Living (and Studying) Life to the Fullest

Posted by Paula Paine on January 1, 2014 in "Academic Programs", "Current Students", "School of Arts and Sciences", "The College", "Your OU"

Just because Hope Waisner is a biology major at Ottawa University doesn’t mean she constantly has her nose stuck in a book or lab project. After all, there’s a lot of college life to pack into four years, and she’s out there living it. While she is secretary of the Biology Club, Waisner also advocates for campus change as a Student Senate representative, is in the Optimist Club, is a Top Scholars campus leader, and works on the student media website – all before breakfast! (Okay – thaHope Waisnert’s not true, but she is VERY busy).

Not only is Waisner living life to the fullest at Ottawa University, she’s studying it, as well – literally. “Biology is a tough area to study, but I honestly believe it is one of the most rewarding paths to go down in college,” she said. “I am never bored. I am always learning something new. And I am always growing. As long as there is life on earth, there will be biologists out there studying it.” Can’t argue with that logic.

But studying doesn’t mean boring. Waisner could easily have added “having fun” to the rewarding elements of her biology studies, including with her professors. “Last year in General Biology II, we went to a rock quarry in Waverly,” shared Waisner. “At the last minute, Dr. Tillinghast decided he wanted to come with us. In a suit. It was really wet and raining that day. And Dr. Tillinghast walked around that rock quarry looking for fossils with all the excitement he usually has. IN A SUIT! I just thought it was crazy that he was all dressed up and he went out there and got dirty to look for fossils. That is true dedication.”

She sees that same level of dedication in all of her professors. “They are all so intelligent and personable,” she said. “I know I can come to them with questions, and they will sit with me and work with me until I understand. Or they will just have a conversation with me about anything in our field of study. I am so grateful to be able to interact with these incredible professors on a daily basis.”

Waisner is clearly cut from the same cloth, being fully dedicated to her studies, advocacy and interests alike. But taking on so much to gain the full college experience isn’t always easy. Like most college students, she struggles with juggling her “want-to-dos” with her “have-to-dos.” But that, also, is part of the learning and growing college process. “I have a really heavy workload, and I am involved with a lot of things, so it’s hard to break up time to equally distribute to everything,” she acknowledged. “I’ve managed to maintain a pretty low level of stress overall, but I definitely feel the pressure.”

Learning that balance will be important for Waisner if she continues on the path she has mapped for herself. Set on medical school, she is looking to eventually become a pediatrician. If so, she’ll be able to add “sustaining life” to living and studying it!