I would say that I have largely enjoyed my first year at OSU. I have taken many interesting classes, had several fun experiences, and met many amazing new people. One of my favorite classes that I have taken so far is a theatre class. The class is very fun and my teacher genuinely cares about all the students and is very engaging. One thing he told me that I find very important is to not always worry about end results – things go better when you live in the moment. Outside the classroom, one of the most important things I believe I have learned is to not eat unseasoned Quaker Instant Oatmeal! I will make sure to keep this in mind for the next ENR Scholars camping trip. Something I learned about myself this year is that no matter what happens to me, I always find a way to make things work in the end. Giving up has never been my thing and hopefully it never will be. One of my favorite memories from this past year is when I went for a run for the first time in months and was told “You don’t need to run” by twenty one pilots soon after. twenty one pilots is one of my absolute favorite bands and I find it incredible that they unintentionally (or maybe not) said the perfect thing at the perfect moment. Next year I am looking forward to living on a different part of campus, meeting more new people, and making more amazing memories with ENR Scholars. I really hope the rest of my years at OSU are as great as this one!
This year’s spring break was largely uneventful; having been at work over the past few months, what I really wanted to do was rest. The day after I came home from OSU, I went to an Indian restaurant I had not been to in a while, Amma’s Kitchen, for lunch. Amma’s Kitchen has a lunch buffet, so I took small helpings of various Indian dishes. While my favorite Indian restaurant is Brij Mohan, I find Amma’s Kitchen’s food delicious as well. After lunch, I got my yearly haircut, a three-inch trim. For dinner, I had takeout from Brij Mohan. It was sarson ka saag, a curry made from mustard greens that I had never had before. I found its taste a bit unusual at first, but eventually I began to enjoy it. However, I did not enjoy getting sick the very next day! I believe that I either got food poisoning from the takeout or just came down with a stomach virus. I spent the rest of spring break recovering from my illness and soon enough, I felt ready to come back to OSU. I am looking forward to finishing up the last few weeks of this semester nicely!
My second Columbus to-do list experience was at the Harvest Pizzeria. Despite the name, pizza is not the only thing on Harvest’s menu – in fact, I did not even order pizza when I went. The menu item that stood out to me the most that I felt like I had to order was the veggie burger. The veggie burger is made from mushrooms, walnuts, rice, carrots, peppers, and sweet potatoes. It is served on a bun with Dijon aioli, pickles, lettuce, onions, and cheese with a side of fried potatoes and ketchup. I can definitely say that my order was absolutely delicious. The aioli made the burger taste perfect; I did notice that the burger was a bit dry without it. The potatoes were amazing as well; while they were a bit extra salty, the ketchup balanced that out. The only real complaint I would make is that the burger was very hard to not eat messily – it fell apart quite easily! Overall, I greatly enjoyed my experience at Harvest and would go back to try some of their other menu items. I would also recommend it to anyone who happens to be in Columbus.
As I loved eating at both Lavash and Harvest, it is hard to say which experience I enjoyed more. I will say that I preferred Harvest’s atmosphere – it was cute and fancy inside and the music consisted of quality old songs. However, Lavash and Harvest both have great food items that everyone should try at some point. Both places are a bit pricey, but the food is certainly worth it! From these experiences, I have learned about two delicious new dining locations, one of which is also in my hometown, Cincinnati. They have definitely encouraged me to explore Columbus some more and find other interesting places, both for eating and for other enjoyable things. For anyone else who wants to explore Columbus, I would recommend trying both things you think you would enjoy and things you might be unfamiliar with. It’s great to do what you know you like, but you won’t know what you’re missing out on if you never try anything new!
My current career path is to become someone who helps endangered species. I have chosen this path because I have been passionate about animals and nature since I was very young and I would love to help animals and improve the environment. After searching for job postings relating to helping endangered species, I found that one must have prior experience with wildlife to receive such jobs. Therefore it makes sense for me to get an internship that involves helping wild animals. I searched for internships at the Wilds, an animal sanctuary I like very much, and found three apprenticeships that all seemed very interesting. The one that interested me the most was the wildlife ecology apprenticeship. It involves monitoring wildlife populations and implementing ways to help them. I will need to be a second year student and obtain my driver’s license before applying for this internship, but it seems like it will provide valuable experience for my future career. I would also like to join the Fish and Wildlife Society as it is the local chapter of an organization dedicated to helping wildlife that I could be involved with professionally in the future. Alternative career paths I could pursue would be research or specializing in studying a specific group of animals. To prepare for these alternate paths, I could participate in undergraduate research so that I know what professional research is like. My next steps now are to get the needed experience for the internship I currently want to apply for or find alternate internships to pursue and to look for research opportunities related to my career path on campus.
I met with my mentor Brooke Evelyn Kauchak, who is a sophomore and an EEDS major. The five questions I chose to ask her were:
- How did you decide on the major you have chosen?
- What type of volunteer hours, internships, etc. have you done since you have been a student at OSU? How did you first get involved with them?
- How have you grown because of your participation in the ENR Scholars?
- What do you plan to do with your major after graduation?
- What is one of the most important things you have learned thus far at Ohio State?
Brooke decided that she wanted to go into environmental science her senior year of high school. She loves everything about the EEDS major because it covers sustainability through the economic perspective which she believes is very important. She has a concentration in international development which accounts for her love for travel. I really like that Brooke’s major is such a perfect fit for her; I believe that you should center your life around what you are passionate about. I am passionate about the wildlife aspect of the environment, which is why I chose to major in forestry, fisheries, and wildlife. The fact that Brooke did not decide on what she wanted to do in college until her senior year of high school shows that you do not need to have your entire life figured out right away. While I knew I wanted to do something with animals and nature from a very young age, not everyone is that certain about their career path and that is completely okay.
