How to Survive Multiple Identity Crises 101

It’s not a surprise to most people that college is a great time to really find out who you are. And usually that’s viewed as a very exciting and positive opportunity for personal growth. But what people don’t really think about (or maybe it’s just me, I was kind of naive like that) is how scary it can be when that person is completely different than who you were.

 

From high school I was used to being extremely involved and pretty well known publicly in my small town. I had centered my entire identity around being the cheerleading captain, a leader in the drumline, and key member of the drama club. I put so much focus on being the best at all these aspects and becoming a representative for these organizations, that I never stopped to work on who I was outside of them. But I was a big fish in a small pond, so when I came to campus these roles that I had known and embodied for so long were no longer a part of my life. It was really hard for me to find my fit on campus and I made it even harder on myself because I came into Ohio State with the mindset that I needed to focus on my academics first (because I was also going through and academic identity crisis but we’ll get to that in a little bit) and to do that I couldn’t waste time trying to find new organizations to join (**Spoiler alert** this was a bad decision, would not recommend).

 

 

But you know, I made the decision and I was going to commit to it gosh darn it. So instead, I worked on my personal identity crisis. Like I mentioned earlier, I came from a very small town and pretty much everybody held the same beliefs. My political views, religious beliefs, and outlook on life were all basically shaped based on the thoughts and opinions of everyone I was raised with. Now I was left on campus on my own because, despite being from central Ohio, I only knew a few people on campus and it was really up to me to make decisions for my life. It was especially hard to be going through this identity crisis with it being such a big political year because of the Presidential election. It’s a weird thing to have to rethink everything you’ve grown up believing.

So instead of taking the scary step to do that on my own, I took the easy way out and used the relationship I recently entered as a distraction. The problem with that was I put so much focus and effort into that relationship that I was used to be introduced as my boyfriend’s girlfriend. And unfortunately, when that relationship ended, I didn’t have that safety net anymore.

Now we’ll get to that academic identity crisis I promised earlier. When I applied to Ohio State senior year, I decided on a major in a very rough and pretty uninformed way. I basically floated through high school. And that’s not to say I skated by academically (I actually graduated top of my class) but I wasn’t passionate about anything. I went to school, took tests, and earned good grades. But there was never a moment that I thought “Hey, this is something I want to do for my whole life.” So I picked a major and pretty quickly figured out I was miserable in it. So here I was in my first year on my own: I didn’t have any extra curricular things I was involved in to take my mind off the fact that I didn’t like my major classes, I didn’t know what I stood for, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

With all that being said, the thing that I found helped me most was doing some personal research — specifically with political issues. I had to research both sides and decided where I stood as opposed to listening to those around me. But you don’t have to do that research alone. My hall director was super helpful in helping me find organizations and get involved on campus. And I turned to my academic advisor and my mom for advice when picking a new major. Now I’m not going to lie, it’s not something you deal with once and you’re done with it forever. I’m still pinning down who I am, I mean, just last week I dyed all my hair. But we don’t have to do it on our own!

Domestic Violence and College Campuses

In light of Heather Campbell’s recent tragic death, a senior psychology major here at Ohio State, I feel compelled to share a message to the campus about the signs of domestic violence. If you haven’t read the story of her death, you can read the Lantern article here.

In this post, I’m going to reference a couple of things. One is a national organization that recently formed a group here on campus called OneLove, and another is a blog post by another Ohio State student sharing her story and experience with domestic violence from a few years ago.

The United States Department of Justice defines domestic violence as “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic Violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.”

Being a victim of domestic violence could mean you’re the receiving end of abusive, or you’re living in a home where abusive behavior takes place; children who grow up witnessing domestic violence are among those seriously affected by this crime.

