Episode Notes | Episode Transcript | AskTheGuest
As an undergraduate student at Oakland University Honors College, Ian Cleary shares his undergraduate experience. Ian is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences.
In High School, Ian was deep into Math, Science and Technology. He did AP courses, and also Engaged in creative and research projects. He was a member of the school’s baseball varsity team.
And when time came for college, he wanted one close to home with good Science programs.
Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:
Episode Title: Ian Cleary of Oakland University Honors College: Biomedical Sciences, Baseball, and UG Research.
In High School, Ian was deep into Math, Science and Technology. He did AP courses, and also Engaged in creative and research projects. He was a member of the school’s baseball varsity team.
And when time came for college, he wanted one close to home with good Science programs.
Ian joins our podcast to share his undergraduate Honors College journey at Oakland University, about being a student-athlete, his UG Research experiences, and Advice for college-bound students.
In particular, we discuss the following with him:
Topics discussed in this episode:
Our Guest: Ian Cleary is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at Oakland University Honors College.
Memorable Quote: “Our lab, we have a lot of people that come in from foreign countries. So we have people from Zimbabwe, Mexico, Italy, and Puerto Rico. So I learned a lot about different cultures and stuff like that, and what life is like, sort of around the world”. Ian Cleary.
Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.
Similar Episodes: College Experiences , UG Research
Transcript of the episode’s audio.
I remember specifically my freshman year, we were playing at the University of Cincinnati and I, my shoulder was hurting pretty bad. And I went to the athletic trainer and said, Hey, can you, you know, maybe stretch me out or throw a cup on it or something? And he said, Yeah, and I said, you know, Cody. When I signed up for this, I thought I thought it'd be a lot of fun, but I didn't think I'd be in pain every day. So
That is Ian Cleary, who is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at Oakland University Honors College in Michigan.
Hello! I am your host Venkat Raman.
In High School, Ian was deep into Math, Science and Technology.
He did AP courses, and also Engaged in creative and research projects.
He was a member of the school’s baseball varsity team.
And when time came for college, he was thinking - Sports Medicine!
Venkat Raman 1:21
Ian joins our podcast to share his undergraduate honors college journey at Oakland University, about being a student-athlete, his UG Research experiences, and Advice for college-bound students.
Venkat Raman 1:38
Before we jump into the podcast, here are the High-Fives, Five Highlights from the podcast:
[Overall OU Honors College Experience]
freshman year, first semester, they stick you in a class with about 100 other students in the Honors College and they split you into small groups. And from there, you can really build great friendships from that and learn a lot and sort of discover yourself as a first semester freshman in college, which is something that can be difficult to do for a lot of students.
[Transition to College]
Transition was interesting. First couple, first couple of days I didn't really you started don't know what to do with yourself once your parents drop you off and they leave and you're like, Okay, well, you're staring at your roommate, you're like, Alright, now what? Yeah, but once once classes get going, everything's sorted. Okay. And
[Honors College Courses]
The classes for the Honors College are not necessarily things like honors calculus, or honors biochemistry, honors physics, that are more exploratory or explorative and creative. So every, every semester, they come up with a list of classes, and you can sort of pick and choose what you want to do.
They got me into the summer undergraduate research program, which is a part of the American Heart Association. So I did research in the summer of 2021. As a member of that, and I at the end, I did a presentation and submitted an abstract based off my research. And I was able to continue that. And I'm now on the stage of writing my honors thesis.
[Advice for High Schoolers]
I think the most important fact is that you need to be somewhere where you're comfortable. So for me that was somewhere closer to home, you know, not as not a school with 50,000 kids with school with 20,000 kids.
Venkat Raman 3:39
These were the Hi5s, brought to you by College Matters. Alma Matters.
Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
Venkat Raman 3:50
Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Ian.
So without further ado, here is Ian Cleary!
Venkat Raman 4:00
So if you're ready, we can jump right in.
Sure, so I can start a little bit about who I am and how I got here. I am Ian Cleary, biomedical sciences student at Oakland University. I'm a Presidential Scholar for the Honors College and I play baseball on the baseball team here.
So a little bit about how I got to Oakland. I was looking for a place in high school that had good financial aid was close to home, good science programs, and potentially an Honors College Opportunity. And I found that in Oakland, I got a I got really good scholarship. As I said I was a Presidential Scholar. So that means my tuition is covered by the school. And part of being a Presidential Scholar is being a part of the Honors College and representing the Honors College and what it means to be an honor student.
