Marist English 3AP Blogs

Below are a a handful of blog entries written by Marist students enrolled in English 3AP. For more information about this project, contact Ms. Annie Brusky.

Student Name: Michaela Bernichio     Date: October 13     Title: Mentor Reflection

     Not only did I get to learn from a man who is very good at his career and knows about the job, the people, involved, and everything about being an architect, I also got to see and listen to a man who truly loves what he does and puts himself into every building that he designs. Mr. Bruce Schmiedl made architecture feel more like a lifestyle rather than a career. The way he explained how he looks at different buildings and structures really fascinated me and also made me,too, look at structures in a  whole new light. Listening to a person like Mr. Schmiedl truly made me appreciate a worker's love and passion for what they do. I wish to achieve this type of passion in my future career as well. I have always been interested in architecture, but after listening to Mr. Schmiedl, I have found a new appreciation and understanding of architecture and all that goes into it. I plan to carry everything that Mr. Schmiedl said with me into my future career with whatever that may be. Not only have I learned valuable information about architecture, but also about working hard for your goals. If you really love your job and are willing to work hard, you can be very successful and meet many good people. Mr. Schmiedl said that when doing a project, you take a step into a person's life and learn more about them. I think this is important in order to learn about everything that you can and get accustomed to different lifestyles. 

     Explaining different types of architecture, Mr. Schmiedl really drew all of my group's attention in and made us focus on what type of architecture we are interested in. I did not know that there were different types of architecture before going to this mentor ship and it has forced me to broaden my knowledge on what type of architecture I would be doing if I went into that field. Since I am also interested in engineering, I found this very useful, because like Mr. Schmiedl said, some architecture involves engineering. Architecture also involves various math skills and art which I also enjoy. Listening to him got me excited to learn more about architecture and I am looking forward to future meeting with Mr. Schmiedl.


Student Name: Jason Phelan  Date: October 12     Title: Medical School & the Art of Medicine

Nick Cozzi is a first year medical student at Central Michigan University College of Medicine. He graduated from Marist High School in 2008 and followed that by studying neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin. Now, he has become my mentor.

Nick and I share many of the same interests academically. As stated earlier, he studied neuroscience as an undergraduate, and this is one of my goals. Furthermore, I, like Nick does now, want to attend medical school. Most of all, we both have the ultimate desire to become a physician; we both hope to have the ability to help and save people on a daily basis.

Coming into my mentorship, I felt like I knew all there is to know about medical school and what its about. Obviously, med school is an über-competitive enterprise through which only the strongest emerge. It's cutthroat and every man for himself. I was sorely mistaken.

In our first conversation, we spent most of the time discussing what medical school is actually like. As I alluded to previously, I came into the conversation thinking a knew what medical school is like. I have an aunt who is an anesthesiologist, so she has always told me of the difficulty of medical school, or at least how it was twenty-five years ago. Also, over the summer, I attended medical camps where the counselors proclaimed the difficulty and stress of med school; however, I was never had an opportunity to personally discuss this topic with them.

My predisposed ideas of medical school were demolished in one thirty minute conversation with Nick. He did not say once that he regretted his choice of going to medical school: he actually called it a blessing. He explained that most of his classes are on a pass-fail grading system, diminishing some of the stress. He also mentioned that most of his work is within a group, further limiting stress and individualism. Overall, medical school is less about cutthroat grades and more of a community (but it's still really stressful).

This is one of the most interesting and amazing ideas from the conversation: medical school is about teamwork. Medical school arguably has some of the most competitive admissions along with some of the most intelligent students in the world, all fighting for the most prestigious jobs in the world. This screams all-nighters studying to get the best grade to ruin the curve, but this is not how it is in reality. According to Nick, the classes simply have too much information for one student to handle, so teamwork is necessary. In the real world, doctors need to collaborate in order to ensure the best outcome for patients, and medical school nourishes this sense of community.

Nick and I ended our conversation with one of the most motivational and inspiring aspects of being a physician: people do not want to see their doctor. Nobody chooses to go to the doctor for fun; people need to. Patients come to the doctor because the have no other option. They are suffering and need help, and physicians are the only ones who could do this. Doctors are not an luxury: they are a necessity. This is why, as Hippocrates once said, "Medicine is, of all the arts, the most noble."

My conversation with Nick really motivated me. He helped illustrate how great physicians are. They are some of societies smartest and most respected people, yet they give of themselves to those who are suffering. Now, doctors are taught to communicate with other doctors, which is another aspect of their greatness.  They have to diminish their egos in order to understand their weaknesses as a physician and to collaborate with others. Greatness as a doctor is conveyed through self-sacrifice and humility.

My first encounter with Nick was more on a general scale. We discussed some of the broad and basic concepts of medicine. In my next discussions, however, I hope to explore my personal experience in medicine. I would like to know what some of the best specialties would be for me. I want to find out what I should look for in a school for both undergraduate studies and medicine. I would like to discuss options like PhD-MD programs and DO school. I learned a lot about being a doctor from Nick; I want to learn more about this path in my next mentorship meeting.

Student Name: Marlynn Lopez  Date: October 30     Title: Life Outside Your Bubble

On October 20th, I spoke with my mentor for the second time, which changed my perspective about an orthopedic surgeon's life, once again.

When I questioned Matthew what he liked about his job, his response was not what I expected. I actually thought he was going to mention something about his income, or maybe he thought performing surgeries is cool. But his favorite part about his job is hearing about people's lives, and just getting a "view outside your own little bubble". He talks to people with jobs ranging from McDonald's employees to CEO's, and he has the opportunity to help all of these unique people. His world is just so different from my world. I'm so use to seeing the same people everyday, and I know I'll never get to know, or even talk to, most of the people that walk through the hallways in Marist everyday. And that really bothered me: in the past two years I've could've met several more people...but I missed that chance. 

