A Reflection of My First Semester

To be quite honest, my first semester didn’t go as well as I had anticipated. In high school, I took all AP and honors classes and received only As. Coming into college, I expected it to be the same way. At first, it was. All of my classes were review, there was little homework, and all of the quizzes were simple. The first round of midterms was simple and I got great scores. However, it all of a sudden got a lot harder. The homework began to pile up and the content started getting harder. Unfortunately, the rest of my midterms didn’t go too well, and neither did my finals. I ended with grades in chemistry and math that were not what I had hoped for, and those two classes made up 10 of my 13.5 credits, so it really impacted my GPA. Even though my GPA is not great right now, I have learned a valuable lesson from this semester. When things got hard this semester, I never got the free tutoring OSU offers or went to office hours. Since my grades didn’t end up where I wanted them, it’s made me realize that I need to put more work into my schoolwork. Doing homework and studying is not enough. I need to be going to office hours, meet with my TAs, and going to free tutoring, even if I don’t feel like I need it. If I work hard and utilize my resources this upcoming semester, I think that I can improve my grades.

How My First Semester Taught Me to Take Care of Myself

My first semester of college, without a doubt, has been a wild ride. I have made a lot of new friends, found what I feel is my niche, joined eight clubs around campus, and I’ve been studying hard for my classes. I’ve been weeks ahead in homework and also accidentally missed a couple assignments; I got nearly a 100% on a midterm, and then proceeded to fail another. The first several months of college, I struggled to balance a social life and my academics. I took all honors and AP classes in high school and had a limited social life. Coming to college, not only were classes significantly harder and faster-paced than high school, but I also now had a social life to maintain. It took awhile to adjust and learn my priorities.

In order to compensate for my new academic, social, and extracurricular lives, I began to lose sleep and skip meals. I didn’t have the time and, quite frankly, forgot about their importance. The first time my parents came to visit me at college, they commented how visibly thinner I was and the dark circles under my eyes. I was having a great time, but my body was falling apart as a result.

I finally hit a week that I would have to call the worst week of my college career so far. I received poor scores on not only one, but two midterms, and I had an abundance of homework that included two lab reports. In all honestly, I spent most of the week crying, skipping class, and barely sleeping. However, I made it through the week. As soon as the weekend hit, I looked back on the week and realized I needed to change what I was doing. This was not working for me.

I decided to skip my social plans for the weekend (which my friends fully supported after witnessing firsthand the previous week), and I spent as much time as possible working on homework. I took small breaks as to not burn out and I cut myself off to go eat meals with friends and sleep at a proper time. I got over a week ahead on my homework. This allowed me to spend the following week learning to sleep at a better time, spending more time actually studying for courses instead of merely doing homework, and allowing myself the time to relax and recover.

I now make schedules for myself. I schedule in my meals, time to relax, time to socialize, plenty of time for homework and studying, and time to sleep. I may not have a perfect sleep schedule, but I go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every morning, and get at least 6-7 hours of sleep per night (the amount recommended by my doctor). My experience from the beginning of the semester may have been terrible, but it was worth it since I now schedule time for at least a little bit of everything I want to do and am now properly taking care of myself.

Fall Break

Over fall break, I had the chance to visit home for the first time. Fall break began on October 11 and as soon as I got out of class on that Wednesday, my mom came to campus to pick me up. Up until the week before fall break, I was not planning to come home. I was enjoying every moment of college – from the free time with my new friends to even my difficult homework assignments. I didn’t miss home at all. I was so busy and absorbed in my new life that I didn’t have time to even think of home. However, midway through the week, homesickness hit me hard. I’m from Cincinnati, OH, and I wanted nothing more than to go to Skyline with my two close friends, just as we had done nearly every week last year. So, I immediately called my parents and they jumped at the chance to see me for the first time in weeks.

Coming home was a strange feeling. I felt like an outsider in a place I had lived in for the past 15 years of my life. The yellow hue of the kitchen lighting hitting the wood floors and the smell of whatever takeout my dad brought home after work this time hit me as I walked in the door. I never thought I would miss that feeling, but I did and it felt so good to experience it again. Over the next two days, I spent as much time as possible with my family and my old tennis team, and I went to Skyline with my friends (of course).

I was so glad to be home, yet after those two days, I was ready to go back to campus. I was so confused why I loved being home so much, but I wanted to go back to campus so badly. That’s when I realized that I, without a doubt, picked the right college for me. The fact that I was so homesick, yet wanted nothing more than to be at my college showed me how much I love it here at Ohio State. I truly picked the school for me and, while I’ll still visit home every now and then, I have found my new home here in Columbus.


