Tag Archives: hobbies

Learning the Guitar

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 1 December 2017

My family lives in a pretty centralized area, except for my aunt and uncle who happen to live in Texas. I very rarely get to see them, so where an opportunity arrives, I have to be sure to take it. Just to my luck, they took a trip back to Ohio to see the family before the holidays! I was able to go home for the weekend and have a great gathering with them.

The coolest part about this whole trip is that I recently just started learning guitar and my uncle is a wizard on the six string. I can play the basic chords and such, but when my uncle pulled out my guitar and started playing all sorts of songs, it was hard to be anything else but amazed!

I took in every second of being able to learn subtle movements or finger placements to make chords easier, and also, he was telling me some of the best ways to learn. He was also sharing to me about the guitars he has. I was just amazed at how talented he was and that I never knew this information about him, even when all of the times we have seen each other.

I am looking forward to being able to see him next time and hopefully impress him with getting better at the guitar.

A New-Found Passion

Gyasi Calhoun

Gyasi Calhoun,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 23 October 2017

As a computer science major, it is almost necessary, and expected to code outside of work and or school. I feel that as a computer science major, we have the ability to create whatever we want with the ease of opening a computer screen, and this can come as an advantage and disadvantage. However, I decided to step outside the norm, and try vlogging as my new hobby, and coding outside the classroom has taken a back seat.

The reason behind my new hobby, and passion is a one-time (and still kind of present) dream of being an actor. I also love talking, film production, and being an inspiration to someone out there looking for some inspiration, so I figured all these characteristics of what I enjoy fall under the YouTube-Vlogger-Life umbrella.

I’ve found that I really enjoy this form of art, and creativity. You never really know what you like and how passionate you are if at all about something until you try it for 30 days.

To be honest I didn’t really go into this new-found hobby with many expectations, and goals besides putting content out there for people to watch. However, I learned that vlogging takes a lot of work and time, but there is this amazing feeling of accomplishment I get whenever I upload a vlog, no matter how many people decide to view it or not.

What I’m trying to say is, no matter your major or job you have to do something in life that you would do for no money, and if no one else cared or liked it besides you.

Physics and Open Mic

Jordan Osman

Jordan Osman,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 22 October 2017

An interesting non-engineering class that I have decided to take this semester is physics. It has really taught me to view our world in a different perspective and I believe that perspective is really the best thing one can take from a class.

Moreover, it’s nice to take a class that offers a crash course in technical writing. Although you do go over it in in the engineering classes we
take here, you never really get the chance to actually test and make sure if you have good technical writing skills, and my physics class is a helpful check for that.

Away from classes, I do do weekly open mics with a group of kids, and that’s a lot of fun. Last week I played with my friend Elli at the front room coffee shop and it was packed. The crowd was great and it’s always nice to be able to show something you’ve spent a lot of time refining and tweaking. I plan on continuing to do that with my group of open-mic friends all over Athens.

I’m really looking forward to Dads Weekend because of all the dads we ended up meeting through athletic events here on campus. My roommates and I plan on having a Dads Weekend cookout and inviting all the dads. It should be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it.

Relaxing with Yoga

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 March 2017

One of my favorite hobbies is yoga. I have been practicing yoga since my junior year of high school and do not see myself quitting any time soon. I started going to yoga after I had many knee issues from running track in high school. I had to go to physical therapy for my injuries.

As a long term solution, my therapist recommended that I start stretching more often to relieve tension in my knees. After doing yoga for a month straight, I noticed a huge difference in my flexibility and my knee pain was gone! From then on, I have made it a point to stretch every day and do an actual yoga class at least once a week.

Yoga not only has many physical benefits, it has mental benefits as well. When I am overloaded with school work and start to stress out, yoga always helps me calm down. The main thing I love about it is that it can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. No matter what the difficulty, I always feel rejuvenated after.

My favorite type of yoga is Vinyasa, which means “to flow”. It is a series of movements that flow together. I particularly like power vinyasa, especially when the room is hot. Hot yoga helps increase flexibility since it warms the muscles. At first, I thought I would not like being stuck in a hot room doing hard yoga poses, but it is actually incredible. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you want a good workout. I also love gentle yoga. This type is great if I need to destress and get a good stretch in.

Finally, yoga is meant for any age group and is a great go-to work out when traveling. Adding this in even once a week can make a huge impact on balancing out stress levels.

Making Computer Science a Hobby

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 March 2017

Admittedly, I’d always had interest in tech-related hobbies that one might consider cliché for a computer science major. These might include things like video games, installing a wide variety of free programs to perform obscure tasks like deleting file directories without access right to the directory, accidentally ruining my dad’s computer with freeware (sorry dad), and experimenting with my computer in any ways which I could.

However, up until my sophomore or junior year of college, I’d never really spent any times explicitly practicing computer science as a hobby. Sure, I’d been learning programming and basic algorithm design starting at my senior year of high school, but once class was over and my assignment was finished, I was off to other hobbies. This all changed as my knowledge and skill within the field grew.

