Freshman Year in Review

This year has been one of the best years of my life. I have lived this year differently than other years. First of all, coming to college has been a large change due to the fact that I have not lived in my house for an entire year (except for breaks). I was nervous at first due to the fact that I would be responsible for all of my school work and everything else. Another change is that I am not doing any regular season sports like I used to do every single year before now. It has been relaxing not having such a tight schedule but I also miss having the comradery that exists in sports. However, it has been nice because I can just go out and play soccer for fun with a bunch of friends any time I want and there is no pressure to win or lose because it is all for fun. Another change I had was not having the community that existed in my high school. Luckily, a friend of mine that is a school year ahead of me and went to my high school texted me about a fraternity he had joined. Coming into college, I had decided without even looking into it that I would not have time to join a fraternity due to the fact that I am majoring in engineering. However, I decided to go to some events and check it out. Immediately I felt a connection to the organization and all of the guys were great and well-mannered men. All of the stereotypes that I associated with fraternities were blown when I went to more and more events. Phi Kappa Tau is the name of the fraternity, and they are a bit smaller than most fraternities, but I enjoyed spending time with all of the guys and ended up joining. Joining Phi Kappa Tau was one of the best decisions that I made this year. Some changes I have made in spite of these changes mostly involve my study habits. Back home, I would generally go to my room and do my homework there, sometimes going to the library when I had a lot to get done. However, this year I have a lot more distractions in my room and therefore I cannot get that much done, and therefore I normally go to the library almost everyday to get my homework done. Some changes I would like to make is to be more organized. I tend to be a bit messy, which causes me to delegate a day of the week to clean. If I was more organized, however, then I would have a clean room all of the time and not have to spend a couple hours a week cleaning. This year I have been blessed to meet such amazing friends that have similar goals to me. In the very beginning of the year I became friends with one of my engineering partners that lives in Morrill Tower as well, just twelve floors above me. Through him I became friends with many people from his floor and I am on floor twenty-two so often that his RA almost made me a door decoration with my name on it. I am so appreciative of the experiences I have had and the people I was with during these experiences. Another thing that I am thankful for that might sound strange is to have lived in Morrill Tower. Although it is generally disliked compared to other dorms, but I think the community and the setup of Morrill is fantastic, and perfect for Freshman. Also, since Morrill is so far away from most things, I can walk anywhere on campus and it does not feel that far. Besides doing community service, I believe that I have been giving back by being a positive person and bringing positivity to everyone around. This might not seem like much, but I truly try to see the bright side to everyone and try to not let things bring me down. Scholars Earth Month opened my eyes to how easy it is to make a difference in order to help the world. I would say that the choices I made were not particularly meaningful to me, but they were chosen because of how easy they can be done. Such as opening the shades during the day instead of turning on the lights and taking the stairs to conserve energy. Both were very easy to do, and taking the stairs ended up being great exercise.



Before going to college, I signed up to go on a OAC trip to Hocking Hills. The trip ended up being an amazing experience. We did numerous bonding activities to get to know each other, and I made many friends before even coming to college. This picture was taken on a trail in Hocking Hills (I forget which one), but I just really like this picture due to the fact that I think it enraptures my excitement and attitude towards the trip and beginning my journey at OSU.



This picture was taken in the first week of school, when we did the minute to win it challenges as an ice breaker to meet fellow ENR scholars students. The challenge that I did involved using a raw spaghetti noodle in your mouth to pick up raw penne pasta noodles. In order to win, someone had to pick up the most noodles, and I couldn’t believe that I was able to pick up all five. These activities were very fun and I am very appreciative that it was such a beautiful day.



During football season, I had season home tickets in the Block O North student section, which was so much fun. I am so glad that I bought these tickets because it was so much fun to be apart of the cheers. Going to the football games was the best part of every weekend in the fall, it was just amazing to be in the stadium, which was always packed, and see the Buckeyes play. Before this year, I had never been to a Buckeye football game, and I have definitely been missing out. However, I still have three or four more seasons to buy tickets and enjoy seeing the Buckeyes beat Michigan!





