This seemingly insignificant packet of paper that I can’t seem to orient correctly represents a major shift in my college plans; the decision to change my majors from Criminology and Arabic to Criminology and Philosophy. These papers come from the appointment I had with my academic advisor today, where I officially withdrew from my Arabic class, even though it resulted in a “W” on my transcript.
On Monday, I decided to check out the Sociology and Criminology Club, which is a club to support those students in these majors (students like me). The Club brought in a Special Agent from the Ohio Attorney General, and the advice he gave to those in attendance changed my mindset. The Special Agent talked about how after my first entry-level job, no employer really cares what I majored in. He advised us to use our time in college to become a “Renaissance Man”, a person who can think critically, analyze logically, and write well rather than learn “hard” skills that we’ll forget in five years. The whole idea of becoming a “Renaissance Man” struck a chord in me and gave life to an idea that had been brewing in my head for a couple of months. Isn’t becoming a “Renaissance Man” the entire reason I should be in college in the first place? Isn’t this what all the federal agencies seek out in their hires? Aren’t these the skills that will significantly enrich my life, both in my career and outside of it?
After a few hours of turning these ideas over in my head, I realized that the Special Agent was completely spot-on. Arabic is a challenging language to learn, and if I truly want to achieve fluency I need to major in it. But, I’d rather become a “Renaissance Man”, and an entire subject is dedicated to imparting it’s students with these skills. That subject is my new second major.
G. Study abroad, whether that be for a summer or a semester. Studying in Jordan ideally, where I can practice MSA and the Levantine dialect
O. Excelling in the Methods in Criminology required course. Participating in research if time allows
A. Trying my hardest in all of my courses. Taking challenging courses even if it means not having a perfect transcript
L. Becoming the President of a student organization
S. Volunteering on a regular basis. Finding a cause I am passionate about by graduation
When I woke up this morning, I did not plan on attending this year’s Career and Internship Fair in the Ohio Union. In my eyes it was an event for seniors, certainly not for a first semester freshman like me, one who had never even begun to think about putting a resume together. But this morning included a PSL trip to the Ohio Supreme Court, and as I came back to campus already in a suit and with my afternoon open, I figured that I’d give it a shot. Overall I’m glad that I attended, and here are a few quick reflections about the nearly two hours I spent there:
1.) For the better part of the past year, my dream has been to work as a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. However, this afternoon I found myself at the booth for the Drug Enforcement Administration where the recruiter made a very convincing pitch. Both careers are very similar, but the focus for DEA Agents is a lot more narrow. I may never work a bank robbery or deal with white collar crime, but is that offset by the fact that I get to spend my life fighting against the drug cartels, who I view as the most despicable organizations in the world? What career can result in me making a more significant difference?
2.) I’ve started to come to the decision that this summer I don’t want to work as an ocean lifeguard as planned, but rather try and do something related to my education / career goals. This isn’t because I want a jumpstart on the rat-race, but rather that the two fields I am studying (Arabic and Criminology) really do fascinate and excite me, and I want to get started right away. If that’s an internship for the FBI, DEA, NSA, the Columbus Police Department, or something else entirely remains to be seen.
3.) When I talked to the NSA recruiter, she introduced me to a language immersion program at Middlebury College in Vermont over the summer. I would sign a pledge to not speak English for three months, instead opting to live and learn in full Arabic. Since every resource on the internet spouts that the best way to achieve fluency in a language is through immersion, wouldn’t this be an incredible step towards achieving that goal, as well as being an amazing experience? I’ll definitely do my research.
Ethan Weiland is a first year student at The Ohio State University, pursuing a dual major in Criminology and Arabic. In addition, he is a Politics, Society, and Law Scholar. After college, Ethan plans to join the military and then pursue his dream of becoming a Special Agent with the FBI.
Originally from New England, Ethan Weiland graduated from Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley, Massachusetts in the spring of 2017. He excelled academically in high school, finishing in the top 5% of his class with a 4.16 GPA. Outside of the classroom, Ethan was a three-sport varsity athlete (cross country, indoor track, outdoor track) and helped lead the cross country team to its first ever All State Meet during his senior year. While in high school, Ethan traveled abroad with the foreign language club twice and attended the prestigious Boys State program at the conclusion of his junior year.
In his free time, Ethan loves to read anything he can get his hands on, listen to alternative music, workout, and watch soccer.. He highly values toughness, discipline, and adventure.