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Scholars event: Wesley Glen Bingo Night

On August 29th, my roommates and I volunteered with our Biological Science scholars group at Wesley Glen nursing home. We played bingo and entertained the residents during their night of fun. It was a wonderful experience that showed me that even just by giving some of my time for one evening, I can brighten someone else’s day. So often just being kind to those around you is something that gets taken for granted during our busy lives. During this opportunity, I was given the chance to make others happy by engaging in conversation and taking an interest in their lives. Life is too short not to reach out to others and listen to one another. I am very fortunate to have had this experience. It serves as a reminder to me to spread joy wherever I go.

Semester in Review

During my time at Ohio State so far I have grown as both a student and a person. This semester, I decided to take an honors chemistry course. This class was much more difficult than I originally expected and forced me to reevaluate my study habits and take charge of my own learning. I learned how to study more efficiently and have rediscovered my passion for science. In particular, the lab portion of this course taught me how to be resourceful and adapt to challenges. I believe I have chosen the perfect major for me and am excited to continue my undergraduate studies.

In order to involve myself more at Ohio State, I joined two clubs this semester. The first, Mountaineers at OSU, helped me find other students who enjoy travel, camping, hiking, and appreciate the outdoors. This group sponsors excursions to some of the most beautiful hiking and rock climbing locations in the country. I am excited to participate more in the club and potentially even go on one of the bigger hiking trips next semester. I have also joined a more service based club, Blueprints for Pangea. The goal of this organization is to redistribute unused medical supplies from the larger hospitals in the city to the free clinics in the Columbus area and potentially other countries. I am excited to be a member of a club that can help those in need in my new community. Next semester I plan on participating in the volunteer opportunities that will be available. In both of my clubs, I have met so many students with similar interests to me who care about the environment and those less fortunate. My experiences in both these clubs have allowed me to explore these areas of myself and provide endless opportunities for my future.

This semester I was able to involve myself in many biological scholars events and different service opportunities. I participated in the Wesley Glen Bingo night as well as their Halloween party. This experience showed me that just by being a friendly face and offering my time, I can make someone’s life brighter. I was also able to attend the study session with my peers where we all bonded over our difficult assignments and encouraged one another. This scholars program has provided me with roommates who are now my closest friends as well as many educational and volunteer opportunities. It has been so wonderful to be surrounded by other students with scientific interests similar to mine. This program has showed me what it will take for me to get into medical school and how to set myself up for success in my undergraduate career.

Starting college, I was overwhelmed by the new surroundings and increased difficulty in coursework. After this semester, I know I have found my new home here. I am surrounded by motivated individuals who support me and push me to be my best self. I have become a more outgoing and confident person and have solidified my career goals. I am excited for my future and am no longer intimidated by challenge. I have found the resources I need to reach my goals and learned to utilize them in a way that best supports me. Next semester, I look forward to more opportunities to grow both academically, socially, and emotionally and pave my path to success.

G.O.A.L.S.

The Honors and Scholars GOALS align strongly with my own personal values. I endeavor to involve myself in experiences inside and outside of the classroom that help me achieve these core principles.

Global Awareness: In my life and experience, global awareness is about appreciating cultural, social, and religious differences around the world and within my own community. By exposing myself to a diverse range of experiences, I can learn more about and gain a deeper understanding of the backgrounds of my peers as well as develop a greater sense of empathy.

  • I am involved in the Ohio State chapter Blueprints for Pangea. We take unused medical supplies from larger hospitals and distribute them to free clinics and potentially around the world for the betterment of the human condition. In developing countries, basic medical supplies that we take for granted could mean the difference between life and death. Through our mission, we are able to help those less fortunate receive the health care they need.
  • In addition to my biochemistry major, I plan on adding a minor in history. I am very passionate about the study of European history, and know it would be useful to my understanding of modern day society and how the cultural diversity that exists in the world today came to be. The coursework for this minor would expose me to countries with ways of life that are different from the United States and allow me to see the commonalities between them as well as their unique characteristics.

Original Inquiry: This value encourages me to embrace my inquisitive nature and involve myself in research and investigations that expand my knowledge through hands-on experiences.

