Summer Sixteen

Drake loves the change of pace “Summer Sixteen” brings!

I know that we are all getting excited for spring break (2 more days, we can do it!); trust me, the sunshine and sand are calling my name right now. In addition to lounging on the beach, I also want to finalize my summer plans over break. I know summer may seem so far away, but it’s really not–it’s less than two months away. It’s time to start planning now, whether you are heading back to your hometown to spend some quality time with your family or to work a summer job, or studying abroad or traveling, or if you are staying in the great town of Columbus to take some summer classes, do research, or work.

If you are looking for summer employment, make sure you start searching early and send those job applications in. You can search for opportunities through Ohio State’s student employment site.

If you want to spend your summer engaged in research, reach out to a professor who is performing research in an area that interests you. Or, you can start your own research project! Information about funding for the summer and getting started in research is available through the Undergraduate Research Office.

If you want to have a Buck-I-SERV experience there are some summer trips happening, and the deadline to apply is Sunday, March 20 (the tail end of spring break).

Many people will be taking classes during the summer (I will be taking a few classes too!) and those classes make occur through another institution. I wanted to spend some time talking about how to make sure that you are taking classes that will transfer and steps to take to have a successful experience.

First things first, decide if you will be taking classes at Ohio State (either at the Columbus campus, a regional campus, or online) or at another institution.

If you are taking classes at Ohio State:

  • Check out the new Summer term 2016 structure. Things are changing and knowing the structure is crucial! The Registrar’s website also has some helpful information.
  • Go to Buckeye Link to schedule your classes; I’d recommend using the Schedule Planner feature to organize your classes.
  • Once you are registered for classes, the expectations are similar to what you’ve experienced in any other term, but be sure to pay attention to specific dates and deadlines that may apply just to summer term.

If you are taking classes at another institution:

  • I recommend starting at Transferology, which is a website that allows you to see how your credit will transfer to Ohio State. This way you will be sure that the class you are taking at your guest institution is an equivalent of an Ohio State course and will transfer.
  • If your course at your guest institution isn’t an exact match of an Ohio State course, you may still earn credit for it by having the course evaluated.
  • Make sure you are talking to your academic advisor; they are extremely knowledgeable on the entire process. The advising website also offers many helpful hints!
  • On the Buckeye Link home page under the “Enrollment and Academic History” heading is a link called “Transfer Credit Report” that will allow you run your report.

Drake knows it’s a bad idea to not think about your summer plans.

Regardless of how you are spending your summer, take some time to reflect on your first year of college and your Ohio State experience thus far. During my summer after my first year I made a list of things that I wanted to accomplish or experience during my time at Ohio State, kind of like my own Ohio State bucket list! Make sure you are planning ahead because summer will be here before you know it!

14 Interesting Classes to Take in Your Second Year (and Beyond!)

I want to tell you about my favorite day of class as an undergraduate student. Let’s flash back to autumn 2009 (my third year). I started my morning in the basement of Hughes Hall with my History of Rock ‘n’ Roll class. The lecture was on “Pop Music of the 1980s”—my favorite music genre. As expected, we spent the class period exploring the glory of one-hit wonders, synthesizers, and the first music video icons. And much to my satisfaction, we spent significant time learning about the pop icon, Michael Jackson. Not only did we observe the magic moves of MJ on the large projector screen, but we learned about the impact he had on music, dance, stardom, and race in America. We explored the meaning of the feuding characters in his Beat It video, the popularity of the 13-minute Thriller video (FYI, it was played on average twice per hour on MTV), and the historic event of revealing of his signature dance move—the Moonwalk.

I was fascinated to learn the true story behind one of my all-time favorite musical artists in a college academic course. I actually enjoyed learning in this class. I also gained a new perspective on a topic that impacts my daily life more than I realized. For instance…I finally learned how I’d answer the common conversation-starter, “What kind of music do you like?” with a response other than “Everything.” And I can hold my own in a debate over which decade produced the best music. I also have a new appreciation for music and pop culture because of my deeper understanding of its history.

And here’s the kicker: this class was in no way related to my majors or career interests. I took it for a general education (GE) requirement. That’s the beauty of GE classes and electives. By taking classes outside your major or career interests, you’ll become a more well-rounded and informed individual. In fact, in my list of favorite classes I took as an undergraduate, only three of my top ten would be courses within my major.

