The Frozen Tundra

Hello everyone! If you are in a location that has fallen below freezing, stay strong and bundled while thinking of tropical spring break vacation spots.

The American Red Cross came to the school earlier this week to set up a blood donation and I am happy to report that I was able to donate! The idea that such a simple act can save another person’s life is a huge motivating factor for me.

There is going to be a Schubert Honors Competition starting this weekend, so for all of the students who will be visiting, welcome in advance!

I’d like to answer another question from a very special high-schooler. I don’t want to reveal her identity completely but she has the same last name as me and we share the same parents. So, for the anonymous high school senior…

How hard/easy is it to get used to living with roommates? How does it work exactly, living with strangers?

I enjoy this question and feel that it is very important to address it. I haven’t shared a room since I was about four years old. Yet here I am, on the cusp of adulthood, coexisting with three other young ladies. It will seem odd at first, seeing as there is a very good chance that your new roommates will be strangers to you. Even if you aren’t able to become best friends or kindred spirits, make an effort to get to know each other. Understanding those you live with is one of the best opportunities that can be experienced in college.

There will admittedly be some difficulties. Even if you and your roommate become close friends right away, there is a big transition from your old life to college living. The key to remember is that this individual who now lives with you is going through those same transitions. Keep an open mind to their anxieties and concerns. If they really don’t like food in the room, be considerate. If they go to bed long after or before you, work out ways to accommodate each schedule. You will have to practice give and take and LISTEN TO THEM. If you have a problem, voice it to them and ask for them to do the same. Issues that are ignored do not go away.

Rather than looking at it as being forced to live with someone you don’t know, think of it as having a sleepover with a friend that just lasts a bit longer. Your roommates and you will have shared interests; after all, you both picked your school for a reason. Focus on those similarities and enjoy your time together.

I could say a lot more about this and I most likely will, at another time. But for now I wish everyone a good end of the week and a happy weekend! As always, please feel free to contact me with questions or comments. I love hearing from you!

Sincerely,

Karson Stevenson

Welcome to 2014, two weeks late!

Hello all! I hope everyone had a wonderful winter break, whether you had atrocious weather, fantastically chaotic family gatherings, warm beaches, or too many hours logged for work. It’s difficult to believe that the year is actually 2014. To me it sounds like the year out of some futuristic science fiction novel (so far in the future that Bradbury would have enjoyed it). But here it is, well upon us, and there are many exciting events that have been put into action for this year of transition and growth. One such event has been my little sister selecting her university for next year (despite my best efforts, she will not be joining me here at OWU). I myself am attempting to pursue a career in the field of Occupational Therapy with an emphasis on neurological rehabilitation and have begun to look for opportunities to immerse myself into that area of medicine. But more on that later!

I’ll be addressing some more high-school concerns in the next couple of weeks, but I would like to take this time to briefly discuss the amazing and complex field of neuroscience. I will acknowledge that this topic tends to incite very diverse reactions from people, ranging from fascination to utter apathy. But I recently finished up a very interesting course called Physiological Psychology that examined the various structures and components of the brain and the significance of each in relation to human experiences and behaviors. At the end of last semester each student had to find an article describing a new and progressive piece of news within the neuroscience community. My topic was on a new form of neurological training that would allow an individual to improve of physical performances by primarily working on mental exercises and trials. This sounds impossible, but research done by Dr. Sook-Lei Liew and her colleagues at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Maryland, have shown positive results with individuals working to improve their skills at something, such as playing the piano.

These studies focused on increasing the communication and connectivity between the premotor cortex and the supplementary motor cortex as these are the ares of the brains most associated with motor skills. I will spare you the more complex details, but just imagine in the years ahead being able to learn a new instrument or improve at a sport by simply playing brain stimulating computer games. That is crazy! This is still just a small pilot study, but the very notion that it could be possible to develop a physical skill by mental exercises is amazing.

Thank you for sticking with me through that little geek-out. Second semester has just begun and I have some work to do, so I will bid you all adieu and wish you a wonderful rest of the week and a belated happy new year!

Sincerely,

Karson A. Stevenson