I think the conversation is important to have because in college the first real relationships we experience as young adults may start forming. We may ask ourselves every day whether or not we think a relationship is “going places”, but the line between a couple that’s not going anywhere or a couple that “has its problems” and a couple that exhibits abusive behavior can be a blurry one. Let’s map out the ten signs of an unhealthy relationship, defined by OneLove:

 

  • Intensity. This can mean having extreme feelings or behaviors that feel like it’s too much, or maybe too much too soon. Saying rash statements too early in the relationship like “I love you” or “I want to marry you” after a week or two of dating could be an example, or anything that feels like the early-stage infatuation is more like an obsession.
  • Jealousy. While completely normal to feel, this sign becomes unhealthy when the perpetrator lashes out or tries to control you because of it. If they get upset when you want to hang out with your friends or other people your partner may feel threatened by, if they accuse you of flirting or cheating with friends or classmates, or if they’re possessive over you even up until the point of stalking. (According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men become the victims of stalking, which causes the target to fear that she or he or someone close to them will be harmed or killed.)
  • Manipulation. If your partner tries to influence your decisions, actions, or emotions. This one is difficult to spot, but if your partner is convincing you to do things you wouldn’t normally feel comfortable with and they’re not backing down or acknowledging your apprehension, it’s considered abusive. Frequent apologies and gifts to influence your decisions is also a tactic of manipulation.
  • Isolation. Isolating you from friends, family, or any people is another sign. Your partner may make you choose between them and your friends, insist on spending all of your time together, and even influencing your judgement of your friends and family to the point of dependency on your partner for money, love, and acceptance.
  • Sabotage. Your partner may purposely ruin your reputation by obstructing your schedule to make you miss work, class, practice, anything that makes you productive and gives you a place in the world outside of them. If they talk poorly about you behind your back or threaten to share private information that you shared with them to hold leverage over you.
  • Belittling. If they constantly say things that insult you, hurt you, offend your friends and family, your physical appearance, etc. even if it’s all in “good fun”, eventually it adds up and turns dark, especially it felt a little painful in the first place.
  • Guilting. Making you feel guilty or responsible for your partner’s actions. If they cheat on you and they blame you, saying things like if you had been a better partner then maybe they wouldn’t have cheated. If they threaten to hurt themselves or others on behalf of your decision to leave them is also an example of guilting, or if they pressure you to do anything sexual you don’t want to consent to.
  • Volatility. If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells when speaking to your partner, like something you may say could accidentally cause them to explode on you, then this is an example of volatility. Mood swings, uncontrollable yelling, violent behaviors, threats, and causing fear in you. Volatility is also expressed in dramatic relationships that break up and get back together then break up and get back together again, feeling extreme highs and lows.
  • Deflecting responsibility. While it’s usually true and possible that abusive partners are suffering from their own mental health problems, putting the blame on these does not give them extra leeway to act in abusive manners. Examples of deflecting responsibility can include blaming you or other people in their past for their actions today, using alcohol or drugs as reason to continue acting this way, mental health conditions, past relationship issues, or divorced parents as reasons for lashing out or making hurtful decisions like cheating.
  • Betrayal. The difference in the way your partner acts around you and around others. They could be lying to you, purposely leaving you out of plans or conversations, being two-faced, or cheating.

 

Domestic violence and unhealthy relationships will feel cyclical, like recurring problems happening over and over again with the victim continuously needing to forgive the perpetrator, often feeling like they have no other choice due to mental and emotional manipulation or fear for physical harm on themselves, others, or their partner. The most common victims are women ages 18-24, so now is the time to know the signs and recognize them in your own or your friends’ relationships.

