Ohio State University
BackgroundInterview Date:September 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: Asian American
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in the suburbs of Toledo, OH with a graduating class of about 300 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Accounting and Economics double major in the Fisher College of Business
Extracurricular Activities: University Ambassadors, we give tours of campus to prospective students; the Honors Cohort, which is a program in the business school; and the Chinese American Students’ Association (CASA) on campus.
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
All three have. Ambassadors was a really great opportunity to talk to students from all different backgrounds and be able to show them around a school that I really love. The Honors Cohort has been great for developing professionally in the business school and gave me a lot of opportunities to travel. CASA has been great for connecting me with other students who are from a similar background or ethnicity and has made me be able to share my culture with other students as well.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
We don’t have problem sets or labs because it’s all pretty much business work. I would say that I rarely have homework, it’s more like studying for midterms and quizzes. We very rarely get homework. It’s much more just group projects and studying.
Is there anything you feel your either of your majors’ departments do especially well or poorly?
I don’t think either of the departments do anything poorly, but I don’t think they do super well either. I think the business school as a whole does really well at setting up opportunities for students to find internship and job opportunities. Also, Fisher has done a really good job of [building up] their brand image and brand awareness. I feel like wherever you go people have heard of Ohio State and have heard of Fisher specifically. We have a lot of alumni from Fisher and being able to connect students with alumni and strengthen that community is something they’ve been doing really well.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s more collaborative in my experience. I’ve never run into an instance where people are at each other’s throats. When I was going out for internships I had friends who were going for the same exact opportunities as me, and if one of us didn’t get it they would still help the other prep for the next stage of the interview. I’ve never run into an instance where people wouldn’t help others because they were going for the same thing.
What has been your favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
I’m in Economic History of the Americas, which talks a lot about the history of the United States from an economic standpoint and why there’s an inequality gap and where that started, why slavery was more prominent in the South, and things like that. It’s like history but more in-depth and more related to my major.
What has been your least favorite class you’ve taken for your majors?
Financial Accounting just because the material is a lot and can be dry to learn. It’s more of a memorization class, which I don’t think is as interesting.
How accessible have your professors been?
Fairly accessible. If you are their student, it’s really easy to just go into their offices during office hours. If you don’t have a professor and want to get in contact with them it’s a little bit harder because, at least from my experience, I think professors are less willing to answer emails and meet up randomly if you don’t have a class with them.
Why did you choose your combination of majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I chose Accounting first because, at least in business, it’s really versatile which was important to me because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do going into college. Everybody in business needs at least a basic understanding of accounting. I picked up Economics because the two are pretty easy to intertwine and they’re both in the business school. Also, Economics is less stringent in terms of requirements and coursework than Accounting, and a lot of the Economics classes you’re required to take overlap with Accounting as well. It’s also something I find fairly interesting. I’m happy with my choice. If I could go back I would maybe pick up an additional minor in a field that is not necessarily related to business.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Taylor Tower with three other roommates.
Sophomore: Blackburn House with one roommate.
Junior & Senior: Off-campus apartment with one roommate.
What has been your favorite living situation?
Socially, maybe freshman year because everyone was new and you’re living with a lot of people on the floor as you which is nice because you get to see a lot of people each day. In terms of comfort level, probably junior and senior year because it’s nice to have your own apartment and own bedroom. Plus, I can have a car on campus.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Toledo to Columbus, OH?
It was a pretty seamless transition. Columbus is a lot bigger of a city, but they’re both in Ohio so I didn’t have to fly or anything. I’m still in-state, so I didn’t feel a huge difference. I also think that at college you’re living on a campus, so you’re still very much in a bubble. It’s not like you’re living downtown. It wasn’t that hard for me, it just felt a lot bigger but because I was living in the dorms it wasn’t too overwhelming.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
The campus is pretty safe in my experience. We have a lot of safety procedures in place and security guards and stuff. I also like that it’s not like we have security guards walking around all the time. Even though there have been a couple of incidents in the last few years, every time something’s happened I’ve always felt pretty safe.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Brassica in the Short North. It’s a Mediterranean place that’s really good.
Pros and Cons of being in Columbus, OH?
Pros: (1) It’s a big city. It’s the 14th largest city in the USA. If you need job opportunities or social opportunities you can always find it here. There are always concerts coming through and other events.
(2) Even though it’s a big city it’s very clean.
(3) It’s small enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed. You can easily find your way across the city or take a 5-minute bus ride wherever you need to go.
Cons: (1) It’s in the Midwest, so it doesn’t have a lot of tourist attractions. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re living in a big city because it’s not a destination city.
(2) Not a lot of people move to Columbus, so it’s a lot of people from the Ohio region, which for me is a downside because I like being where there are people from different places.
(3) Public transportation. We have a good bus system but do not have a train system.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in?
I like to go out with friends. There are a lot of really nice bars and restaurants in the Short North area. Those are fun to explore once you turn 21.
What nights of the week do you like to go out? Are there certain things you like to do on certain nights?
Either Friday night or Saturday night. So, once a week I’ll go out with a couple of friends either around campus or downtown. When I was younger I would go to fraternity parties more, but now that I’m older I go to campus bars.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year? How did it differ from when you were older?
Freshman year was a lot more house parties and going to the 18+ bars, which are the more ratchet bars. Once I turned 21 it’s a lot more chill. We go out and get dinner and will go out after. We just bar hop and don’t drink a ton, it’s more like hanging out with friends. It’s a lot more relaxed now and it’s a fun time exploring the different bars downtown.
