For my Spring Project as a STEM Scholar, I plan to learn how to cook/bake ten different recipes. I plan to bake five desserts from scratch consisting of: apple cobbler, strawberry cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, and peanut butter pretzel bars. I also plan to cook five meal recipes (not including dessert) including: chicken marsala, enchiladas, pico de gallo, chicken parmesan, and guacamole.
My very first time attending a diversity and inclusion meeting was so much fun. I attended the Mixed Buckeyes meeting in the Student Multicultural Center for my diversity event. I was really nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know if I was going to be the only undergraduate there or if I was going to be the only freshman. I had never attended an event before that discussed diversity and inclusion before in my life. When I was in high school, my school and town were not diverse at all so we never had events like this. I just had no idea what I was walking into. I had a positive outlook though and went to the meeting without a second thought.
I was the first one there. Nobody else showed up for quite some time and I was beginning to think that they had changed the meeting place or had decided to cancel the meeting. Right as I was about to leave and go to another diversity event, the adviser for Mixed Buckeyes entered the room. She introduced herself as Melissa Jacob and seemed a little shocked by how few people were there. She said that recently they have had a lot of people come to the meetings. When she said that, I became even more concerned that we were in the wrong spot. She told me that the leaders would have informed her if they moved the meeting or if they canceled it and she hadn’t received anything about it. We decided to sit there and wait for more students to show up. Finally, a girl with really curly hair walked in. She immediately asked if she was in the right location for the Mixed Buckeyes meeting. Melissa told her that she was and the girl took a seat. She introduced herself as Racquel and Melissa and I introduced ourselves to her. We sat there for a long time and just openly talked to each other about what the Mixed Buckeyes do and what usually happens at the meetings. Melissa said that the group is mostly right now just trying to get students to be involved in the group, but that the group’s overall goal is to provide a safe place where students of mixed-heritage can come together and understand what it means to be a student of mixed heritage and/or race. She also said that sometimes the group will plan events to get students to be involved with the group and other times the group will just have open discussions about diversity. I really wanted to be in one of the discussions where they talked about diversity and inclusion and culture because I want nothing more than to learn more about the world around me and the people in it. Like I said before, I came from a place where we had little to no diversity and so for me to go to such a huge school and see people of different religions, backgrounds, races, etc. it makes me interested in learning more about them and what life is like for them compared to how I grew up.
The meeting didn’t last too long because no one else showed up, but after attending the one, I know I want to be involved some type of diversity group. I don’t believe that there are enough events and attention focused on diversity and inclusion groups on campus. If there are, I just must not hear about them, but I definitely think that people should be more aware of diversity and inclusion groups. A little bit of change in a big college can go a long way in the end for the whole world.
Yesterday, I attended an academic campus seminar for the first time since arriving at college. I honestly had no idea what to expect walking in the room. I didn’t even know if I was supposed to dress casually or in a professional manner. I decided to attend the Physical Chemistry seminar alone where the presenter, Doctor McCracken from Michigan State University, discussed his research with phenylalanine hydroxylase. I was really nervous because I didn’t know what the seminar was going to be like. Upon entering the room, I was immediately overwhelmed. There were so many people in the room. I started looking around the room for someone I knew or at least someone that looked like they were my age, but because the place was so packed, I didn’t find anyone and ended up sitting front row in the only seat I saw open. I looked around the room after I sat down and I still didn’t see anyone my age. Even though people didn’t look as young as me, I doubt that I was the only undergraduate student there. It made me uncomfortable, not seeing anyone that looked as young as me. I felt like I shouldn’t be there, like everyone else knew what they were about to hear from Dr. McCracken’s research.
Dr. McCracken was standing at the front of the room ready to jump into his presentation. As soon as he began, I was focused and listened intensely, but I will admit that I had no clue what he was talking about for a huge portion of the seminar. Although I didn’t know the basics of what his research covered, I feel like I learned at least a little bit of what he was researching. There are three groups of hydroxylases in the aromatic amino acids. There’s phenylalanine hydroxylase, which is responsible for regulating the level of phenylalanine in your blood, tryptophan hydroxylase, which is responsible for creating the neurotransmitter serotonin, and tyrosine hydroxylase, which is responsible for helping convert tyrosine into rate-limiting catecholamine neurotransmitter. Phenylalanine hydroxylase is the only enzyme of the aromatic amino acids that is not in the central nervous system. This is the point in the presentation where I began to get lost because he started to reference methods/procedures and chemicals that I couldn’t make sense of.
This seminar didn’t exactly relate to my major and my future career at all, but I went to it simply to see what it was about. As I said before, I did not really have any expectations in mind. I guessed that the seminar would be formal, seeing as it was someone discussing their research, but I didn’t know if they would break their research down so someone who has never taken advanced classes could understand what they were mostly discussing or if they just expected the people coming to listen to them to know what they were discussing.
