My first year mentee was Brandon Barcena. He is a Neuroscience major from New York. He came to Ohio State because of the amazing programs and opportunities! Brandon and myself had a lot in common. We are both Neuroscience majors with premed tracks, we both love Ohio State, we both live in Smith-Steeb, and we are both supper busy with all of our commitments. With me being a neuroscience major, we had plenty to talk about, and I also had plenty of advice to give Brandon. I told him which classes would be hard and how I got through them. I told him that is was perfectly okay to struggle in general chemistry because everybody does. I hope that I was able to able Brandon through his first year and give him some insight as to what is coming up in his academic career. We also have many differences. Brandon is from New York and I am from Ohio. We talk differently, we have different traditions, and we definitely grew up in different backgrounds.
Brandon grew tremendously from the first semester to the next. He has definitely found his place at OSU. He told me about all the friends he has made on his floor in the dorm and also the friends he has made in his classes. He told me about how he is working on getting involved in research and now that he has his first year out of the way, he is ready to get involved with clubs. He told me how he has missed soccer since he has been at OSU, so I recommended intramural sports or even club soccer! He also played on an intramural basketball team with people on his floor, Mikayla Simon, and his RA. I think Brandon has done a great job at getting involved. AND he survived General Chemistry, which is amazing!
I helped Brandon become familiar with OSU by telling him about all of the opportunities here. I told him about all of the student organizations and the website on the union page that he could use to find them. I also helped Brandon by telling him what professors he should try to get for his Neuroscience classes. I introduced Brandon to my friends and made sure that he was fitting in here at OSU. Brandon has definitely made friends, and he has also became more involved. I always tried to be their to answer Brandon’s questions about ACES, about dorm life, and anything else that he needed.
One of the Major benefits of the mentoring program is just getting to make another friend. You can never have too many friends, and getting to make a connection with a first year in your scholars program is great. Last year, I felt like I didn’t know any of the second years. This year, I have met so many first years through the mentor program. Brandon has introduced me to his friends and the first years are a great group of students. Another benefit is getting to share my knowledge with a first year. I wish I would have had an upperclassmen to turn to last year to answer all of my questions.
The mentorship program has been absolutely wonderful. I have learned so much from Brandon and I hope he has learned from me as well. Having a first year that relied on me definitely shaped my leadership skills. I always tried my best to make sure things were going well for Brandon and if I could help him in anyway. I hope that the mentorship program continues in the future because, in my opinion, it was a great way to bring together first years and second years and make ACES a stronger community. Obviously, the program could use a few tweaks, but everything seemed to go very smoothly for the first year. This program should be kept in ACES for years to come.
For our second explore Columbus assignment Brandon and I decided to get coffee in the Short North at the Short North Coffee house. We met in the lobby of Smith-Steeb (we both live there) and walked over to the bus stop together. Unfortunately it was raining, and Brandon forgot his umbrella. We took the Cota bus to the short North and walked over to the coffee house. On the way there we talked about how finals were going and how his first year went overall. Brandon said that his freshman semester went very well and he was excited for finals to be over. He also told me about how he was leaving for Mexico in a few days to go to his cousins wedding.
When we got to the coffee shop we were surprised by how many options they had. It took us awhile to decide what we wanted. We both ended up getting a cherry cheesecake mocha. (They were better than they sound). While we were waiting on the coffee we looked at all of the paintings the coffee shop was selling. They were odd paintings. One was named “watermelon man”. When we got our coffee we looked around the shop for a little bit more and then we decided to walk back. It wasn’t raining anymore and it was only a 20 minute walk back to campus. On the way back we talked about neuroscience and what classes Brandon would be taking next semester. On the way back a strange man stopped us and gave us an orange. We through away the orange.
Overall, the coffee shop trip was a success. We both got to catch up with each other and it was a great study break! I talked with Brandon about how he thought the mentor program went and he thinks that is is a great program and he is glad that he participated. When we got back to the dorm we said our goodbyes and wished each other luck with finals!
During the first few weeks of spring semester I met with my mentee, Brandon, to talk about how his first semester of college went. Since we have the same major, I asked Brandon if he was enjoying Neuroscience! He said that he loves his neuroscience class (Behavioral Neuroscience), but he definitively wasn’t enjoying the class he has to take for premed, Chemistry. So, I would say he is fitting in at OSU just fine. Nobody likes chemistry! I then asked him about how he has gotten involved on campus. Brandon participated in Buckeyethon and attended a Cystic Fibrosis forum. Volunteer work is a great way to get involved in the campus community. He said that he has really enjoyed the volunteer work that he has been involved with.
I then asked Brandon what he would do to improve the ACES program. His response was that he enjoys being a part of the program, but he would like the program to give a little more assistance to directly help students find volunteer work. A lot of students in the ACES program have trouble finding consistent volunteer work, so Brandon’s idea would be a great improvement to the program. ACES could start working with different organizations to help students find volunteer work.
