In the summer of 2017, I sat in a booth during orientation in Eisenhower Hall next to a gray silhouette decal of students spelling O-H-I-O on the wall. I had come alone, and truth be told, I felt awkward looking out to the tables of parents, students and their friends. I could hear everyone talking about what classes they wanted to take and how they wanted to spend the rest of summer vacation. It felt like I had been left behind, like everyone already knew each other and I would spend every minute of college alone. The staff and returning students made sure that would not happen though.
During orientation, Kidron Stamper, who later became the Student Engagement Coordinator in 2020, sat down and had lunch with me. I learned through our conversation that he was a current student. This small act played a significant role in making me feel more comfortable and introduced me to the warm culture on campus. He, along with the other Buckeye Ambassadors I met that day, gave me the idea of what kind of college student I wanted to be. I did not want to be someone who would get lost in the crowd. I wanted to stand out and leave a mark.
I became a Buckeye Ambassador the next year and went on to talk about my college experience with high school juniors and seniors in this role and then as a junior admissions counselor. I did feel nervous on the first few tours I led alone. I wanted to make sure I gave students a positive impression, and it felt intimidating to be a representative of the student body.
Some of the students were quiet, but I did what I do best, talk. I found that there was always at least one thing we had in common, and that often led to long conversations. Their voices always became more energized. My hope is that I made them feel the way Kidron had made me feel, welcomed to become a part of the community.
Even though I was a Business major, English and literature classes hold a special place in my heart. I had not planned to add a minor onto my coursework, but Fran Bowes, my academic advisor, emailed me at the end of one semester and informed me that I happened to be only three classes away from a Professional Writing minor. One of the reasons I decided to pursue the minor is because of the open discussions I had experienced in previous literature classes.
My participation in these discussions became the backbone of who I am. When I gave campus tours, I often told students and their families that Ovalwood Hall is where I regained a love of reading and writing. I pointed out the classroom where it happened and pictured all the ideas my class had written on the dusty chalkboards while interpreting prose. I loved explaining my thoughts and building new ideas from hearing other students. We talked about classics such as Emma and science fiction pieces like “The Machine Stops.” I preferred science fiction and poetry because I liked being transported to new worlds that revolved around a different set of rules.
During the pandemic, I did my best to stay a part of campus. Buckeyes are not defined by being physically on a campus. We are a family no matter where we go. A lot of my time was spent completing capstone work, but I still got the chance to meet one of my goals of leaving a mark on campus. In the fall of 2020, I had the honor of being a part of our Homecoming Court, and I was voted Buckeye Royalty.
Through my work and studies on campus, I ended up finding myself. My English and literature classes let me find my voice and involvement on campus let me be heard. With every page turned and shift worked, I found a piece of myself waiting to be discovered and polished for the world to see.
Now that I have graduated and have taken on a position at Mansfield/Richland County Public Library as a Media & Digital Communications Specialist, I look back fondly on my experience at Ohio State Mansfield. I felt supported every day of my college experience through my friends, coworkers, staff, and faculty, as well as scholarship supporters. There were times where I doubted my capabilities, but there was always someone there to rem