Year in Review

This past year has gone by in a whirlwind of emotion and growth. I have looked forward to college for so long and it is, in all honesty, not what I expected. I thought that I would be a different person when I got to college but instead, I became a more raw and authentic version of myself. In becoming better at embodying my inner self, I found people who share similar experiences and made a friend group I wouldn’t trade for the world. While I value the things I have learned academically at the university, my time here has made me grateful beyond compare and taught me the importance of honesty in portraying one’s self. Part of this new understanding was taught to me in my society and culture anthropology course in my first semester of college. The class expanded my thoughts about and acceptance of the wide range of people and societies in the world and caused the more inner turmoil and contemplation than I have ever experienced in an academic setting.

As I look back on this year my favorite memory was a day I spent as an apprentice trip leader on an Everglades sea kayaking trip through the university’s Outdoor Adventure Center. The day was the most difficult paddling day of the trip as we had a long ways to go against the wind. As our group paddled and we were all quiet I found the physical stress overwhelming so I began to think about the people in my life. The hours I spent that day while paddling and thinking about the relationships I have made me realized how fortunate I am to have met the people in my life. This was indescribably impactful and once we stopped paddling I felt a peace I had not found in some time. We landed on a perfect white sand island and swam in the ocean water, went on a beach walk, ate fresh coconuts we found, had a great meal, and a fantastic group discussion at the end of the night. At the end of the day, we all cowboy camped, slept on the beach and not in the tent. We fell asleep to a bugless night with a clear sky that was full of stars and night pollution. This was one of the best days of my life and one I would live over again if I could.

The memories I have made this past year have made me more independent and excited about the future. I am looking forward to another year here at Ohio State and hopefully many more to come as a Buckeye. Next year I am specifically looking forward to taking the self-reflection I have made this year and implement it into my daily actions and growing deeper bonds with the friends I have made. I am so grateful and blessed to have lived the experiences that I have during my freshman year and the formation of acceptance that I am continuing to establish for myself. `

Spring Break 2019

Spring Break 2019 was definitely one for the books. I had the amazing opportunity to be asked to be an apprentice trip leader through the Outdoor Adventure Center, where I am currently employed, for a trip to sea kayak. My role as a leader was a very new experience for me as I have not gone on a trip leader training trip to better equip me for handling the position. But, I feel that I handled the pressures of the trip and felt that I connected well with the other trip leaders and the participants. The participants on the trip were very willing to learn and grow which made it easier for me to learn and grow as well.

The trip lasted nine days with a total of five days in the backcountry of the Everglades ecosystem kayaking island to island in the thousand islands region of Florida. Every night we were in the backcountry we stayed at a different island and camped there until the next morning. We were also able to see wildlife such as dolphins, jumping fish, a shark, a sea turtle, and algae with bioluminescence. The dolphins and fish could be seen as we were paddling and camping on the island which was really neat and beautiful to see. At one point while we were all taking a break on the water a large fish jumped out between two kayaks and became startled so it jumped further back and into one of the participant’s paddles which was a great moment. With the sea turtle, we had just gotten to our last island of the trip and as the entire group stood in the water a sea turtle came within five yards of the group and surfaced multiple times which was very surreal. My favorite moment with the wildlife was the algae with bioluminescence. We all woke up at four in the mourning and kayaked down a river within an island and were able to see the faint blue-green glow of the algae in the darkness when disturbed by our paddles which was probably one of the top visual moments of my life.

I was so blessed to have been able to visit the Everglades with such a great group of people and scenic moments. As I took time to reflect on the trip, I learned about the importance of getting outside of your comfort zone and trying something new as well as meeting new people. This was a new concept for me because with understanding that more experience comes more room to grow which is a way I never thought before. I also realized that I do enjoy sea kayaking and would love to help with future trips.  