This picture was taken a few weeks ago when it turned out to be a really nice day outside on a Friday. The journey started at the OAC and two friends and I rented a canoe and walked from the OAC to the Olentangy river. From the banks beside Morrill Tower we began our journey down the river on a clear day, absolutely no clouds to be seen. It was such a great time. We saw numerous turtles laying on the bank of the river, some sliding in for a swim. For about an hour the journey was relaxing and since the current was so strong, we mostly just had to use the paddles to keep the canoe straight. Further down the river, however, rapids began to develop between some bridges, which wasn’t too hard to maneuver in, but it made us a bit nervous. When we finally thought all of the rapids were over, however, we saw a sign down river. The sign was too small to read at first, and it was posted in the middle of the river, which we thought was odd. When we got closer, we could read DANGER, but still couldn’t see the rest of the sign. Once we were close enough to read the sign, it read DANGER: DAM AHEAD, TAKE OUTLET NOW, and had an arrow to the left. The sign was very poorly placed due to the fact that it was AT the danger, and gave little time to take action. We hurriedly paddled to reach the shore on the left, and due to our turning the canoe was now sideways and we had reached rapids. The rapids made the canoe flip since it was sideways, which sent us out of it. Luckily, we all made it to shore without any major injuries, which may not have been the case if we flipped any later and got trapped in the heavy rapids and sharp concrete that was around that area. However, when we got to shore, we saw our canoe floating down the river without us. We went up and crossed the street in order to meet the canoe further downstream, and ended up in the middle of downtown by the time we actually caught up to it and pulled it ashore. Due to the happy ending and the fact that no one was hurt in the rapids, I love this story and will remember it for the rest of my life.


I went to the spring game with some of my fraternity brothers, and it was so exciting to have football in my life again, even if it was for just a few hours. It is great to know that I have found such a wonderful community here at OSU filled with so many friends who I know I can count on, and have great memories with now and in the future. I truly value and appreciate my time here at OSU and cannot wait for next semester to begin.

Columbus to do List: German Village

For my Columbus To Do List project, I decided to explore German Village. I chose this because my Dad’s side of my family came from Germany and I love the food, traditions, and everything else about it. I had been wanting to see German Village ever since I heard about it, and this was my chance to do something about it. In the documentary, it was very interesting to learn about the two brothers that originally bought a home for both of their families to live in. The two brothers argued a bunch about the construction and ended up building a wall and splitting the house into two separate homes. During the civil war, both brothers went to go fight and during that time, the wives broke down the wall to make it one big home again. However, when the brothers came home from war, they still could not get over their dispute and ended up rebuilding the wall and it was never broken down again. It was also interesting that the largest ethnic group to join the Union in the civil war was German-born Americans. One fact about German village was completely stunning to me. This was the fact that Kindergarten was not in Columbus until the Germans brought that idea. The documentary on German Village was the most fascinating documentary I have ever seen, and watching it just made me more anxious to visit German Village itself and spend an entire day exploring. Below are some of my experiences that I had in German Village.


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In my adventure to German Village, the first stop I took was at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus around lunch time. I was very excited to have German food in the first time since my family had visited Germany two summers ago. I had heard great things about Schmidt’s, and was extremely excited to try the wiener schnitzel, which is fried veal, and a classic German cuisine. The food was incredible. I started with an appetizer of pretzel nuggets which came with a hot mustard cheese dip which was good, but I ended up dipping them mostly in the German mustard that was on the table. The main dish came with one large piece of fried veal, some sauerkraut, and a mushroom sauce to put on top of the veal. The atmosphere of Schmidt’s was also just breath-taking. Schmidt’s Sausage Haus was founded in 1886 and the basic structure and the restaurant itself is supposed to look as it did when it first opened. There is a small stained glass window in the back of the restaurant that was there since it opened. The crème puffs there looked delicious, but I was too full from lunch to have one.



These pieces of art come from the shop called Helen Winnemore’s. It is a store filled with different hand-crafted objects ranging from pizza shovels, bowls, jewelry, and these paintings. These paintings were my favorite things in the store. Each painting had a quote by famous people that had to do with what the picture was on the painting. This shop was amazing inside. It was very welcoming and great to just look around at all of the different kinds of art. The owner of the store was also very nice and offered everyone coffee or tea as soon as they walked through the door.