So the Honors College at Oakland a little bit of what it offers me a chance to live on campus in the Honors dorms for and foremost, if you're a member of the Honors College, you can live in Oak view Hall, something that not every student has the capability of doing. It also puts you in a great spot for things like professional development and resume building, they help a lot with that they have great advisors for that, that's actually a part of the Presidential Scholar Medallion Program.
So they sort of guide you through that process of building a resume and having a professional development plan and things like that. And then they also offer various classes. So freshman year, first semester, they stick you in a class with about 100 other students in the Honors College, and they split you into small groups. And from there, you can really build great friendships from that and learn a lot and sort of discover yourself as a first semester freshman in college, which is something that can be difficult to do for a lot of students, So that's a, they start you off very well there.
Venkat Raman 5:58
Tell us a little bit about your high school, what kind of interests did you have, and what kind of courses were you in to and what you did you do outside of class?
Sure. So in high school, I attended Henry Ford to high school and Utica, Michigan, and I was also in the European Centre for math, science and technology. So I spent half of my day at the MST program and half of my day at my home school. So a little bit unique there as well.
The MST program, we spent three hours there, there were 90 of us in my class, we did all of our math and science and computer classes there. So we did. They loaded us with a bunch of AP classes right away. AP Biology, Physics, Chemistry, computer science, which is something that's growing a lot in high school. And I think we were sort of some of the first ones to really dive into that. And I thought that was really cool. That's a cool opportunity for a lot of high schoolers now.
And they also they push us into some more creative and explorative projects. So we do we do a little bit with robots, we do some pretty in depth science work, we do a little bit of some of what I do in my undergraduate research. Today we do we touch a little bit on it at the MST.
So beyond that, I played baseball for the high school. That was in the spring. I was a member of the varsity team for three years, I started for three years, and I was a captain my senior year. And my interest since high school and still now is sort of Sports Medicine and athletic medicine, which we can get into in a little bit. I'm sure that will take me but that's kind of where wherever I had lied in high school and kind of where I wanted to go.
Venkat Raman 7:56
When you applied to Oakland, did you intend to apply for the Honors College? Was that, was that part of your plan? Or is that something that happened?
No, that, that was part of the plan. So okay, so when you apply to Oakland, they send you an invitation to apply for the Honors College as well. Okay. And I think the requirement at the time was a three five GPA and some sort of SAT or ACT score. And I, I fit those requirements. So I set my application in for that. And it's open to all students actually, if you have the minimum requirements, and I'm pretty sure if you apply most students get in to the Honors College and have the ability to be a part of it.
Venkat Raman 8:41
So tell us a little bit about your transition to college. I mean, how was coming from high school to Oakland?
Yeah, so So Oakland is local. For me. I live in Macomb, Michigan, and Oakland is Rochester, Michigan, it's 20 minutes away from my home. But I I made the decision to live on campus because I wanted to get the full experience of being at school and having a roommate and going to dinner in the in the dining hall and all that stuff and walk into class in the winter. All that.
So transition was interesting. First couple, first couple of days that didn't really you started don't know what to do with yourself. Once your parents drop you off and they leave and you're like, Okay, well, you're staring at your roommate. You're like, Alright, now what? Yeah, but once once classes get going, everything started okay. And especially with the honors college class, they have you take freshman year, it they kind of build in some friends into your first semester that really helped you out. And that's always great.
Interesting story for me.
Yeah. I mentioned I played baseball for Oakland. Yeah, that wasn't my intention coming to school. I didn't come to I didn't come to Oakland to play baseball. I was not supposed to play baseball. I figured I didn't get the opportunities I wanted out of high school. So let me just go to Go and maybe I'll play some intramural sports or, yeah, club sports or something like that. So that's what I did. I played club baseball for two or three weeks. And I decided that it's great. I love the people on the club team. They were great to me, but it just didn't fulfill what I was looking for. So I, I came to the coach's office for a division one team and I gave him a resume and a cover letter and some references. And I said, Hey, I want to I want to play for you. He offered me a try out a couple of weeks later, and I made the team.
That's kind of where my transition shifted a little bit from the very school base. What do I do with my time to everything was pretty scheduled and structured for me from there on out?