If you believe your friend may be in an abusive relationship, there are things you can do. Most likely, the person is in denial that anything “unhealthy” is happening, so they won’t share a lot of information or they’ll make up excuses for signs they’ve shown that you’ve noticed, like bruises or loud fights with their partner. Being an open ear that doesn’t force them into conversation is more important than ever. Saying things like “You’re always so fun to be around, I’ve missed you!” can make them feel loved and comfortable, and will encourage them to open up. Asking questions about specific behaviors instead of immediately throwing out labeling words like “abusive” will also trigger better responses from them, while the latter may cause them to shut down completely. Saying things like, “It kind of looks like your partner always wants to know where you are or what you’re doing or who you’re with. How does that make you feel?” Even sharing your own perspective about how it would make you feel if that were your partner can encourage them to see your perspective and reanalyze theirs. The conversation should remain friendly, not preachy. You’re not the counselor or the police officer, you’re the friend who could eventually hold their hand when they finally decide to go to those resources. Remember that relationships are complex, and that saying things like “just break up with them” won’t do any good; plus, you’re just another example of someone in their life trying to take control of their decisions. Continuously following up with them and offering resources at the right time can really help them get where they need to be. Some Ohio State resources currently available to students are Title IX and Student Legal Services, plus Counseling and Consultation Services to help with the post-relationship trauma.

If you believe your friend may be the abuser in a relationship, maybe ask questions about how the relationship has been going. If they exhibit signs of dissatisfaction with the relationship, nothing is wrong with asking questions about how you hear them screaming at each other a lot and you just want to make sure they can both enjoy a healthier relationship. Getting another mutual friend who has been concerned as well can help, and isolating the abusive partner and speaking from a place a love can get you a long way. Reaching out to the victim for advice on how to navigate the conversation can also be helpful, since the victim probably knows what sets them off the most. Just be aware that the victim may not want to talk to you about it, and may completely shut you out altogether. Abusers often feel the need to take control of their relationships because they don’t have control elsewhere in their lives, and identifying this can be a start to them realizing that the relationship is not the place to take it out, and that they need help. It is extremely possible that your friend will appreciate you reaching out and will want you to figure things out with. Mental and emotional trauma is not an easy thing to live with, but responding to it by abusing those around you are not acceptable, and we have a responsibility to address these actions when we see them.

If you’re still unclear about what an abusive relationship might look like, I encourage you to read this story about one Ohio State student and her experience, start to finish, with domestic violence.

Together, maybe we can save another Heather Campbell in this world.

Finding Your Blind Spot

What’s Your Blind spot?

I am a people pleaser. If someones me to do my automatic answer is almost yes. I have a fear of disappointing others… I would say that this is my blind spot. I am writing this article today because I have found a huge blind spot this semester. To clarify, a blind spot is where something obstructs your vision. You cannot tell that something is there… whatever it maybe. We all have blind spots and they are present in our everyday lives. My blind spot is seeing my fear of disappointment. I cannot disappoint myself or others. I try so hard to do everything I can for others, but I almost never do anything for me. When people ask me what are my hobbies, how I take care of myself, or really anything like that, I am stunned. I cannot answer that question. What do I do for me? I feel like that is something I shouldn’t be doing… that I should not be doing things for me, but for others. I almost see that as a selfish thing. It is extremely hard for me to say no or “I’m sorry I cannot do that.”

So this semester I decided now is the time for me. I need to give to myself. I need to pamper myself with love and with all the things I need in life to re-balance myself. I need to be clear and upfront about the things in my life that bother me. I need to detox from stress. Return back to working out… ( one of the first things I cut out of my life if it gets to busy). I need to pick up additional hobbies. Rock climbing, kayaking, painting are all thing I want to start. This past weekend I’ve been looking for Bob Ross paint kits, so I can start fulfilling the things I want.

Image result for bob ross memes

Self Care

I am just starting this journey of self care but I want you to be aware of this, too! Start figuring out what will help you be the best you. What is your blind spot? Is it like mine and you cannot say no? Or maybe you say no too much? It could be the way you communicate or really anything that you don’t see yourself doing (or doing too much of!). I only could find my blind spot when someone told me. Asking “What are things that I do that I don’t notice I do?” may help. You may learn funny quirky things that you do… you also might notice something that may concern you. If anything, we at FYE are here to help. Let’s find our blind spots.