Columbus To-Do List

This past semester has been full of amazing experiences and times growing closer to friends. I am very blessed to go to this university and be surrounded with a Scholars group that cares a lot about each other. Some of the experiences I have had pertaining to the Columbus To-Do List include going on a group trip to downtown Columbus, attempting to go to the Greek festival, attending a Greek Orthodox Church and getting lunch, going to the North Market with ENR Scholars, saving a rabbit, and watching the sunset.

The first trip I took into Columbus was the group trip that included people from my floor and other dorms at OSU that my close friend Ted knew before college. During this trip, we went to Jeni’s, boutiques on the Short North, Rich Street Bridge along the Scioto Mile, Bicentennial Park, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the State House. The whole trip was great but my favorite experience was running through the water play area with Parker, one of Ted’s friends, and becoming completely soaked and trying to hug the people who refused to go in with us.

The next thing I did with a smaller group from our floor was trying to go to the Annual Columbus Greek Festival and ate dinner at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. We ended up going at the end of the festival when it was closing down so we couldn’t experience it in full swing. We decided to go into the Greek Orthodox Church and after talking to a woman there she invited me to a service. Ted joined me the following Sunday for the service since he has had regularly attended an Orthodox Church before going to college. After the service, which was beautiful and nothing I had ever experienced before, we went to get lunch at The Melt. My favorite part of this experience was the singing at the church combined with the smell of incense at the service. It was a very surreal time and brought me much joy and excitement about experiencing something new.

The last experience I had in Columbus, besides going to German Village with Ted, was when the ENR Scholars went to the North Market together. After eating dinner made by a Vietnamese food vendor in the market, my friends Alex, Grace, Ted and I went to watch the sunset. On the way to finding a spot to watch it, we ran into a couple outside of a business that was trying to catch a domestic rabbit. It was a very comedic sight watching all of us chasing after this poor rabbit for around thirty minutes. We eventually caught the rabbit and walked a little ways to an area underneath a bridge on the Olentangy River to watch the sunset. It was extremely beautiful and my favorite moment was watching the sun go down with my friends and the water running against my legs. It was a time that I needed after moving into college and was a moment when I truly felt alive.

My overall favorite experience from this semester’s Columbus To-Do List project was when I went to the German Village with Ted. It was such a pure experience and the night was perfect in the sense that everything looked like a fairy tale and I could spend genuine time getting to know someone I consider to now be one of my closest friends. I would recommend all of the experiences I had in Columbus to anyone. These experiences have become some of my favorites since going to OSU. I have learned that at times Columbus is hard to navigate, in all of my experiences it was while using the COTA Bus, but once you get the hang of things it is not too difficult. To someone who is trying to do the same activities, Columbus is what you make it. It is a large city and easy to feel lost in but by putting yourself out there and being open to new experiences you can love it a lot. I plan to continue exploring Columbus. The next things I hope to explore in the city is the Columbus Museum of Art and seeing a Columbus Symphony Orchestra performance.

Group Trip to Downtown Columbus
State House
Greater Columbus Convention Center
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
Greek Orthodox Church Service
Lunch at The Melt with Ted
Watching the Sunset in the Olentangy River
Pausing skipping rocks to watch a train pass overhead
Sunset in the Olentangy River

Career Development Plan

My current career path is to pursue a career in environmental education as an interpretive ranger or naturalist. I have chosen this path because of my experiences volunteering for the Franklin County Metro Parks. It is very important for me to find a career that makes me happy. My version of happiness is a life of impact on others and our environment and an admiration for the beauty of the outdoors.