Venkat Raman 10:47
Now, how did you find the academics I mean, was it compared I mean, obviously, it was a step up from high school.
So that's a little that's interesting. The, it's a different feel for sure. Coming from the MST program, I feel like they did a great job of preparing not only me, but everyone else in our class for kind of what college classes are like. But in high school, it felt like every day I went home, I had five or six subjects that homework for five hours at night. Whereas in college, you go to class two or three times a week, you have homework assignments that are due three weeks out, two weeks out a month out, stuff like that. So it's it's different. I would say the workload can be as much as high school, mostly more than high school, some classes less, depending on kind of what areas you're in. But I feel like I liked the structure better, because it's not every night I come home, I have to, I have to do five subjects worth work. It might be I work on biochemistry for three hours or physics for an hour. And, you know, it's sort of it sort of feels a little bit more spread out for me and I like that about it.
Venkat Raman 12:05
Now how, how have your peers and classmates been?
Ian C 12:10
Really good. So I'm in the biomedical sciences major. And we're, there are some of them that are people are pretty tight together. And there's about 40 of us in our graduating class. So at this point, we're all taking biomedical science calling classes. And I know at some schools, it feels like you're competing against the person next to you for spot and graduate programs and medical colleges and things like that. But I feel like at at Oakland where it feels like everyone's pulling in the same direction. And if you need help, everyone knows where to go. There's we've had great TAs for some of our classes that teach, do like supplemental instruction and stuff. And so they've taken the classes and they have great resources to help us out. And I feel like I feel like everyone's here to help each other out at Oakland. And it's a it's a great community.
Venkat Raman 13:04
How about the teaching? How are the professors in the teaching? What are the seminar style classes in the Honors College are a combination of
The classes for the Honors College are not necessarily things like honors calculus, or honors biochemistry honors physics, that are more exploratory or explorative, and creative. So every, every semester, they come out with a list of classes. And you can sort of pick and choose what you want to do, you're required to do four total classes in your four years, one of which is baked into the first semester of your fall. The other three are things that cover the university's general education requirements. So we have Western civilization requirements, writing intensive requirements, things like that. And the honors college classes aren't able to fulfill those requirements, which is great. So I guess I can talk about a couple of the classes I've taken specifically with Professor Susan Beckwith. This past semester, I had a class with her called time streams. And it was three days a week, we met in person on Monday and Wednesday. And then on Friday, we would do a little writing assignment or a forum that would post online. So in that class, we explored ideas and time and how our experiences in time relate to other things and how those experiences can alter our perception of time, things like that. So it's a it's a pretty creative and exploitative class. And then we do we did a couple of assignments to show sure sort of our proficiency and what we discussed in class, and things like that. Another class I had with her was based around a book called forgetting the name. Anyways, the class was called deconstructing cyber attacks, and the book book is called the House of Leaves. And it's an it's an interesting book. And what we pretty much did in this class was we would read some of the book, whether it was 50 pages, two chapters, a chapter, we would sort of shoot allowed us that autonomy to choose how much we wanted to read each day. Yeah. And we would come to class and discuss the book. And then same deal on Friday, we would do some writing assignments, things like that. So what's great about the Honors College classes is they allow you to explore things you're interested in. So if you see something on the list of the classes and you, you really want to explore that topic, you're allowed to do that. And instead of having to take no regular general education requirement for the university, you can sort of dive into a topic that you like, and really go for it. And that sense, and a lot of the professors in the Honors College, really want you to dive in and take deep looks and sort of be more creative in your writing and in your class discussions and stuff like that without sort of some of the penalties we see in some regular classes, if you want to kind of go off off topic or off the book.
Venkat Raman 16:14
Did you start doing research as well, during your time there?
Ian C 16:21
I do. Yes, I do. I do undergraduate research for the Washington laboratory in biological sciences department.
Venkat Raman 16:28
Yeah. So tell us tell us a little bit about that. How you got into research?
Sure. So I got into it through one of my professors in biology, she taught my genetics class, and I came to her and said, Hey, I kind of want to get into research, you know, not really sure what I'm interested in or any of that, but I just kind of want to dive in and see what I can see what I can do and see if I like anything. Which is that okay, great. Let me, let me talk to this ta I have she's part of a lab that's just coming to Oakland, and let's see if we can get you in there. So she she talked to her and had a meeting with the principal investigator over zoom, because he was still in at the University of Puerto Rico at the time, they were in the process of moving to Oakland. And he said, Sure, let's take them on.