 

2016/2017 Retrospective

Four awesome things and four sucky things from my junior year

Math minor

I officially declared and officially finished my math minor! My math class was hard, and at the beginning of the semester I thought about dropping it, but I pushed through and I made it out with a B, which is a grade that I am extremely proud of!

This was probably one of the biggest highlights of my year just because of the struggles I went through in my math classes previously. I started out as a math major, and after getting a couple Cs in my courses and really struggling to stay motivated, I realized math wasn’t for me. This was hard to come to terms with because I felt that by not completing my math degree, I was failing myself. I had always based my self-worth on my intelligence and math skills, and to suddenly feel like I wasn’t good enough took a toll on my self-esteem. By completing my math minor, I was able to reassure myself that I am intelligent and that I can succeed.

Volunteering

I completed 50 hours of training and started volunteering for the Suicide Hotline in Columbus! This is something I have been trying to do for over a year, but it never worked with my schedule. Finally, I felt comfortable enough in my own mental health and had the ability to fit it into my schedule.

Several years ago I needed a suicide hotline, and now to give back, it feels as if I am helping my 15-year-old self get through those tough times. I see myself in every caller, and it just makes the experience of volunteering that much more meaningful to me.

Involvement

I was re-elected onto the executive board of Pride OSU and will now serve as the Vice President of this student organization. This student org. has given me so many great friends and a better confidence in who I am.

Freshman me was so nervous about coming out of the closet, and Pride OSU gave me a place to really figure out myself and feel comfortable that it is okay to be gay. Having a space that I didn’t have to pretend made all the difference when I decided to come out to my other friends and my family.

Summer plans

I decided to go to Europe for a month this summer. Bought a plane ticket to Paris for May 4! Having summer plans made getting through this semester just that much easier since I always have something to look forward to.

Relationship issues

I had been in a relationship for over 5 ½ years until just last month. Overall, it was a difference in values that ended our relationship. We had just each changed too much in different directions to make it work anymore. But I think that the timing of it was perfect. I had so many people that were supportive and I have so many things to look forward to. I have always been a very independent person, so I have a lot of things that I did on my own that gave me a sense of self-worth. Break-ups are almost a universal reality, but they don’t have to be all that bad. In some ways, this was a sucky thing, but it also was an awesome thing, too.

Money issues

Okay I will totally own up to the fact that I am bringing my own money issues onto myself. I mean, I am taking a month-long vacation to Europe. Mainly, this has been a challenge for me because it is the first big purchase that I have had to budget for. Budgeting is hard. I also have to think about what my finances are going to look like for my senior year of college and then what that means for my post-grad education and career. It feels like the rest of my life is right in front of me. And that’s scary.

Self care

With depression, suddenly even the littlest things like showering and doing laundry become arduous tasks. One missed class becomes two, which becomes three, and suddenly the grades are dropping. Self-care is hard to keep up on, but it is so important. I’ve learned that the best self-care is preventative: setting up things in advance to make sure any breakdown is a minor one.

Just school in general

We can all agree that school is difficult. And sometimes life gets in the way, whether it’s a family emergency, a really bad case of the sniffles, or several professors conspiring to make all your assignments due the same exact day (ya feel?). From my experience, junior year has the most difficult classes and is the last year that grad schools will see grades from, so the pressure to do your best is the highest.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting…Your Second Year to be Different

You are nearing the end of your first year at Ohio State! You’re probably studying for finals, maybe figuring out your summer plans, or possibly thinking about your second year already. Whatever the case, I’m glad you are here, because I am going to share about how my second year was different than my first year.

As I returned to campus for my second year, my mindset was different than the previous year. This time around, I felt more confident and prepared. I knew the drill when it came to classes and living on campus. I had time to think about how to approach other aspects of my second year, like applying for my major, committing time to my involvement, and working an on-campus job. In my first year, the majority of my time and efforts was spent on academics; I didn’t have many other responsibilities. I was nervous to see how my new commitments fit in with my course load. I was approaching my second year with excitement and caution. I wanted to continue good standing in my classes, but I was also ready to take advantage of opportunities to help me grow outside the classroom. As I would learn over the course of second year, it is all about learning what’s important to you and finding a balance.