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After Helen Winnemore’s, the next stop was the famous book store in German Village, called the Book Loft. The Book Loft used to be an apartment building, and once people started moving out, the owner of the Book Loft would buy that room. Eventually, he bought all thirty-two rooms. One of the most interesting things about this book store, besides the fact of it being so large, is that each room has its own theme. My favorite room was the artwork room, with my favorite book being the one that had a dog posing in almost one hundred different outfits. It was hilarious to see this dog posing in all sorts of fancy clothes. Another book that stood out to me was one that was titled “Things to do in Columbus, Ohio Before You Die,” and I was paging through it and actually found something to do in German Village.




The book said to go to Pistacia Vera, and try their macaroons. Naturally, that was my next stop because it talked about how delicious they were. And let me tell you, they were the best macaroons I have ever had in my entire life. I wanted to try all of them, but ended up settling with four. The flavors I tried include pistachio, raspberry, café mocha, and lemon. The pistachio one was my favorite, but all were so delicious. Each macaroon was so fresh and soft it just melted in your mouth. The shop looked as great as the food they sold, too. Outside there were metal chairs and tables painted light green like a pistachio, and my favorite decoration was the large metal pistachio inside of the shop. What really took me aback was how modern this bakery looked. Most bakeries that I have been to, even if they are new, were made to look old and homey, except this one, which I thought was very interesting. All in all, I am so happy to have discovered that book at the Book Loft otherwise I most likely would have never discovered this place and their amazing macaroons.


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After getting macaroons at Pistacia Vera, I walked into this shop called Caterina, which is a store that sells items directly shipped from Europe. The first floor had a great collection of plates, bowls, and other house items used with food. My favorite part of the sore, however, was a particular room on the second floor. It was a European Christmas room, and had the most interesting Christmas decoration I had ever seen. Shown on the right, it is a wooden Christmas decoration that has two levels of people standing on a wooden circle. Above the entire object is a wooden fan, and there are metal candle holders on the bottom. By placing candles in the candle holders and lighting them, the heat rising from the flames would turn the fan which would then turn the two levels of people. I thought that this was simply just fascinating and had to take a picture of it to display the beauty of its construct.

Earth Month: Week Three Challenge

My third challenge was to take the stairs instead of the elevator in order to save electricity. This was extremely hard due to the fact that I am on the tenth floor of Morrill, so I had to go up and down seven flights of stairs every time I wanted to leave my room or go to my room. Other than saving electricity, it was a great workout! The first few days were pretty challenging due to the fact that I was not used to going up so many stairs. What I can do differently is tell others, especially those who live on lower floors to start taking the stairs instead of the elevators. This would save more energy over time than one could ever imagine. It would create less traffic for the elevators and reduce elevator movement, thus, saving energy. Something that I have learned about myself is that if I really put my mind to something I can accomplish it. Personally, I did not believe that I really go the entire week without taking the elevator, but eventually it really was not that hard, and I was walking up those seven flights with ease. Next week will not be as hard as this past week, but it will still be decently challenging. My challenge for next week is to give up meat for the entire week in order to conserve animals and help stop the mass killing of animals. I do enjoy eating meat, but every once in awhile I do not mind having a vegetarian meal. In fact, for lent one year, I gave up meat. It was very challenging, but only towards the end. I think giving up meat for one week might be a bit challenging, but not as much as taking the stairs everyday has been.

Earth Month: Week Two Challenge

My second challenge was to only take as much food at the dining halls as I was actually going to eat. It was actually very easy to make the conscious decision to conserve food. If I was still hungry for something after I ate what I took, I could just go back and get a little more. Instead of grabbing too much food when I get to the dining halls (since my eyes tend to always be larger than my stomach), I would grab just a few items and see how I was feeling after that. In order to conserve more food, I decided to eat the food that has been sitting in my dorm room for awhile and not even go to the dining halls at all. Even though I am just one person, if more people ate food that they had every once in awhile instead of going to the dining halls, this would help the dining halls save food by not having to make as much. In the spirit of conserving, I also used a reusable water bottle everywhere I went in order to not waste materials by using disposable cups or water bottles for drinks. In addition, whenever I wanted to get coffee while studying in the library I brought around a reusable coffee mug for them to put the coffee in instead of disposable coffee cups.  I have learned that it is extremely easy to conserve food and materials, I just have to keep it in my mind so I don’t forget my reusable bottles or remind myself not to take too much food when I think I’m super hungry. Something different I can do is talk to my friends how easy it is to do these things, and the more people that do it, the more food and materials will be conserved. I am a bit nervous for my next challenge, which is to take the stairs instead of taking the elevator. I think it will be tough going up and down seven flights of stairs, but at the same time I will be conserving a lot of electricity by not taking the elevator every time I need to leave or go to my room.

