Alaina Durden graduated from LLI Toledo in 2014 and now attends The Ohio State University. Below is a Q&A session with Alaina and current LLI OSU instructor Carlisha Powell.
Q: What do you think you might want to be your major and why?
A: I will be majoring in athletic training because I plan on becoming a head team physician for a professional sports team. Athletic training will allow me to study the anatomy and treatment I will need when acting as a sports-care physician. I enjoy sports as well as helping people in need. Anatomy and physiology are very intriguing so this career path should be a good fit for me. I am very interested in medicine, and would love to combine medicine and sports.
Q: How did you ultimately decide that you wanted to attend this school?
A: I chose The Ohio State University because, while visiting the campus, I didn’t feel like a visitor. I felt as though I was a part of the Buckeye family because of how welcoming and inclusive the school is. I was granted a tuition-paid scholarship for the next four years and that became the deciding factor that led me to select The Ohio State University as my new temporary home. I know that Ohio State has outstanding academics and a campus in which everyone can be involved in something they are interested in. For these reasons, I decided OSU was the best choice for me.
Q: How would you describe your LLI experience?
A: My LLI experience was wonderful. I met so many people during the first year who are still close friends today. I learned about the law and am very appreciative to my teachers who assisted me as well as my parents for sending me to LLI in the first place. LLI taught me how to articulate my thoughts and opinions better, how to be professional, how to speak in front of large crowds, how to work with people who have different beliefs than I, how to mediate disagreements, and so much more. LLI allowed me to gain knowledge I would have otherwise had to wait 5-6 years to learn. LLI was extremely beneficial, fun, and educational.
Q: How do you think that your experience with LLI has helped to prepare you for college?
A: My experience with LLI helped prepare me for college in many ways. Our sophomore year, we completed internships with various law firms and government agencies that taught me professionalism and independence. Going on college tours was beneficial because I was able to figure out what characteristics and qualities to look for when choosing a school. Taking the practice ACT definitely helped me know what to expect when taking the real test and ultimately was the reason for my high score. If it wasn’t for the practice testing at LLI, I would not have been eligible to apply for the tuition-paid scholarship I received from Ohio State. I also learned basic concepts of law and studied various cases that can benefit me in college classes. Most of all, I learned how to work with physically and mentally diverse people, which is a skill that will be needed in college.
Q: What advice would you give to current LLI juniors and seniors who will soon be applying to college?
A: I would advise the current LLI juniors and seniors to take the practice ACT seriously and to use the book that is provided by LLI to study at home. Also, if you are visiting a college that you may be interested in attending, do not hesitate to ask as many questions as possible so you will know whether or not that school is the right one for you.
And now, a Q&A session with LLI OSU instructor Carlisha Powell
Carlisha Powell was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has a fraternal twin sister and is the second of her mother’s three children and also the second of her father’s nine children. Her father's family relocated to Los Angeles, California, which is where she spent all of her childhood summers. When she was in the sixth grade she was accepted into Ohio State's Young Scholars Program, which awards students who complete the program with a scholarship package that covers the cost of tuition as well as room and board. She graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 2009, and then went on to The Ohio State University. Carlisha is currently a rising 2L at Moritz College of Law. This past summer, Carlisha taught 10th graders in Columbus during the LLI Summer Institute.
Q: When did you graduate from your alma mater and what was your major?
A: I graduated from The Ohio State University in May 2013. I graduated with my B.A. in Political Science and Criminology/Criminal Justice Studies.
Q: How would you describe your experience at your alma mater?
A: My experience at OSU was definitely a growing up exercise. I was not immature going into college but it was the first time I was independent, in a sense. I had to learn to take care of my business, learn the importance of timeliness and time management and how to prioritize! I feel that other than applying for colleges/universities and scholarships during senior year, these three skills are not exactly stressed throughout high school. As much as I learned and grew up during my four years at OSU, I also had a lot of fun, in class and outside of the classroom. I definitely enjoyed my time as an undergrad, getting involved in organizations, taking some interesting classes senior year, and experiencing “campus life.”
Q: Did you enjoy living in Columbus during college? Why or why not?
A: I enjoyed my time in Columbus while at Ohio State, even though I did not get out into the city as much as I could have. I did not know much about the City outside of campus during my first few years. Now, Ohio State is part of a program that introduces students to the City of Columbus during orientation week, because students were not getting out as much as they could have.
Q: What were your favorite things to do on campus?
A: My favorite thing to do on campus was going to the stadium for football games on Saturdays! The campus -and city- pretty much stops for Buckeye football! During the rest of the school year, I liked to take advantage of “D-Tix,” which is a discount ticket service for Ohio State students. Students can get discounted prices or free tickets for things like concerts coming to Columbus, the Columbus Zoo, Cedar Point, the Clippers (minor league baseball) or Crew (major league soccer) games. Using D-Tix, I was able to hear Dr. Maya Angelou (RIP) speak about her life, go to a Drake concert free, and get student prices for the Ohio State Fair. There is no shortage of things to do on or near campus and D-Tix usually has tickets for students.
Q: What are the top three restaurants on or near campus?
A: The three best restaurants near campus are Cane's (the chicken tenders are good but it's all about the sauce!), Thurman's Café (about 15 minutes from campus and famous for their oversized burgers), and Bistro 2110, which is a restaurant inside the Blackwell Hotel on campus. The restaurant is fine dining but the best part about it is that it accepts “blocks” from student meal plans. Usually at the end of the semester students will take their unused blocks and treat themselves to some fine dining instead of the regular dining hall food.
Q: How do you think that the LLI experience will prepare our graduates for college?
A: LLI prepares its graduates for college by allowing them to gain experience and get comfortable working in a high-expectation environment. College is a place where only your best efforts are acceptable. Students who can quickly adapt to the pace and expectations of a college course are not going to fail due to falling behind, they already know how to work and achieve in this setting. More practically, LLI students improve their writing, public speaking, and research skills throughout the four years in the program. Learning how to write and research at a college level while still in high school is an advantage not many students have. LLI is an amazing opportunity that prepares its students well for their undergraduate and graduate school careers.
Q: What advice would you give to current LLI Juniors and Seniors who are about to apply to college?
A: My advice to current LLI Juniors and Seniors goes back to what I said about timeliness, time management, and priorities. Be mindful of deadlines: missing them can result in unnecessary late fees or not being able to apply at all. Also, realize how great an opportunity LLI is! Right now I am sure you all are looking for a job or working. But LLI, college, and scholarship opportunities should be top priorities. Lastly, learn how to manage all of your commitments -- from school and classes to work and any extracurriculars.