Semester Review: Fall 2020

This semester was the first full semester since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Although the initial surprise of the pandemic had mostly worn off by the time classes started this August, the question of how long will this last? lingered with me all semester. This semester had its fair-share of disappointments – the mostly deserted campus, no more football Saturdays in the Shoe, and the removal of the much-needed breaks we typically get during fall semester. On top of all of this, every class I had was delivered in a different format. I had one completely in-person class, one hybrid online/in-person class, one online asynchronous class, and one online synchronous class. It was challenging to adjust to the variety of class delivery formats, but it eventually became easier. This experience taught me a lot about adaptability this semester, especially since the university’s plans for classes could (and sometimes did) change on a moment’s notice. This inability to know what the future held helped me appreciate things more as they were happening. So I wanted to share 10 things that I truly appreciated and was grateful for this semester:

  1. I received the Student Employee of the Year award from my job at Ohio State’s Telecommunications Networking Center (TNC). I’ve been working at this job since May 2019. I work 10 hours/week during the semester and up to 38 hours/week during breaks throughout the school year. Juggling classes and work can be challenging, but this award helped me feel like my work is validated, appreciated, and impactful to the team that I work with.
  2. With campus being open, I was finally able to enjoy some of my favorite campus foods again! Some of my favorites include subs from Oxely’s By the Numbers, chicken tenders from Mirror Lake, and strawberry milkshakes from Sloopy’s Diner.
  3. I completed my first project-based web applications course. This course (CSE 3901) exposed me new programming languages and tools such as JavaScript, Ruby, Ruby on Rails, HTML/CSS, and GitHub. I was able to gain practical, hands-on experience working on a team of 4 students to develop web applications to play the card game Set and implement a peer-based presentation feedback tool.
  4. I officially voted in my first-ever presidential election! My high school AP U.S. Government teacher always stressed the importance of voting in his class, so voting in a presidential election is something I’ve been looking forward to for a few years now. I’m really glad I was finally able to perform this civic duty and I look forward to voting in many more presidential elections in the future!
  5. I completed my final required math class (MATH 3345)! After 5 semesters of stressful math classes, I am beyond thrilled to say that I not only enjoyed the material but also managed to get an A in the class.
  6. Thankfully, my Saturdays were still filled with Ohio State football. I might not have been able to watch as many games, be in the Shoe, or watch the Buckeyes beat TTUN, but I’ll take some football over none.
  7. I achieved a 4.0 GPA! This is an achievement that I haven’t always earned throughout my 5 semesters of college, but it sure is nice when I do. I’m extremely proud of myself for all the work I put into all of my classes this semester to make this happen, and hopefully this won’t be my last 4.0 semester.
  8. With online classes, I was able to spend more time in my off-campus apartment. With this extra time, I was able to experiment with some new recipes. I’m not the greatest at cooking, but I’m definitely getting better with the extra practice I was able to get this semester!
  9. I started a new project for my job with Ohio State’s TNC. This project involves creating a directed graph of devices on Ohio State’s network. I was able to use concepts learned in some of my classes (CSE 2321/CSE 2331) such as directed graphs and Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm. This is one of the first times that I’ve been able to put some of the more complex topics that I’ve learned in class into action for a real-world application. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the parallels between my classes and work, and I hope that they continue to overlap in new, interesting ways.
  10. I officially made it over halfway through college! This semester was my 5th of 8 semesters, so I’m now over halfway done. This is an exciting yet scary realization. I’ve loved my time at Ohio State so far and it’s sad to think that I’m that much closer to being done. However, I can’t wait to see what the remainder of my time has in store for me!