Ready for Sophomore Summer

After struggling to find my academic way, I finally hit my stride. My second year on campus was challenging yet I felt as though I had everything under control. I pushed myself to stay on top of things and be as organized as possible. I had a plan and goal coming onto campus in August and I stuck to it!

Exploring Columbus ~

  • Fun Things Around Town
    • The Columbus Zoo Lights at Christmas are perfect to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus, Scholars usually makes a trip out of it, which means you get to go for a discounted price!
  • FOOD!!! – students have to eat right!?!
    • The North Market is possibly my favorite place to go on the weekends to grab a bite to eat. It’s inviting atmosphere and hustle and bustle should not be missed! Bonus: you can get there on the bus easily with your BuckID

Involvement Highlights ~

  • Experience Ohio State for the Day – Host
    • I wish I had know that you can tour campus and attend classes with actual college students when I was looking into OSU. Through EOFD, I tour perspective students and take them to class with me. They are able to see what actual life is like as a student and have the chance to interact with professors and ask any questions about being me!
  • Pen Pals
    • When school was about a week in, I received an email that I was appointed to be part of the Logistics Committee for a wonderful club here on campus! Pen Pals connects local elementary aged students with an OSU student with hopes of encouraging young children to pursue higher education. Every other week college students write to their pen pals from a local low income school and the Logistics Committee goes through every journal and ensures each elementary aged student gets a response. The club also hosts these elementary students and gives them a chance to come onto campus and meet the students they have been talking to throughout the year.

Summer Plans ~

  • Working – yuck!
    • I have a job working at the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Veterinary Medicine in their Referral Center for Animal Models! I am beyond excited to have this opportunity and can’t wait to tell you all about it once summer ends!

Vet Exploration Day

One of the opportunities presented to kids interested in Vet-med is the Vet Exploration Day presented by OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. The day ran from 9:00 to 5:00 pm in the academic buildings and hospital on the Vet campus.

The day started out with a presentation from Tony Wynne, the director of the VMCAS, Veterinary Medical College Application Services. The presentation, while informative was less than meaningful. A reminder to college students to make sure all their application materials are submitted by the deadline is seemingly unnecessary. After Mr. Wynne’s presentation, a Q&A complete with a panel of current OSU vet students was conducted. This provided a helpful insight to what the interview process was like and what students saw as pros and cons of the program. Tips and tricks were given before us hopefuls went off to tour the hospital!

Most vet hospitals look the same. Sterile rooms, surgical wings, radiology departments, and large animal holding spaces. OSU was no different. Much of the small animal spaces were under renovation and other spaces off limits; what we were able to see was limited. After the conclusion of the tour we had lunch and split into smaller groups for wet labs. I signed up for suture & hand ties and necrospy.

Suturing, basically fancy skin sewing with forceps and tweezers, and hand tying was very hands on and we were able to practice the skills the students taught us on our own. It was very social and I enjoyed talking to other perspective students about their interests and past experiences. There are so many different pathways into vet med and hearing people’s experiences with exotics was so interesting! Necropsy was next. Necropsy is essentially a fancy word for animal autopsy. We examined about 20 organs from multiple species including camels! Some of the organs were healthy and contained normal tissue while others were diseased and it was our job to determine 1. what organ it was 2. if it was diseased and 3. what was the disease or cause of death. It is so interesting what you can tell about the life and death of an animal by simply looking at a portion of the liver or lung!

Overall, I enjoyed the wet lab portion of the day and appreciated the opportunity to gain new skills and meet new people. Going to OSU and being a scholar provide me with many chances to become a well rounded individual with diverse experiences and I think Vet Exploration Day helped provide me with a new and fun experience!



(Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures at any point of  the day.)

Summer 2017 and Upcoming Year!

The college cliche is that summer goes by way to fast. I honestly don’t agree. This summer I felt I had more than enough time to be home, see friends, have a job, travel, and do everything I wanted. By the end of July, the few weeks left at home could not move fast enough! Columbus, I was ready to come back.

I was able to spend time with my local equine vet and ride along with her during the day. It never ceases to amaze me when we would walk into a barn and preform something like an enucleation on a horse standing up in its stall. An eye removal on a human would be in the most sterile surgical suite and they would be under anesthesia. With veterinary medicine, field surgeries are necessary. Vets do not have the luxuries that medical doctors often experience and the quick pace and intensity of the field draws me to vet-med even more! Keeping a journal of my time spend with vets over the summer was one of the smartest things I could have done. It is so important to look back at it and connect everything I saw and assisted with to the things I am learning in class.

As summer concluded, I thought about my freshman year and what changes I wanted to make going forward. I thought about my performance in class (leaving room for improvement for sure!) and my involvement in extracurriculars. As a sophomore, you know how campus works and I think that leaves more room for you to be an individual on campus. Last year I struggled to maintain my point of view and this year I want to pursue clubs and events that I feel strongly about no matter the opinion of those around me. Sophomore year I want to be true to myself and show OSU who I really am.

A Day in the Life of a Buckeye

For the past five years, students on campus have been organizing a day for kids from urban and Appalachian communities to come to OSU and experience what it is like to go to college. A Day in the Life of a Buckeye has a goal of motivating students to pursue higher education and increase the college-going rate among Ohio’s urban and Appalachian area students. Current OSU students are paired with a high school student, usually sophomores or juniors, and take the high-schoolers to class, dining halls, dorm rooms, and more. OSU students were told to make sure the students went to class and stayed awake and even answered questions if called on by professors!