And then they got me into the summer undergraduate research program, which is a part of the American Heart Association. So I did research in the summer of 2021. As a member of that, and I at the end, I did a presentation and submitted an abstract based off my research, and was able to continue that. And I'm now on the stage of writing my honors thesis with the experiments that I've done in evidence that I've collected over the past year and a half or so. So that's great. And it's the, I guess, the Honors College has provided me the opportunity to sort of continue, yeah, and have something to work towards with the with the thesis. And sort of without the thesis, you're kind of doing research in order to in order to publish, so you have a goal. But there's not really a deadline or stuff like that.
But the Honors College sort of gave me a path to take and say, Hey, let's, let's get you hear this proposal. And then let's have you do this thesis by this point. And so you're able to sort of build a build a thesis proposal, and then structure experiments around that in order to complete that within a time.
Venkat Raman 18:32
Now, was research something that you had thought about in high school? Or is it something that you got into just by being in college?
Ian C 18:44
Yeah, so. So research is sort of one of those boxes that people like to check off for either graduate school or medical school, in my case, it was medical school. And so in, in high school, I, you know, I heard people do always doing research, and he's gonna get published, or he's doing this poster for this conference. And you hear and it's like, Oh, that's great, but you don't really understand what it means. Yeah. And so as I got into college, and I sort of had these professors and they do their lectures, and then they talked a little bit about how it relates to the research they do in their labs and said, Okay, maybe this is something that I should try to get into now that I understand it a little bit more. And, and again, even when you're on the outside looking in before you're actually into it, you don't you don't necessarily understand what it means. But I think just diving into it and get involved like that is a great way to get into it. And I sort of found it and I like it. I like the people in my lab and it's a great community. And I think it's something that a lot of people should try to get involved in if they can
Venkat Raman 19:56
You know, once you started doing research now almost two years into it, What kind of skills do you think you've developed? What's the discovery of that kind been?
Sure. So um, I guess some skills there's, there's hard skills and soft skills, and in science and in life, right.
So yeah, I guess some of the hard skills I've learned, just various techniques, I know, western blotting and flow cytometry and PCR, which is something you hear about with COVID-19, they do PCR testing. Yeah, so I started know how to work those and stuff like that.
And then I guess, perhaps more importantly, are the soft skills you learn in research. Our lab, we have a lot of people from that come in from foreign countries. So we have people from Zimbabwe and Mexico and Italy, and Puerto Rico. So I learned a lot about different cultures and stuff like that, and what life is like, sort of around the world. And then I also learn the varying perspectives that bring the research because everyone's a little bit different in the way they do things. And especially coming from different countries, the way research is structured there is perhaps different than here. So I learned a bit about, you know, some people are more protocol structured, some people like to kind of go off the protocol, and not necessarily wing it, but use a little bit more intuition and stuff like that.
And the big thing with that is you have to learn how to work with with other people. Yeah. And then that you, you collaborate with them, and you do projects with them, and you do experiments with them. And it's all, it's all going towards a common goal. And if you're, if you're not able to collaborate with people, you still struggle, definitely.
Because it's a it's a big time commitment. So sometimes I have, you know, say a three hour block in a day, but my experiment takes four or five hours, I have people that I've built trust with and I've done experiments with in the past, and I can say, hey, this is where I'm gonna get to, can you can you take it to the end. And they, they kind of know what I expect from them, and how they can help me out. And then also in return, I'm able to help them out and some of the things they're doing. Sure. So So you learn a lot, you learn a lot of teamwork, you learn a lot of collaboration, things like that.
Venkat Raman 22:25
Let's segue to you're being an athlete playing baseball. So you're a student athlete. What, what is that? Like? What are the challenges? I mean, obviously, there's a lot of fun and pleasure you get out of it. But tell us about the pluses and the challenges.
Yeah, it's a I don't want to say it's a hard life. But it's a it's a definitely a challenging one. Because there's there can be a lot of pros to it. But then there's also you deal with a lot of stuff.
So I guess the biggest thing that people, people worry about coming into college athletics is the time commitment. Yeah. Which is, which is a, it's a concern, but it's, it's manageable.
