Ohio State University
BackgroundInterview Date:October 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Public school in Pennsylvania with a graduating class of about 700 students. There was a strong culture of going to college
First Generation College Student: Yes
Majors: Security and Intelligence & Middle East Studies Double Major
Minors: Arabic and Leadership Studies Double Minor
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a university ambassador and tour guide. I am a Social Change ambassador and a Teach for America ambassador. I volunteer with the Department of Social Change and SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice).
Did any of your extracurricular activities have a particularly big impact on your experience?
The Department of Social Change was the first thing I got involved with and have met lots of people. It helps me volunteer a lot in the Columbus community, and has impacted the job I have accepted after college.
Can you describe the weekly coursework for your majors?
We have a lot of discussion posts and question. We do lots of readings, textbook work, and current events. They are very discussion-based classes about what is going on in the world. I also take a language, Arabic, which is a lot of practicing by yourself.
Is there anything you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
The course offerings can be difficult because I have an obscure major. I think they have trouble finding people to teach the classes and the times that are available may get canceled. I’ve taken classes with 3 people in it, but most are 20-25. The professors have real-life working experience which is great.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
My major is pretty collaborative. It’s not very competitive. At the university, I find that extracurricular are more competitive than school from what I see.
What has been your favorite class in your majors?
I’m currently taking a code-breaking class where we crack codes and nerf guns are a requirement for the course. We go around campus to find hidden objects from the codes we break.
What has been your least favorite class in your majors?
Arabic because it’s hard and learning a language is not fun.
How accessible have the professors in your department been?
They are very accessible because of the small classes. I’ve had the same professor multiple times and they always have office hours.
Why did you choose your majors? Are you happy with your choice?
I came in as a Pre-Med Neuroscience major but realized I hated science. I found out about my current majors and knew I wanted to do something related to international affairs and politics. I wanted to travel and picked them based on that. I’ve been very happy with my choice.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Jones Tower with no roommates
Sophomore-Senior: Off-campus house with 7 other people.
What has been your favorite living situation?
Definitely the one right now, in the big house close to campus. It’s only a 90-second walk.
How was transitioning from your hometown to Columbus, OH?
It was a little difficult because I didn’t know anybody. I was the only one from my graduating class. I also lived by myself so it was a bit of a rough transition meeting people. Once I got involved on campus I felt like I was at home and met people with similar interest.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
Condado – Made to order taco place.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I really like to go to Polaris Mall, about a 15-20-minute drive.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s very safe, we have our own police department. We are also in a big city, so there is usually a decent among of crime but the university sends out alerts regarding this. I have not experienced anything myself and I walk with other people and keep an eye on my surroundings.
Pros and cons of being in Columbus, OH?
Pros: (1) We are the 14th largest city in the country so lots of events come to town
(2) We have a big foodie scene so there are lots of good restaurants
Cons: (1) Being in the state of Ohio.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Ohio State?
I go to bars and occasional parties. The main bars are Midway On High and the Short North bars.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Generally, Friday and Saturday.
What were some of your favorite times at Ohio State?
One of my most memorable experiences has been volunteering at a donation event. They invited all the donors to campus and I got to talk to them about their experience. At the end of the night we joined under a tent to sing the alma mater. I looked to my side and saw Archie Griffin, an Ohio State football legend. So that was pretty cool peak Ohio State moment.
What is an alternative to going to a party that you like for a night out?
We have a ton of different student organizations events on Friday and Saturdays. The RAs put on events, there are festivals, museums, and restaurants to go and eat at.
How happy are you with your nightlife options at Ohio State? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I am very happy with it. Pretty much everyone can get into a bar [because there are 18+ bars], which makes the drinking culture safer compared to parties.
How did you meet your closest friends?
Some people I decided to live with randomly. Also, people I’ve been involved with in organizations and jobs.
How did being a first-generation college student affect your social transition?
Not a ton. I don’t come from a low-income family so the financial aspect hasn’t affected me. All of my friends went to college so it was a pretty natural transition. I benefited from a really good public education.
To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
When it comes to campus involvement I’d say people mix a lot, but when it comes to social nightlife I’d say not as much.
How would you describe the social scene?
We are a big university so people decide what they want to do. If you are in Greek Life, that may be everything to you. I am not so I don’t go to their parties. There are a lot of ways to get involved in over 1,400 student organizations to meet people.
How would you describe the student body?
We are relatively diverse but a predominately white institution. I’ve met lots of people from diverse backgrounds which has been unique and eye-opening. As a whole, we get lots of transfer students. [About 21% of undergraduates are minorities.]
Do you think people are happy with their choice of Ohio State by senior year?
Yeah, I think there is a lot of pride in being an Ohio State student.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I’m going to be involved with Teach for America after I graduate so I reached out to people I knew who had followed the same path. I have not utilized it a ton, but I could tap into it in the future.
How useful has the career office been?
I’ve used my advisor more than the career office. I have had my job offer march of my junior year so I haven’t been doing interviews and knew what I wanted to do.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful for you professionally?
I’ve become proficient in Microsoft office and I learned how to use R in a data analytics class.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Ohio State before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew the majors they offered. I think I was very set on being a doctor because I didn’t even know my current major was available. Majors can have up to 10 subsets.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Just walk around campus, you could go to the top floor of the library or check out the new residence halls. These are things we don’t get to see on tours, like go into the football stadium. I’d drive up and down High Street, which is our main street off campus.
Reasons to attend Ohio State:
1) School spirit and the sense of pride that comes with Ohio State Football and sports.
2) Being located in the city of Columbus has lots of social and professional opportunities.
3) It has any resource or opportunity you are looking for. It’s a large public research institution.
Reasons to not attend Ohio State:
1) Sometimes I wish I went to a better school academically. It’s getting better, but I could’ve gone to a bigger name school.
2) It’s located in Ohio, so if you want nice weather this is not it.