Student profiles

Former game show contestant counts herself as the summer's big winner

Dacotah Splichalova

Dacotah Splichalova

Oregon State University student Dacotah Splichalova has experienced some life-altering experiences in recent years. The first was being shot out of a cannon into the Pacific Ocean on NBC's hit TV show "Fear Factor" in 2005.

The other, believe it or not, came last summer in the form of a math class and two other courses that required strenuous physical activity during OSU Summer Session. Such are the transformative powers of an OSU education.

Splichalova, a  pre-med student who also works on campus with TRiO Student Support Services, became somewhat of a popular figure among the OSU Summer Session staff after her all-out performance in the Trek for Tuition challenge in May. She spent an hour frantically running around campus in boots and a skirt as part of the competition. (She didn't win, unfortunately.)

We got a kick out of her enthusiasm, so we decided to check in with her again to hear what she had to say about summer at OSU:

1. You elected to take OSU Summer Session classes rather than sleep in and spend your days watching "Spongebob" reruns. Why'd you do it?

Why not? I enjoy involving myself in activities and opportunities that I haven't engaged in prior. Also, it was actually much easier to register for the classes that I've really been wanting to take — or classes that I've been avoiding for reasons of pure dread (math). No excuses for me during summer session.

I was already going to be on campus (working) throughout the summer, and I wanted to also experience the summer session culture: accelerated coursework, more office hours available from instructors, more section options for courses, and I believe participating in the Trek for Tuition was a large motivator to take summer courses. My efforts there proved to myself how incredibly dedicated I am to my studies — especially if there is the chance to support my education with extra funds.

2. What was your course load like this summer?

I carried six credits during this year's summer session. (FYI: If I would've rocked winning the Trek for Tuition, I would've taken a full course load. Alas, that was not the case. I will never sprint in my cowboy boots again.)

I took one math course that has changed my life forever and two very early, daily PAC classes — Running and Jogging followed by Yoga I. I highly recommend this activity combination if you can swing it.

3. It's easy to let your grades slip because of all the summertime distractions, so fess up: How'd you do in your classes?

I landed a perfect 4.0 GPA. I really took advantage of my teachers' office hours, which are extended during summer session. I was told that I was the only student that used them. Really? That's great for me, as it has paid off, no?

4. What's your favorite memory of spending this summer on campus?

I believe my math instructor, Dr. Derron Coles, is not from this world, as he has influenced me to "love" math. The words love and math have never been placed anywhere near one another in my lifetime. I believe that anything is possible now.

The early morning PAC classes were extremely motivating to get me up and get my day going. At first I was profoundly tired immediately following two hours of extreme physical activity, and this presented a struggle for me in trying very hard to keep my body and mind alert in my math class. But my body soon adjusted and I now have noticeably more energy and "alertness" throughout my day than before entering summer session.

I'm actually so inspired from my progress within my PAC running class (Daniel Roberson is a great teacher) that I've made the commitment to run the Newport Marathon in June. (I hear they give out oyster shooters at miles 11 and 17 — just my kind of event!)

5. In five words or less, tell us why should every student take advantage of summer session this year?

Life-changing, energizing, fun, worthwhile, serendipitous.