First Year Spring Project Conclusion

As the semester comes to a close, so does our First Year Project. As a refresher, I sought to learn a new song on guitar. Specifically, I wanted to learn how to play River Flows in You by Yiruma. This is one of many songs that were originally played on the piano, but adapted into guitar tablature by various artists. Although I have been playing guitar for nearly six years, one of the techniques I have never focused on is called fingerpicking, the main technique used to play this song. Going in, I knew that this was going to be a challenge, and I was right!

The first trouble I had was time management and motivation. Even before this project began, I found it hard to practice guitar while also keeping up with schoolwork. That held true after this project began as well. If I could go back to the beginning of the semester, I would focus on scheduling my time out more. As seen in the hour log, practice time mostly happened at the start of the project and the end of the project. If the practice time had been more spread out over the semester, the outcome would have been much better. Despite this, I still was able to learn the song in its entirety. Given a more structured schedule, the performance would have been more accurate. The other main challenge was learning how to fingerpick in general. Every time I learn a new guitar technique, no matter which, it takes me a good amount of time to perfect it. Fingerpicking, and playing the acoustic guitar in general, is no different. Even at the end, there is certainly room for improvement. Regardless, here is the final result!

Below, as I said before, is the log of my practice hours. I noted in the document that I spent more time practicing than stated in the log. In casual practicing, I spent a nominal amount of time working on the song. Despite the result not being perfect, I am still happy with how this project turned out. I believe this project has certainly prepared me for my capstone next year, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it next spring!

First Year Spring Project Hour Log

Spring Project – Introduction

I have spent nearly six years practicing the guitar. To start, I mostly focused my attention on genres of music such as classic rock, learning songs by artists like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and more. Over the years my taste in music has changed drastically, and with it, the music I learned to play on the guitar. More recently, although I don’t listen to it frequently, I have become fascinated with classical music. Classical music has never interested me in the past, as I fell into the nearly universal opinion that it is “boring”. However, while studying one night, I decided to give it a try and I was blown away. As I listened to the older classical works such as Bach and Mozart, I discovered a whole world of new music I have never heard before. Not surprisingly, this string of classical listening led me to my next obsession – the piano. Specifically, I started listening to artists like Korean pianist Yiruma and Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi. Here is a song I really enjoyed by Einaudi:

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a piano to learn these songs so I had to improvise. Turns out, guitarists everywhere have adapted songs like these into guitar tablature. This is when I ran into another problem. These songs are not easy to learn to play. The note structure in songs like these is very complex, leaving the songs only to be learned by guitar experts. I was extremely discouraged. Luckily, I see this 10-hour project as a great opportunity to take up this challenge again. My goal is to learn one of my favorite songs of all time on guitar – River Flows in You by Yiruma. I think that this goal is achievable because I have tried to learn this song in the past, giving me an edge on this challenge. I think that I will find that I will struggle most with the fingerstyle techniques that this song utilizes. Like many songs like it, River Flows in You follows a unique time signature along with inconsistent note patterns. This means that I will certainly have to buckle down and focus on the immense task at hand. I will use written tablature along with various YouTube tutorials to help me achieve this goal. The final product should look something like the video below. This rendition was done by an amazing guitarist on YouTube named James Bartholomew.

Wish me luck!

Diversity Post

I recently attended the event hosted by the Multicultural Center through STEM Scholars. This event was focused on learning about and identifying things like identity, privilege, and oppression. This wasn’t the first diversity & inclusion event I have attended during my time on campus. In my major’s survey class, we had the same person come speak to us about the same information. Both of these presentations were very insightful and really got me thinking about the topics we went over. I also attended a First-Year Success Series that focused on diversity & inclusion that covered a lot of the same information as well. All of these events have made me think about a lot of things differently, and I am certainly glad I have had the opportunity to attend all of them.