Particularly, I started inquiring to professors and older students about machine learning. In layman’s terms, these are methods of problem solving for computers. After studying with a professor for a semester, I found myself finishing my homework and reading “Machine Learning: The Art and Science of Algorithms that Make Sense of Data” by Peter Flach outside of class to satisfy my curiosity. I didn’t make much of it at the time, but I was essentially taking a course on Machine Learning, for fun. From there, my interest in computer science only spilled further into my personal life.

The next step came when I took the Interactive Computer Graphics course here at Ohio University. I’d always liked video games, so learning to build graphics from scratch seemed like a natural choice for an enjoyable elective. Soon after the conclusion of the class, I found myself researching graphics APIs and implementing various graphics projects as a hobby. I’ve no plans to make a career out of computer graphics, but designing the algorithms and engineering the graphics projects from scratch has been a vastly enjoyable and occasionally challenging hobby.

While these were just 2 examples, I’ve found that my academic life and hobbies have become very closely intertwined. Hobbies in machine learning, computer graphics, reinforcement learning, parallel computing, and other topics in computer science are really enjoyable to explore in my free time; and now I’m able to appreciate how lucky I am to have grown so fond of my major. My advice to anyone would be to find a hobby in your field; it can make learning that much more exciting.

The Curse of the Fun Fact: How those Little Talents Save you Major Anxiety

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 7 September 2016

The thing I dread most about the start of a new school year is that horribly, horribly uncomfortable first session of class, or first meeting of a club, when you’re forced to go around in a circle and introduce yourself. You give the basics: name, year, major, focus…then you’re asked to name a fun fact about yourself. Or you’re made to tell what you did over summer. Or you’re asked some other get-to-know-you question that you’ll answer, and immediately move on from.

Any normal person without a fleck of anxiety understands that what you say in that moment doesn’t really matter. It’s not like the group is going to dwell on it for more than five minutes anyway, right? But to anyone with social anxiety—which is most of us nowadays—that moment is the single most torturous event of the next fifty-five minutes and can leave you grasping at words, trying to find something interesting about yourself to share.

I’ve taken to being brutally honest about myself now in my “Fun Fact” sections. I don’t really have hobbies, at least none that I really consider hobbies. Sure, I enjoy reading, but most days I’m too tired to read when I come home. Yes, I like to hike, but I get woozy in the heat so I avoid spending too much time outside in the warmer months. I could say that I have a slight online shopping addiction (okay, not so slight, but my mom could be reading this so I don’t want to admit how bad it really is), but who doesn’t in this day of AmazonStudent?

None of these are particularly pleasant options, as they would lead to a room full of bored, blank faces, and frankly I like to garner a reaction from people. So, I’m blunt. “Yeah, I don’t really have hobbies,” I’ll say. “But, I can walk in seven-inch heels on brick roads.”

Usually, this confession leads to a few stunned faces, maybe a few chuckles, and sometimes even a “Uh, why do you have seven-inch heels?” However, it’s true! The best way out of an uncomfortable Fun Fact situation is to just have a collection of small, odd talents. Whenever I need to think of a factoid on the spot, I have enough to choose from to avoid the anxiety-ridden moment altogether.

And, I’m able to tailor my responses to my crowd. The heels answer is probably impressive to a group of cyclists, but not so much to a room of actors. Maybe, “I can do The Wave with my eyebrows” (demonstration included) is a bit more interesting. Engineers may find “I can make my tongue disappear in my mouth!” more exciting and weird than “I can balance a broom vertically on my pinkie while walking up stairs.”

Really, the moral of this story is that when I got to college, I realized that all of my weird little talents that I had spent my childhood perfecting were actually useful for something: overcoming anxiety! Learn thyself, know thyself, and you shall never have a truly uncomfortable time in the Fun Fact moments of life.

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 7 February 2016

As I’m sitting in my apartment trying not to think of the cold outside, my mind wanders to summers past and the prospects of summers future. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, in my free time, I enjoy restoring antique trucks and farm equipment. This past summer I restored a John Deere manure spreader for a client. Below is a before picture. At that point, most of the wood had significant rot and a significant amount of the metal had rust holes.

John Deere Manure Spreader Before Restoration

As the restoration process went on, replacement parts became a necessity and the search for 65 year old parts began. I was able to find a majority of the needed replacement parts from a salvage yard in South Dakota but one part eluded my search. The part was a sheet metal shield meant to prevent hands from being caught in the drive chains. These are often discarded to make maintenance easier. In the end, I was able to find a shield in a swamp in Illinois but it was in very poor shape:

Shield for Drive Chains

Through my experience in design, I was able draft a replacement in SolidWorks and send the file to a local fabricator to be CNC plasma cut and bent to shape.

Design of New Shield

In the end, this fabricated part brought the restoration together and was the crowning touch:

John Deere Manure Spreader After Restoration