So in season, we're allowed, we do 20 hours a week of practice. So that would be for us, that's four hours a day, five times a week, out of season, we're allowed eight hours. So we do two hours a day, four times a week, or an hour and a half, five times a week, something like that.
There can be a lot of sort of mental stress that comes with it, because there's a lot of expectation to perform and to grow and to be better every day and stuff like that. So there's a lot of challenges that come on the mental side. And so as you there's you'll see in the news, and especially in the years and coming forward, there's a lot of focus on how do we keep our athletes healthy mentally, and make sure that get it have the resources they need on that end.
Some other challenges, physical, I guess, physical is a big one. I remember specifically my freshman year, we were playing at the University of Cincinnati, and I my shoulder was hurting pretty bad. And I went to the athletic trainer and said, Hey, can you you know, maybe stretch me out or throw a cup on it or something? And he said, Yeah, and I said, you know, Cody, when I signed up for this, I thought I thought it'd be a lot of fun, but I didn't think I'd be in pain every day. So so there's a lot of there's a lot of physical that goes into it and being able to manage that. And it's something that a lot of people struggle with. Yeah. Especially when you're not like some people are superhuman athletes, they can do whatever they want. They never get sore, but a lot of people a lot of people get pretty beat up and that sounds
Venkat Raman 24:51
Now you said time commitment. I mean, so and time management is, has that, has that come in the way of some courses or what you wanted to do, or you pretty much not felt any kind of a hindrance because of that.
Ian C 25:08
Yeah, so I feel like, I've been prepared for this pretty well, especially with my, with the MST experience in high school, and also playing baseball in high school. But I wouldn't say it's affected my classes, I've still managed to get the grades I wanted to get. And I credit a lot of that to the professors I've had. I've had great, great professors in my science classes, they understand what the athletes schedule is like they, we give them a schedule at the beginning of the semester that says, hey, here's when we travel, here's when or when I'll be gone. I'll highlight the dates that are say exam dates and say, Hey, I'm going to miss an exam on this day and an exam on this day, let's, let's work together early to see when we can sort of figured that out. And I can come into the office to take the exam. So they've been, they've been great in that sense. And I guess, workload is, is interesting with classes, especially in the spring, when we play. I do a lot of homework on the road. And especially on the bus will have three four hour bus rides to the hotels and stuff like that. So I can get a lot of work done there. And then I get a lot of work done at the hotel. But something that is sort of interesting that you don't necessarily expect, yes, going to class sort of feels like a, like a privilege sometimes. Because I missed that I missed a ton in the spring, I'll miss miss on Tuesday or Wednesday. And then Thursday, and Friday will travel or will have home games. So I'll miss that too. So it sort of feels like when I come back on Monday or Tuesday and say, Oh, well, I get to go to a physics lecture today. That's kind of cool. Yeah. Yeah. And I guess one final thing is I have to learn a lot on my own, which is a struggle for some people, but I feel like I do a decent job at it. And especially with the professors, if I'm stuck or something, though, a lot of them are open to have zoom calls with me or a phone call to say, you know, I don't really understand this or that and they can sort of help me through it. So they've been, they've been incredible. And I very appreciative for that.
Venkat Raman 27:22
I'm guessing that doesn't give you a whole lot of time for other campus activities. Are you involved in other things as well?
Yeah, I'm involved in a couple of things. Surprise there through athletics, but there's still it's still a chance to be a part of something. So I'm in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. I'm also an executive board for the committee. I represent the school conference level. So I'm a part of the Horizon League Student Athlete Advisory Committee, which is our athletic conference we compete in with that we do we deal with a lot of sort of student athlete experience issues, whether it's, you know, we don't have enough time to go to the dining hall, or it's not open late enough. So we bring in the people in the dining hall, and we say, Hey, this is sort of our problems we're having, what can we do? We work with the people on the mental health side, we worked with athletic administration to make sure that we have the resources we need as athletes to succeed. And we've worked with academic advisors to make sure that they sort of understand what our needs are. And they can say, yeah, we can, we can do this for you, or we can work with the school on this and things like that. So that's one way I'm involved. I'm also involved in Senate for intercollegiate athletics committee. So that one, I liked that one a lot. It's a it's a smaller group, there's about 10 of us, maybe eight of us. And we meet once a month. And in that one, we have our athletic director and one of our associate athletic directors that we meet with, we meet with a couple of professors. Yeah. Which, which I think is great because it allows the professor's a little bit more insight on, again, what we go through and sort of what our schedules are like and things like that. So they learn about how our athletic medicine staff works, how our mental health, our performance psychology stuff works, how our academics are things like that. So I think that's great in order to get sort of the whole school involved in what we do.