I will admit that I was a little unsure about what I was getting into before attending these events. I wasn’t sure what kind of information we would go over, if I was informed enough, or if I would understand what we talked about. I think that I felt this way because I had never been to an event like this before, so it was a completely foreign experience for me. Once we got into the talks themselves, I immediately became more comfortable. The people who spoke were both very respectful of the information and clearly knew what they were talking about. Something I really liked was how they talked about the information in a way that everyone could understand. They defined words that most people may not know about and encouraged us to ask questions if anything came up. The talks themselves were also very comfortable. There were opportunities to talk with the people around us, along with the group as a whole. This kind of participation makes the whole experience even more engaging and memorable. People were given the chance to share experiences about the things we were talking about which, again, made it more than just listening to a person ramble for an hour. In short, my worries were for nothing because I found these events extremely insightful. I think that I learned a lot about the world, the people around me, and most importantly myself.

As far as diversity & inclusion goes, I think that OSU is doing a great job at spreading the word. Encouraging things like these workshops show how much the university truly cares about it. Of course, in my opinion, there is never enough when it comes to these kinds of things, so pushing the diversity & inclusion efforts another step further couldn’t hurt! Overall, I think that these events were really beneficial to me. It challenged the way that I think about myself, something that I think is really hard for most people. I will say that the other diversity & inclusion event I attended got a lot deeper into the information than the STEM hosted one did, but they both had a great impact on myself, and I’m sure others around me. I would certainly recommend people to attend at least one of these events throughout their time here at OSU!

Campus Seminar Post

This week, we were required to attend a campus seminar in the STEM field. This task was fairly intimidating being a first-year who hasn’t even declared their major yet. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to understand everything the speaker said, or what kind of seminar I would even find interesting. Luckily there were many seminars to choose from and I ended up going to one hosted by OSU’s Chemistry Department titled, “Scalable Multifunctional Nano-architectures for Energy Storage”. Because it was intimidating, I decided to go with one of my friends to make me more comfortable. I was a little nervous, but I was also excited to see how much of an advanced topic I would be able to comprehend.

The seminar wasn’t too far away so we got there with plenty of time before it started. There were more people than I had expected, and we were certainly the only undergraduates in the audience. Although we felt a little bit out of place, we weren’t leaving until we learned everything we could about scalable multifunctional nano-architectures for energy storage. The speaker, Debra Rolison, was introduced by a younger researcher who described her many feats. Among many other achievements including prestigious awards and honors, Rolison got her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently the head of the Advanced Electrochemical Materials section at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. She started off her talk in a very casual manner, speaking in a way that made us feel very comfortable about the information she was about to present. She also started off the presentation itself in a way that almost eased us into the more “research-heavy information”. This really helped me focus and stay attentive to the presentation.

The information that Rolison presented on was fairly advanced, and I won’t lie, I didn’t understand most of it. Despite this, I did understand the big-picture of the talk, and I did come away with more information than I came in with. The premise of the talk was developing a new type of battery to replace the dangerous lithium-ion batteries that can be found in cars, our cellphones, and many other devices. At the Naval Reseach Laboratory, Rolison and her team have changed the normal style of battery to make it more energy-efficient, cheaper, and safer. They have done this by developing a sponge-like material with pores inside. The anode material and the cathode material are formed into the pores in a way where the reaction has the most amount of contact points, making it much more effective than the standard. She also described the difference between many materials used to create batteries such as nickel, argon, lithium, silver, and the suggested material, zinc. Overall, it seems like Rolison’s team is on the path to successfully banning lithium-ion batteries for good.

I found the information that was presented very interesting. Although much of the theory and research behind the main points were unfamiliar to me, I was still able to get something out of this seminar. I think that I will also be attending more of these seminars in the near future. As undergraduates, it seems productive to involve ourselves in things that are more advanced such as these seminars. There are always new things to learn, and new connections to be made.

Campus Resource Post

Initially, I did not know what I wanted to visit for the Campus Resource Post. But at the beginning of the semester, I injured my shoulder and I saw a perfect excuse to visit one of OSU’s campus resources, the Wilce Student Health Center. I was very nervous about visiting the Wilce at first. I did not know how to schedule an appointment, what I would do when I got there, or who I was supposed to talk to. Luckily, the Wilce Student Health Center website walked me through every step of the way. First, I had to set up my Student Health Services account and submit the required documentation. After that, I was ready to schedule an appointment. Even the appointment-making process was easy to do. The website narrowed down my symptoms to a specific doctor that I should see for my specific injury. After viewing his availability, I booked my appointment with the doctor.