  • At the end of my senior year of high school, I completed an Action Research Project where students were asked to observe, investigate, and find potential solutions to an issue they were passionate about in the community. My project focused on foster care and the issues that could be fixed within the system. By conducting interviews with volunteers at the St. Vincent foster care center as well as gathering information through academic articles and databases, I was able to identify potential causes of the problems within the system as well as find a way I could personally make a difference. My group members and I bought and donated necessary items needed for the children such as bedding, toiletries, toys, etc. to a local foster care agency.
  • During my undergraduate career, I plan on involving myself in biochemistry research. This is the perfect way for me to gain hands on experience from a more knowledgeable mentor as well as learn what it is like to do research in my field of interest.

Academic Enrichment: This goal emphasizes the importance of achievement within coursework as well as finding opportunities to go above and beyond what is expected.

  • During my first semester at OSU, I decided to challenge myself by enrolling in honors general chemistry despite not being an honors student. I have a passion for chemistry and was excited to take a class that would delve more into the basic principles and provide me with a strong foundation as I continue on in my studies.

Leadership Development: Leadership is a very important skill to have now and throughout life that demonstrates the ability to work well in a team and put the good of the group first.

  • During my senior year of high school, I was the captain of my cross country team. I loved how it allowed me to help others and problem solve to benefit the team as a whole. While I am at Ohio State, I would love to find another leadership role that allows me to address the needs of others and better my local community.

Service Engagement: Commitment to service is the goal I wish to involve myself more deeply in. As I was growing up, I was taught the best leaders are those who can humble themselves by serving others. Through service I have gained a deeper understanding of the circumstances of those around me as well as what I can do to make the world a better place in small ways.

  • In the past, I have often volunteered through teaching. I have always been very passionate about tutoring and using my skills to help others learn more and gain more self confidence. As I gain more academic experience at a college level, I hope to be able to volunteer as a tutor again for my peers.
  • I have also been involved in service within my Biological Science scholars group. We have volunteered to visit the Wesley Glen nursing home and interact with the patients during bingo night and other festivities. I also have signed up as a participant and fundraiser for the Biological Science Buckeyethon team to help fight childhood cancer. I plan to involve myself in many more volunteer opportunities within the Columbus area to help spread  kindness.

Artifacts

 

During my senior year of high school, I was given an extraordinary leadership opportunity. I was selected by my peers to be a captain of the cross country team of 68 girls. It felt like an incredible responsibility, but I knew I was up for the challenge. Throughout the past six years I have been an avid runner, participating in both cross country and track. In 2017 I was able to set a new personal record in the 1600 meter race as well as receive an award for the most improved athlete. Running is so much of a mental and physical challenge. It took hours of work and perseverance as well as many miles of running to achieve this goal that I had set for myself. Cross country and track are unlike other sports where you play as a team and win together. Your achievements are based on the success of the individuals. It is more about personal strength and goal setting. For the most part, even though you are competing against other teams, the competition is really against yourself. During my early years as a runner, I had many highs and many lows and learned so much from each one of them. I grew passionate about the sport and began to love running. I was honored to be the captain of my team and help other girls reach their goals and create a team environment that fostered personal growth through our sport. I was able to use what I had learned from previous struggles to help others overcome theirs. I was also lucky to be working alongside four other senior captains. The five of us often had to put our personal opinions aside and make compromises for the good of the team as a whole. Being a captain and running long distance has taught me invaluable skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Being a leader is about caring for those around you and trying to better their lives by sharing your own experiences that others can learn from. It is also about teamwork and cooperation. To be a good role model, I had to realize that I was working for a goal greater than myself that would impact the lives of all the other girls on the team. Running in general has taught me that there are seasons to life. There will always be moments to celebrate and moments where I wish I could get a do-over, but in all these moments, I have learned and realized that hard work and courage can help you achieve any goal.

About Me

My name is Maia Zafirova, and I am a freshman at Ohio State University. Learning is my purpose in life and reason for pursuing a higher education. I am a biochemistry major on the premed track with plans to become a pathologist. My favorite subjects are chemistry and history of any kind. I plan on being a life long learner in this actively changing and progressing career field. I am an avid runner, I play the cello, and I love to read. Traveling is also one of my passions. I am fortunate enough to have been to amazing places such as Barcelona, Edinburgh, London, and Rome. I love anything having to do with hiking and the outdoors. I am very passionate about the environment and preservation of our planet. I am a member of Biological Science scholars, OSU Mountaineers as well as Blueprints for Pangea.