Springtime in Athens

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 April 2017

After a sometimes seemingly endless couple of months of walking to class in the cold and having to find indoor activities for the weekend, springtime in Athens almost never fails to come around abruptly and it is always welcome! It always seems as if the weather is never going to break, and then all of a sudden, it will and the general ‘vibe’ on campus picks up so much. It is so nice to see people back on the greens throwing a frisbee or baseball on the way to class, or being able to study outside for a nice change of scenery.

In addition to just the weather being nicer, it opens up all the possibilities for recreation that haven’t been available since the Fall! This includes going to Stroud’s, which is a lake/park near campus and a great place to picnic, fish, or just relax during a break between classes or on the weekend.

Also, springtime is a great chance to hit any of the local popular hiking trails. It is always a good time to be able to get some friends together and take a hike and overlook all of Athens and the Ohio University Campus.

Lastly, maybe my favorite thing about springtime is the blossoming of the cherry trees along the Hocking River. For those of you who may not know, there is a very well-maintained bike path that stretches for 21 miles throughout Athens county, and a part of it runs right along campus and the Hocking River. This section is lined with dozens (if not hundreds) of cherry trees that bloom beautifully in the spring. It is my personal favorite part about spring—to just be able to take a casual stroll or bike ride along the bike path along the river with the trees in full bloom. Athens in the spring is just such an amazing place!

Learning the Importance of Scheduling

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 17 March 2017

Like many within Russ College, this point in the semester becomes a nightmare for me. Classes have reached the infamous point of final projects and final exams and final assignments for final projects as a prep for final exams. It’s exhausting, especially when you are as heavily involved on campus like I am. Outside of my classes and ambassador responsibilities, I am also Vice President of Epsilon Pi Tau, participating in an internship at the Innovation Center, a member of the Society of manufacturing Engineers, and involved with Cru on campus. In all of this, I have found there is one simple way to keep from drowning in the ocean of work and responsibilities. All you need is scheduling.

In learning communities they always describe how important scheduling is and plotting your time in spreadsheets. As a freshman, I laughed at this. At the time, I didn’t think there was any way I would need to actually plot my time block by block. I had made it through all of high school without ever touching a planner or spreadsheet. Now, 3 years later, it is the only way I can keep track of it all. Classes alone require me to do this. The day-to-day assignments are only further complicated by larger projects and team projects. This need, however, also extends into my other areas of life as well.

Everything from dates to family gatherings and organizational meetings are put into my spreadsheet and accompanying calendar. As the VP of Epsilon Pi Tau, this is especially important because I have to know when organization events are happening and who needs to be there. I also have a lifeline in the spreadsheet I have put together for my engineering design and rapid prototyping internship at the Innovation Center. It tracks my clients and the priority levels of their projects. It also has estimated deadlines and contains contact information for each individual, as well as what the next steps in the project are.

Now, after reading all of this, you may wonder what the point is. Why should you care about what I said? Well, I am here to tell you that scheduling has taken me from a place of chaos to peace. It now does not feel like a frenetic situation to keep track of what I have going on in the week. All I have to do is consult a couple simple spreadsheets and a calendar. And let me tell you, it makes college life about 1,000 times easier.

Home for Easter

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 16 April 2017

I went home this past weekend to visit my family in the great town of Toledo. I ended up with a very eventful trip, including going to the casino and the sprint car races.

My favorite part of the entire weekend was hands down seeing my dog! Roscoe is a 9-month old Aussie Doodle and he’s quite the thief! If you stop petting him for ten seconds, he will go find a sock or such to steal, then bring it to you for attention.

The casino was not the best trip in the world, to say the least. I did not go home with a million dollars in my pocket, but I did have fun! Isn’t that what casinos are there for?

Sprint car races are a weird hobby of me and my dad. When you go to these races, you usually bring home a pound of dirt because it sprays off the car’s tires into the bleachers, but this time was different. My dad wore a white t-shirt and it was still completely white when we left! We can thank the wind for that.

Overall, I had a blast going home this past weekend and seeing my family before the rush of finals!

Impact Movement Conference

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 12 April 2017

One of the student organizations I am involved with on campus outside of the Russ College of engineering is Cru. Cru is a Christian ministry that seeks to help college students grow in their relationship with Jesus.

Recently I traveled up to Kent State university with one of my friends who leads a bible study with me for a Cru conference. The purpose of this conference was to train future leaders who will lead with the Impact Movement.

