Woah! Everyone has moved back to campus, which means summer is coming to a close and our blog series is as well. Follow the links to read the previous segments: I and II. To conclude our summer posts are three final stories from Greg, Sam, and Shivang Patel. Be sure to find us at the Involvement Fair today!(Look for the giant red X!)
Greg Nagy (Outreach and Development) has been working on research and travelling to Chicago for Lollapalooza.
This summer, I have been living in Columbus while conducting research in the A. Douglas Kinghorn lab in the College of Pharmacy here at Ohio State, as well as working as a host and server at Figlio Wood Fired Pizza in Grandview and Upper Arlington. My research lab focuses on analyzing chemicals from plants to see whether or not they can fight off/kill cancer cells. The idea is that a lot of drug developers are trying to create new chemicals to fight cancer, when we have perfectly good chemicals hidden all throughout nature that can actually do some damage against cancer cells. This research is part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, and I will continue working in my lab during the school year. My time spent in research has made me realize that I do not want to focus on plants for my grad school work: instead, I would like to study the intersection of drug development and computer science. I foresee the future of developing drugs to be heavily reliant on computers (more so than it is currently), and developing more accurate computer software to create new drugs will decrease the time that it takes drugs to get to market, as well as lowering the cost of medications for the patient. At first, I liked the idea of taking natural drugs instead of the supposedly dangerous synthetic chemicals, but after talking with a graduate student in the lab, I learned that being natural doesn't make a chemical safe, and being synthetic doesn't make a chemical dangerous. So, with a new mindset, I am transitioning from focusing on drugs from natural sources into consciously created drugs from computer simulations. Although a perfect computer simulation will most likely take decades to develop, it could revolutionize the way that patients are treated and how doctors make decisions regarding patient care. I am graduating from Ohio State in Spring 2017 and have spent part of this summer searching for grad school programs. Right now, I have my sights set on the University of California, San Francisco.
I also recently went to Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago. It was definitely an interesting experience, and it was a landmark for recognizing the importance that music plays in my life. LCD Soundsystem was the best act of the festival, in my opinion. My free time has also been spent exploring bars in Columbus, as I just turned 21 in June, and watching BoJack Horseman on Netflix. I highly, HIGHLY recommend watching BoJack Horseman if you have not already started. It is an adult animation comedy with incredible wit and a raw take on the troubles that people face throughout their lives.
For the rest of the summer, I will be continuing research and working in the restaurant, as well as getting my grad school applications together. I am also looking forward to the Breakaway Music Festival in Columbus starting August 26, and will be patiently awaiting BoJack's season 4 for the next 11 and a half months.
Sam Lechner (Marketing) has been working as an intern with her local museum!
This summer, I have been lucky enough to intern in multiple capacities with a museum in my hometown- the Massillon Museum! MassMu is a small, art & history oriented museum that aims to give people the opportunity to grow closer to their community and its traditions. I’ve been working as an Events Intern, helping plan the annual summer block extravaganza, Island Party, as well as an intern for the Education & Outreach Department (which means a lot of working with little kids & art projects!).
Currently at MassMu, there is an exhibit called “Readapt,” which allowed local artists to make new pieces inspired by those in the Museum’s permanent collection. It’s an awesome collection, so Museum Staff decided they wanted to get space in a local gallery so that they could do a similar project—and they asked me to participate! I can definitely say that at the beginning of this summer, I did not expect my artwork to be hanging for the public to see, especially considering the fact that I am NO artist. Working with the Museum staff has definitely made for a neat experience this summer!
Shivang Patel graduated in Spring 2016 and has been travelling since! He wrote up a few paragraphs about the impact the past few months have had on him. Read more about his travels on his blog.
This summer I’ve been doing a little traveling. From the glaciers of Iceland to the sands of Morocco, from the top of Mount Olympus to the bottom of the Adriatic, from pizza to paella—I’ve seen beautiful vistas, experienced diverse cultures, and met amazing people from all over the world. Over the course of this adventure, I have learned a lot and have experienced quite a bit of personal growth. Because of the impact that extended travel has had on myself and on others from stories fellow travelers have shared, I want to make the case for traveling extensively when young.
In the U.S., from early on we are engrained with the mentality that everything we do must be for the advancement of our careers and professional lives, i.e. it is about the destination rather than the journey. Most people I know have this mentality, and so did I. And frankly, that is the absolute wrong way of looking at life. Goals are indeed important, but it is definitely about the process.
When I was planning my trip, I had only known a handful of people who had taken time for themselves after finishing their education to travel and explore. The vast majority of my peers went right onto a job after graduation. I am not disregarding the importance of job security and financial security, but for me getting a job right away was not the right step. When I told my parents that I wanted to travel for several months, they tried to talk me out of it saying that I had my entire life to travel and that I should focus on getting a job. From my travels I have learned the opposite—that in fact I have my whole life to get a job and build a career. Never again will I have the ability to travel for such a long time without the constraints of a job, family, etc.
We are so focused on the next step that we forget to live authentically and enjoy the world around us. It is okay to not know what to do with your life and career. Traveling, in my opinion, is the best solution to that problem. There are so many unique and interesting experiences one can have while traveling that are not possible at home. Through these experiences I have a better understanding of myself, my passions, and how I want to impact others using these passions. I have met so many unique people, and heard so many wonderful stories. These interactions would have not been possible had I stayed back home and gone to work right away after graduation. I have learned patience, resourcefulness, resiliency (both mental and physical), and a plethora of other practical skills that are not learned when in school or in one’s comfort zone. I know these practical skills along with my academic and technical skills will make me a far better and marketable candidate when I do start applying for jobs.
Traveling after graduation has been one of the best things I have done for myself. It’s nice to see people travel for a couple weeks or even a month the summer after graduation, but I think something different clicks inside of you when you’ve been traveling for an extended period of time. It’s not just a vacation to 5 cities in Europe anymore, it’s truly an adventure where you grow.
I’m tremendously grateful to have had this opportunity to travel after graduating from college, but I wish I had done this at 18. I think the experience would have been far more impactful and would have allowed me to have a clearer focus on what I want to do with my life. For me, I only figured out what I want my life’s purpose to be in the second half of my collegiate career. I enjoyed what I studied and am thankful for my degree, but had I had gained the insights I have from traveling I probably would have chosen a different and more focused path. Nonetheless, travel after graduating college has been immensely insightful.
Traveling extensively is not necessarily cheap, and I recognize that not everyone comes from the same privileged background that I have. This, however, does not mean one cannot figure out how to travel. There are many options one has that can facilitate travel. You can be an au pair—basically a nanny, often with an emphasis on teaching English to the kids. You can live in another country for free and get a weekly stipend. You can teach English through government and non-government programs. Many countries like Spain and China have such programs. You can easily get work visas to many countries if you’re under 26—allowing you to work a few months then travel, work then travel. You can work at a hostel in a city for a couple months then go work at another hostel in an another country. You can use technical skills like photography to pay for adventures and trips. So even if the financial means are not there initially, there are ways to circumnavigate these obstacles.
In conclusion, travel while you’re young. It is the best way to experience other cultures, to meet people from all over the world, and to discover yourself. And once you discover yourself and passion, you can use your abilities to help make an impact in the world. Also, people 18-26 get lots of discounts and often free things so an even better reason to not wait until you’re in your 30s to travel. I cannot recommend travel more to everyone.