Earth Month: Week One Challenge

My first challenge, keeping the lights off in my dorm as much as possible was a success. I had the shades of my window open during the day for natural light, which was actually nice because I usually never looked out of my window. My room has a great view of the Olentangy river. At night I would mostly go to the library to do homework, where the lights are on regardless. I actually found that I was even more productive at the library regardless. I would meet up with friends and study as a group, which is a better studying technique fro me. So not only was I trying to save energy, but I also was improving in my studies and I can continue this during my college career. That way I would not be wasting any excess energy by having the lights on in my dorm room if I had to stay up late to study. What I can do differently to help me with this challenge is encourage my suite mates and friends to do the same with their rooms in order to help save even more energy throughout campus. Something I have learned about myself is that it is extremely easy to not have the lights on when it is not necessary. Next week my challenge is to only use my reusable water bottle for drinking water during the week in order to not waste plastic by using disposable water bottles. It is such a shame how many disposable cups and water bottles are used, even when people own reusable water bottles or coffee mugs.

Earth Month Proposal

Topic: waste reduction

Four challenges (one per week):

  1. Make sure the lights are turned off every time we are out of the room and as much as possible while in the room in order to reduce electricity waste
    1. It is very easy to be running late to class and forget to leave the lights on, especially when I don’t pay the electricity bill. Also, there are times, especially during the day, when the lights can be off and the window shades can be put up.
  2. Make sure to only take as much food as I will actually eat at the dining hall.
    1. It is very easy to go to the dining hall extremely hungry and grab more food than you can actually eat, thus wasting a ton of food over time.
  3. Take the stairs in order to reduce electricity waste
    1. There are numerous times when I get on the elevator and it is just me taking it, and I realize that it is an insane waste of energy to take an elevator if it’s just me. Plus, taking the stairs everyday will be a good workout.
  4. Give up meat for the entire week
    1. This will reduce animal waste which is very common these days. Being a vegetarian for a week will make sure that I am being sustainable

Earth Month Challenge

Focus: Reducing Waste

Fifteen things someone could do as a challenge to decrease their impact on the environment by reducing their waste:

  1. Buy food that you need and will eat within a reasonable amount of time. Over-shopping for food, especially produce will lead to waste
  2. Buy objects that can be re-used
  3. Sell or giveaway unwanted items such as clothing, instead of throwing it away
  4. Keep cardboard boxes to re-use for other purposes
  5. Purchase and use re-usable bags
  6. Do not buy individually wrapped items (such as snack packs)
  7. Shop at thrift stores instead of only buying new clothes
  8. Buy items made of recycled content
  10. Use both sides of notebook paper
  11. Only take as much food as you are going to eat at the dining halls
  12. Keep your tires inflated, you will get better mpg and they will last longer
  13. Use a re-usable coffee mug
  14. Rent formal wear
  15. Ride your bike if possible

Three campus or Columbus resources related to The Ohio State University that could be helpful for someone who is trying to reduce their waste:

  1. The rentable bicycles around campus instead of taking a Car2Go or Uber would be a great way to get around without polluting the air.
  2. Renting books from the library instead of buying them new would be a great way to reduce production and paper waste. There are multiple libraries on campus to check and see if they have the books that you might need for class. Also, asking upper classmen you might know could sell you their used textbooks. It would reduce waste and the price of the books.
  3. Using the recycling bin that is placed in every dorm helps to, you know, RECYCLE. Goods that can be recycled but end up in landfills is extremely bad for the environment. Some materials used to make recyclable items could be bad for the environment and therefore if they are recycled more often they do not have to be made as often.