Although I probably could have predicted his response to the second question, his answer still managed to surprise me. When I asked Matthew his challenges throughout his career, he did not mention AP classes, the Mcat, or waking up before the sun rises; but instead explained how his residency has been the toughest part of his journey. The fact that he has to gain the confidence as a doctor, even though he is enrolled in a training program, is quite an obstacle: sometimes he'll make a mistake and he doesn't exactly feel good about it even though it's totally understandable since he's still practicing. Like he said, "no one is born knowing how to perform surgeries." Once again, his answer revolves around the people he treats: he's thinking about their health and feelings.

Before the first phone call, I didn't know what exactly I wanted to become, but I did know it would be something related to sports medicine. After this phone call, the second phone call, I actually kind of want to become an orthopedic surgeon. I want to perform surgeries, I want to get a "view outside my own little bubble", and I want to gain the patients' confidence as a doctor. And according to Matthew, the key is to keep going--I'm willing to keep going because it really seems worth it. 

In order to be great I must "get a view outside my own little bubble", positively influence other individual's little bubbles, and keep going; just like Matthew. 

Student Name: Michael Laird  Date: October 12     Title: Smith Village

 As the old adage goes, "wisdom comes with age." If this is true, then there is no better place to try to find the answer to the question "What does it mean to be great?" than at a senior living center. On October 11, 2014, I volunteered, along with Mike St. Lawrence, at Smith Village in Chicago. This was an very moving experience for me, and I gained insight I honestly did not expect to acquire. I shall summarize the events and activities that took place, but due to the request of one of the workers, all names stated and any personal information has been changed due to privacy concerns.

     Within the first few minutes while waiting to meet our boss for the day, I noticed something I did not expect to see. An elderly man was pushing a cart with a large canvas into the lobby. Morally, I felt obliged to go help him, but a worker appeared instantly behind him and offered to help. Surprisingly, the man rejected the offer, and kept pushing without slowing down even a step. Before I could react, we were met by our boss. Prior to giving us jobs, she gave us a tour of the whole building. We met many different men and women along the way, and some that even had kids or grandchildren that attended Marist. We let the boss know thee general idea of what we were searching for, and she directed us to an elderly women that loved to talk. So, I decided to just ask plain and simple, "What do you think makes a person great?" Her answer was very specific. She described how day in and day out the care workers and nurses come in every day with a positive attitude and do all in their power to help everyone in the building, and that all the workers enjoyed being here. Mary, as we will call her, was a very intellectual person, and I could tell just by listening to her. Later, I learned that Mary was a scientist. After the tour, we were assigned to help a care worker with a group of about 8-10 people for three hours with their pre-dinner activities. This group was under assisted living, meaning they were able to come and leave the activity room as they pleased, but they could not leave the floor without an assistant because they had random memory loss. The first thing I noticed was that they were all working on a "thinking" activity very diligently. When Mike and I sat down, they eagerly filled us in on the answers they had gotten with great pride. They were so happy in showing off they personal achievements. We continued to do each activity with the group: baking pumpkin bread, playing kick the ball, a crossword, and watching a movie. During these activities, there was something that I noticed that almost bothered. As expected, these activities were not designed to be difficult, but due to memory loss some of the men and women struggled. However, they wanted to succeed. When the care worker tried helping them, I felt a sense of annoyance coming from the elderly. They almost did not want the help. I was able to feel this in person, but it may be hard for a reader to grasp this feeling, but I have a story that should help.
     Right before watching the movie, Mike and I were tasked with setting up the chairs in a fashion so everyone could see the television. As I said before, whe the care worker tried to help, I sensed a feeling of annoyance. Well, when I tried to help an elderly lady, "Beth," she was not pleased. I placed a chair down and asked if she would be able to sit here instead, in order to see the television. "Beth" decided she did not need my help, and told me to "shove that chair up you a**. This place only hires stupid workers." The other elders were outraged at this "language from a lady" and they tried to console me. However, I did not take this in an offensive way. In fact, I was glad that "Beth" said this, because I knew that she wanted to be independent, as all of the elders did. 

     Finally, when we were done with helping the elders with their activities, we went down to the lobby with our boss to see the art show that was taking place. We were fortunate enough to talk to two artists, a carpenter and a painter. Both men were extremely talented, and it was an honor to speak with them. Two things struck me. The carpenter told us that with the time put in to his creations to the money he made on them, he barley made 15 cents an hour, but if we love what we do just do it. The painter told us that we should always give our best in everything, because we do not know what potential we might unlock. This may sound like a "typical grandpa advice," but we did not ask for it. Instead, they were just so excited to give us advice that they came and told us. This meant something to me; their words must have meant something to them because they came up and presented the ideas on their own.

     Overall, I had a very good experience at Smith Village. As a combination of all that I witnessed, I think that the answer to "What does it mean to be great?" from the elderly point of view would be "A great person acts according to his will and acts with pride." I believe this encompasses the idea of everyone that we talked to, from Mary telling me that the workers loved helping the elderly, Beth showing her will to  be independent, and the two artists advising us to go after what we love. The only question I have from this experience is, why do the workers not try to allow more independence with the elders? I understand that they need some help, but I think that there is a little more room to allow them to try to live on their own. Hopefully, on my next visit, I will be able to see if there is anything I can do to fix this.