How happy are you with the nightlife options? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’ve been pretty happy with it. Obviously, you don’t have as many options as you would in a huge city, but the nice part about that is the drinks aren’t as expensive. Overall, I’m pretty happy with it and don’t think I would necessarily change anything.
What have been some of your favorite times at Ohio State?
Freshman year I did Buckeyethon, which is a 24-hour dance marathon that raises money for cancer research. I did that with a couple of friends from my floor freshman year and that was a lot of fun. Also, being a part of the Honors Cohort in Fisher has been a really great opportunity because it’s a class of 30 of us, we take business classes together, and we’ve been able to travel to Chicago and San Francisco together, and we’re traveling to Brazil in December. My faculty professor through that has been great and one of my favorite professors, so being able to spend time and get closer with him is great as well. Also, not to be a cop-out answer, but every day here is so great. I absolutely love coming here and have had such a great experience. Sometimes you might be a little stressed out and stuff, but, overall, with the conversations I’ve had with people, events I’ve gone to, and the different speakers that have come to Columbus, pretty much every day has been great here.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met some of my closest friends on my hall freshman year. I know that’s not the case for everyone, but I’m super lucky to have found my closest friends on my floor. I would also say through the student organizations I’ve joined. Even though Honors Cohort is a business class related organization, as well as [the Chinese American Students’ Association] and University Ambassadors, I’ve met a lot of my really close friends through that as well.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s really good. It caters to each individual because if you really enjoy going out every single night and being super social there’s a place for you here and there will be students who also enjoy those same things, but if you are quieter and like spending nights in with one other person or you value your alone time there’s also a place for you as well. One of the great things about going to a school as big as Ohio State is that there’s always someone who likes the same things as you, so if you’re not a super extroverted person that’s okay.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
My friend group is pretty diverse. I have a lot of Indian friends, Asian friends, White friends, and a couple of gay friends, but that’s not necessarily true for everyone at Ohio State. A lot of people have very homogenous friend groups where it’s all White or all straight people. Because I identify as a minority, a lot of my friends are diverse as well which is something I really value.
How was transitioning to such a big university? [There are about 47,000 undergraduates.]
It wasn’t that bad for me. I know that’s a huge fear that people have when they think about the size of Ohio State. My high school wasn’t super small, so the size wasn’t bad for me. Also, the more time you spend here the more you realize you tend to see the same people all the time. The bigger thing for me was the size of campus was hard to adjust to at first, but, in terms of the number of people, it was a pretty easy adjustment.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not necessarily because all the internships and jobs that I’ve had I’ve found on my own. The value that alumni network has I think is once you do find jobs or internships Buckeyes are really good about reaching out when you move to a new city so you have a friendly face everywhere you go.
What have you used the career office for? How helpful were they?
I used the career office my freshman year to find an internship and they were pretty helpful because I knew I really wanted to intern after freshman year to help me look for opportunities and most students don’t intern after freshman year. After that, I haven’t really used it because I want to go outside of Ohio and a lot of the jobs that our career office has are focused on Ohio-based companies. There are obviously exceptions, like investment banks in New York, but that is not really what I was looking for. I did a lot of cold applications and research on my own. Overall, I’d say they’re decently helpful.
Have you learned any computer programs through your coursework that will be helpful professionally?
We’re required to take a Computer Science & Engineering class through Fisher where we used a lot of Microsoft Excel and Access which is really helpful. That’s the only skill I’ve learned through coursework, but I’ve taken two C++ classes because at the time I was thinking about being a Computer Science minor.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Ohio State before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew how willing to help upperclassmen and professors are. I think everyone very genuinely wants you to succeed, and, as a freshman, I don’t think I took advantage of that enough. I wish I had known that it’s okay to randomly reach out to an upperclassman to ask them to sit down and get to know more about what they’re involved with and stuff like that. I don’t know anyone who has turned down a meeting or thought that it was weird that somebody asked.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that is worth checking out?
The city of Columbus because a lot of students who I’ve given tours to, especially out of state students, walk around campus and then leave. I think it’s very worthwhile to explore the city of Columbus and go down to the Short North and go downtown because you’re not going to be spending all of your time on campus. You want to make sure that you actually like the city and there are things in the city you really like as well. Columbus also has so much to offer and people from out of state may not realize that.
Reasons to attend Ohio State:
1) For in-state students it’s really cheap. It’s important to be mindful about how much you’re paying for college. For the quality of education you receive and the price you pay it’s very worthwhile.
2) Because it’s a big school if you want to go out all the time and find really extroverted friends you’re going to find them. On the flip side, if you like to stay in and have a baking night with your roommate that’s super easy to do as well. You’re always going to find people in your community no matter what kind of a person you are here.
3) The alumni network is huge. There are almost half a million living alumni. No matter where you want to work, you’ll find Ohio State alumni that are willing to connect with you.
4) The location. The city is really big and there are always things happening, but it’s a very affordable city to live in.
Reasons to not attend Ohio State:
1) The location can be used as a downside in that it’s in the Midwest. If you want to be in a very attractive city, I don’t think Columbus is there yet.
2) While Ohio State has a growing alumni network and is moving up in the ranks, if you want to work at super elite companies, those companies don’t necessarily recruit from here.