It seems like a lifetime ago that I moved into my quad in Morrill Tower, but it also feels like time has absolutely flown by. Tomorrow I take my last exam and move out of my residence hall, thus ending my first year at The Ohio State University. I will look back on this year knowing that I have changed for the better, but I still have a long way to go.
This year, I took it into my own hands to reach out to others more. I am typically not the kind of person to reach out first, but being in a big school has forced me to change that. This change has had a huge impact on my life. I notice now that when I go home, I effortlessly make plans with friends and family, which is very unlike how it used to be. Although communication is still something I need some work on, I am glad to have at least expanded my abilities further than they ever have stretched before.
The next big change in my life has been with my health and my mindset. I have arthritis, and for the past couple of years in has been preventing me from doing what I want to do. I used to run in high school, and it had been such a big part of my life that I relied on it for friends and my social life. When I got to Ohio State, unable to run due to my disease, I found it extremely difficult not only to make friends but also to stay healthy and fit. I cycled through various means of exercises to no avail; swimming made my elbows bad, and running and biking made my knees bad. However, it was during this ordeal that I came to realize that running was not who I was, but something I did. I will never rely on it the same way again, and I am happy to say I’ve found other ways to be whole.
My Earth Month Action Plan helped me to grow in that it taught me that having a voice is not so hard. Sometimes, people are just waiting for someone else to make a change about something. I am glad that I could be the change, no matter how small. My choice to spread the word about mental health and mental health stigma has impacted my life in a very meaningful way. I know so many people who suffer from various mental illnesses, and I want to fight for them. They are stronger than anyone could imagine, and I am truly inspired by each one of their stories. I will continue to inform people about mental health, and I will take everything I learned with me while I find out how I can help people who suffer from mental illnesses in a job or career setting.
My choices to live differently have been mainly due to my disease and my school. Both require changes in order to live a healthy lifestyle; if I was still the same person as when I got here, I do not believe I would be as happy or content as I can say I am today. From the world around me, I have been taking in as much as I possibly can. I have been enjoying the various snippets of nature around the Columbus area, meeting new people, and stepping outside of my comfort zone into the world unknown to me. I have been giving back kindness as much as possible, as that seems to be the greatest way anyone can be the change they wish to see in the world.