This year has been the most challenging year academically of my life so far. I spent way more time on school work than I had in the past, and the result was that I have learned far more than I had previously. Being able to push ourselves is one of the greatest opportunities in life, although at times it feels like the exact opposite. I am abundantly grateful to have had these experiences this past year, and I know that the things I have learned, both academically and about myself, will be foundational to my success as I move forward.
The year started out on a few awesome notes. For the week leading up to the fall semester, I had the privilege of attending LeaderShape. This camp brought in some of the best leaders from Ohio State, with the purpose of creating purpose driven leadership. Their big motto is, “To lead, live.” All of our leadership starts in first being true to ourselves. So in order to have purpose driven leadership, we have to live a purpose driven life. A large chunk of this week was spent exploring who we were on base levels. It was an absolutely incredible experience and between meeting amazing people, learning more about myself, and being pushed to understand how I can change the world for the better, I was excited to get into the semester and embrace its difficulty.
The first week of school, myself and two other Eminence Fellows, Abd Traboulsi and Jacob Enders, spoke at the Honors and Scholars Launch. We each spoke on a specific topic, and my topic was Global Awareness. How can we utilize Honors and Scholars in order to become ‘global citizens’? And in fact, what does ‘global citizenship’ mean? My internship in Germany and the travel that I was able to do as a result of that allowed for relatable experiences as I spoke to 2700 eager freshmen about this very complex and exciting topic. So many people have inspired me and pushed me during my journey, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to pass that on to the many people who need it after me.
Once the academic portion of the school year began, things became far less picture worthy. 15 of my 18 credits were honors engineering, so I knew this was going to be a wild ride. The most important take away from the semester itself was on a personal level: I knew I could genuinely work hard. I was able to learn a variety of coding languages, and my physics and calculus skills progressed exponentially. I was able to maintain a high GPA, which in the face of other organization commitments was very rewarding. My main outside commitments for this semester included Best Food Forward, The Eminence Fellows Leadership Council, and the Sustainability Innovation Virtual Lab (SVIL). In fact, here’s an article that was written about out SIVL project: https://senr.osu.edu/news/sustainability-innovation-virtual-lab-launches-first-project
After a tough first semester, winter break was a very nice relief. My family went to Los Angeles for a little over a week, which is where my sister lives. This was probably the best vacation I’ve ever had, and we were able to do so many awesome things, like hiking up this mountain in the afternoon (this is actually on top of an old missile silo).
As the academic portion of the semester began, I once again knew it would be quite a challenge. This semester centered around a few things outside the immediate classroom. The first was the robot competition, where engineering students had to build autonomous electric vehicles (AEVs) to complete a course that had different tasks. The time commitment to robot is similar to that of a part time job, if not more. While this was a massive time commitment, it was also a very rewarding experience. Beyond being able to efficiently complete the course, our robot also came in second for the “hottest robot” award. I was in charge of construction and CAD, but admittedly I didn’t do the beautiful decorating.
Best Food Forward (BFF) was my other primary activity, and perhaps the most rewarding experience I’ve had at Ohio State. This semester was the first time our wholesale bulk buying model was in action, after over 1.5 years of planning. The result? We were able to save members $3802 through 5 bulk buys, which represents an average cost savings of 55% compared to local grocers. People pre-pay for the bags of produce (separate bags for cooking or dorm focus), and the come on Saturday mornings to pick them up. Even more exciting is that BFF is working to become an independent non-profit, and with this status we have some aggressive expansion plans. Stay tuned!
This year has been incredible, and I can’t wait to begin the summer. I am very excited to be working at Honda of America, where my role will be to work on a team that assesses supplier sustainability.