Venkat Raman 29:33
So let's switch gears a little bit. You are majoring in Biomedical sciences, right? Yes. And any I mean, give us some insight and how you came to that. And how did you choose that major?
Yeah. So in high school and sort of, ever since I've young, I kind of wanted to go into medicine, and I found athletic medicine. I'm in sports medicine in high school. And that's sort of where my path takes me. But the, I guess the reason for biomedical sciences or something else? Yeah, is that? I know that's a tough one for me. It's because like, Why? Why not just biology? Yeah, I guess maybe the reason is that we do it, we have some classes that are biomedical sciences only. And they sort of prepare you for more graduate style programs and medical programs. So we get things like integrative pharmacology and scientific inquiry, which study, you know, medicine and then research. So it sort of allows you to go a little bit more in depth in some of the topics that you wouldn't necessarily get with a standard biology degree. And I, another big draw towards the BMS is I don't know when I, when I was looking for a program in high school and you go on the BMS website, it says that there's like a 90% success rate of the BMS students getting into graduate programs or medical colleges. So that was sort of another Well, yeah, if it's, if it's pretty successful program, that means that schools must see all they have a BMS degree, they're well prepared and well focused and have good time management skills and things like that. So that's sort of another draw to it.
Venkat Raman 31:29
So you brought up sports medicine. So tell us about it. I mean, you obviously love sports, you love you want to be involved in medicine, or to study medicine seems like makes sense for these two to come together. So tell me a little bit about that.
So kind of the reason I like sports medicine is it's the classic answers, you know, you want to help people XYZ, I want to help people get back to the activities in the sports that they love, whether it's high level athletic competition, or pro competition or something like, you know, walking the dog and going hiking and things like that. Sure. Sure. And so sort of sort of my interest in that is orthopedics. Yeah. So specifically sports related injuries, something like ACL tear, MCL, tear, elbow, shoulder, stuff like that. And I love I love a lot of the athletic medicine stuff. I volunteered in our training room this summer, and a little bit in the fall when I had time. So I worked one on one with our athletes, and I was able to see them through, you know, some of their rehab assignments and some of their pre and post competition treatments, I help them with that. Sure. So that was a great experience for me, because I'm able to see, you know, when an athlete gets injured on the field, I go see them at the doctor. And then I come back and they go through the surgery, and then I'm able to see them through rehab. So that was a great experience. And sort of gives you a wider perspective than if you just shadow a physician and you just see the surgery. And then that's it, you don't see sort of what the rehab looks like and things like that.
Venkat Raman 33:11
No, this is, I mean. Sounds awesome. In fact, I was going to ask if you get a chance when you just said this. I mean, this was going to be the question because you're right in there, and you're seeing it all around you. And so this is fantastic.
Venkat Raman 33:31
Tell me how Honors College is making the difference here for you.
Yeah. Why does the honors college make the difference? Um I think I, I like how close you can get with the Honors College and the sort of the open mindedness they bring to college life and things like that. They're, they're enthusiastic. I don't know if you've ever met Dr. Graham Harper.
Venkat Raman 34:01
Multiple times. I mean, I've been to podcasts. I've never met him in person, though.
Ian C 34:05
He's, he's great. He's probably one of the most enthusiastic people I've ever met. I don't know if he knows my name. But everyone in the school knows his name. And he's a great guy. And he represents us well. They care about us a lot. It feels like I mean, they built a dorm for us. We live in the dorm. They have these classes for us that can that we can take and that's really great. And then again, with the the ability to satisfy general education with the honors college classes, that's huge. And then if and then it pushes you into something like a thesis where you can do undergraduate research or creative project or literature synthesis and pretty much whatever area you want. And I think that's, that's a huge difference that the honors college makes over a non honors college degree is, is really the classes and the people and the features solid background.
Venkat Raman 35:04
So in be great if you could, based on your experience, give some advice to high schoolers out there who may be considering college. I mean, not specifically honest college yet, but what would you tell them? What kind of advice would you give them?
