Only at Ohio State

When people comment on the size of Ohio State and wonder how students get through their time here without being swallowed up by the masses, rather than launch into my recruitment shtick (I used to work in recruitment), I like to tell stories about some unique experiences I’ve had while at OSU. (Quasi-recruitment shtick: While OSU is large, the MSE department is small, which gives it a fun, mostly-non-dysfunctional family dynamic. I’m sure I’ll write something about the adorable MSE family sometime down the road, but for now, I’m going to focus on OSU as a whole.) Here are a few of my favorite stories:

Orton Hall

Orton Hall

I’ve been up in the (haunted?) tower of Orton Hall twice. As a member of Chimes Junior Class Honorary, part of the induction ceremony involves heading up into the bell tower, signing one’s name in a book, and then playing Carmen Ohio on the chimes. Usually the bells play the standard Westminster Chimes every quarter hour, so hearing Carmen Ohio on repeat for an hour is pretty unusual. I was historian the year that I was part of the outgoing Chimes class, so I kept watch in the tower, taking photos of each new member as they played the chimes (and secretly hoping that the ghost of Edward Orton would appear – it didn’t). At one point there was a lull in the stream of students coming into the tower, so I decided to set the earth reverberating with a rousing rendition of the Peanuts theme, “Linus and Lucy,” as any responsible Vince Guaraldi fan would do. I’m still curious if anyone walking across campus while I played recognized the song and wondered what was going on.

I shook Hillary Clinton’s hand. In February 2008, Sen. Clinton stopped at French Field House for a political rally during her quest for the Democratic presidential nomination. I vaguely remember not having any problem sets to work on that evening, and I’d never been to a political rally before, so I braved the bitterly cold wind and walked over to the field house after work. I managed to get there early enough that I was ushered to the infield, only three rows away from the front of the tiny stage. I stood there reading a book for the few hours while I waited, and then Sen. Clinton finally arrived, with Sen. John Glenn, Gov. Ted Strickland, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones in tow. I stood just a few feet away from them, starstruck. At the end of the speeches, all of the politicians made their way down to the floor to move along the ropes, shaking hands and talking with people. The crush of humanity pushing toward the politicians moved me up a row, so I just HAD to stick my hand out. Sen. Clinton took it in hers and, smiling at me, said, “Thank you!” (And then I was snubbed by Sen. Glenn, but I still love him.)

On my way home, I called my parents on my cell phone. “Mom, guess what I just did?”

“I give up.”

“I just shook the hand that beat the crap out of Bill Clinton!”

“No way.”

“Yes way!” I replied. “It sounded like she was working on a cold, too, so if I rub my eyes right now, I could get Hillary Clinton’s cold!”


I salsa-danced with OSU President E. Gordon Gee. I took a social dance class in the autumn of 2007, and President Gee showed up to one of the classes to take part in that evening’s lesson and, more importantly, to mingle with the students. All of the great things that people say about President Gee are completely true – he’s a really enthusiastic person who truly loves his job. Not only that, but HE asked ME to dance. It was almost as if karma was trying to make up for all those middle school dances I spent standing next to the gym bleachers, awkwardly bobbing my head to Smashing Pumpkins. Even though President Gee warned me that he was probably going to step on my feet as we danced, he was a fine salsa partner. And I’m not just saying that so I can get a bow tie cookie.

This is just a sampling of some of my fondest memories of Ohio State. Within each anecdote you’ll find some words of wisdom for the academic careers of prospective students and current students alike: get involved, take some fun classes in addition to your engineering course load…and don’t rub your eyes.


About Caitlin
I'm a senior Materials Science & Engineering student at The Ohio State University.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: