Written by Sam Kreps, an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota Rochester:

Let others know when they have made an impact on you. That is the main takeaway I have learned from my weekly creative writing and origami session I have been facilitating to the inpatient psychiatric geriatrics unit.

A little background about me; I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota Rochester earning a Bachelors of Science in Health Science degree. Through my institution I have been fortunate enough to be able to participate in an internship at the inpatient psychiatric unit. One of my internship duties includes facilitating a creativity-based activity which includes writing and origami. I am 21. To the geriatrics population, I remind them of their daughter. When participants see me clumsily walk in, they see a young soft-faced, bright eyed woman in which life has not drained her quite yet. Being a “baby” in the eyes of the geriatric participants, they feel the need to give me unsolicited life advice: when to buy a house, to how to best cook noodles, and finally on how to care for those with mental illness. However, the most important unsolicited advice I was given was not actually said directly to me. That is to let others know when they have impacted you.

Let others know when they have impacted you… how did this become my takeaway message? Well, I met a participant, whom I would call, Bob. Bob had a white scruffy beard, round glasses, and deep phlegmy laugh (that was constantly executed). When I was teaching how to make an origami flower and heart he said, “keep this session going because even if some didn’t like it, there are some who did.” Bob then proceeded to clench his fist and raise his arm to halfway. I did the same. I tapped my fist to his to let him know he had impacted me with his kind words. He then gave me the origami flower I taught him to make and said, “spread my legacy. Use this flower to be the start of making and giving a bouquet of flowers”.

Spread his legacy? What did that even mean? All I did was show him how to fold a piece of paper. After reflecting, I now know. Bob’s legacy is that it is important to let others know when they have impacted us. Most people want to know they have made a lasting impact during their lifetime and Bob did just that for me. Letting others know their impact is like making an origami flower. Both take time, but the end result is beautiful. Spread Bobs legacy and let people know when they have influenced you. Give that origami flower to the person. And don’t stop until you have given out a bouquet of flowers.