop is one of the closest to campus, right off of the bus line, and cheaper than the stores in the Short North. Additionally, Payton hadn’t been to Old North Columbus yet. I know as a freshmen people told me a lot about Short North and German Village, but rarely spoke of the neighborhoods North of Campus. I though getting “out” and “up” could be helpful for Payton, and I was eager to chare my favorite Columbus neighborhood with her.

We met at the Ohio Union and crossed the street to the COTA stop in front of Midway. While at the bus stop we discussed what was new in Payton’s life and on the fifth floor of Smeeb. We waited in the cold until the number 2 bus finally arrived. It was Payton’s first time riding the city bus. Although it was a little unusual due to COVID-19 restrictions I explained to her how it worked and how simple it was to get around town using just your Buck-id. I did warn her of the frequency of delays and how quickly ETAs could change. On the ride we discussed Old North and the neighborhoods around campus. I pointed out the townhouse I am going to live in next year and we discussed off campus housing options, as there is a lot more choice and planning involved than underclassmen dorm housing.

After riding the bus up High Street we hopped off the Hudson stop, conveniently right in front of the Goodwill we were headed to. We hurried inside to get out of the late autumn cold. While there we wondered the aisles looking for someone else’s trash that was soon to be our new treasure. We thumbed through racks of clothes looking for the cutest, ugliest, and strangest things we could fine. We each found a top that we were happy to add to our wardrobe. After paying at the register we ventured back outside to wait for our bus. We rode the mile back to the Ohio Union where we had started our evening.

I think thrifting is a great way to explore a city. It’s cheap, accessible, and you can tell a lot about a community by the clothes and home goods they use and give away. The Goodwill in Old North is an excellent choice to shop at as it is right off of two bus lines and next to a lot of other Columbus hidden gems. Across the intersection is Jack and Benny’s, a fantastic breakfast spot serving classic diner cuisine. Up the the block is Ace of Cups, a really cool music venue in a converted bank. One of my favorite pizza places in the city, Hound Dogs, is just another block North.

I recommend a trip to Old North especially to Goodwill for other scholars that have an interest in clothes and/or secondhand shopping. It’s an excellent way to get out into the neighborhoods that students have the option to live in as juniors and seniors. Exploring the different neighborhoods around campus made the apartment hunting search easier for me because I really new what I was getting into. It’s never to early to start experiencing Columbus outside of the 43210.

The Goodwill on the Corner of Hudson Ave. and High St.

Meet my ACES Mentee!

This year I have the privilege of working with an Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars freshmen on their transition to Ohio State. I was paired with psychology major, Payton Harvey. She and I share a love of plants, hiking, music, and art. We’re both interested in working with children. Payton and I sat down to get to know each other a little better and how I can best support her in her first year. I was happy to find that she is loving Ohio State so far!

Payton is from a small town in Ohio, Leesburg. She has adjusted well to city life in Cbus. As her older sister, a current OSU junior, has been attending the university for almost 3 years Payton spent a lot of time in Columbus before moving into the dorms this year. Her family also spent time in the city for fun when she was growing up. Although she hasn’t ad much of a chance to explore the city between classes and COVID restrictions she has been enjoying getting to know campus. She remarked that campus doesn’t feel very big at all after being here for a few weeks. In fact, she was really surprised at just how small it is. She often runs into friends and classmates when out and about. (What has surprised you about Ohio State since arriving on campus?)

Payton is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and considering a minor in Art. She hopes to become an art therapist because she is a fan of all types of art, especially painting. (What is your dream job and why?) She is interested in internships and gaining hands on experience in the field. I mentioned an art therapist that I had worked with at a previous job and the annual student internships at the Wexner Center for the Arts that may be of interest to her. Payton plans to attend graduate school for art therapy after completing her bachelors as it is essentially a requirement to practice in the field of art therapy. (What do you plan to do with your major after graduation?)

Payton is currently balancing a heavy 17 credit hour course load this semester. She has one in person class, Spanish, which is her favorite. The class that is giving her the most trouble is Calculus. (What has been your most challenging class so far and why?) Already a challenging course, the format has been changed this semester due to the distance learning format. I shared with her that this is a common experience this semester.

Payton is enjoying ACES so far. She chose the scholars program because of the community and her interest in service. (Why did you choose ACES?) She lives in the “connector” of Smith-Steeb and is very close with her fellow scholars in that hallway. She actually lives in the room next to mine last year. It is nice to see that so much laughter and joy is in that space again. She is very close with her roommate and they get along well. This is a relief as she went random. I shared with her that I had the same experience. Payton enjoyed volunteering in high school and looks forward to volunteering this semester and in the future through the program. She knows that that looks very different though due to COVID. I told her that we were working on planning more in person outdoor service events. Hopefully we will be able to volunteer together soon.

Looking to the future, Payton and I are going to explore her interests in the city. Her sister has spent a lot of time thrifting in town over the years. Payton hasn’t had the chance to visit any shops. We discussed spending an afternoon visiting the secondhand shops that can be reached by COTA. We’re looking forward to a year of learning together!

Payton and I with Brutus in the Ohio Union