Before coming to college I was a very dependent person who didn’t really understand what it meant to be an adult. It hit me on high school graduation day that I wasn’t going to go back to Lakota East High School as a student but as an alumna. To be honest, the idea of going to college and living on campus really scared me. I had no idea of what was going to be introduced to me in the new school year. I had to go to a new city and get used to knowing my way around a whole entire campus instead of just a building. I knew of the vast amounts of programs and internship opportunities that were going to be available to all students on campus, but I did not feel mentally and physically prepared. It was a little bit frustrating knowing that I would have to make my own choices for once. Knowing that my signature actually mattered and that I was in full control of my future was a little bit too much for me to take in. Although terrified, there was still a little part of that was excited about becoming independent. Coming to college, meeting new people, and getting a wonderful education really made me a more confident and outgoing person.
When I first entered the STEM EE Scholars Program, I thought I was academically prepared for what was going to be thrown at me in my class. Little did I know, I was not going to be in the top of my class all the time and that college was going to be filled with geniuses and talented people. I also definitely did not know that socializing could be so easy. Everyone was so nice and open to meet new people. I was reassuring to know that I could get help from anyone at any time when in college.
I have met some of my best friends in just one year. Making new friends in college was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. For the first couple weeks of school, it was really nice to have casual conversations with strangers that would become friends in the future. Since no one really knew each other, it was easy to mingle with different groups of people and clubs to find where I fit in. the amount of on-campus events and clubs (that I found during the involvement fair) was very eye-opening. There would always be something going on every day. It was basically impossible for me to be bored.
The STEM EE Scholars program helped me a lot when it came to socializing with people whose majors were also STEM related. All scholars’ groups require their students to live together and this was probably what kept me alive through freshman year. Complaining and suffering through the same classes at the same time was what brought the group together. Late night studying and casual game days on the weekends were probably some of the most memorable experiences of my life. There is always someone to talk to no matter what time of the day it is. This experience definitely gave me the chance to find my OSU family away from home.
STEM also helped me understand what it was like to be a peer-mentor and student leader. Being the Trip and research coordinator of the Scholars group, I have to learn how to plan my time out properly so that I can finish my academic homework, service requirements and event planning. I have also gotten much better at small talk and conversing with professionals in my field through internship applications and emails for STEM-related Scholars trips. I feel that I have become a more independent person throughout this school year and I have learned how to achieve my deadlines and goals without the help of others.
I learned how to look outside of my initial expectations when something wrong was going on. I have become more willing to evolve my ideas to make something work. STEM made me realize that there are multiple different ways to solve one problem. Just because someone has different idea than me doesn’t me that it’s wrong.
I have learned and matured so much in this school year and it’s sad to see that it is coming to an end now. I am excited to see what STEM has in store for me for the next three years of college and I hope that the experiences I will have in this program and university will continue to be just as good as those of this year.