My wonderful mentor, Kaitlyn Santinoceto, is currently an Animal Sciences Major, and her class rank is 2. Kaitlyn and I talk often about personal matters, and this interview gave me a chance to learn more about her academic life.
For the Academics topic, Kaitlyn shared with me that her most challenging major class was Animal Science 2100. This class was centered around production animals; Kaitlyn was a minority in this class, because she had no prior knowledge on this subject, while many of her peers had extensive background knowledge on production animals. Unlike many of her classmates, Kaitlyn did not grow up on a farm, and she was not a part of 4H. She made it through this class by dedicating extensive time to her work on this subject, and finding friends in this class, who helped her fill in the gaps in her knowledge, and she still works with them often.
Prior to our interview, Kaitlyn had shared with me on several occasions that she was very involved outside of the classroom, and hearing how this involvement has benefitted her helped me to realize the importance of being a well rounded student. For Kaitlyn, the benefits of being involved range from getting her mind off of classwork, to meeting new people. Kaitlyn said that when her classes get stressful, it is nice to think about other things for a while, and she does this by immersing herself in activities other than academics. Her favorite aspect of being involved is meeting new people, and having the opportunity to network with them. The new people she meets often are people that she would have never met otherwise, and these people have become some of her closet friends. Kaitlyn’s experience has caused me to think more about the topics I am passionate about, and the ways in which I can use my interests to get involved.
To make the most of being an Environment and Natural Resources Scholar, Kaitlyn shared with me that the program is what you make of it. Being more involved has given her opportunities to get outside her comfort zone, and have new experiences. Kaitlyn has participated in many activities as a scholar, including hiking and workshops, and she thinks that all the opportunities to spend time outside are rewarding, and worthwhile. Talking with her about Scholars made me realize that participating in more than the required amount of activities helps one get more out of the program.
After talking about ENR scholars we discussed careers, and Kaitlyn has two very different dream jobs: working in a zoo, and working with children with disabilities. She would like to work with exotic animals if she worked in a zoo, but she also could see herself working with disabled children, because she has a disabled brother, and works with an organization for disabled students on campus. Aiding people with disabilities makes her happy, and she has a lot of experience with this type of situation, so she knows that she would find her work interesting, and be excited about coming to work everyday. No matter what Kaitlyn decides to do she knows one thing for sure, she wants to share her scientific knowledge with people.
Our final topic of discussion was the Miscellaneous category, and I asked my mentor about the most important things she has learned at Ohio State thus far. Her advice was to make time for yourself, and stay focused, she especially emphasized the importance of balance, noting that it is important to remember that one does not need to study all the time. Yes, we are students, but Kaitlyn stated it is important to remember that we are first and foremost people, we need a break sometimes, and these breaks are important for our health, and good health helps us be well in all aspects of our lives. The piece of advice that she gave me that I need to keep in mind the most is remembering to take time to relax, for me it was difficult to relax before college, over my first year I will need to work hard to make sure I have ample time for relaxation to have a good balance.
I am glad I had the opportunity to learn more about Kaitlyn both as a student, and as a friend. Her advice will help me as I continue to adjust to Ohio State, and throughout my four years here.