I managed to get into the Wilce fairly quickly, all things considered. I scheduled my appointment on a Thursday and got in to see the doctor on the following Monday. That was hardly a wait at all. My hope for this appointment was to learn about my injury and have a specialist recommend what I should do to help heal it. And that’s exactly what I got during my visit. The receptionist was very friendly when I walked in and she guided me exactly where I needed to go. After waiting for a short time, I got to see the doctor. He too was very friendly, and he informed me that although my injury was not as serious as it could have been, I should seek physical therapy to make sure I do not reinjure it. Following the appointment, I was able to schedule two weeks of physical therapy for my shoulder. Just like the other times, scheduling these appointments was just as easy to do with the help of the Wilce’s employees.

Just this week I have finished my last week of physical therapy at the Wilce Student Health Center. I can honestly say that the experience was better than I could have ever expected. Twice a week, for four weeks, I visited the Wilce to see my physical therapist, Andrew. Andrew was very helpful and friendly, helping my shoulder not only during the sessions, but also outside of the sessions by giving me at-home exercises to do. I have been to physical therapy in my hometown before, and I can truthfully say that this was as helpful as any other I have been to. I am far into recovery for my shoulder and I am still getting better every day. This is what I love about Ohio State. I honestly do not think that OSU is lacking in any campus resources. The fact that I can just walk outside and get the exact help I needed is incredible. I feel comfortable knowing that if I need anything, be it mental health care, campus safety resources, escort services, or more, I will not have to look far at all.

Student Organization Post

One of the things I was most excited about when I chose Ohio State was joining student organizations. There were so many options to choose from, I didn’t even know where to start. After the Mini Involvement Fair, I found a lot of student organizations that sounded interesting. Among these were Engineers Without Borders, Big Data Analytics, and the group I will talk about in this post, STEM Outreach. STEM Outreach sounded interesting for multiple reasons. First, it was a group that I had heard of before. Many of the 2nd year STEM Scholars I have met are either members or have tried out STEM Outreach. I had only heard good things about it. The second reason was because of what the organization does. STEM Outreach describes their purpose as, “to inspire K12 students to go into engineering or to be interested in STEM concepts, by teaching students how to build inexpensive science projects and the scientific backing for how they work” (from their organization page). I loved the idea of combining the STEM field with service, especially when it comes to helping kids. I remember loving all the STEM-like projects in grade school and I really liked the idea of helping other kids learn to love them as well.

It turned out that STEM Outreach was actually having a meeting the same night as the Mini Involvement Fair. A group of friends and I decided that we would go and check it out. This was good because I was way less nervous having a group of people to go with. When we got there, we were welcomed in and offered pizza. There were a good amount of people there but there were still seats for us. After a short presentation and icebreakers, were free to start on the project. We were tasked with building a small circuit that made a wire jump off a screw. During this time, we all got to know each other and bonded over the project. And the student leaders were super nice and helpful throughout the meeting. Overall, the meeting was a success. The best part was that we got to keep the projects we made! These are the projects we made at the last two meetings. The second one is the circuit mentioned above, and the first one is a flashlight that week made at the second meeting.

The first week or so, I found it difficult to find organizations I had interest in. For one, I have really late classes this semester, and many meetings take place during my physics lectures. After the Mini Involvement Fair, however, I found a few organizations that I didn’t know about that I would be interested in. STEM Outreach turned out to be a great choice. It will also be easy to fit this organization into my schedule. Meetings are bi-weekly on Wednesdays which works well and the events happen frequently enough that I can fit those in too. I think that being a member of this organization will be good for me in many ways. Obviously, I will be meeting new people and have something to occupy my time, but I will also be helping people while doing it.

