Artifact 4

This picture comes from the Mount Pinning ceremony where our “mini’s” receive their Mount pin and are officially inducted into the Mount Scholars Program.  I am pictured here admiring my mini’s interesting choice of shoes to go with his dress clothes.  Being a mega has been a really neat experience for me as I’ve helped Joey make this transition to college.  While I had a mega of my own last year, we did not have the same type of relationship that Joey and I have formed.  Joey is in one of my classes with me and we’ve been able to work on projects together.  I also took Joey on his first COTA ride which seems insignificant but I had no one to do that for me last year.  Joey and I have also enjoyed nights playing Wii Golf or watching the Buckeye football games with my roommates.  It has been cool to watch him transition to campus and find clubs and other things that have really worked for him.  It’s been a pleasure to serve as a mega and I can’t wait to see what Joey does with the rest of his first year.

2018-2019 GOALS

Global Awareness-I wish to use my STEP money to either complete a study abroad or a Buck-I-Serve trip to foreign country during the spring/summer of 2019.  I want to spend time fully immersed in a different culture where I get to engage with the locals and learn about what not only makes us different, but very similar.  I am currently applying to various global opportunities now.

Original Inquiry-As I advance further in my Public Affairs major I hope to take classes that challenge me to examine the effectiveness of Nonprofit Organizations and what strategies they employ to most effectively serve the people around them.

Academic Enrichment-I believe that my major and two minors will make me a very well rounded student.  Adding a Business minor, a Professional Writing minor, and a specialization in Nonprofit management to my Public Affairs major will challenge me in many different ways and give me a large set of skills to use to make an impact on society.

Leadership Development-Being a part of Mount Scholars has given me a unique opportunity to develop my my leadership abilities in my second year.  I get to assist many first years as they adjust to life at college. I am learning very intentional leadership as well as how to bring together people who have very different backgrounds and life experiences.

Service Engagement-My scholars program requires me to complete 75 hours of service during this school year.  I am choosing to complete my service hours by assisting with youth ministry at St. Christopher’s church in Grandview.

Artifact 3

I want to use my third artifact to talk about one of the best experiences that I’ve had thus far at Ohio State.  I had the opportunity to participate in Buckeyethon, Ohio State’s annual dance marathon for the kids at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  I originally joined because many of my friends were participating, but I very quickly saw the meaning behind what we were doing.  As I watched all the Buckeyethon kids smile and dance all night-kids who have undergone extensive cancer treatments and painful surgeries-my heart was filled with joy for them.  I was originally fearful of having to stay awake and on my feet from 7pm until 7am but the time passed so fast and I realized that what I was doing was for such a great cause.  I am so proud of my fellow Buckeyes for raising over $1.6 million dollars for the kids, and I cannot wait to participate in Buckeyethon next year.

Artifact 2

The above picture was taken right before our team’s intramural Broomball game.  Broomball combines elements of soccer and hockey and is played on ice for a slippery and fun time.  I had no experience playing Broomball in the past, and was excited to try a new sport.  My team made it to the quarterfinals of the playoffs, and even though we did not win it all, had a successful season learning how to play and bonding as a team.  However, the reason I chose the above picture was not to talk about our Broomball successes and failures, but to talk about the people represented.  Both teams in that picture were comprised of first-year Mount Scholars.  The Mount Leadership Society was founded about 20 years ago to honor the legacy of Ruth Weimar Mount and the students accepted into the program demonstrated leadership qualities and a willingness to serve others.  Some things that I have been involved with since joining Mount include making ceramic bowls to sell to help a food bank in Columbus, helping a local community put on a large Halloween jamboree, and my personal favorite, helping run a wheelchair basketball tournament for paralyzed veterans.

My favorite element of being in Mount aside from the service aspect, is getting to live in a community with my fellow Mount scholars.  These are some of the most driven, goal-orientated, and focused people I have ever met and we all push each other to our limits in order that we may become as successful as possible.  Beyond that, I enjoy living with them because everyone shares similar values and ideals.  These people, in just a few short months, have become some of my best and closest friends.  As seen above, we can all be competitive and have fun at times, and at other times support and comfort one another.  I wrote in my first artifact about the Buckeye community at-large.  While I still feel the same about the large community, having a much smaller group of people (Mount is only about 110 people) with similar values and goals keeps me focused and pushes me to be successful both inside the classroom and outside.

Year in Review

I moved into Ohio State in August.  I knew four people from my high school, but I would only call one a true “friend,” the others I just knew because I had classes with them.  I had no idea what my major was going to be.  I knew I hated science, but aside from that I really had no direction.  Everything was scary for me, I had a pit in my stomach before move-in-day.

It is now January when I am writing this, and, everything has changed for me.  In one semester, Ohio State has revealed so much to me about where my passions lie, what qualities I value in friendships, and most importantly in just five months it has solidified my identity and beliefs.  Thanks to the support of my new friends, my advisors, and my parents, my first semester at Ohio State has been my most transformative.

First off, the people of Mount Leadership Society Scholars Program have been some of the most encouraging and supportive groups of people I know.  In one semester with Mount, we participated on a multi-day retreat, completed a class strengthening our leadership skills, and volunteered monthly in the Columbus community.  I have been able to surround myself with people that have very similar values and goals, and they challenge me to be the best, most authentic version of myself.  The independence of college was scary but being able to live with the people of Mount has kept me both accountable for my actions and helped me learn to live on my own.  Currently, I am helping to plan two large service event projects dealing with the theme of abuse.

