School from a New Perspective

This semester is flying by. We’re already starting week 9, which means we’re halfway through the semester. I’m already counting down the weeks to the end! Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty great semester so far, but I won’t be complaining when it’s over.

I’ve noticed a few things since returning to the academic life two months ago:

  1. Studying feels different. It’s not easier, but it feels like it has a different purpose. Instead of just memorizing, I’m more focused on actually learning and internalizing what I’m learning, and it also just naturally feels a bit easier to internalize concepts. I’m not sure what about working for a year made that happen, but I’m thankful for it.
  2. I care about my grades, but I don’t freak out when I don’t do as well on an exam as I had hoped. Yesterday I found out I did kind of poorly on an exam (but hey, I was still 4% above the class average, so that has to count for something, right?). Pre-Houston, that particular grade would have freaked me out. I would’ve been thinking of all the ways I was going to lose my scholarship because of my inability to maintain my grades. I’ve learned that it takes more than one (or even two or three) iffy exam grades to cause any trouble. My main concern is re-learning those concepts I didn’t do well with so that I can do better next time.
  3. I have an awesome source of motivation – two back-to-back co-op rotations at JSC next summer and fall. One of them will be with the Mechanisms and Maintenance Branch (summer), and the other will be with Extravehicular Activity (fall). I’m crazy excited for both, and though I don’t expect either to utilize much of my materials background, I’m still trying to soak in as much as I can while I’m here at school so that if any materials questions do come up, I know where to start. Having this motivator has really helped me stay focused while studying, working on homework, and getting up in the morning to go to class.

Overall, I’ve noticed a lot of personal, professional, and academic growth as a result of my amazing year in Houston. I can’t wait to be back there next summer, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying my time at school. And of course, because I just can’t get enough space in my life, I’m part of another Ohio State Micro-g NExT team. Micro-g is what got me to JSC in the first place, so I’m excited to see another OSU team participating. I’m not the team lead this time, which has been a godsend as I adjust back to the craziness of life at school. An awesome aerospace engineering student took over as team lead, and I’m enjoying a role that’s more advisory in nature. It’s a great way for me to maintain some of the knowledge and connections I gained at JSC, and it’ll also hopefully give the other people on the team a doorway into some other NASA opportunities, should they want them.

I’ve also enjoyed being on campus again. Ohio State has a beautiful campus, and I missed walking to class.

My view from my flight back from New Hampshire, where I was visiting my boyfriend in September. As much as I loved my year of taking flights into Houston, this was a welcome sight out my window!

I may be counting down the weeks until the end of the semester, but I’m also not in any big rush here. I’m enjoying my time, soaking up a lot of new things, and enjoying my experience. Honestly, I feel like I’ve been enjoying this semester the most out of all time I’ve spent at OSU. I guess sometimes it takes spending some time away in order to appreciate all the amazing things about a place.

Let’s go knock out the second half of the semester.