Columbus Dispatch Op-Ed

This past spring, near the end of the year, a couple of suicides on campus gripped the Ohio State University community and there was a (for me) unprecedented amount of discussion about mental health and mental health resources on campus.  Many students (and faculty, too) were understandably distraught in the wake of the tragedies and there was a renewed discourse focusing on what some perceived to be a lacking in dedication to mental health on campus.  A lot of attention was brought, especially, to the student counseling and consultation services (CCS) because of unbelievably long wait lists to receive help, which many attributed to there not being enough funding for the CCS.

Depression is something that has affected my life and the lives around me for several years and, largely because of that, mental health reform and treatment is something about which I have become passionate.  When I was in middle school, my mom was diagnosed with clinical depression and was forced to leave her job because she was dealing with too much.  A friend of mine in eighth grade had been forced to transfer from her previous school because of harsh bullying and dealt with suicidal thoughts.  In high school, one of my best friends fought through multiple bouts of extreme depression, winding up hospitalized at one point.  During my sophomore year, a classmate in my same graduation year died by suicide.  If I were to total up all of my friends who have been hospitalized because of either attempted suicide or fear that they may attempt suicide, I would need to use more than one hand; to count up all those close to me who have dealt with depression in less severe but still very real ways, it would take several.

With this in mind, and with the knowledge that waiting lists for CCS were dismal and that some of my friends at Ohio State who had needed help had been unable to receive it because of that, I was angry.  I was angry and I was frustrated at what I thought was a lack of care at the administrative level; it seemed to me that given the state of our financial situation, we could more than afford to properly fund adequate and sufficient mental health resources and we could certainly put more funding into them than we were.  I reached out to the Columbus Dispatch in the hopes of writing an opinion piece and airing my frustrations and urging something be done.  They quickly responded that, yes,  they would like to publish my thoughts in a long letter to the editor.

After I finished my first draft, I wanted to share it with some people who worked in mental health care on campus to ensure that I had not made anything up and to ensure nothing I had written could be triggering to folks who have suffered or currently were suffering from depression and/or suicidal thoughts.  After talking with them, I made a number of changes because the way I had written the letter was unintentionally and unnecessarily very combative and could be taken to imply that Ohio State did nothing in the way of mental health resources.  While I still wished to air my grievances and make it clear that what I thought we were doing was not enough, I also did not want a student to stumble across it and assume that there was no where they could turn.  After making the adjustments, I was very proud of how it turned out and it was soon published online and in print for the Columbus Dispatch.

 

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.]

G.O.A.L.S.

Global Awareness: one way I can do this is right on campus through diversity clubs like Mundo or just engaging in dialogue with other students from diverse backgrounds.  I also intend to study abroad at some point in my undergraduate career.

Original Inquiry: I would like to reach out to faculty and engage in research work, particularly in the realm of prisons and policing.

Academic Enrichment: I would like to maintain a high GPA while taking courses that both challenge and excite me.  I also hope to extend my skills and knowledge to extra curriculars, service, and research.

Leadership Development: I would like to write for The Lantern and hopefully eventually earn an editorial position there; further, I hope to engage in leadership in an area of volunteering some time during my four years.

Service: I want to get involved with the Passgo club here at OSU more once my schedule allows for it.  I also hope to volunteer at the local Planned Parenthood clinic and hopefully other organizations in the Columbus area, as well.

Career

[“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.]

Odyssey Online

In keeping with my interest in writing, I have been writing an article for Ohio State’s Odyssey Online community nearly every week since the beginning of the summer.  One of my favorite articles I have written addressed suicide in the wake of Chester Bennington’s suicide.  In particular, it was a response to an article entitled “I Don’t Feel Bad For Chester Bennington And Neither Should You” (the title was later changed to “There’s A Problem With Glorifying Celebrities After Suicide.”  Here is a link to my article:

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/response-dont-feel-bad-chester-bennington-neither-should

 

About Me

I am a second year in the Ohio State University’s honors program studying sociology and philosophy and am an aspiring writer.  While both of these disciplines allow me to do a great deal of reading and writing, and although I am planning to take creative writing classes as well, I’d really like to expand my scope beyond writing for classes.  I was an avid writer and editor for my high school paper and my experiences working with the staff greatly shaped me.

I’ve written far too many hundreds of thousands of words in my life to possibly count and have written everything from news articles and pieces detailing a sports team season to fiction and poetry to long diatribes about mass incarceration and the sexism present in all-male high school environments.  While I have the most experience with and most enjoy opinion pieces and similar essays, I also greatly enjoy personal writing and creative fiction and have experimented some with pop culture reviews.

With my love of writing in mind, I hope to use this e-portfolio as a space to share all those writing projects I have locked in my head or stuck in Google Docs and to similarly reflect on things I write or have written in the past.  This is a space for my creativity to show and for my creative instinct to not be hampered by tight constraints of course writing requirements.