Secondly, I have learned more about myself as a student in the past few months than I ever had.  My high school did a good job preparing me for the rigors of college, but the first round of midterms challenged me because of how much material I needed to remember.  I just remember feeling so overwhelmed and disorganized by the vast number of notes and textbook pages I had to read.  That was a wake-up call for me, and while I performed okay on the tests, I strove to be better prepared and do better.  I improved my next midterm scores by 10%, and my grades on finals surpassed my expectations.  By developing my time-management strategies, learning to use my resources (like free tutoring and office hours), and improving my organizational skills, I was able to finish my first semester with a 3.72 GPA.

Thirdly, I discovered my major.  Even though advisors, peers, and my parents were telling me not to worry about not having a major, the thought still plagued me every day leading up to college.  My favorite class from the first semester was English 3372, a class on Science-Fiction literature taught by Professor Brian McHale.  I remember being the youngest student in the class and was really challenged by the material.  However, I loved what I was learning, and it was that class that really solidified my passion for English.  I remember interviewing Professor McHale for a project for another class, and he made an English major sound so exciting and worth pursuing.  I knew right there that I wanted an English degree because it was learning that truly excited me.  I am now in two English classes and I love both of them.

English was not the only major that I discovered during the last semester.  I got accepted into the Undergraduate Student Government at Ohio State.  Through that, I participated in the Interns program which is more of a social club for first-year USG members to help them make friends and connections at Ohio State.  Some of my best memories from first semester are the Interns meetings where we learned about each other.  We shared our hopes and fears, our emotional highs and emotional lows and because of that share a bond that will not soon be broken.  Many of the other Interns would often share stories about their Public Affairs classes which piqued my interest.  I soon discovered that Public Affairs would help me take my passion for politics and learn how to institute real change.  I am now taking Public Affairs classes and am really enjoying learning about forms of leadership in the Public, Private, and Non-Profit sectors.

As my dad reminded me on the phone the other day, “all work and no play make Johnny a dull boy.”  Reflecting on my first semester, yes, I did work a lot.  But I also did my fair share of playing.  It has always been a dream of mine to attend Buckeye football games and I really enjoyed the sense of community and pride we all share on game day.  I’ll never forget waking up at three in the morning with my friends to go sit in the front for College Gameday (and because of my effort I got to high five Eddie George and be on National TV!).  I’ll also never forget rushing the field after our football team beat Penn State in what I am considering the greatest sporting event I will ever attend.  I also got involved with intramural Broomball.  I joined on a whim because my friends did but ended up having so much fun playing.  Our team made it to the quarter-finals of the playoffs and lost in double overtime, but the memories we made will last forever.

As I anticipate my next semester, I am excited at all the opportunities that lie before me.  I am very excited to be taking classes that I truly enjoy and am passionate about.  I am looking forward to all of the spring events for Mount and have joined a new club called the Sports in Society Initiative.  I am applying for internships for the summer and am thrilled that Ohio State has been able to open so many doors for me.  I think about the last line of the alma mater often.  It goes “time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship Ohio.”  I think that rings true for my experience here.  The friendships that I have made in the first semester will last throughout so many changes in my life, and that is priceless to me.


Dibella’s Subs-Managed a cash register and performed many tasks independent of a manager.  Learned how to complete responsibilities in a timely manner.

Rothfus Campaign Volunteer-Helped operate a phone bank and prepare necessary campaign materials for distribution.

Freedom House Reentry Education and Employment Corporation-Learned how to independently research and enter data into a database


For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of The Ohio State University.  My friends never really understood why I had such a passion for Ohio State.  I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and neither of my parents attended the University.  However, that love for the University, and the Buckeye culture is what drew me to attend The Ohio State University.  The picture above is from my first game in The Shoe as a Buckeye, and even though we lost the game, I for the first time felt like a Buckeye.  Being around passionate and crazy fans like me reminded me of why I came to the University in the first place.

Looking back at my first month at school, that picture means more to me now than it did at the time it was taken.  From left to right in that picture is my friends Annika, Charlie, myself, Jeff, and Timothy.  On August 16th, I did not know any of these people.  However, through my scholars program and the fact that they all live on the same floor as me, I have formed very close relationships with all of these people.  Annika and I bonded over our love for hockey.  Me and Charlie connected over the fact we went to similar high schools.  Jeff and Tim flank my room on either side and I see them every day.  But these friendships are more than just surface-level acquaintances.  Slowly we are learning about each other, our strengths and weaknesses, our hopes and fears.  But beyond that, we are supporting each other and really challenging each other to become the best versions of ourselves both inside the classroom and in the real world.

To me, that is what being a Buckeye is about.  The community I am surrounded with here at The Ohio State University is one of the most supportive I have ever been a part of.  Coming from a tightly-knit friend group in high school, I was scared to adjust to college life. However, getting to know friends like the ones I mentioned above has helped me ease into the challenges of college life.  They made sure I was focused during Midterm week so that I could perform at my highest level and they hold me accountable to attending various club and Mount scholars events.  My few short weeks in Columbus has taught me that “Being a Buckeye” is about more than screaming your head off on Saturday nights in the Shoe.  Being a Buckeye means supporting your fellow Buckeye no matter what, but also challenging them to become the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be.  I am incredibly excited to see what I can do with my time at The Ohio State University, and I know that I am surrounded with people who truly care about me.

About Me

My name is Adam Szalay and I am a first-year undergraduate student at Ohio State in the University Exploration program and the Mount Service and Leadership Scholars Society.  I recently graduated Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA where I was very involved with the campus ministry.  During my time in high school I helped start the Kairos retreat at my high school, organized food drives, and led various retreats for underclassmen.  I was also very involved with the youth ministry at my church where I participated in the annual mission trip to Mullens, WV, and I served on the CORE team for the middle school youth nights.  I hope to find similar activities and clubs at Ohio State that will allow me to continue to serve the community.