SP ’18 Semester in Review

My second semester flew by even faster than the first. I took a much heavier class load than the fall semester. My schedule consisted of Spanish 1103 (Spanish III), Chemistry 1210 (General Chemistry I), Biology 1114 (Form, Function, and Ecology), and Math 1149 (Trigonometry). I was much more busy than I was first semester and that resulted in a few more challenges than I initially faced coming into college.

I was always prepared by my teachers, parents, and older friends that college is a lot harder than high school. Therefore perfect grades, while always the goal, may not be achievable. Yet, my first semester seemed to go pretty well for me. This made it even more difficult to face the notoriously difficult classes at OSU though, because it may have given me false hope that college isn’t as hard as everyone makes it seem. Also, I missed out on the initial shock of receiving a horrible grade that my peers had in the autumn, which made it a little bit harder to cope with the failing averages on some of the chemistry midterms, because I did not have peers that were facing the same challenges at the same time as I was. Although because I took many of these harder classes my second semester, I did know a little bit about how hard it was going to be from my roommates and friends who took the class before I did. Despite the shock of much more difficult classes, I managed to pass all of my classes knowing I put forth as much effort as I am capable of, which is all I can ask for I suppose.

Another downfall of the heavier course load is the fact that I did posses some of the time management skills I thought I gained my first semester. I talked about how I had learned to manage my time and balancing school and social life, yet I did not know what it was like to take classes that require hours of studying and preparation outside of class. My first semester, while was not easy by any means, did not require the extensive number of hours I spent in Thompson studying this semester. While this was yet another shock, it taught me valuable time management and perseverance when all I wanted to do was to go spend time with my friends. I had to make difficult decisions to study instead of going out with friends, which was hard at first but paid of in the end. Also, not that the semester if over I can see that I still spent a lot of time with friends and even learned how to do both study and hang out by taking trips to coffee shops in Columbus.

In all, this past semester was full of even more learning curves that come along with beginning college. I thought I had a handle on time management, but quickly learned I had a lot of improving to do. Also, I was quickly humbles by the grades of much harder classes, which pushed me to work even harder in my studies. If I learned one thing from this semester, it would that I can achieve what almost seems impossible (decent grades in difficult classes for example) if I am willing to put in a little effort to get there.

Also, below are some pictures from throughout the semester. I went to Hocking Hills for Spring Break, where I became even closer with my new friends from last semester. My roommate received a 4 Paws dog to begin training. His name is Beetle and he lived with us after Spring Break, and will continue living with us for a few months next semester. He is what encouraged me to finally submit my application to be a part of the organization so I can help in training him and future dogs!

4 Paws Introduction

Coming to college I always planned on joining a club on campus called 4 Paws For Ability. The club is through an organization outside of the university, but has a chapter at OSU. The purpose of the club is to help train and raise dogs that can go on to become service animals. These dogs are trained to perform tasks like closing doors, opening handicap doors, and tracking. First semester I refrained from applying to focus on school though. This semester my roomate, who was already approved through the organization, received a puppy to train. She was the main handler for this dog, named beetle, which means he lived with us. This experience really pushed my to apply to become a handler (or sitter) for the organization. Because of this, I have now been approved and will be attending orientation in Xenia this may, so that next semester I can begin participating in this club! I am very excited for the chance to hep train these dogs to help someone who really needs them.

Autumn ’18 Semester Reflection

This first semester of college was filled with a whole set of new experiences, as the first semester of college typically is for any first year student. My class load was filled with mostly general education credits, which means I am taking classes that push my outside of my typical comfort zone of energy levels and osmosis labs. I am taking two art classes, one of which is a history of art course. These classes are very different than anything I was ever exposed to before because I am encouraged to think outside of the box and create my own projects, rather than following a strict rubric. I had to memorize a hundread works of art, where they are from, and analyze the works based on my own knowledge of the topic and culture rather than based on what my teacher told me to remember. My photography professor regularly gives us a broad idea to follow for our projects and expects us to come p with a good idea to express the idea through our art. This past project was to create an imitation of another photographer’s work and then make it our own. Other than that little bit of direction, the project was up to me. I love being able to take my education in the direction that I want. If i put little effort into my work, I will get little out, and vice versa. I am given the freedom to think critically on my own and discover what I like to learn about. Also, I have been pushed to think in a completely different way than I would have to in my science and math courses.

