Food Insecurity and Mental Health

I attended “Food Insecurity and Mental Health: An Underexplored Global Health Concern” on February 2nd, fulfilling the Academic requirement of IA. Barbara Piperata, an associate professor of Anthropology at Ohio State, gave the presentation; she performed research in Nicaragua and the Brazilian Amazon on food insecurity/security, lactation, and how these affect socioeconomic and cultural notions. Though when first thinking about food insecurity I think of physical harms such as being malnourished, I was astonished when she spoke on the high correlation between food security, anxiety, and depression. Mothers feel that their role in the household isn’t being filled and that in turn they are failing their children. She furthered that women are embarrassed by this, as they feel like they aren’t doing their jobs, and thus don’t reach out to others for help. This starts a trap in which women and their families enter the zone of food insecurity yet cannot lift themselves out because they don’t want to tell anyone about their issue. This topic literally and metaphorically hit home when she spoke on how food insecurity affected Ohioans. In Ohio I was shocked to hear that 14.5% of people experience food insecurity, which amounts to 1 in 4 children. In Franklin County alone, 16.5% of people experience food insecurity. She explained that this leads to a rise in mental and physical health issues throughout Ohio. Overall, while this topic is morose and depressing, it showed me issues in my community I wasn’t aware of and can help alleviate with outreach. 

A Day in the Life of a Harvard Law Student

On January 16th, I attended “A Day in the Life of a Harvard Law Student” which fulfills the Professional Development category of IA requirements. At the meeting, Samantha Harris depicted her experiences so far at Harvard Law School. I found this event to be particularly interesting because she didn’t just speak on classes and studying, but also how her school affects her outside life. She first spoke about how mental health, especially during heavy course loads, is imperative; she bought a St. Bernard just to keep herself from fussing over her life too much. She then branched into substance abuse and how there’s a lot of pressure to drink in law school. Around 76% of lawyers develop a substance abuse problem, a statistic that is rooted in stress and networking events. She explains that Harvard rents out bars and has free bottle service at events so that companies can come drink and network with the students; with that, she said that there’s immense pressure to drink to fit in with the corporate employees. Outside of her social life, she said that law school differs from undergraduate education because the workload and terminology are vastly different; she said it’s like reading books in a language that you learn as you read. Moreover, she said that professors always cold call and some knock your grade if you misspeak a few times. Overall, I learned that while the workload in law school is heavier and different than every other subject, I learned that one’s personal calendar, including self care and a social life, are just as affected as one’s intelligence. 

Moritz College of Law information session

I attended a meeting where Micheal States, the Assistant Dean of Admissions at the Moritz College of Law, spoke on law school. This event took place on November 20th and fills the academic category for International Affairs. Micheal began by sharing what Moritz has to offer, including numerous clinics that teach skills such as mediation, which is a vital skill for lawyers to have as mediation is imperative in keeping cases from going to court. I also learned that they offer courses ranging from Food and Drug law to War Crimes Law; alongside from their unique course offerings, Moritz is unique in that other than in one’s first year, which is a set curriculum, students pick their own curriculum. Aside from simply law school course information, Michael offered tips on applying to Moritz. Specifically, finding a professor who can speak to your growth throughout college, keeping your GPA up as they have competitive admissions, not worrying about taking the LSAT a few times to get a higher score, and utilizing the extra and “not required” essays to provide more insight on oneself outside of their resume. On the point of GPA, he explained that no major makes Moritz look more favorably upon a candidate and that they don’t take into account the difficulty of one’s major when evaluating their GPA. Summatively, as someone interested in law school, this information session was incredibly helpful and insightful into law school as a whole and specifics regarding Moritz. 

Mock Interview

On October 29th, I participated in a mock interview fulfilling the Professional Development category for International Affairs. First off, my interviewer taught me to use the STAR technique to answer behavioral questions in interviews. The approach has one describe the situation, the task at hand, the action they took, and the result from it; bonus points for tying the lessons learned and or techniques used into future applications. Moreover, when answering the usual first statement of “tell me about yourself” I learned a few skills; first, explaining my passions outside of the job, how those interests tie into the job and lastly, how my personality and education would assist me in the position I am applying for. Additionally, the importance of preparing questions for the end of the interview was stressed. Specifically, questions insinuating I believe that the interview went well, such as what the next steps are or asking for more details about the position. Moreover, the questions can be made into leading ones that allude into specific skills or attributes I have that I had not mentioned in the interview already. In terms of weaknesses, I realized I tend to talk quite fast, especially in high stress situations like interviews, which is fixable with practice. Overall, this was super beneficial in so far as I learned a few techniques and pointers that will improve my skills in answering and asking questions, and how I poise myself when doing so.