In my first year, I developed some habits that needed to be adjusted for success in my second year. Most of these habits were related to academics: where I studied, how I studied, and when I studied. I started to realize that I did not organize or structure my school work during my first year. This became a big problem for me at the start of my second year. My increased involvement and work forced me to re-evaluate my studying strategies. I learned that I needed to plan when I would work on homework or study for classes in order to do my best. For me, setting small goals for what I wanted to accomplish during a study session was very helpful. During my first year, it was nearly impossible for me to study in my room. I was constantly distracted and unmotivated when I found myself at my own desk. It was challenging for me to study in my room at the beginning of my second year, but I wanted to break that trend. By using my planning and goal-setting strategies, I learned to be disciplined and stay focused when studying in my room. These are just some ways that I have changed since my first year.

The biggest difference that I have seen between my first and second year at Ohio State is in how I spend my time. My first year was a stream of random events and occurrences that were squeezed in between my classes and homework. During my second year, I took time to think about what my priorities were and I ranked them in a top ten list. I then looked at my calendar for a given week and totaled the amount of time that I spent on each of those priorities. I was surprised to find that my priorities were disconnected from what I spent my time doing. I was motivated to change this and began thinking of ways that I could align my time with my priorities. Often you hear about time management skills and how important they are to success in college. I found that filtering my time through my priorities has been the best way to find a balance for my time. I was able to fully invest in my job and involvement while staying on top of my studies, and most importantly, I enjoyed what I was doing.

Your second year isn’t bound to look like mine, but I hope you found my experience helpful. My best advice to you is to reflect on your first year. Think about what you learned and how you grew as a student. I encourage you to think about how your second year might look different and what you can do to prepare yourself. I didn’t think very much about how my second year would go. Take advantage of the opportunity that you have to form some second year expectations and how you will approach reaching your goals, it will serve you well.

The Fear of Failure

Hi.

My name is Bertha Kim and I am a failure.

If you scroll through my Instagram or read my resume, it might look like my life is a series of fun-filled over-achievements: I am the vice president of a sorority, senator for Ohio State’s Undergraduate Student Government, I have two jobs, and I’m on the Dean’s list at a top ranked, prestigious university. I am a girl with many friends and a supportive family, who has fun adventures and likes to travel. This is probably not who you think of when you think FAILURE.

However, I am a failure.

Since I was a young child, I have always hated failing but somehow still managed to fail consistently. I kept seeing red “X’s” next to my spelling test during elementary school and could never beat my friends in Super Mario Bros. To be honest, failing has always made me feel embarrassed and I felt this pressure to avoid it at all costs. As I got older, I realized this pressure I felt was a combination of failing and the fear of not wanting to fail.

As a high school senior, I was (what I considered to be) a failure. I wasn’t the school’s valedictorian and I got rejected from my dream university. I remember late nights of staying up, thinking what I could’ve done better to reach those aspirations and feeling anxious that I would always be a failure.

Then came college. I never knew that there were so many different aspects of failing until I got here! I knew that it was academically challenging at Ohio State, but let me tell you, freshman year general chemistry is rough. I remember receiving my first ever F — flat out less than a 50% — on an exam. College was hard and once again, those feelings of failure crept in.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, I then failed when it came to being social and finding a friend group. Coming from out-of-state, I knew no one at this enormous university. At first I thought that I could easily make friends, only to find out that I am actually super awkward. It was hard for me to find that “group of friends” but for some reason it felt as if everyone else found theirs. The first couple of months I realized I was failing at the social aspect of college, which then led me to stop trying.