I hope you take advantage of the variety of GE and elective options at Ohio State. Take a class that sounds interesting or just because it sounds fun. You might discover a new interest, passion, or major/minor! If you don’t know how to find these “fun” classes, never fear. I polled my Facebook friends and Twitter followers (including recent alumni and current students) about their favorite undergraduate class at Ohio State. Here are some of their most interesting responses…

  1. ARTSSCI 4870:  The Ohio State University: Its History and Its World — An introduction to the past and present of Ohio State, its importance, its disciplines, the interrelations of the academic and other components of the institution, and the contributions over the years of Ohio State to the wider world.
  2. MEDREN 2666: Magic and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance — A study of the history of witchcraft and magic from 400 to 1700 C.E. within sociological, religious and intellectual contexts.
  3. COMPSTD 2367.07: Religious Diversity in America — Exploration of the concept of religious freedom and the position of minority religious groups in American society.
  4. EEOB 2250: Dynamics of Dinosaurs — A review of current information on dinosaur biology, emphasizing scientific approaches to reconstructing dinosaurs as living, dynamic animals.
  5. ECON 4830: Economics of Sports — Analysis of economic and business aspects of sports teams and their strategic interactions in sports markets.
  6. FDSCTE 1110: Chocolate Science — Introduction to science and business of chocolate. Students develop and market a chocolate product as part of a virtual company. Students taste commercial products.
  7. ITALIAN 2055: Mafia Movies — Examines Italian and American mafia movies made from 1905 to the present day and traces the history of the Italian and Italian American Mafias. Taught in English.
  8. DANCE 2181: Social Dance — Learn and practice forms of social/ballroom dance, including fox trot, tango, waltz, etc.
  9.  GEOG 3900: Global Climate Change: Causes and Consequences — Examines the natural and human factors that force changes in our climate and environment and explores strategies for a sustainable environment in the future.
  10. KNSFHP 1139.11: Rock Climbing — Basic rock climbing techniques, rope handling, and safety systems will be covered.
  11. ECON 4597.01: Issues of the Underground Economy — Focuses on the informal sector of the underground economy: illegal drugs, arms sales and human trafficking. Applies economic reasoning. Prereq: Jr standing and above.
  12. EARTHSC 1108: Gemstones — General introduction to gemstones, including the origin of gems, identification techniques, and the history of important gems. Precious metals are also discussed.
  13. GERMAN 3252: The Holocaust in German Literature and Film — Reading, analysis, and discussion of representative works pertaining to the Holocaust from the perspective of German literature and film. Taught in English.
  14. COMPSTD 2367.04: Science and Technology in American Culture — Role of science and technology in contemporary American society; their relationship to human values; sources of concern about their impact; evaluation of selected issues.


Stepping Up Language Learning

In high school, learning languages sounded like the coolest thing to me…until I actually got into my French class. I was given a textbook full of random vocabulary and tons of grammar points that I had to learn. We were quizzed on the information weekly and tests came every month. The classes themselves weren’t great in structure. The teacher would just go over the grammar and pick our minds to see if we learned the new 25 vocabulary words assigned this week. After everybody was on track, we moved on…on to more grammar and another set of 25 vocabulary words. Oh, and this also went on for the next 4 years that I took French…

The problem wasn’t with the grammar or the vocabulary. Those two are the basis for language learning and are extremely important. The problem was that we weren’t using them at all, and so, everything that I just learned was gone within the next two weeks.

Instead of actually interacting with us and engaging the students, high school foreign language teachers at my high school would just talk in the foreign language. The way they got students involved was a rule that stated students couldn’t speak English. Yet, teachers almost always had a magical question you could ask in the foreign language to use English:

May I speak in English? Is English okay?

And this phrase really wasn’t hard to find! Usually it was at the top of a common phrase sheet or directly on the syllabus. I will admit that this kind of question is good for starting off in a language, but for some reason, this was good enough for teachers during my 5th year of the language. High school language learning was just not good for me…at all.

When I stepped into my Korean class at OSU, however, it was like a whole different world. The first day of actual class involved us getting up to recite a dialogue with another person in another language that we had to memorize the day before…


This was more talking in two days than I did in my whole first year of French…so maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but man, did it feel like I had actually accomplished something.

The good thing about most Asian languages at Ohio State is that they are all structured in a way that gets you talking and interacting in a foreign language. You memorize conversations, recite them in class, and apply what you learned from them to different situations. Some days you go over the grammar and vocabulary, but most of that stuff is done at home. The times you do go over them in class is just to reinforce ideas and get any questions you may have had out of the way. Which is great.

I had already learned some Korean on my own before I took the class, and it put me at an advantage during the first semester. However, come second semester, people are already beginning to catch up and my lead is slowly shrinking. It was amazing to watch how quickly the course is moving, but it was even more exhilarating watching how quickly the other students were progressing. I am actually quite jealous…but I don’t let it show.

Although I cannot speak for the European languages, and any of the other languages for that matter, I got to watch a Spanish class everyday before my Korean class. As I sat there waiting, I realized the structure was somewhat similar. They didn’t have the conversations that we did (or maybe I just missed them), but the teacher got them involved. He made everyone repeat after him, asked questions and only allowed answers in Spanish, and set up scenarios for people to create dialogue. So simple, yet not what I experienced in high school.

Whether you are afraid of foreign languages, had a bad experience with them, or believe that they are useless in your life, try to give them a second chance. Ohio State offers more than 30 languages, so there’s bound to be one you find interesting. Just give it a shot and make yourself stand out! Nothing looks better to another person than knowing a second language. It shows you can appreciate another culture.

Personally, I recommend Korean :]