***These are all great websites to reference since they list tons of ways to reduce waste!

Columbus To Do List Part 1

This semester I was going to try the parks category, and explore the Columbus parks. I have always loved the outdoors since I was a kid, and have kept loving being outside throughout the years. I visited Columbus Commons, which is near the Columbus Greyhound bus station. My roommate and I were taking a bus from Columbus to Cincinnati in order to visit some friends at the University of Cincinnati. Before going to the bus stop, we explored the nearby park. It was a great park that was not the largest, but it did not seem small at all. We later learned that it had been the roof of a parking garage that was then transformed into Columbus Commons. There was a stage where it looked as if events were held every so often, but the best feature that we found was the game that was available at the park. It is very hard to describe, so a picture of it was posted below. The game had several different modes, and each mode was actually a different game, had different rules, and made different sounds. It was actually so fun that we only left because we were going to run out of time to catch our bus. Overall, this experience was great, and I would gladly go back for events that were held there. Later, however, I changed my mind on what category I wanted to do for this project. I have always wanted to visit the German Village in Columbus ever since I heard about it. And then when I looked over the categories for this project again, I saw that it was an option, so I knew that I had to change from parks to German Village so I could force myself to make the trip. I chose this over parks because of my German heritage and my love of German food (wiener schnitzel and spaetzle are two of my favorite German foods). I am mostly interesting in trying the delicious food in the atmosphere that I am sure it will have, but I am also looking forward to the bookstore in which I have heard so much about. I cannot wait to explore German Village.


Tatiyana Skipper 10 of Capital Kids from the Marion Franklin Rec Center dashes into the NEOS 360 a new electronic game unveiled  at Columbus Commons November 30, 2012.(Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)

Year in Review

I did a few community service opportunities this semester. These include picking up trash on the sidewalks around campus and around the path of the Olentangy river, apple picking, and making blankets for children in need. I did the trash pickup the first week of school as a way to get to know my new fellow ENR scholars, and I was luckily put in the same group as my saplings mentor, Jake, which made it easy to get to know him, too. I did the apple picking because it seemed like a fun service opportunity with my fellow ENR scholars’ students and all of the apples we picked would go to a food bank. I made the blankets with my friend from Torres because I had done it before in eighth grade. It was a good time just having nice conversations with people I had never met before and it was nice knowing that I was helping kids out there who may not have families that are fortunate to buy something as simple as a blanket.


The trash pickup addressed littering, which I had not realized was so bad until I did this service opportunity. It is insane how much trash people toss into nature without a care in the world of what other organisms it could affect. The main thing I can do to continue to address the issue of littering is to make sure none of my friends litter, which seems small but can be huge if everyone made sure their friends did not partake in littering. The apple picking addressed the issue of poor families that may not have the money to buy fresh fruits, since that is pretty pricey to some. This was great because I had partaken in food drives in high school, but those were all canned and non-perishable items, so it was nice to know that we were providing fresh apples to those in need. I can continue to address this issue by participating in this service annually as it is run through OSU’s farm. The blanket service opportunity addressed similar issues as the apple picking which was not all families can afford simple necessities, which in this case was blankets. I can continue to address this issue by buying blankets and donating them, even if there is not another blanket-making service opportunity.


The service I participated in this semester was the best community service opportunities I have done in my life. In high school I did some service, such as playing with kids at a local elementary school near my high school, and although it was fun and the kids were great, I never felt like I was really making an impact. However, by cleaning up trash, picking apples for a food bank, and making blankets for less-fortunate families felt like physical evidence that I was making a difference. The trash I picked up would be in the trash where it belongs, not the grass or sidewalk, the apples I picked would go to children who may not have fresh fruits, and the blankets I helped make would go to children in need.


My favorite part about doing community service is the learning experience. Anyone can do nice things for people and not really care about them, but when one really thinks of what a difference they are making in someone’s life, that is another part of service some do not usually think about. For example, it is strange to think of a world where you would not have fresh fruits or even a blanket to keep warm in the winter. When you imagine living in a world that the people you are helping actually live in on a daily basis, that is when service becomes meaningful.


If I could participate in these service opportunities again, the only thing I would do differently is tell more people about the service event and urge them to come. The more people doing service, the more that can be done and therefore more people on the receiving end of the service can be helped.


The most difficult aspect of the three service opportunities I participated in this semester was the trash pickup. Since it was a lot of walking, towards the end it was hard to have the enthusiasm that I had in the beginning of the service. By the end I just wanted to head back to my dorm and rest. However, it was very satisfying knowing that I had helped clean up the campus that I will be living on the next four years. The most satisfying part out of all three of the service opportunities was the apple picking. It was a great day outside and it was nice to talk to fellow ENR students and pick apples for those in need.


What I have learned about myself is that on a daily basis, I do think about all of the things I am grateful for in my life, but I do not really think of what kinds of struggles other people in the world may be going through. Through service, however, I am able to think of these people and it makes service very fulfilling.