Even though I didn’t understand what Dr. McCracken was talking about, I definitely feel like it was beneficial to attend. I plan to take biology and more advanced chemistry courses later, so I think that I might see some of this information or recognize some of the names that Dr. McCracken discussed and remember that I went to a seminar my freshman year.
The first week of classes, I came down with an extremely bad cold. By the second week, the cold had turned into a sinus infection so bad that I was forced to skip class and go to the doctor’s office. I had only visited the Student Health Center once before and that was so I could turn in my vaccination report before classes started. I knew that it was a huge building with multiple floors and that it had its own pharmacy right inside the door on the first floor, but I had never been there for an appointment. I walked over to the information desk to ask them for help because I didn’t feel good and wanted nothing more than to figure out what it was I had. There was a woman at the information desk and I asked her where I was supposed to check in if I needed to create an appointment. She told me to sign into the little kiosk across from her desk by swiping my BuckID and explain why I needed an appointment. Then I was told to wait my turn in line. It was so early in the morning that there was no line so I was immediately helped by another woman at a computer a short distance away from the information desk. I sat down in her chair and she asked why I was there and I explained my symptoms, which at the time I had thought was strep throat. She asked for all of my information and my insurance card (I do not have health insurance through Ohio State, but I recommend getting it especially if you take a trip to the health center, it just makes the process of checking in and making an appointment so much easier). She scheduled me an appointment for half an hour later. I stayed in the health center during that time and emailed Jen (the STEM EE advisor) letting her know I would also be missing her class. The half hour passed and I had my appointment. My appointment was on the second floor. As soon as I got to the second floor, I was checked in my the nurses at the desk and was asked to have a seat in the waiting room down the hall. They called my name after about ten minutes and the nurse brought me into one of the rooms and did all of the work that nurses do before the doctor came in. In between the nurse leaving and the doctor coming into the room, I fell asleep because I couldn’t stay awake. When the doctor came in, he asked how I was feeling immediately. I described my symptoms to him and explained to him how long I’d been having the symptoms. He diagnosed me with a sinus infection and prescribed me with antibiotics that would get rid of it within a week. It took a little longer than a week to get over, but I’m much better now!
Overall, I would say the trip to the health center was a success (despite me being sick). The building itself was very clean and well sanitized, as I had expected it to be. I expected there to be no one readily available to help me set up an appointment with the doctor after I was told to input some of my information into the kiosk, but the faculty and staff were very kind and helped me find my way around the center.
When I was in high school, I never needed tutoring or needed to study or to really think about and understand the concepts I was being taught. Everything just came so naturally. I thought college would be the same way, despite everyone telling me different. As it turns out, they were right. College is so much harder academically than anything I have ever experienced in high school. It is quite unbelievable how unprepared I actually was for college. Fortunately, there are support centers, like the chemistry tutoring center, all over campus for just about every single subject so I knew I had plenty of help available to me if I ever needed it. I never thought I actually would!
Shortly after the semester started, I grew really sick. I wasn’t bad at first, but the medicine I was taking did not help me feel any better and I ended up catching a sinus infection. The infection got so bad that I ended up missing a whole day’s worth of classes, chemistry lecture included. Little did I know that missing one single lecture class would have such an impact on my learning and on my homework. I tried for a whole week to find time to sit down somewhere and read the chemistry textbook to catch up on what I missed. I never had the time to fully catch up to the place we were and by the time I did, we had moved on by then! I wasn’t doing very well on my homework assignments and didn’t really understand the material I was reading, so I decided that I would go to tutoring.
I hated the idea of going to tutoring because I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I was struggling to learn and remember the concepts being taught in class because I didn’t want anyone to think I was stupid. I definitely believe that that’s how everyone feels before going to tutoring, but no one should feel that way! There is no shame in admitting that you need help and it doesn’t mean you are stupid if you ask it. Going to tutoring was the BEST decision I ever made. I went to the chemistry tutoring room one day and sat down at one of the tables. No one walked up to me and asked if I needed any help, and that’s because some students only go there to study or do homework and don’t necessarily need help. I pulled out my chemistry recitation activities and MasteringChemistry homework and looked around for anyone that might be a tutor. I ended up raising my hand and immediately someone got out of their chair and came over to me and asked if I needed help answering a question. I asked the tutor all of the questions I had about the material I missed and asked her if we could practice extra computational problems just so I knew what I was doing. She explained everything in a way that made sense to me and I left the tutoring center feeling one hundred percent more confident about the material I was learning.
I’ll admit I was very nervous and ashamed about deciding to go to chemistry tutoring, but it really was the best decision I’ve ever made. I actually still go to the tutoring room just because it allows me to focus on my chemistry homework and ask questions if I have them. I have thought about tutoring other students in chemistry as I get older and learn more about the subject, but I do not know that I will feel this same way when I actually get older. For anyone that needs help in a subject or just wants a place where they can focus on their work, tutoring centers are a great place to go. They worked extremely well for me and I guarantee that they will be worthwhile to go to for you.
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