Yeah. Wow, that's a big one kinda. I think, I think the most important fact is that you need to be somewhere where you're comfortable. So, for me, that was somewhere closer to home, you know, not as not a school with 50,000 kids, but a school with 20,000 kids. You know, I've been to I've toured schools that have 3000 kids have toured schools and a 50,000. Kind of, you kind of want to be at a spot that fits right for you, sort of your lifestyle, if you like, if you like big cities, maybe you know, something like Ann Arbor is good. Or if you want something smaller, and you want to be with, you know, small class sizes and things like that. Maybe something like Kettering University in Flint or Kalamazoo College, and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Yeah, those are smaller schools. I guess make sure, make sure they have the programs you're looking for. And they have the resources to support those programs. And especially if you're going into science, so you think you might want to do a chemistry degree or bio degree, make sure they have decent research opportunities. And they they allow undergrads into research and things like that, because that can be very important. That can be the difference maker in you know whether or not you get into a good graduate program or you don't get into a graduate program. And then I guess, campus life is important. Something so Oakland, I feel like struggles a little bit with campus life, we have a lot of commuters, I want to say potentially 80% of the population commutes to school, which is great during the week. It's It's lively, there's a lot of people in the student center, something like that. But on the weekends, on the weekends, we struggle a little bit because a lot of people go home. Yeah. So that so the student centers and as lively and there's, you know, not a lot of people on campus. So I guess that's something to consider as well. That's fair, and I don't know, enjoy it. It's a classic answer, but enjoy it. It's it goes by really fast. I have one semester left my undergraduate degree and I feel like I sometimes I feel like I got here yesterday.
Venkat Raman 37:45
Cool. So Ian, we're going to start to wind down here. Before we do that, I'd love to have you talk about some, you know, memory or some interesting vignette or anecdote or something that you want to share?
Well, I guess one of my favorite things is showing up on the first day of college. Yeah, it's kind of a hard one to remember because I was so so nervous. And when you get really nervous, you start to forget things. But I just remember showing up on the first day my mom took me to the bank at school to open a credit card. And I barely I barely remember going to the bank because I was so nervous. And I got to the room when I moved all my stuff in my room and I had my roommate and my all of our parents left and we we sat down, we just kind of looked at each other. And we didn't we didn't say much for about 20 minutes. And then he looked at me and he said, You know what? What are we doing here? I don't know. He's like, What are we supposed to do now? Dude, I have no idea. I couldn't tell you. I don't know what we're doing. I don't know where to go. I don't know who to talk to. So that was that was fun. And we ended up we have a we have a great relationship. He's, I don't live with him now. Yeah. Especially after after COVID split us up that year. Yeah. Yeah, I don't live with him anymore. But I'm in contact with him all the time. He's a great friend. We go out sometimes we went to the basketball game last year to meet up with friends this year. So I love love talking about him. He's a great kid. And I'll always have them in my in my life, I hope and that's sort of some of my my best times have been with him. And what we kind of had our freshman year living in the dorm together. And I think that's, that's what a lot of people find is whoever they live with freshman year, whatever kind of experiences they have their first year of college, they kind of stick with them. And I think that's kind of cool.
Venkat Raman 39:52
Absolutely. Absolutely. So in this has been a great conversation. Thank you so much for sharing all the different aspects of your busy college life. We're doing a lot, and it's awesome. And I appreciate you taking the time during the Holidays to share this with me today. And I wish you all the luck, I'm sure great things to come. So we'll keep in touch, hopefully talk again, but for now, take care be safe and a Happy New Year.
Ian C 40:27
Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. It's it's a pleasure to be here. And I'm glad we were able to connect and talk a little bit about what goes on in college.
Venkat Raman 40:37
Absolutely. Take care.
Ian C 40:40
Thank you. Take care.
Venkat Raman 40:40
Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Ian Cleary on his undergraduate journey at Oakland University Honors College.
Ian’s story is one balancing his varied interests and passions, and managing his time to make it all work.
He plays baseball. He is a researcher, and a member of Athlete advisory committees.
Ian has been able to take advantage of all the opportunities that being in OU Honors College offers him.
He plans to pursue sports medicine that combines his interest in sports and science.
I hope you find Ian’s story inspiring and explore Oakland University Honors College for your undergraduate pursuits.
For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [email@example.com].
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