I was too afraid to join any clubs or get involved on campus because I feared that it would be uncomfortable and that I couldn’t make any friends that way either. The fear of failure got in the way of my ambitions and my freshman year schedule looked something similar to this:

Class

Eat

Nap

Study

Sleep

I just couldn’t live like that for another year. Luckily, I realized this before it was too late and I still had time to change my attitude and get the most out of my college experience. I applied to internships and got involved with clubs to make the most out of my college years. Freshman year was such a tiring year for me and I constantly felt like a failure. I was someone with big dreams and it was time for me to face my failures and make those dreams a reality.

Fast forward two years and here I am now: a student who is doing well and involved at a huge campus. However, the fear of failure is still lurking over me daily. As I wrap up my junior year, I am preparing to take the MCAT and apply to medical school. Because I am petrified of failing again, I find myself returning to my old mindset of giving up before I even try. I have skipped MCAT classes just to ponder in my bed, wondering what would happen if I confronted my fears. Even as I write this, I feel like a failure and it’s getting in the ways of my dreams.

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Simply speaking, this is not how one would want to live life. Life is hard, and I have to come realize that failing is a very real part of it. So breathe. I know it’s so much easier said than done, but listen: it does get better. I have learned that your fears do not define who you are and that whatever stage in life you happen to be in, there will always be  the very real fear of failing.

I usually don’t have the greatest of advice, but I do advise each and every one of you reading this to find an outlet when you feel like you are drowning in your “failures.” That might be dancing to a good song (highly recommend dancing it out to Chance the Rapper) or going on a good run…for me it was talking to a therapist. Whatever destresses you, go do it!

I still struggle with these fears from time to time, but I try to just accept my failures. What makes me special and beautiful is that I’m me and no failure can stop that. So yes, I still fail and I will always fail at things, but it won’t and can’t get in the way of what I want to do with my life.

I’m Bertha Kim, a failure, but also a girl with a lot dreams who’s ready to tackle them with deep breaths and a smile on her face.

I’ll end this blog with a quote of one of my favorite people…

“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” -Ellen DeGeneres.

Trending Tuesday

What’s trending on campus this week?

1. Officially survived your first semester of college!

2. One week down of spring semester!

3. We can finally walk across campus without fear of slipping on ice!

4. Still looking to get involved with a student org? The Spring Involvement Fair is this Thursday (1/19) from 4-7 at the Union.

5. Students made their day off a day on by serving Columbus at the MLK Day of Service!

6. It’s time to register for spring intramural sports!

14 things FYE Peer Leaders want you to know about the PL role

Tyler

TYLER | This job tests your character. It will show your true colors, and how deep your heart truly is, in the blink of an eye. This can be a marvelous opportunity for people, but only if you let it. It is a job that allows you take it as far as you want to take it.

garcia-joanie

JOANIE | I don’t think I can fully explain how much this position has meant to me; it has not only shaped my Ohio State experience, but the students I mentor as well. It’s being a new Buckeye’s friend in times of hardship, listening to their stories about the highs and the lows, or even seeing them find success in their curricular and co-curricular experiences where they find a sense of belonging. Being a Peer Leader is much more than a job; it really is a lifestyle.

bradley-becca

BECCA | Helping first-year students navigate the ups and downs of college has helped me put things into perspective. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, or someone to tell them they are on the right track. That can give them the confidence that they need. Being a Peer Leader is being that extra layer of support for the students who need it most. Through the Peer Leader position, there are opportunities to make a big impact in helping students find their home here on campus.

williams-alan

ALAN Being a Peer Leader has been a great experience for me. It has allowed me to meet and make connections with a lot of great people. It has been really rewarding to help them adjust into college and watching them successfully adjust is absolutely the highlight of my job. I recommend any student applying for this role because it gives you the ability to have a positive impact on a very large number of people.

oconnor-shane

SHANE | At such a large university, there are many resources and people you may never need. However, there are many times that people need help but do not realize there is an office or person that can help them with exactly that situation. As a Peer Leader, you learn not only how to help others, but also where to go if you do not know yourself.