To best utilize my time at Ohio State it will be very important to be involved in student and professional organizations, attend networking events, work some internships to gain experience, and gain certifications to become more knowledgeable and marketable to employers. For student organizations, I plan to join the Parks and Recreation Society and a community service organization that will either be Crosswalk Outreach, an organization that feeds the homeless, or a community garden organization. I am already involved in four organizations which are ENR Scholars, Cru at Ohio State, The Ohio State Sierra Club Coalition, and the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and University Center. I am still in the process of researching professional organizations I would like to be involved in. I know that I would like to be involved in at least two organizations and both of them pertaining to natural resource management, outdoor education, and conservation. The certifications I would like to pursue include: Wilderness First Responder Certification, Certified Interpretive Guide through the National Association for Interpretation, Wellness Coach Training, Chainsaw Certification, and Wildland Firefighter Certification. For internships, I would like to work at a local federal organization, like the U.S. Corp of Army Engineers or similar organization, or a local park metro park system, like the Preservation Parks Delaware County or a similar organization, my first-year summer. My second-year summer, I would like to have an internship to do interpretive work for the National Park Service at any location that I can get employed. My third-year summer, I would like to study abroad and then research, take classes at OSU’s Stone Lab, and possibly find employment. The more experiences I can have, the more competitive I can be for post-college employment.

After reviewing the jobs I researched and their requirements, I still feel happy with my plan of action over the next couple of years to get where I want to be professionally. Alternate career paths I would potentially pursue include career paths pertaining to the areas of Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability and Environmental Justice. The School of Environment and Natural Resources has great staff to speak to in order to figure out your next career plan of action and there are a lot of resources to help me figure things out if things do not go as planned. I also plan to become a volunteer EMT once I am settled in a community sometime after graduation to help people in an area outside of the environment in a field that I am passionate about. After having a father who works as a first responder I have a lot of respect for the impact they make on people’s lives, so I hope to do the same by showing up to help on someone’s worst day and try to make it better.

My next steps are to follow this plan to the best of my ability with an open mind. I do not want to become stuck in my ways and embrace learning throughout my life. So, I hope to work my hardest and follow what sparks my interest and see where that path will lead.

Columbus To-DO List

My first Columbus To-Do List activity was to go to German Village, explore The Book Loft, and eat at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant. I found these activities on these activities by wanting to do the Local Food Favorites List but then decided to explore the area and The Book Loft. Prior to completing the first activity, I was most looking forward to the German food and the aesthetic of German Village. When completing my Columbus To-Do List this semester, I am hoping to gain more confidence in my ability to be independent when exploring Columbus and become more knowledgeable about the city.

My first Columbus To-Do List activity was amazing and I had a great time with Ted, my close friend in ENR Scholars. We made the decision to go to German Village on a cold and rainy Sunday evening and took the Cota Bus to a stop as close as we could get to Schmidt’s. German Village looked like a dream because of the rain covered brick streets, Halloween decorations, and beautiful houses. It was perfect sweater weather as we huddled under a small umbrella, the only people in sight, laughing while we tried to avoid the branches of trees on the sidewalk. We finally made it to Schmidt’s which was warmly lit and nestled between houses and a street corner. The inside of the restaurant was rustic and cozy, which was exactly what we were looking for as an escape from the weather outside. I ordered a coffee and we both ordered a Bahama Mama Reuben and a vanilla crème puff, and everything was phenomenal. After our meal, we walked to The Book Loft and which is in a gorgeous large brick building. Each room we entered was packed with books of all kinds and it was a lot of fun to explore the building, find familiar books, and interesting new books as well. I would love to go back to German Village and would recommend German Village, The Book Loft, and Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant to all of my friends.

My Saplings Mentor Meeting

My ENR Scholars Saplings Mentor Meeting went over academics, involvement, ENR Scholars, careers, and general advice. My mentor, Doug, is majoring in Forestry, Fisheries, and Wildlife in the School of Environment and Natural Resources, so we have a lot in common academically. As we have gotten to know each other over the past couple of months, we now know that we have similar personal lives. It was really nice to discuss college life with someone who has close to the same interests and experiences. Our understanding of each other made it easier to connect and give advice during our meeting.