Academic Resource Post

Today, I visited the Dennis Learning Center for academic coaching. Truthfully, I have never utilized a resource like this before. I have always been under the impression that tutoring and coaching weren’t for me, and I was thinking this could be a good experience. I think that there is certainly a stigma that comes with this kind of thing. Apart from myself, I believe that many people share this arbitrary feeling with me, that asking for help is a sign of weakness. I think that this partially comes from the experience we have had in high school where students are scared to ask questions because they will be perceived as stupid by their peers. I too was under this impression during high school and I am ready for a change. Needless to say, I was excited to see what this service had to offer.

I met with Sarah Hairgrove at the Dennis Learning Center’s north campus branch in Busch House. I was welcomed into the one-on-one setting and we got our meeting started pretty quickly. The first order of business was to decide what kinds of help I was interested in. After talking about it for a few minutes, we decided to talk about procrastination and study habits. Sarah was able to offer me some tips on how to combat this nasty habit. She suggested I start dividing my time and begin assignments (even just a little bit) right when they are assigned. For dividing time, Sarah said that splitting up large tasks into smaller deadlines worked for a lot of people. For example, if I had a 10-page paper due in a week, I shouldn’t say that I have a 10 page paper due on 9/18, I should say I have a 3-page paper due on 9/13, 9/15 and 9/17. This should help split up a scary deadline into more manageable parts. The second thing she suggested was to start assignments early. She suggested that if I have an exam a week from today, I should look at the first topic right after class. From my own experience, I can attest to the effectiveness of this tip. When I had a book to read earlier this semester, it took me a long time to pick it up for the first time. However, when I finally started to read the first few pages, it got easier and easier to read from then on. I think that these tips are really going to help me this semester, and during the rest of my time at OSU!

I noticed a lot of things during this visit. First, Sarah was very good at guiding me through the coaching process. It wasn’t just a lecture, it was more of a conversation between her and me. This was a great way of learning the tips and examples she was giving me. This also gave me a glimpse into the world of being a tutor/academic coach. I think that I might want to pursue a position like this in the future. Overall, this was a great experience for me and I will definitely be returning soon!

Year in Review

As Freshman year comes to a close, I can see distinctly the person I was coming into Ohio State, and the person I am now. I feel that this year I have grown a lot and learned more about who I am as a person. My time at Ohio State has been an amazing experience so far for me. I have met so many amazing people, experienced so many new things, and learned more than I could have imagined in a year. Even though my first semester was cut short this year, I know that I will only cherish my time in Columbus even more in the semesters to come.

Truthfully, college is a lot different than I thought it would be. I was worried about making friends, about the difficult professors, and about being away from home. But only after a week at OSU, I knew that it was my home. First, meeting people was easier than I thought. One of the greatest perks of living on a large campus is all the people you can meet. Second, although the classes were a challenge for sure, the professors assured us that they were aware that the transition from high school to college was difficult. They offered their support, and time to help each and every one of us with the process. I won’t lie, it was really hard for me at first to learn how to properly study. Not to make it sound like I am a genius, but I didn’t have to try very hard throughout high school, so adapting to the college workload was difficult. OSU is ready for students to feel this way. For example, in my CSE survey class, our advisor walked us through the entire college process; from applying to the major, all the way to graduation. This made me feel secure, knowing that Ohio State is prepared for me. Finally, I was worried about missing home. Honestly, the first few weeks were rough, as I hadn’t spent more than a week away from my family ever. Luckily there was always Facetime to keep us in touch despite the distance.

As I stated before, our second semester was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In fact, as of writing this post, nobody is even sure if we will make it back for the fall semester. I was certainly bummed out that I wouldn’t be going back after spring break, but I feel like I have learned a few things from this. First, I learned a lot about motivation and dedication to my studies. After classes switched to online, it was difficult to find the motivation to work on assignments without being at school (and being in quarantine!). I had to learn to structure my time efficiently to make sure I got all my work done on time. This took some time to adjust to, but overall, I think I have grown a lot because of it. And finally, as I said before, I have learned to cherish every moment I have. In the time I have left at school, I know I will be extremely grateful for every moment with my friends, every bite of food from Scott’s I take, and even every moment I used to dread in the lecture halls. I can’t wait to be back!