taylor-jenkins-tennea

TENNEA | As a Peer Leader, you have to be relatable. It’s important to remember that you are a student first, and that is what makes this role so valuable. Your own experiences will help you help others, but you have to be willing to share them.

edwards-kierra

KIERRA I am beyond proud to say that because I took a chance, I had a great summer, made many memories, made awesome friends who I would not have made otherwise, was introduced to many opportunities, meet awesome students, learned that I love to help others, and grew an even bigger love for The Ohio State University.

cox-corey

COREY As a Peer Leader, I have found great reward in sharing my experiences with first-year students here at Ohio State. During my first year, there were a lot of ups and downs, but I found my way through the rough patches. I learned a lot through those experiences, and this job has allowed me to share that with new first year students. I truly enjoy helping students find success here at Ohio State on a personal level.

ellis-kourtney

KOURTNEY | Think of everything you have learned throughout your college experience! Use that information to help first-year students! What do you wish you knew starting at Ohio State? As a Peer Leader, I am able to inform students about the resources around them and help them to make connections on campus and make Ohio State feel more like a community and home.

braggs-ken

KEN | Being a Peer Leader is not something to take lightly. It’s no easy feat. It’s not something you do to build a resume. You do it for the love and care you have for your students.

kim-bertha

BERTHA | When I first applied to the position, I was excited for the opportunity; however, I didn’t know that I would gain leadership skills and so much support from First Year Experience. This last semester, I also learned the importance of accountability, responsibility, and servant leadership. This office has taught me to be the leader I always wanted to be.

tomak-kayla

KAYLA | Several times a week, I get texts and emails from coworkers, supervisors, and even first-year students encouraging me to be healthy, happy, and successful in my own journey. I feel like I have 300 Peer Leaders of my own that want the best for me. This isn’t just a job- it’s a family.

ward-cyrah

CYRAH | This position is a great role for students who want to be involved with incoming first-year students in a way far beyond simply helping them move in. This position is also a great way to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. The most rewarding part of this position is seeing your students transition into college amazingly with the help of your love and guidance.

A.J Zanyk Photography 2015

SARAH | I am thankful for the opportunity the Peer Leader role has given me to support new students to the university. I am extremely thankful for the support I received during my first year at Ohio State and the Peer Leader role has allowed me to return the favor to other new students. It has been extremely rewarding to support new students and I have been able to grow and develop new skills in the process.


The application for the 2017-2018 FYE Peer Leader position is now available. Learn more and apply online at http://go.osu.edu/plapp. Applications are due by Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Happy holidays!

 

Did Somebody Say Finals Week?

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the Oval is full of life. In the forefront of your mind, you are likely thinking about the summer plans taking place shortly. No matter what you will be doing, we all need some relaxation time! Amidst all of this happiness, you realize that the semester is almost over… meaning finals week is soon approaching us. Finals week this time of year can be a challenge for a few reasons:

  • The weather is beautiful and you want to spend every moment outside
  • This might be your last time on campus until the fall, so you want to take in every moment
  • You have to saying goodbye and see you later to the many friends you have made this year
  • You’re excited about summer plans and a long, much needed break

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some tips to tackle finals week and stay on top- even when you have spring fever.

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

The most precious thing that we have as college students is time. With only two weeks left and a lot to do, good time management is key. Make a list of things you have to get done each day. The key is to set small goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. For me, I make a to-do list for each day and set small, realistic tasks I know I can accomplish. Plus, it is so gratifying to finish a to-do list!

Use the outdoors to your advantage

The idea of being stuck inside the library for the next two weeks seems sad, but if you utilize the great spaces on campus you can enjoy the outdoors, too. Even if studying outside isn’t for you, try taking a a break by walking or tossing a Frisbee outside.

