Before beginning my first year at Ohio State, I was aware of many new changes: more responsibilities, a new city, a whole new living environment, larger classes and, of course, independence. However, there were many things that I did not anticipate.
Now a ripened old senior, I hope to share a few tidbits of advice with the newest Buckeyes. I have included four problems you may not expect to run into your first year and my tips for finding a solution.
Problem: Transportation without your own car
Perhaps Stow, Ohio isn’t bursting with things to do but my chipped and dented Honda Accord got me where I was going. For those of you who used to drive around town, dancing from your seat and blasting music from your beloved high school vehicle, be ready to say goodbye to your wheels (unless you are a lucky commuter) and say hello to the three Cs of college transportation.
COTA: Bus transportation to the Columbus area–take the #2 to travel down High Street!
CABS: Your bus system to get you around campus–use the mobile app, OSU BUS, to find nearby routes
CARPOOLING: Need to go home for a long weekend? At such a large school chances are someone in your residence hall is from the same area or state as you, so make friends and save your parents some driving!
Problem: Balancing the little things
Often the simple things–the ones you overlook–are the most difficult to balance. Get ready for the BIG DADDY of the little things: TIME MANAGEMENT.
With new opportunities every day, so many fun things to do, and great people to meet, you may find that it is hard to follow a regular schedule. My recommendation? Take time to make trips to your favorite dining hall with friends, go for walks on the Oval, join a club or attend your campus events; however, find balance between studying, socializing and SLEEPING (in class is not the solution).
True story: By not taking time for our health, my roommates became susceptible to illnesses and my brief bout with mono from high school came back full force to strike even harder in college! Taking time to rest could have saved me from falling asleep on my calculus final!
Create a healthy schedule and set aside a reasonable amount of time every night to sleep. Make this a priority! If you risk starting your homework at midnight, be prepared for the exhaustion to take a toll on your body, immune system and your effectiveness in school.
Problem: Living with roommates “in sickness and in health”
One of the biggest adjustments I had to make in college was when I became ill and had to make an appointment to the doctor for the first time by myself. I was sick, lonely and absolutely TERRIFIED.
- Be prepared for small living quarters! The common cold can spread very quickly if you aren’t diligently washing your hands and avoiding shared drinks and food.
- Exercise, get plenty of sleep, and eat balanced and nutritious meals.
- Hand sanitizer.
Don’t be afraid to make an appointment!
When I called ahead and made an appointment at the Wilce Student Health Center, I was warmly welcomed by the ladies at the front desk; they called me “baby” and I never wanted to leave (I may form attachments easily). I met with a wonderful doctor, received my diagnosis and was soon on my way. If you need a prescription, you can even pay at the full-service pharmacy using your BuckID cash!
Problem: Schoolwork overload
One thing that I was totally unprepared for was the amount of work I would be faced with in college.
In college, your schoolwork becomes your full-time job. Although you may only be in class for about 15 hours per week, the amount of material and homework you are expected to cover tends to amount to at least 40 hours per week. That means an average amount of 5-8 hours of additional studying every night.
How can you succeed?
1. BE PREPARED, BUDGET YOUR TIME: Know what is expected of you and keep up with your assignments! Make schoolwork a priority during the day and between classes so that you have more time to relax during the weekend.
2. FOLLOW THE SYLLABUS: Unlike high school where you might have had a rough outline for what you will learn during the year, college professors tend to follow the assignments and readings on the syllabus PRECISELY. You will not be reminded of the work you are expected to be completing; instead, you’ll use your syllabus to track those deadlines. You will be expected to come to lectures prepared, meaning half of the learning process is expected to take place during your own time.
3. SEEK OUT RESOURCES: Struggle with learning things from simply reading or by yourself? Do not fear! At a large school, there are ENDLESS opportunities for you to get help. However, it falls on your shoulders to seek them out and actually show up.
- Group study sessions: learn from your peers!
- Office hours: weekly meeting times set aside by your professors to speak directly with them!
- Free tutoring: in mathematics, chemistry, writing, etc. and in your own residence halls!
I hope you are as eager to begin your journey as I was and that these solutions lead to a successful first year!
With Buckeye Love,