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2020 Fall Semester Reflection

As I have had the chance to settle into my second virtual semester at The Ohio State University, I felt now would be a great time to reflect on my first-semester experience as a Buckeye. When I came to The Ohio State University for the very first time, I fell in love with the Columbus campus and its atmosphere. The picture on the right shows my very first time with Brutus inside The Ohio Union (without a mask!). Little did I know that it would be the last time I set foot in the Union for a long time. For the first month and a half of the fall semester, I experienced The Ohio State University strictly from Jones Tower on north campus. Between online classes in my third-floor room, going for the short walk to Traditions at Scott to pick up my Grubhub meals was the highlight of my day. In another daily attempt to escape the four concrete walls that seem to constantly surround me, I committed to going on a daily evening run around campus. While the weather remained nice, I even began to venture outside to the picnic tables for the majority of my online lectures. It was hard to find variation or excitement in my daily routine. Overall, I struggled with my transition to the pandemic college lifestyle. Being a student who excelled socially and academically in high school, I never struggled with mental health issues until last fall. It was not long till I found it hard to gather up the motivation just to go get my weekly COVID-19 test at Jesse Owens North Recreation Center. A lot of my struggle had to do with the fact that I was the only Carrollton High School Class of 2020 student to enroll at The Ohio State University. I felt utterly alone, especially since normal in-person events and involvement opportunities were nonexistent. The only in-person event I had starting out was my Biomedical Science Survey class that consisted exclusively of the 26 first-year students in the College of Medicine’s Biomedical Science major. However, even then we were not able to interact or get to know each other. The class was more like a file in and file right back out. For a competitive major that in the past has been known to have a strong family-like dynamic, this was extremely disappointing. Another reason for my fall struggles was that I found it hard to transition and orient myself to online learning. My classes were not difficult, they were vastly a review from high school. The level of disorganization and my professors’/teaching assistants’ lack of knowledge on how to effectively teach online is what added to my stress and, at one point, caused my grades to slip. Luckily, it was not too late for my grades to recover and I began to think of a plan to make the most out of the situation I was in. My mind was made up when my Biomedical Science Survey class was moved online after about a month and a half of me being on campus. Therefore, at this point, I took all of my essentials and moved back home to Carrollton, Ohio. Exactly 3 months after moving into Jones Tower, and 90 days after leaving Ohio State, I was able to move all of my stuff back to Carrollton and officially cancel my housing contract.

Ever since, I have been doing my online learning through The Ohio State University at, former Buckeye football coach, Jim Tressel’s Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. In doing so, I have been able to connect with high school friends and continue my education while getting somewhat of a college experience at a university that has not been impacted by COVID-19 so heavily. During my time at Youngstown State University, I have grown grass for my Biology 1113 research project, trained for a half marathon, and accomplished a 3.781 GPA for the 2020 fall semester.

Additionally, I have been able to remain involved in my STEM EE Scholars program, the University Honors program, the MSF Doctors Without Borders chapter at Ohio State, and Bible Study on campus. The highlight of my semester has been the ability to begin my involvement/training (virtually) in a Type 1 Diabetes research lab. I am proud to say that I have acquired a volunteer research assistant position in the Dr. Gallego-Perez Nanomedicine Laboratory and will be studying gene therapies for Type 1 Diabetes. Overall, my first semester at The Ohio State University did not go how I imagined at all. My struggles and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely leave a bad taste in my mouth about this past fall semester for a long while. However, I have learned a lot from my fall experiences and those life lessons have helped me have a very smooth virtual second semester so far at Youngstown State University. I am proud of all I have been able to accomplish during the fall semester and look forward to brighter days on campus at The Ohio State University.

