After this year, I feel like I have learned a lot about myself and my own strengths and weaknesses. After living alone and away from my family for the first time in my life, I realized it was time for me to grow up and learn to take care of myself. Before college, I almost never did laundry and had never shared a room with anyone else before. This made coming to college an adjustment, but I adapted much more quickly than I had ever expected to. I feel like this year has taught me a lot about responsibility and the importance of the ability to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances.
This year has also been an interesting experience for me in making new friends. In order to make friends at such a large school, it is important to put yourself out there. As an introvert, this was a scary idea to me. However, I learned a lot about my willingness to meet new people and openness to new experiences while I have been at Ohio State. I have realized that maybe I am not as introverted as I once thought I was, and I think that living in the dorms has truly brought me out of my shell. I have made plenty of new and wonderful friends, and I am very thankful that I found the strength to put myself out there and make friends with people I may never have spoken to before.
Academically, my first year of college was an extremely difficult adjustment, but I believe it has been successful. I began this year as a chemical engineering major and am extremely proud that despite difficult coursework I have stuck to this goal throughout the year. I found disparity in the amount of work between high school and college very surprising, because I had many friends who told me college was easier than high school. But I am extremely proud that I have tried my hardest and successfully adapted to the quicker pacing and more intense workload that accompanies college level coursework. I intend to stay in my major of chemical engineering due to my passion for science and chemistry, and I am excited to continue coursework in this major despite the challenges that may come with it. It is important to me to continue studying science topics, and this year especially I have discovered that I have a natural affinity for math and I enjoy my math coursework very much. I never thought I would enjoy college level math coursework, but I have found it very enjoyable thus far. While chemistry, my previous favorite subject, has become a bit more of a challenge for me, I find that I am able to understand the concepts if I only work hard enough at them. I enjoy my major overall so far, and I believe that I have been doing well in it so far. As long as I keep working hard, I believe I will be able to graduate from Ohio State without changing my major once.
On March 2, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted the first ever Engineering Ball, and event that was created to celebrate the kickoff of national women’s month. The event was intended to show support for all women, especially women in the extremely male-dominated field of engineering. This event was a lot of fun- it was truly a night of celebration, all on behalf of the women who work hard every day to make a difference in the world. It was a great experience to share with friends and to be with a great group of people who support the ambitions of women in STEM and any other field.
During the week leading up to the Ohio State Homecoming Parade, the Member Development committee of the Mount Leadership Society Scholars Program spent our free nights working on building an amazing float. As a first year, it was so exciting to experience the atmosphere and excitement of both the float building process and the parade itself. It taught me a lot about the value of teamwork and the power of adaptability, because sometimes things will not go exactly the way we may plan that they will. Making sure we didn’t let anything get in our way of building an amazing float was perhaps the most important takeaway from this experience, and it certainly paid off, because in the end our float turned out pretty incredible!
Alison Ritenour is a first year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering. She is majoring in Chemical Engineering and in the future hopes to use her degree to work for NASA engineering new technologies for space travel. Alison is a member of the Mount Leadership Society through Honors and Scholars and looks forward to participating in service projects during her time in the program. During her time at OSU Alison plans to join service organizations such as Guiding Eyes for the Blind and study abroad in several foreign countries through the university. In her free time Alison likes to learn about new topics and practice yoga. Alison is extremely excited for her first year on campus and looks forward to taking classes that relate to her interests.
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Last semester had a lot of ups and downs. Adjusting to college as an incoming freshman definitely comes with its challenges, but having to take on more responsibility has been a positive experience for me. It has taught me that I need to rely on myself to get the grades I need and also to take care of my own basic needs- washing my clothes when they need to be, cleaning my room regularly, and staying organized and budgeting. The semester was a great one for me academically- I got my best grades ever, though occasionally it took a toll on my overall happiness. Despite working very hard, I was still able to meet some amazing friends this semester. Next semester I would like to try and take more thorough notes and spend more of my free time during the day working on schoolwork. I find that I am more productive during the day and it is best for me to take the nights to hang out with friends and relax. This helps recharge me for the upcoming day and allows me to feel like there is a time where I can turn off my brain. Overall, my Fall 2018 semester was a successful one and I hope I can continue my success first semester and carry it over into my remaining semesters of college.
In order to enhance my overall experience at Ohio State and improve myself most as a person throughout my time in college, I have decided to lay out the following goals for myself for the next three years. Each of these goals fits one of the 5 pillars of Honors and Scholars at OSU.
- Global Awareness: My goal is to find time to study abroad or go on a Buck-i-Serv trip. This will help me increase my knowledge of the world and therefore better me as a person.
- Original Inquiry: My goal is to take as many difficult classes as I can for my electives- not simply take the easiest option available. Taking more difficult classes that will challenge me academically will increase my overall knowledge and challenge me to be my best.
- Academic Enrichment: I will join academic clubs in order to increase my knowledge about many subjects, as well as deepen my current knowledge.
- Leadership Development: I will attempt to take more leadership positions in my scholars community, the Mount Leadership Society Scholars.
- Service Engagement: I will do service for the community by taking a service learning course next semester and completing 75 service hours throughout my next academic year.
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During the fall of 2017, my best friend Wendy, an international student from China, invited me to come home with her over the summer to see the sights and experience the culture of China. We saw many unforgettable sights during our twelve days there, but probably the most breathtaking was the Great Wall of China. It was beautiful and possibly one of the greatest experiences of my life to be able to experience such an important part of world history.
We visited many different cities in the eastern region of China, beginning in Shanghai, then visiting Hangzhou, which was beautiful, especially the historic and scenic Westlake area. The picture shown below is a view of one of the gardens surrounding the Westlake.
We then continued on to my friend’s home in Yiwu, where we met her family and celebrated a traditional Chinese holiday with them. Next, we travelled to Beijing, where we saw the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square (security was very reluctant to let us Americans inside).
Our next stop was Xian, where we got the opportunity to see the famous terra-cotta warriors, a very interesting experience.
Overall, the experience provided me with a new understanding of the world and allowed me to experience one of the oldest cultures still in existence today. It was also eye opening to see firsthand the things you hear about often in the news- censorship, high beauty standards, and of course the colossal traffic jams. Overall, my trip to China was a great experience and it really showed me the true scope of the world as a whole.