This year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to host a student! The day starts off at the Union at 8 am (and for someone who’s earliest class was 10:20 once a week 8 am was quiet the wake up call!). On Wednesday, my first class is 12:40, so from 8 until then I trudged all over campus taking my student to the eleventh floor of Thompson, my dorm room, Scott Traditions, the RPAC, and grabbed pasta bowls at Curl Market before heading to my class, Calc 3! She was probably bored out of her mind while I frantically scribbled notes and wrote down the problems from the board but that was partially the point of the day.

Experiencing college for the day isn’t always fun classes where you watch movies in order to understand Italian mob culture in New York City and darties, although it can be. College is full of boring classes you have to take and waking up earlier than you may like to go sit in classes you aren’t excited about. I cannot say for sure if my high-schooler had a good day or will pursue college in her future but I can say I showed her what my day was like and answered all of her questions to the best of my ability.

I think programs such as this allow kids to experience college and make connections they would have otherwise not have be able to make. Kids have the opportunity to gain a friend and a mentor who has already gone through the college application process and can provide support and encouragement. I enjoyed meeting kids with such diverse backgrounds, a background far different than my own. I hope the kids gained something from the program because I know I did.

Year One: Complete

Second semester could not have been more different from the first. This year, I was reminded of how quickly things can change. I am not someone who deals with change very well, but at least I know that. Right? The point is if you had asked me if I thought I would have a completely different set of friends or if I would have added a minor in Biomedical Engineering, I would say no. But those things are true. I really don’t speak to my roommates or original friends and I have contemplated changing my major but, settled for adding a minor. Things have certainly not gone as planned but, that’s life.

I have new friends which is good! I love my friends, but I no longer have these wild plans to live with them junior and senior year or crazy plans to road-trip across the country to visit them like I once had. Although, I think that is a good thing. Before, my friendships were not based in reality; rather, they were based in crazy dreams with no real goal or endpoint. I had high school relationships and I was in college. Second semester showed me that I wanted to be grown up and be more responsible. I want to surround myself with motivated, serious people, who also know how to have fun because we are in college and not an old folks home for goodness sake.

I added a minor! So that’s fun! I really thought about switching my major this semester but, ultimately it didn’t make sense. I still want to go to graduate school for veterinary medicine and would be an undergrad for what seemed like forever if I tried to switch majors and get all my pre-requisites for vet school. Thus, I settled for a minor in Biomedical Engineering! I am beyond excited and really want to look into getting involved in research in the fall, once back in Columbus.

Overall college has been everything I expected and more I could have never imagined. College really is a place where you learn who you are. I have realized what I want out of the relationships I form and what I want academically and that grade forgiveness is your friend and you should NOT be ashamed to use it. I think Ohio State has more to offer than I ever thought and I have to go out and grab those opportunities by the horns because they aren’t always going to be there.

The Wilds

Zebras, giraffes, and rhinos, oh my? The Wilds not only provides a home to species from across the world, but also a breeding program for endangered species, land conservation, and a place for people to learn more about the animals that inhabit the 9,000 acres.

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During our excursion to The Wilds, I gained a better understanding of what it takes to be a zookeeper and what it is like to work at a large animal park. It was interesting to see behind the scenes of what it is like to run and maintain such a large facility, especially one with national appeal. It was also interesting to learn about and see the research being done in order to hopefully help the remaining truly wild cousins of the endangered residents of The Wilds.

(Pictures courtesy Natalie Kushner)

Welcome to my Honors & Scholars e-Portfolio


My name is Bailey Decker and I am a Biological Sciences Scholar at The Ohio State University and this is my e-Portfolio! This is where you can find out more about what I am doing on campus and cool places I have been lucky enough to explore in the surrounding Columbus area. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you on this journey through college!

Semester in Review

Coming to campus in the fall was nothing less than intimidating. I was nervous about making friends, studying, and everything in between.  The first semester here on campus exceeded my expectations; I learned far beyond what I could have imagined. I have developed close relationships to people in a few short months that rival those I have forged for years. Academically, I have had my fair share of triumphs and defeats. College is not the time to learn what is a good study habit and what is not. I have been to the library until odd hours of the night… or morning. I have been to office hours and not to class. I have learned that may not be the best strategy, but a strategy none the less. I have learned that there are people in my corner and people who care. This semester is quickly coming to a close. Exams are peaking there heads around the corner and stress levels are rising, but I would not want to trade it for anything.

Thus far, college has been everything I could have hoped for and more. I cannot wait for what next semester holds and the next three years!


Global Awareness: A high school teacher of mine used to call every one of her students “Global Citizens;” she said it was because each of us have the ability to change the world or at least be aware of what is going on in it. It is true what Mrs. Johnston said, we all are able to at least be aware of what is happening in the world and explore that. The Ohio State is full of individuals from all across the world and it is so easy to appreciate different cultures even if you never leave campus. Although campus is a great place to gain a better understanding of a multitude of cultures, I hope to travel abroad during my time at OSU and experience the world first hand!

Original Inquiry: In one word: Research! The main reason I chose OSU was research. There are almost too many research projects that students can get involved in. Whether it is in a traditional lab or riding buses around campus and tracking popular bus stops, there is nothing you can’t do at OSU when it comes to research. I want to work in a biomedical engineering research lab during my time at OSU because it is something I think is at the forefront of medicine and something I find incredibly interesting.

Academic Enrichment: Taking hard classes comes with any pre-med territory. I think most kids in a scholars program will take academically challenging courses during their time at OSU and I am no exception.

Leadership Development: With so many clubs and extra curricular activities at OSU it is incredibly easy to find leadership positions and opportunists while on campus. I think it will be almost impossible to not have any leadership positions while being an undergrad.

Service Engagement: Community Service was a huge part of my life in high school and will continue to play a large role in my life during my undergraduate career. I enjoy engaging with my surrounding community and think that in order to be an active member of society you must give back to it.