ePortfolio Mission Statement

I find great value in the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio system, which is contrary to how the majority of my Honors & Scholars peers feel. Ever since my STEM Exploration and Engagement seminar introduced me to my very own ePortfolio, I have wanted to get into the habit of posting my involvements and engagements periodically. I believe that during my four undergraduate years and beyond, my Honors & Scholars ePortfolio will be a great tool that can showcase all of my experiences and hard work at The Ohio State University. My passion and belief in the ePortfolio as a valuable resource comes from the fact that I created a comprehensive high school ePortfolio, much like this one, during my senior year. I then submitted that ePortfolio to the Carrollton Board of Education for review in order to become the first to graduate from Carrollton High School with a STEM Honors & Honors diploma. To see this ePortfolio, please see the link below:

https://sites.google.com/carrolltonschools.org/agportfolio

Therefore, I hope to begin posting more regularly on this site. I believe by the end of four years this ePortfolio site will look really nice and be useful as I look to advance my career beyond The Ohio State University. Stay tuned for much about my research, shadowing experiences, leadership, service, and life as a Buckeye!

1st Year Personal Goals

Since I first came to Columbus, it has seemed very clear to me why I am a Buckeye. I decided to enroll at The Ohio State University because I am passionate about my academics and have had persistent future goals for myself for quite some time now. However, it was not till my first semester here at Ohio State that I learned every goal has a “what?”, “why?”, and “how”. For me, the “what?” is as follows:

  1. Finish my first semester with a 4.0 GPA.
  2. Become involved in Type 1 Diabetes research by the end of my first year.
  3. Gain acceptance into an MD/Ph.D program by the time I graduate from The Ohio State University.

Considering these goals, allow me to explain “why?” I have set these objectives for myself. First, I look to obtain a 4.0 GPA in my first semester because to me the first-year experience is largely about mastering the classroom and discovering how I personally learn effectively to get the grade I desire. Secondly, as discussed earlier, one of the persistent goals for myself has been to become involved in Type 1 Diabetes research. Lastly, I have decided that I want to enter MD/Ph.D school after graduation in order to fulfill my aspiration of being able to work from lab bench to bedside.

Now all I have left to do is figure out “how?” do I plan on achieving these goals. For my first goal, I look to perfect my note-taking and study skills in order to ensure my success in the collegiate classroom setting. As for my second goal, I have already interviewed and am set to join Dr. Gallego-Perez’s Nanomedicine Lab this spring. This lab is researching biomedical engineered therapies for Type 1 Diabetes. For my largest and final goal, I have decided to take my pursuit of MD/Ph.D school step by step. I recognize how important metrics (GPA, MCAT score, etc.) and research experience is to the application process for this kind of high-level graduate schooling. I believe my first two goals are a great start to my third. I plan to continue to build upon these goals in order to achieve all the is set before me during my undergraduate years and beyond.

 

 

About Me

 

My name is Andrew Joseph Gotschall. I was born and raised in the small, northeast Ohio town of Carrollton. Currently, I am one of only twenty-six first-year students in The Ohio State University’s Biomedical Science program. This prestigious, highly competitive, medical research-based program is the only undergraduate major housed in The Ohio State University’s College of Medicine. With all of that said, it may be apparent that I have a passion for medical research. At the age of fourteen, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Although this pivotal moment in my life was first very challenging to adjust to, it helped me discover my purpose, not only in the context of a career but life in general. During my undergraduate years at The Ohio State University, I look to invest a great deal of time in Type 1 Diabetes and Metabolism research. I am passionate about studying diabetes, finding new diabetic therapies, and ultimately creating a world without Type 1 Diabetes. Beyond my drive for research, I aspire to be an Emergency Room (ER) doctor. I came to this conclusion because I have had the opportunity to shadow multiple surgeons, physicians, and nurses who have exposed me to a wide variety of procedures and scenarios within the medical field. Personally, I want to be able to be involved/impactful in direct patient care while in the ever-changing ER landscape that complements my advanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Therefore, in order to accomplish all of these goals, once I finish my four undergraduate years, I plan to continue onto medical school to acquire my MD/Ph.D. This dual degree program will allow me to work bedside in a hospital, as well as at the benchtop in the laboratory. I am optimistic about the future of medicine and look forward to seeing what this field can evolve into during my lifetime.