I then asked Brandon if his career plans have changed since first semester. He said that he is still planning on going to medical school, but he is still deciding what he wants to do after that. My final question was if anything had surprised him since being on campus. He said that OSU is supposed to have 65,000 students, but it doesn’t feel that big. He likes that he has found his own little community here at OSU which makes the school seem much smaller. All in all, Brandon’s first semester at OSU went very well!
For our explore Columbus assignment Brandon and I decided to go to German Village. Mikayla Simon also tagged along because ACES members are supposed to be inclusive, and she really wanted a jumbo cream puff! (We really didn’t want to take the bus and she had a car.) We wanted to come to German Village to go to Schmidt’s German Restaurant. They have some pretty amazing German food, and of course, jumbo Cream puffs! The wait staff dressed in German style clothes, and the whole neighborhood had German style buildings. The houses there were amazing! Brandon said his favorite part was obviously the food, and just getting to take a break from studying for all of his finals. We all got a cream puff, and we also got a sausage platter to share. We tried different German sausages, sour kraut, potato pancakes, German applesauce, and German smashed potatoes! We talked about how Brandon’s first semester of college went, how he was studying for his finals, listened to some great Beyonce music, and got to learn about a cute little part of Columbus. We learned that they have a huge yard sale every year, and that they have a fudge shop right beside the restaurant we went to. We had so much fun! Mikayla was very happy to find out that her car didn’t get toed where she was parked too. German Village is an amazing place, and I would definitely recommend it to a friend. I think we might try to go back for the yard sales, and for another cream puff! Even my roommate got to join in on the fun. The cream puffs were too big to finish, so she got half of mine. All in all, I enjoyed getting to explore Columbus with my mentee, and I cant wait for our spring semester Columbus Exploration!
My mentee is Brandon Barcena and he is a neuroscience major with a pre-med track, which is something we have in common. When I interviewed Brandon these are the questions I asked him:
How did you decide on your major?
How do you plan to get involved on campus?
What are you most looking forward to in the ACES program?
What do you plan to do with your major after graduation? Graduate or Professional school? Enter the workforce?
What is one of the most important things you have learned so far at OSU?
From these questions, I learned that Brandon became interested in neuroscience after writing an essay in High School about concussions. He said that he enjoyed this assignment more than anything he has ever done and that he is very inspired by Dr. Bennet Omalu’s work. I found this very interesting because I attended Dr. Omalu’s presentation at OSU last year, and I also found his work very interesting. I believe that by being interested in the same topics, I could help Brandon find ways to get involved with neuroscience activities on campus.
Brandon hasn’t decided on how he wants to get involved yet. He wanted to take a few weeks just to get used the adjustment, but he knows he want’s to find a way to get involved in the medical field. Since I volunteer at Children’s, I could give him advice about how to get involved in the hospital setting.
After college, Brandon hopes to go to medical school in California! I also want to go to medical school. This means we will be taking the same classes and we will be going through the same process. This will allow me to give Brandon advice about what he needs to do in preparation for medical school.
What Brandon loves about the ACES program is that he has made so many friends that are also ACES. He says all of his close friends are also in the program. Other than continuing to make more connections, he hopes that ACES will allow him to get involved in the community and give back. I couldn’t agree with Brandon more! Some of my best friends are in the ACES program.
Something important that Brandon has learned at OSU is that college isn’t all fun and games. It takes hard work and dedication to be successful. I hope that I can help Brandon stay on top of his studies, and make sure that he still has an amazing first year of college!
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G: Global Awareness:
O: Original Inquiry:
A: Academic Enrichment:
L: Leadership: Currently, I am involved in the ACES scholars program and premed club. I have recently applied to be a member of the ACES LC and to be a RA. Being involved in the ACES scholars program and premed club have taught me great leadership skills. Both of these programs are involved with community service, which allows me to be an active member of the community. These programs also requires me to work well with other people. I believe that service engagement and working well with others are great qualities of a leader. Also, I have a lot of previous leadership experience. In high school I held leadership positions like being the secretary of National Honor Society and being a competitive cheerleading coach.
S: Service- I am currently getting involved with the Reach Out and Read Program at Children’s Hospital. Other than that, I have volunteered at the Greek Festival, a fall harvest party the Milo Grogan recreational center, and I helped with the ACES Run the Race Event. I believe getting involved with community service is very important because it helps you get to know, and give back to, the community that you live in. In the future, I plan to continue to volunteer with the Reach Out and Read program and also get involved with smaller service projects as well.
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I believe that being accepted to attend The Ohio State University is a very big academic achievement. Everyone got a tassel at Convocation. I consider this an artifact because it symbolizes all of my dreams beginning to come true. I had a hard time growing up. When I was at convocation, I just felt like OSU was a fresh start for me. This is why my tassel means so much to me. It is a new beginning.
I am currently getting involved in the Reach Out and Read Program at Children’s Hospital. This program provides books to children and shows them, and their families, the importance of reading. I am proud to be a part of this program because it benefits the kids in so many ways. The books that Reach Out and Read gives to these children could be the only books in that child’s home. As a volunteer, I encourage children to take books home with them and I read to them. All in all, this program is an amazing thing to be a part of and it has definitely made a huge impact on my OSU experience.