Indigenous People’s Day

I attended a Global Engagement Night about Indigenous People’s Day, fulfilling the campus category, on October 15th. The event began by asking us to reflect on how America views Columbus Day, with most of us saying our elementary schools celebrated it as the day America was discovered. The program first depicted the timeline of Columbus’ journey, but elaborated that his arrival did not signify the discovery of America, as millions already inhabited it. Italian Americans first urged for the celebration of Columbus Day, as Columbus was Italian, to regain honor in America in times of xenophobia. In the status quo however, Columbus Day creates lots of controversy as the arrival of Europeans to America brought violence, disease, and oppression into the already established communities of Native Americans. In turn, in the last decade, states have increasingly begun recognizing Columbus Day as Indigenous People’s Day to recognize the Native Americans who inhabited the land first, which ties into the struggles they faced, their contributions to America, and a testament to these efforts to not allow for the erasure of the Native American population. I believe that recognizing those who actually first cultivated land in America, developed trade systems, and created political systems here ought to be celebrated over a man who trampled on these creations; in turn, I feel that Indigenous People’s Day ought to be recognized as a national holiday. Moreover, I see no point in romanticizing/glamorizing Columbus Day in schools, and believe schools should teach students the real, not whitewashed, version of Columbus’ journey, and how it ties into the rich history of Native American culture. 

Global Vulnerability to Climate Change

On October 1st, I attended an event put on by the Institute for Population Research that depicted the use of big demographic data to measure global vulnerability to climate change. This event filled the academic category for International Affairs. I attended this event because I am really invested in learning about climate change and spreading awareness of it. This event put climate change in a new perspective for me as it described how the effects of climate change, specifically global warming, affect people. The presenter first started by giving an overarching distinction that he does not believe precipitation heavily factors into the effects of heat on people. He claimed that the two don’t have to be separated because precipitation has no significant impact on education or physical health in people. This was interesting to me as many researchers disagree and account many of the presenter’s findings to precipitation and not temperature. The presenter explained that there exists a correlation between levels of heat and the level of education people pursue. Specifically, the hotter the country, the less likely individuals are to pursue higher levels of education. The Institute found this true specifically when studying in Eastern and Southern Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, West and Central Africa, and South America. The researchers wondered if because heat impacts education, if it could affect the physical health of individuals as well. The researchers found a significant correlation between issues in pregnancy, including the health of the mother and the baby, and heat. Specifically, the hotter the climate, the more likely the pregnancy can be affected by issues. Overall, the presentation provided me with insights I had not considered when thinking about climate change and how it affects people on a day to day level.


IA Involvement Fair

I attended the International Affairs Involvement fair, which fulfills the campus category; this event took place on September 11th on the Smith Steeb lawn. This event was very beneficial to me as it offered me opportunities to network and see the vast amount of clubs Ohio State has, especially those centralized around global issues. At the fair, I was able to sign up for clubs I had not seen or had not had the time to read information about at the massive involvement fair on the Oval. I signed up for the Alexander Hamilton club and for the University Democrats. This event was beneficial to me as signing up for clubs that have members with interests similar to mine will help me both network and make new friends. While I did not sign up for every club there, speaking to the leaders of many different clubs, such as Amnesty International, opened my eyes to the wide variety of politically cognizant and volunteering based clubs on campus. Additionally, I was not registered to vote before the fair and I noticed that the Ohio Votes booth was there and I registered to vote. Overall, the fair helped me meet new people and be more aware of what I can be apart of on campus.

International Affairs Study Abroad Panel

I viewed the International Affairs study abroad panel in the Smith Steeb glass classroom on September 9th. I walked in with apprehension about whether or not I wanted to study abroad. As someone who speaks both Hungarian and English, I have always found it difficult to learn new languages. In turn, I was nervous to pursue a study abroad program in a country that does not predominantly speak English as I know I would have trouble picking up the language. Thankfully, listening to the older International Affairs Scholars students speak on studying in Portugal, Canada, France, and at the White House really inspired me. Specifically, the girl who spoke on her experience in Portugal assured me that while all the people she worked with did not speak English, they placed her in a sector where the people did speak English and were experienced with working alongside English speaking interns. This, alongside the positive experiences the IA students had, calmed my nerves about studying abroad. Additionally, I found out about a study abroad program I may apply to. Specifically, the political science based program in Canada opened many doors to internships for the student who went there based on the portfolio the program had him write about what he accomplished there. The program also introduced him to prominent Canadian and American political figures; the program also requires a class taken on Canadian government which would surely broaden my knowledge of government holistically. Overall, the panel upped my excitement to pursue studying abroad.

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 guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]