My First Career Fair

My first career fair at Ohio State was the first day I felt as though I was a true college student. For the last month, I had been living in my dorm, making friends, adjusting to campus, and attending my classes. Yet, for some reason, it had never fully felt like I was in college. I still felt like a high school student, but now living on a college campus. On September 19, I attended the Career and Internship Fair, held in the Ohio Union, where hundreds of companies came to meet with current OSU students to discuss potential careers. I was the only one of any of my friends to go to this career fair, since the employers typically are only looking for juniors and seniors. However, I decided to go anyway to see what it was like.

I dressed in my black three piece suit and leather flats and braved the blisters as I walked to the Ohio Union. I gripped the ugly, purple folder I had just filled with my frantically put together resume. I walked into the Union and up to the second floor, where I swiped my BuckID and was given a printed name badge. I then walked into the Grand Ballroom and was met with a sea of employers, company posters, and hundreds of college students.

I had never felt so out of place. I didn’t recognize a single person and everyone seemed to know what they were doing. I had no idea how to approach an employer, let alone talk to one. For a few minutes, I just debated leaving. My purple folder looked so unprofessional and I had just recently put together my resume. I had no idea if it was even the correct format. Everything inside me told me I wasn’t ready. I was only a freshman, so maybe I should just wait until next year.

I finally worked up the courage, took a deep breath, and walked inside the ballroom. I had looked up a few companies with chemical engineering positions prior to the fair and walked up to the first one I recognized. I didn’t know how to begin, so I just threw myself into conversation by introducing myself to the company representative, offering my resume, and talking about my career goals. As our conversation went on, I began to feel more and more comfortable. I realized that these employers didn’t care if I was a freshman. All they cared about was that I was a college student taking the initiative to find an internship to further my educational and career opportunities. I had several conversations with employers before the fair closed down and I returned to my dorm.

This experience made me much more comfortable attending career fairs and talking to employers. The following week, I attended the Engineering Expo. Now that I had experience, I was able to have several engaging discussions with employers. I felt so much more prepared and relaxed as I talked with the different companies that interested me. Even though I was one of the only freshman to attend the Career and Internship Fair, it was an incredible learning experience that has improved my conversation skills with employers. This experience was the first time I truly registered that my time at The Ohio State University is leading me to so many incredible opportunities in my future.


[ “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

My name is Allison Musgrove. I’m a pre-chemical engineering major at The Ohio State University. I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I’ve been playing tennis since I was three and played for my high school varsity team; I volunteered with toddlers for three years at my church back home and I plan to do the same at the Rock City church here in Columbus; and I have already joined the Deaf Hearing Club at OSU to learn sign language.

I became interested in chemical engineering long before I even realized what it was. When I was in sixth grade, one of my neighbors came to my school and demonstrated a powder she helped develop with Proctor & Gamble called “P&G Purifier of Water,” which purifies water through simultaneous flocculation and disinfection. I was immediately fascinated by the process and by how helpful this product could be to people around the world. This demonstration stayed tucked in the back of my mind for the next four years, until my sophomore year of high school when I took honors chemistry.

As I began taking honors chemistry, I learned how our entire world can be broken down into elements and how this understanding can allow us to create solutions to problems that we find in our everyday lives. I decided I wanted to pursue a career in which I could solve problems using chemistry. That’s when I remembered the demonstration from sixth grade and decided to look into chemical engineering. I did some research on chemical engineering and talked to my neighbor, and I realized that this is exactly what I want to do with my career.

In the summer before my freshman year at OSU, I was offered an internship at the Greater Cincinnati Water Works Richard Miller Treatment Plant. I was able to work with other engineers on projects that actually affected the treatment process at the plant. I performed jar testing to test the effectiveness of particle activated carbon on MIB and geosmin and had the opportunity to write a report recommending the company switch from 30% Sodium Hexametaphosphate to a 36% concentration, which was recently approved and will soon be implemented. I also learned how to work in a laboratory and take samples around the plant. The experience gave me many useful skills and showed me how much I would enjoy a career in chemical engineering.

At Ohio State, I am a part of the STEM Scholars program. Through the program, I have the opportunity participate in a multitude of STEM-related activities and live with people who share an interest in STEM. I have also joined several STEM-focused clubs, such as the Society of Women Engineers and Women in Math and Science, both of which give me a great support system of women who are also entering the STEM field where we are in the minority. Additionally, I am involved in Engineers Without Borders, where I am working with a small group of other students to educate Gambians on hygiene and sanitation, and Engineers for a Sustainable World, where I will soon be working on a hydroponics project and teaching STEM topics to middle school students in the Metro School District in Columbus.

Over the next four years, I hope my education in chemical engineering at The Ohio State University will provide me with the skills I need for a successful career in chemical engineering. I want to use my career to develop products that can be used to improve the lives of others and I am excited as I begin my education, knowing that it will help me reach this goal.