Academically, we discussed the struggle to find balance as well as confidence in our academic abilities. To find a balance between academics and personal life, Doug recommended finding ways to cope with stress, making sure to get sleep, and not prioritizing your academics over your health. This is something I struggle with regularly, and I am continuing to figure out the best ways to monitor my wellness. In finding confidence in our academic abilities, we talked about our experiences with procrastination. I tend to procrastinate when I am overwhelmed which is completely counterintuitive to striving for academic success. Doug does the same thing which was comforting for me to hear. To fight against procrastination breaking down a situation and taking it one step at a time can help a lot to make the task not as daunting.

Doug’s main piece of advice for involvement was to not be too involved. He said it is good to do things you are passionate about but you want to be able to do those things well and to do this you can’t spread yourself too thin. The most important aspect of this advice is to know your limits. I am still trying to figure this out by slowly adding commitments to my life instead of all at once. The topic of involvement in the university led to discussing social life involvement. My involvement in my social life and academic life is particularly difficult for me to find balance in. Because of ENR Scholars, I have found a very close friend group that has helped me find more balance and I am very grateful that I have their support. I know that even though I get distracted from my school work because of my social life at times, I have a group of friends that would help me work through rough moments, refocus, and create memories with.

The ENR Scholars has not only been a way for me to connect with my peers and make good friendships, but it has become a community that is essential to both Doug and I’s lives. Doug had many great things to say about our ENR Scholars group and I could not agree more. He advised to continue with scholars and give it time and effort because it is a community that cares greatly for each member. The ENR Scholars provides great opportunities and resources to help develop students as individuals, and I am very excited to continue my involvement in the coming years.

While talking about the topic of resources we began to talk about our careers. The School of Environment and Natural Resources cares a lot about their student’s success, and Doug strongly expressed this. The ability to have a career advisor who can walk through your career goals with you in relation to your academic degree is also very helpful. Both Doug and I have utilized career advising and have found it to be very helpful in putting our lives into focus while pursuing our degrees.

Some general advice that was offered, which I found to be some of the most helpful from our meeting, was to take care of your health mentally and physically, not be afraid to reach out for help, and know that struggles make us stronger. I really valued our openness as we both shared some of our hardships in the past months and year.  It helped me realize that no matter your age or year in college, we all need readjustments and help to reassess our lives sometimes. I enjoyed the Saplings Mentor Meeting with Doug and plan to work to continue to improve my life as I adapt to college life one step at a time.

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 guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email 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 guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email 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.]

About Me

Hello! My name is Amber Huffman. I am a first-year student pursuing a major in Natural Resource Management with a specialization in Parks and Recreation in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science within the School of Environment and Natural Resources. I am also an Environment and Natural Resources Scholar and an ever aspiring environmental steward. I enjoy the outdoors, this includes, hiking, fishing, water sports, or gardening, and community service, especially in the special needs community.

My ultimate goal is to be an interpretive ranger for the National Park Service. This position interests me because I would like to show people the beauty of nature and the ways it impacts our lives. By showing the beauty of nature and teaching them its impacts on life, I want to inflame people’s passion for the outside world. While doing this, I hope that this fire will spread to touch the lives of as many people as possible who are willing to conserve nature for the current times and future generations. To help me reach my ultimate career goal of outdoor leadership, I am an American Heart Association Basic Life Support Provider and National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness First Aid Provider. I have also been a Franklin County Metro Parks Naturalist Volunteer at Battelle Darby Creek and Prairie Oaks Metro Parks since September 2016. I have also volunteered as an Earth Team Conservation Aid for the Madison Soil and Water Conservation District from May 2017 to October 2017. Because of my volunteer efforts, I have been recognized by the Members of the 132nd Ohio Senate for receiving the Outstanding Earth Team Volunteer Award from the Madison Soil and Water Conservation District.

As I continue to further my education at The Ohio State University, I plan to diligently push to make a positive impact in my community, take advantage of opportunities that come my way, and be persistent in the pursuit of my own version of success. I am excited about the future and prepared to push myself to exceed my own perceived limitations. Please feel free to contact me with any inquiries and topics of discussion.