Brooke did a lot of volunteer work for Arnold Air Society. She chose to be a part of the club her freshman year and went through a long recruitment process. Through Arnold Air Society, she has done a lot for veterans and volunteered at both a 5K and a 24-hour run. The internships she is interested in doing are for the Licking Land Trust and the Soil and Water Conservation District. Again, Brooke shows that you should do what you are passionate about, whether for your major or for your internship/volunteer work. The way I have gotten to be part of something I am passionate about so far is through Pets for Vets, an organization that pairs veterans with PTSD with emotional support animals rescued from shelters. As someone with PTSD who loves animals and is passionate about making sure shelter animals get homes, Pets for Vets is the perfect cause for me to be able to contribute to. I volunteered at and ran in the Mutt Strut, a 5K to raise money for Pets for Vets, and hope to do more for Pets for Vets in the future. I also plan on doing an internship that involves helping wild animals and their habitats, because that is another cause I am passionate about and want to obtain a career in.
Because of ENR Scholars, Brooke has gotten better at pursuing things she loves. She has gained the confidence to look for activities that involve the environment and outdoor education and also tries to get her friends involved with them. She has met many great people through ENR Scholars who she is still friends with today which makes her feel better about being on such a large campus. Though I have only been in ENR Scholars for a short period of time, I understand how it has been so helpful for Brooke because being part of a supportive group passionate about things I am passionate about is what got me through high school. I loved running cross country and track not just because I love running but also because the people I ran with were so loving and supportive. The people in ENR Scholars all seem great so far and I look forward to forming good and lasting relationships with them.
After graduation, Brooke plans on working for an NGO and traveling abroad to help developing countries be more sustainable. She is also interested in environmental education and wants to teach children to be conscious about nature and to be sustainable from a young age. I think what Brooke is doing is absolutely incredible; I come from a developing country (India) that is not the most environmentally friendly and it is people like Brooke who will help it become a better place. It is also extremely important that people be educated to be sustainable and about why sustainability is important from a young age. The sooner and longer people are sustainable, the less damage the environment has to suffer. Also, the more people who are knowledgeable about sustainability, the more people there are to educate others on how to take care of the environment and why we should.
The most important thing Brooke has learned at OSU is to make time for yourself every day. It is important to focus on your education, but it is also important to focus on your mental health by doing what makes you happy and you should not forget that. I completely agree that taking care of your mental health is the most important thing you can do for yourself; as someone who has struggled with mental health disorders for a long period of time, I know that not giving myself time to recover from my struggles will only drag me further from my path to success. I even have a piece of paper in my wallet with these words written on it: “It’s okay to put your health first. You need to to succeed.”
Brooke is a great person and friend who I am very glad to have as my mentor. I definitely plan on taking her advice to heart throughout my years in college.
My name is Meera Nadathur and I live in Cincinnati, OH. This year I am a freshman at OSU and I have chosen to major in forestry, fisheries, and wildlife. I chose this major because I have been interested in animals and nature for as long as I can remember. When I lived in Illinois, I loved catching frogs in the wetland in my backyard and watching deer and cranes. After moving to Cincinnati, I enjoyed looking for animals in the creek in my backyard and watching animals in other parts of the woods. My goal for my major is to obtain a job that involves working in the field with animals and nature. I would love to help solve environmental problems, especially those involving endangered species.
One way I have already done work with nature is through 4-H. I have presented multiple projects about various environmental issues, including climate change and water quality. My projects have received recognition at both county and state level. I have also presented research about environmental issues at my high school’s science fair and advanced to presenting my research at University of Cincinnati twice. I took a class about birds at Stone Lab this summer and I loved running cross country and track in high school. Some other interests of mine that are not directly related to nature are cooking, reading, and doing puzzles. I am very excited to be a part of ENR Scholars as I think it will be great to get to know people who are also passionate about nature and help improve the environment with them.
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The Columbus to-do list I chose for this semester is Local Food Favorites. I am definitely looking forward to enjoying some of the best food Columbus has to offer! From this assignment, I hope to be able to have some enjoyable experiences in the city I am currently staying in outside of those on campus.
An experience I have had so far is a trip to the Lavash Cafe. It was quite the experience! Because Lavash is on High Street, I thought it would be easy to get to – I could just get on a COTA and get down at the stop closest to the cafe. Unfortunately I thought wrong. The COTA I got on did go down High Street for quite some time, and I constantly watched the door numbers on the buildings for the best stop to get off at. Then the COTA unexpectedly turned into another street, and as a result I received a surprise tour of Columbus. After the bus drove all over the city, it finally stopped at the COTA station. At that point I asked the driver if she would be going back to High Street, and thankfully she said yes. She drove back on the exact same route she had taken to the station, and finally I was at the last stop on High Street before the turn. I got down and walked the rest of the way to Lavash, deciding that I was too hungry to stand around waiting for another COTA to drive me there. What I can say about my meal at Lavash was that it was 100% worth the wait after getting lost in Columbus! I ordered the Lavash combo – hummus, tabouleh, falafel, and stuffed grape leaves – and it was some of the best Mediterranean food I have ever had. The staff there were all very friendly, and I especially appreciated one of the servers placing pita bread (not listed in the menu description of my order) by my plate while I got up to get utensils. Even though my order was a bit expensive, the quality of the food was so good that I would definitely go back to Lavash and try some of their other menu items. I would also recommend the Lavash Cafe to anyone who happens to be in Columbus!