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Tara Mick
Hometown: 
Milford, Ohio
Program: 
BS, Human Development and Family Science
“HDFS is a great choice for those who wish to pursue a career in the helping fields. It is a flexible major that I could simultaneously track with pre-med and enjoy the extra content I was learning.”

What made you choose Ohio State?

During spring break of my junior year of high school, my mom and I visited a slew of colleges I was interested in. At the end, I knew I wanted a big campus – one that encompassed a lot of opportunity to grow, be challenged, and explore. I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere else but Ohio State.

What attracted you to HDFS?

In my Health Sciences survey class freshman year, our final assignment was to write a stakeholder letter, pretending we didn’t get into our major, to explain to our parents an alternate major we would then pursue. This is where I came across human development and family science. My goal at the time was to become a family practitioner or a pediatrician. HDFS is a great choice for those who wish to pursue a career in the helping fields. I knew that’s all I wanted to do. And I knew I’d gain more knowledge about children and families, which would presumably help me understand patients and their loved ones better. It is a flexible major that I could simultaneously track with pre-med and enjoy the extra content I was learning.

Why is undergraduate research a major part of this program? What have you been able to do?

Undergraduate research prepares us to go on to professional/graduate school. We get in-depth study experience with the group of people and/or topic we’re interested in. Personally, I worked on a project and put some of my newly learned research method skills to the test. The hands-on experience helped me learn the material better.

Additionally, qualitative research is at the core of this major. Most of what we learn is centered on relationships and in order to gain a better understanding of the topics we study, it’s helpful to interact and engage with the material. I have partnered with faculty involved in aging research to further my experience and knowledge.

What makes you most excited about what you are studying in HDFS?

Nothing I’m learning ever feels forced. I love that I get to take what I learn in class and apply it to my own life. I get to challenge my beliefs while also solidifying my values. Every day things start to click; what you learn simply just makes sense. I’m definitely guilty of analyzing the personal and family lives of my friends – applying theory and concepts to their problems they share with me. Honestly, it’s so fun to have a basis for analysis and potential answers/explanations for what they’re experiencing. Additionally, I am excited that it feels so pertinent to my career path. And the topics feel very “here and now.” I enjoy being educated on current issues.

There’s a lot of diversity in what you can learn in the College of Education and Human Ecology. Where have you found common ground with your peers?

I have quite a bit of friends studying education. Although our classes don’t look the same, we’ve expressed the same kind of excitement to be engaged with content we’re passionate about. It’s very hands-on and interactive. At the same degree I’m offered research experience, my friends are in schools shadowing teachers, getting a feel for their projected career. There’s a lot of room to test the waters – and we all feel we’ve gotten enough experience to continue to be excited for what our careers will look like.

A headshot of Tara Mick, with shoulder length brunette hair.

How have you connected with your professors?

My professors are experts. Each of them specifies their area of study and loves to talk about it, and several are excellent storytellers. Not only do they make learning fun and applicable, they make themselves available to have conversations and are more than willing to help. I feel like my own experiences are of value to them. I’m not glossed over simply as a number in their class. I’m sought after as a person who can be challenged, grow, and can contribute.

What has made your experience at Ohio State memorable?

I have the best community of friends here, which has everything to do with my experience at Ohio State. I have the freedom to be myself and explore what I’m excited about. I’m a part of Young Life College and get to have the best time hanging with friends. And I’ve gotten to grow in my faith, while walking through the hard things of college. I’ve learned so much about mental health, loneliness, and the culture of a college campus for girls.

What makes Columbus cool?

There is so much to do in Columbus! I’ve loved exploring the Short North, eating Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and NorthStar. There are fun shops and pretty murals, and lots of fun favors to try. Also, a good chunk of my friends are from Columbus – so I’ve had fun getting to know and be with their families and experiencing their hometowns. Additionally, through City Campus Church, I’ve seen where there is need in Columbus. I’ve learned the coolest things about sharing resources, building relationships and creating community. In a city like Columbus, I love getting to be a part of serving the community.

What advice would you give future students to get the most out of their education and experience in HDFS?

HDFS is fun. You learn the foundations of reliable research, how to trust your sources and design your own studies. You learn about families, marriage, diversity, discrimination, social class and poverty, gender identity and expectations, sex, dating, cohabitation, relationships, kids, divorce, abuse, work, and more. It’s the best.

Please, for your own good, read before class so you can participate! And read because the material is fun. Take time to form an educated opinion. In most HDFS courses, we talk about hot topics of debate. Why not use the time to read academic research and actually sound and be well-informed when you speak?