Monday, October 7, 2013

Freshman Scholars Was a Blast!

(Samantha was one of the two students who worked on the Buried Body Remains and Decomposition Rates project with faculty mentor Dr. David Nicholson during the 2nd annual Freshman Scholars Program in summer 2013.)

by Samantha "Girl Sam," Freshman Scholar and Guest Blogger

My time in the Freshman Scholars Program was a blast!  To be honest, I had expected it to be all business and not as much fun, but it was the complete opposite.  We did have a lot of work to do, but there was plenty of time to do things for fun. For example, we made midnight runs to Cook-Out or watched reruns of the show "Friends." I had such a good time with the professors and the other scholars and was really able to get to know each of them. The stuff that I enjoyed the most from the experience were the people, my research project, and the ropes course.

The research project that I worked on was with Dr. Nicholson on the rate of decomposition on a 12-pound pig. The funniest thing was that my partner's name was also Sam!  We had a Samuel and a Samantha, but everyone just called us "Girl Sam" and "Boy Sam."  Along with the pig, Dr. Nicholson also found a completely decomposed deer skeleton!  We spent time collecting the parts from that skeleton and putting the bones together, which was a fun challenge. Along with the deer, watching the pig decompose was definitely a cool thing to see. Overall, I loved working with Sam and Dr. Nicholson because it was a relaxed environment and the project was about a very interesting topic.

Another thing that I experienced during this program was the high ropes course. Now, I had done a ropes course before, but it was a lot easier than the one we went to. At the ropes course the scholars went to, there were 5 obstacles to get across - each very different. I'm not afraid of heights, but it was nerve-racking for many reasons.  First, it had been a few years since I had done a ropes course. Second, I had never done a ropes course quite like that before. Finally, I have horrible balance. However, it was better because I had an awesome partner - Alicia.  She's super athletic and she would go before me and show me techniques I could try to make it easier.   Then she'd show me how to get up onto the tiny platforms with her.  We were also the first people to go up, and normally, I'm not the type to do anything first. At the end, I felt like I accomplished something awesome, and as a reward, I got to do the zip line!

The best thing about the program was the people I met. I got along great with my roommate during the program, Jessica, and I also met my roommate for my freshman year, Hannah.  I also made new friends, such as Megan and my research partner, Sam.  I never expected to be comfortable so quickly with a group of people.  If anything, I was afraid of not having people to hang out with and being alone, but I loved it!  Before the fall semester started, I already knew the people who I'd be hanging out with the majority of my time at college.  I loved the professors during the program too. All of the Freshman Scholars professors are awesome, especially Dr. Nicholson and Dr. Goff.  They would eat lunch with us, talk to us equally, and joke around with us during activities or during our classes. I am very glad I decided to apply for the Freshman Scholars Program because I felt very prepared as far as already knowing people when I came back, already talking to some of my professors, and getting used to the campus and college life.

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