Another personal development I have made in the past four and a half months involves my ability to cope with less privacy, being exposed to more diversity, and a much faster pace of day to day living. I was use to having a room to myself, a cat that would sleep next to me, food in a fridge with a kitchen to cook, and the ability to take time to myself on a daily basis. Now, everyday is fast paced and something is always happening. Whether that be drama with a roommate, a residence hall activity, or a new test to study for. I have to actively search for a time in which I slow down and relax, something I never had to actively do before. I have found that at times I need to say no to going out with friends and instead spend time just relaxing, or I will get burnt out very quickly. It was especially hard around my firt midterms because I never wanted to say no to spending time with friends to study, but quickly found that I had to do so in order to save my grades. In all, I have found that I must take more control of what I am doing on a day to day basis in order to spend my time on what is needed in the moment.

Biological Sciences Scholars has really encouraged me to continue pushing towards my goals in the future. In high school I found it fairly easy to concentrate on preparing for college and gaining the experience I needed to become a good candidate for vet school. I always knew what I needed to do and how to find the resources to get me there. Beginning college was a whole new set of obstacles though. There are so many more opportunities and people whom are smarter and more qualified than I am, so it was very easy for me to slack off at the beginning of the semester. Going to class and learning about all of the opportunities I have for the future, gaining ideas on how to make myself tad out and survive some of the more difficult classes I will eventually have to face, kept me looking forward. My scholars seminar encouraged me to begin looking for internships and thinking about how I may want to spend these next four years in preparation of grad school. While I still feel overwhelmed and underprepared for the future, it has given me a place to ground myself and begin to look for ways to become more prepared. Also, it was given me a fairly solid support system of students in the exact same place I am, just as overwhelmed and nervous for the net four years and beyond. So, while I may feel stressed at times, I have a network of friends who feel the same way and that we can both lean on.

Scholars Study Session

In The Biological Sciences Scholars, we held the first study session on September 10th. It can be hard for someone who wants to get involved in everything to make time specifically to study, so this really helped me get work done early into the semester. I also liked how it gave me a chance to meet other scholars and make friends in my program.

People To People International

In the summer before my senior year of High School I was invited to participate as an ambassador for two weeks in South Africa for an organization called People to People International. People to People International is a travel organization started in 1956 by President Eisenhower to spread cultural understanding between countries. Now, the program reaches 160 countries and is focused on immersing students in a country’s unique culture, prioritizing education above tourism.

The program I participated in was called “South African Safari.” Within this trip, I visited multiple cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Knysna, George, and Hoedspruit. The experiences I had can be divided into two categories, cultural, and environmental. I learned a lot about the apartheid, and saw first hand the effect it had on citizens. I interacted with so much of the community, visiting not only the higher classes of South Africa, but also the lower. We played with children at daycares/schools, listened to a children’s choir sing, attended a native South African themed dinner where we learned how to drum and dance like past tribes did, and ate food that I would never find in the United States like springbok and ostrich. My delegation also went to a lot of different rescues, rehabilitation centers, and Kruger National Park. I learned about African wildlife and the current dangers much of it faces because of poaching and diseases.

This trip was my first time out of country, so it opened my eyes up to a lot of new experiences. My travel group itself was a national delegation, so I was traveling and befriending people from Massachusetts to California. Being from a fairly small farming community, this was my fist time meeting so many new people between my delegation and everyone I met from South Africa. It was also my first time away from my family for more than a week. I came home more independent and learned a ton about how people lived outside of Ohio. One of my favorite people I met was one of our tour guides when we visited the townships in Cape Town. The city was still fairly divided from the apartheid, leaving the outer parts of the town, the townships, in less than ideal conditions. Yet my tour guide said something that stuck with me, “You look at these and feel sad, because in the states they are a sign of a depression, but here they are a sign of better times.” He told us of when people were allowed to begin moving back into the cities, when families were reunited, is when these makeshift homes were created. He taught me to look at this community in a new light, forcing me to challenge stigma behind what I previously thought. Another community I visited was the Rastafarians, of whom live a very different lifestyle than us. Everyone I met viewed the world in completely different ways than I, exposing me for the first time one of the Honors and Scholars G.O.A.L.S, Global Awareness. It sparked my passion for travel so much that not even a year later I visited Costa Rica. Becoming globally aware is one of my biggest goals to get out of The Ohio State University and my career. I knew of the endless opportunities I would have as a scholar and plan on continuing to pursue this passion of mine.

My visit to South Africa also had a large impact on my career goals. Before going, I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian, most likely small animals. While there, I learned not only about South Africa’s history and culture, but also about their environment and wildlife. In fact, one of the reasons I chose this trip was because of the immersion into African wildlife I would receive. We visited national parks, sanctuaries, ranches, and reserves. Some of my favorites included Kruger National Park, Tenikwa’s large cat sanctuary, an Elephant Sanctuary in Plattenberg, and The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. I walked with elephants, went into cheetah enclosures, and raced through Kruger with my guide named Roxi to find a sleeping male lion. While all of these were exhilarating and sound cool, I learned a lot about current issues in Africa’s wildlife in doing these. At the Elephant sanctuary I met elephants of whom had been stripped of their tusks, caught in traps, and simply couldn’t live o their own anymore because of ivory poaching. I leaned how this affects not only the animals directly affected, but by removing large tusked elephants from the breeding pool, how this affects the overall population of elephants. In Hoedspruit I encountered rhinos and learned of the poaching for their horns, as well as how current specialists are trying to prevent it. I also learned about a current problem they face with wild dogs and a disease they spread because of unique behavioral rituals they perform every morning. At Tenkikwa I saw the wildlife people once kept as pets and then got rid of once they became too big, and learned about the detrimental affects this has on the animal as well as the surrounding community. Reflecting upon my experience, I realized how much I cared for these issues and found my love for zoo and exotic animals. I saw how many opportunities I had to help these animals through visiting so many different places. It opened my eyes up and helped me find my passion for wildlife and zoo veterinary practice.



The Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S serve as a way to motivate students and focus their academic careers towards the improvement of themselves and their community.

  • Global Awareness: Students learn how to appreciate diversity in their community and become aware of the world around them through education and life experiences.
    • I am very passionate about this goal, finding my love of travel and other cultures on my trip with People to People International. Since then, I have visited one other country, Costa Rica, and I plan to continue traveling through study abroad. I hope to one day work as a zoo veterinarian, helping to educate others on exotic wildlife and the problems they face globally.
  • Original Inquiry: Students push themselves to ask new and original questions, and look towards the research process for answers. They understand how to use the process to answer their questions and know how to find resources that can assist them in this.
  • Academic Enrichment: Students continuously push themselves to find rigorous coursework and opportunities for the betterment of their education.
  • Leadership Development: Students work to develop their leadership skills that they can use in the classroom, workplace, and extracurriculars.
    • I continuously strive to better my leadership skills through placing myself into positions to lead others. I competed in competitions in which I created clubs to educate children and coordinated plans to lead 20 of my peers. I have also attended leadership workshops in which I learned the best leaders are ones who can apply their strengths for the betterment of a team.
  • Service Engagement: Students are committed to the improvement of their community through service work.


The careers section is reserved for my academic and career experiences. This section contains my resume and a collection of any other skills or experiences I have acquired.


These artifacts serve as a way for me to go into more detail of influential moments in my academic career that influenced my goals and accomplishments.

About Me

Hi! My name is Marisa Nicol and I am a first year zoology student at The Ohio State University. My ulitmate career goal is to attend a veterinary school and obtain my DVM. With this degree, I hope to work with zoo and/or exotic animals with my largest passion residing in large cats. This interest stems from my history of international travels, the most influential being South Africa. On this trip I visited a large cat rehabilitation center named Tenikwa and The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. In fact, I have looked into revisiting either location for either community work or an internship in the future.

Besides my career interests, I am passionate about photography, service work, and international travels. I recently got involved at 4 Paws as a puppy sitter as well as joined clubs such as Zoology Club, Pre-Vet Club, Young Life, and CHAARG. My current job is with a catering company named Gourmet Fresh where I have been a server for the past 2.5 years. Recently, I have looked into studying abroad and hope to broaden my horizons at OSU over the next four years.