I chose the University of Cincinnati for something unexpected. I didn't want to follow my classmates to the colleges the majority from my Columbus high school attended. I wanted something new, something I hadn't experienced.
The University of Cincinnati did not disappoint, and taught me important lessons I use in my daily working life. It made me Cincinnati Smart.
UC showed me many different types of people can thrive together. In my community, it was mostly one type of person. UC is wildly opposite of where I grew up. Quickly it became obvious the whole 'melting pot' aspect of what we're taught in elementary social studies classes rang true. Our country is an amalgamation of many people, and it is apparent on UC's campus with just one walk-through and it's apparent it's possible for this to work. Sure, arguments happen, problems occur, but no amount of arguments or problems will ever outweigh the success of UC's diverse student body working in unison.
More personally, UC taught me my education wasn't going to walk up to me, shake my hand, and my brain would suddenly fill with all the knowledge I'm supposed to know for the rest of my time on earth. A part of being Cincinnati Smart, and what UC instilled in me, is the desire to never stop improving, and to never settle for less than your best. Whether this meant searching McMicken for the professors I believed would help me along best in my studies and future, or how I now choose to spend my free time now that I don't have to wake up for classes but instead a job with a salary and all that, UC made me understand knowledge is not gifted, but earned. The idea one can walk onto a campus and learn by some wacky version of osmosis is impossible, and this is something you learn quite fast at UC. And one cannot simply think having a job means promotions will come with time. We control our destiny, it is in our hands. Not our peers, not our parents, but our own.
Sure, this might not seem like the best thing to realize, it's scary after all, to know failure is not something you can put on anyone but yourself. However, when you are successful because you put in the effort and put learning at the forefront of your 'To-Do' list, you will also realize this is the only way to live. And UC forces you to learn this through their courses, professors, and many extra-curricular activities, and I'm thankful for it.
UC also offers an incredibly comprehensive Co-op program, which means more experience, lending itself to becoming Cincinnati Smart. The university will help you in any way possible to get you work experience, which is just as important as graduating in my mind.
Most important, UC taught me life is tough, but humans are far tougher, especially mentally. One night, in the late hours and final year of my career as a UC student, writing a research paper about Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, something I had to read in Middle English, I felt as if my career as a student was waning. I thought, "I'm done, this is it, I've said about all I can say on this subject, and I'm nine pages short." But then I put on some tunes and contemplated the past years I spent at UC and knew this research paper could not best me. After all the trials, the failures and successes, the happiness I found while roaming UC's campus, I was as complete a person as I'd ever be, and no research paper, no problem, nothing, could keep me from moving forward toward better things.
This is what UC will do for you. This is what it means to be Cincinnati Smart.