  • Study outside on a bench, picnic table, or grass
  • The courtyard in Hagerty Hall is a great place to study and relax
  • Try the nice grassy courtyard in between Park-Stradley and Siebert Halls

Take advantage of Reading Day

The Office of Student Life puts on an an entire day of free activities and events. Take a study break with some friends or even try a workout class to give your brain a rest. You can check out the schedule online for this year’s reading day, which is Tuesday, April 26.

Coordinate when you are moving out

With all of the assignments and studying, you might forget that you will need to make plans to move out of your residence hall if you live on campus. Talk to your RA or reach out to your Peer Leader if you need packing advice and travel tips, and review the information on the housing website to make sure you’re following move-out procedures correctly.

Make plans to stay in touch with your friends

All of your friends might be done with finals at different times, so it is important to stay on top of this. Plan ways to stay in touch with your friends over the summer, whether that be through Skype, texting, or even a trip! Having some trouble thinking of ways to stay in touch with your friends? Contact a Peer Leader!

Be thankful!

One of my most important values is gratitude, for a simple thank you goes a long way. I would not be at the place I am now without the professors, friends, and family who have guided me through my Ohio State journey. Make sure to thank those that made an impact on you before you leave for the summer. Here are a few ideas of people to thank:

  • The professor in the class you really enjoyed this semester, or the TA who helped you in your class
  • The cashier at the Ohio Union who always swiped your BuckID
  • The cleaning staff in your residence hall who made your building clean and safe
  • Your RA for building community and supporting you throughout your first year of college
  • The friends you have made at Ohio State
  • Your family for supporting you along this journey

With these tips, I hope you can tackle finals week. Take a deep breath and enter finals week organized, and of course thankful for a great first year.

Self-Reflection Through Self-Expression

You’re about to make it through your first year of college in one piece (knock on wood). That’s a big deal, so give yourself some credit! My freshman year was so opposite of what I envisioned coming out of high school; it was actually one of the most challenging years of my life–socially, academically, psychologically, you name it. Despite the tough times, the real problem was that I–like countless others–tended to push the bad memories off to the side and focus on the good. However, I’ve learned the times I grew the most as a person were the times I was barely holding on. If you look back on the year without rose-colored glasses, you can really discover what worked and what didn’t, helping you to be cognizant of those things the second time through this fall! 

Now, there are many options for self-reflection. The great thing about it is that it’s for yourself, so you can make what you want out of it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:


Journaling

Claaaassic.

When people think of self-reflection, journaling is often the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a great way of getting thoughts onto paper and allows a space of unfiltered reflection. If you’re feeling super crazy, you could buy yourself a nice notebook and some sweet pens, too. 


Poetry

I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it, but I think it’s time I show it.

I’ve recently found poetry to be a really cool way of expressing what I’m feeling in an abbreviated form. The extra attention it takes for word choices and having to think through things like rhyme and rhythm (or not!) helps you to think about what you’re feeling and what you’re trying to say.


Music

“Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go…”

Whether it’s putting sound to poetry, playing your favorite tunes on your favorite instrument, or just indulging in a few emotionally engaging songs, music as the universal language is a fantastic way of expressing and experiencing emotion without ever having to open your eyes!


Visual Art

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Whether you sketch, paint, photograph, etc., a visual representation of what you’ve been experiencing throughout your first year is a powerful way to express your feelings. It’s not an art contest; it’s for your own self-expression, so don’t be too critical on yourself if you aren’t the second coming of Michelangelo!


Whether you had the best year ever, or the worst of all time, reflecting back on it while it’s still fresh in your mind is something that can be helpful, rather than bottling it all up. Expressing yourself in some form can help you to know how to build upon your success this year, but just as important, how to take what you’ve been through and grow and learn from your shortcomings. Once you’ve taken the opportunity to look back and discover where you’ve grown–and need to continue to grow–you can look to the future with confidence that you’re a better version of yourself because of it. 

I recently wrote a poem about my first year struggles and how I dealt with it. If you’re interested, you can check it out here!