Reflecting on My First Semester at Ohio State

Now that the semester is almost over, I can look back and reflect on the things I learned through University Exploration during my first three months at OSU!

My biggest challenge this semester has been the difference between homework assignments in high school and college. In high school, homework assignments were small and were almost always due the day after they were given. In college, homework assignments tend to be a bit longer, but they’re not due for longer periods of time. This was difficult for me because I had to plan how long an assignment would take me to complete and schedule time each day to complete the assignment. Because of this, it would seem as though one day I had no homework, and the next I had multiple hours in each class. Once I created a schedule of when I would typically do each type of assignment for each class, the workload became a lot more manageable, and I found myself not stressing over due dates and always completing assignments a day or two ahead of when I needed to turn them in.

Through lecture attendance, I explored the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences, and the College of Public Health. I attended all three of the College of Arts and Sciences lectures for the different types of majors offered in the college. I chose to attend these five lectures because I am interested in an Animal Sciences major, but I want to explore other possible options for minors outside of the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences to broaden my education. I know that I want to minor in another science-related field, and going to these lectures helped me narrow down my choices. I am also considering a foreign language minor, so I made sure that I went to the Arts and Humanities lecture for the College of Arts and Sciences.

At the beginning of the semester, I knew I wanted to find a major that could get me into a good veterinary school after graduating from Ohio State, but I wasn’t sure which major would best prepare me for this. I was debating between zoology, animal sciences, and biology. From attending lectures and exploring different majors and colleges, I eventually decided that the animal sciences major would be the best fit for me.

My ultimate goal is to become a veterinarian, and in order to do that I need to go to veterinary school. I’ve always loved animals as well as biological sciences, and I want to get as much experience with animal biology and anatomy as I can while I am an undergraduate. From doing research and attending lectures, I’ve discovered that the animal sciences major is the best fit for me in order to both gain practical experience with animals, as well as ensure that I am a strong candidate for veterinary school.

The most beneficial thing about attending lecture for me was learning about all of the possible majors and minors Ohio State has to offer. When I first came to OSU, I didn’t know about the animal sciences or zoology major, and I had no idea if I was interested in a minor. Through Exploration lectures, I now have a good understanding of all of the different paths I could take in order to get myself the best education possible.

I wish I could’ve learned a bit more about the study abroad opportunities at OSU, and the best way to find financial aid to finance these trips. I’m interested in doing study abroad at some point in my undergraduate career, but I don’t know where to start as far as finding a trip and financial resources.

One goal I have for the upcoming semester is to officially declare the animal sciences major, so that I can better plan the steps I need to take in order to graduate. I will declare my major with an advisor from the College of FAES, and then discuss the best path for me to take. I also want to find and declare a minor related to biology or ecology, which I hope to discuss with my advisor.

If I could go back and talk to myself at the start of the semester, I would tell myself to worry less about finding a major and meeting all of the requirements. University Exploration helped me immensely with this, and I found that finding my major was actually relatively easy!

I would also tell myself to worry less about the transition from high school exams to college exams, because, at least for me, it wasn’t much of a change. I found that the exams are roughly the same difficulty, and that the method I used to study in high school continued to work in college. I didn’t have to make any large changes to my studying routine.

Overall, this has been a great first semester. I learned so much about what OSU has to offer, and I am incredibly excited about what the future holds for me!

My Informational Interview with an OSU Student

This past week, I interviewed Sydney Alibeckoff, a junior at Ohio State majoring in Microbiology.


Q: When and why did you choose this major?

A: “I chose Microbiology because the spring of my freshman year I took a microbiology course for a pre-vet requirement and I ended up completely falling in love with it. I became really fascinated with Microbiology and the biochemistry of life and decided to change my major to that, and I also decided to do a Biochemistry minor.”


Q: Did you start in this major? If so, did you ever question your decision? If not, what was/were your previous major(s) and how did you decide on this one?

A: “No, I started in Animal Science, but I changed majors because I liked the more molecular analysis of biology rather than the study of larger macroorganisms and phenotypes.”


Q: What was your favorite major course, and why?

A: “My favorite major course so far was the general microbiology course because I had a fantastic professor, Doctor Pradhan. She’s the one that helped me decide to change my major.”


Q: What kinds of extracurricular experiences (research, internships, co-ops, student organizations, study abroad, etc) have you had? Why did you choose those particular opportunities? 

A: “I’m doing undergraduate research at a Microbiology lab. I decided I wanted to try research to see if I wanted to go down the “research and development” path for a career, and I ended up really loving it. The whole research-inquiry process is really fascinating, and also I work with a fantastic grad student who’s become my mentor. He’s great!”


Q: What are your plans for after graduation?

A: “I intend to go to grad school. I don’t know if I’m going to do that right out of college or work for a couple of years to learn what specific area I want to go into, whether it is biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, etc. I want to make sure I know what area I want to go into before starting six years of grad school.”