Impact Movement at Kent State

The Impact Movement is a branch of Cru that seeks to reach African American students. This trip was both a time of equipping leaders with necessary tools for leadership and an opportunity to meet college students from different universities. There were students in attendance from Detroit Mercy, Toledo, Central Michigan, Miami Ohio, Ball State and Kent state (our host for the weekend) making a total of about 70 students. In between the training sessions we played games, danced, played cards, had a talent show and learned more about the other universities represented at the conference.

One thing that has been impactful for me since I’ve been in college has been student organizations that present opportunities to meet and network with students from other universities. I’ve learned so much over the past few years from students that I’ve met from other schools and this conference was no exception.

Wrapping Up Senior Year

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 April 2017

My final year at Ohio University has been the fastest year yet. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in freshman orientation stressing out about the next four years of my life. I missed my friends and family at home. Shortly after that, I developed my own family here in Athens and I am not ready to leave them.

Something I always tell the prospective students while I am taking them on tours is how fast college goes—especially at such a great school like Ohio University. I felt that it would be very difficult for me to find friends here at Ohio University as a freshman but the programs and organizations here make it near impossible to not find friends.

My final semester has been consumed of my senior capstone project in which my project team is working with Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center located in Zanesville, OH. We have been developing a database with them to help them with their documentation systems. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect ending to college, I love the work that we are doing for them and the client has been great to work with.

As I prepare to go into the “real world” when I move to Pittsburgh in June, I will take the knowledge, experiences, and relationships from Ohio University with me. I hope to develop the type of friendships and relationships in Pittsburgh that I have developed in Athens.

IEEE Student Activities Conference

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 10 April 2017

This past weekend, I went with The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to the annual Student Activities Conference (SAC) at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. It was honestly one of the best trips that I have ever gone on. Events like these are mostly for professional development, but for me it was so much more. It was a chance for me to get to know my fellow students and it was also a chance to get away from Athens for a little bit and explore a new city!

This year the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science fully supported us to represent Ohio University at SAC. There we got to attend seminars about various subjects, including ethics, leadership, and the Young Professionals Society.

We also got to meet students from other schools. We competed against them in a variety of events that tested our knowledge about physics, circuits and problem solving. We actually ended up winning third in the physics competition and got to bring home a trophy!

My favorite part of the trip, though, was getting to know my fellow members of IEEE. During the car ride and the stay in Glassboro, we got to bond in a way that we haven’t before. I think this was due, in part, to school still being a lingering thought in our regular socials and meetings. Since we were off campus and most of the weekend we were busy with the conference, we got to take a break from the stress.

I was very pleased to find out how welcoming and comfortable everyone was with each other. It made the bonding experience that much better. There were a lot of factors that went into what made this trip so successful, but I honestly think it was the group of people that went that made it one of my favorite weekends to date.

Life Decisions

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 March 2017

This semester I have been faced with making huge life decisions. As someone who is pretty indecisive in general, this has basically been a nightmare.

For the past 4 years of my life here at Ohio University, I have had a vision of what my life would look like when I graduated. This semester forced me to evaluate whether that vision still rings true to me. Making the choice between industry and graduate school has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I am a big believer in gut feelings, but in these past few months it sometimes felt like my gut was refusing to talk to me.

What helped me come to my final decision was the enormous support from everyone around me. I am the kind of person that wants to know absolutely every piece of available information before I am willing to make a final decision. This is not a particularly useful personality trait in situations where there are a lot of unknowns.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is that I think my situation probably resonates with a lot of incoming freshmen who might not know what the right path is for them. I have two things to say which might ease your worries.

First of all, I would like to say that I reached the decision to accept a job offer because of the unwavering support and patience of my academic advisor here at OU, Dr. Doug Goetz. His impact on my experience in the Russ College cannot be understated.

In these past few weeks, he has met with me every time I felt uncertain or wavered in my decision. He has answered emails, asked for input from his colleagues, and generally been the greatest ally I could have asked for at such a critical point in my life. Ohio University and the Russ College have put me into contact with some of the most incredible people in my life: people that were willing to fight for me and who were there for me during every step of my college experience.

That leads me to my second point: coming to Ohio University was the single best decision that I have ever made. It meant leaving my family behind and flying across the country to a place where I didn’t know a single other person. It also meant that I found a second home.

As I am preparing to leave Athens for my new job as a process design engineer at Kiewit Engineering Group Inc. in Kansas City, I am definitely sad to be closing this chapter of my life, but I also know that my experiences at Ohio University have prepared me to take on the challenges that this next chapter may present.

I wish the best of luck to anyone who might be making those big decisions in their life, and I hope that the experiences of myself and the other Ambassadors might be helpful in making that choice!