     When I first tried to find someone to interview for my prospective major, Animal Science, I realized this assignment might not be the piece of cake I originally thought it would be. No one I knew was an Animal Science major, let alone any major I was even remotely considering. I searched for possible interviewees on the Senior Bank, but received no reply to the emails I sent out. Right when I was beginning to panic I realized I knew someone from my high school who went to Ohio State and originally majored in Animal Science. Although she switched her major to Microbiology down the road, Sydney was the perfect person to give me all of the pros and cons of both Animal Science and Microbiology (which I am considering as a minor). Although she is a junior at Ohio State, she has already taken multiple major-specific courses and does research in a lab at OSU. I was overjoyed when she said yes to an interview.

     I’m already decided on my major, but the interview helped me narrow down my minor choices immensely. I want a strong biological foundation, both micro and macro, and a minor in microbiology seems like the perfect way to balance out all of the macrobiology of an Animal Science major. Sydney explained some of the things she has learned in her microbiology courses as well as what she is currently researching in lab, which helped me to understand what a microbiology minor would entail. She helped me to see that a well-rounded knowledge of biology would best prepare me for veterinary school after graduation.

      I told Sydney I was curious why she had switched from Animal Science into Microbiology. She answered that it was because she was more interested in microorganisms, instead of large organisms like cows and dogs. This helped me realize that Animal Science is a good match for me, because, unlike Sydney, I’m more interested in animals and multi-celled organisms than small microorganisms. This interview reinforced that I’m taking the right path for me.

     I feel that I still need to learn what kinds of research opportunities are available for Animal Science majors, but I can easily learn this through Animal Science courses or by speaking to a FAES advisor. As far as minors go, before deciding on one, I’d like to compare microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular genetics a bit more.

     The “Focus Career Assessment” helped me decide on a major because it narrowed down my interests and strengths and reinforced that the majors I was considering, like Animal Science, Zoology, and Biology were the right types of majors for me. Having to print my advising report and find what GE’s I had credit for was also incredibly helpful, because it helped me realize what classes I still have to take and which ones I don’t. Also, the required advising appointment helped me realize which classes I have to take next semester to set me on the path to an Animal Science major. Overall, I’m very glad I enrolled in the University Exploration program because it helped me feel a lot more confident about my intended major, and it has helped me narrow down my list of prospective minors.

College Transition Lecture Reflection

As I start college, I am most worried about being able to study properly for exams. In high school, I would study for an hour or two a few days before the test, and I would study a few hours the night before. This worked for me then, but I’m worried about my time management now because there is a lot more information to cover and I tend to study slowly.

I am most excited about the freedom I have now. I can decide by myself when and where to eat and what to do with my free time. Although I do miss my family, I’m excited for the opportunity to make my own schedule and decide what is most important for me without having to ask for permission.

From high school I’ve learned that I am a strong student when it comes to sciences like biology and chemistry, but I am also able to adapt to and do well in classes that I find less interesting, like english and history. I’ve already learned how to be disciplined when it comes to showing up to class and doing the classwork on time, so I believe this will greatly help me when it comes to college courses.

Any co-curricular activity that involves animals I am very interested in. I’ve already signed up for the Oval Dogs organization, and am excitedly awaiting our first meeting. I’m also very interested in getting involved in any activities that have to do with hiking or backpacking, as well as environmental clubs. During my second or third year, I would love to be an intern or work at Ohio State’s Veterinary school.

The piece of advice from the panel that most resonated with me was that it’s okay if I don’t know exactly what I want to major in right now because previously I felt so much pressure to declare a major. Most of the students on the panel are set to graduate on time, and some of them didn’t declare their majors until their sophomore year. The panel helped me understand that many students are going through the same choices as me, and that there are tons of resources I can take advantage of to help me decide what I really want to do.

Getting to Know Me

Hello! My name is Briar Golladay. I’m from Rocky River, a small suburb of Cleveland. I have always had a love for animals of all kinds, and I hope to use the knowledge I gain at Ohio State to help as many animals as I can. I am currently in the University Exploration Program, but I am leaning towards a major in Veterinary Medicine. I love learning biology and chemistry, and I’m excited to further my knowledge at OSU! During high school, I was able to shadow at a local animal hospital, and I got to see all of the things vets do on a daily basis. This also lead me towards the idea of majoring in Veterinary Medicine. No matter what I ultimately decide to study, I know Ohio State will be the perfect place for me to obtain all the knowledge I need to succeed!

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation is a reflective description of the artifact that attempts to communicate its significance.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me

[Your “About Me” is an introduction and should provide insight into who you are as a person and a learner.  This should include a picture of you that is appropriate in a professional/academic context. This information should be continually updated.  For more information, go to:  Delete these instructions and add your own post.]