5 Things to Keep in Mind When Renting Off Campus

November, like every other month, is an exciting time at Ohio State. Between the semester starting to wrap up, Beat Michigan Week, and Thanksgiving, there’s plenty to do this month on and off campus. Something else that’s exciting, but can also be incredibly stressful, is figuring out where you want to live next year.

“But Andy!” you say, “I remember move-in day like it was yesterday.  And now you expect me to already think about where I want to live next year?!”

Well anonymous voice, the good news is that if you’re choosing to return to campus and live in a residence hall again, your housing contract isn’t even issued until second semester, so you have plenty of time to decide on specifics. However, if you want to live off campus, now is the time to start looking for housing. Most rental companies are already giving tours and signing leases, so it’s in your best interest to get started now. After all, you want plenty of options when looking for your dream apartment!

Here are five essentials to keep in mind as you begin your off-campus search.

1. Establish a Price Range (and Keep Utilities and Furnishings in Mind)

To many, price is the most important criterion when looking for an apartment or house. After all, college isn’t cheap, and housing is one of the most expensive things you’ll spend your money on besides tuition. Most leasing companies allow you to search properties by cost on their website, so determine the amount you’re willing to spend every month and begin your search from there. Remember, most landlords are going to ask you to sign a lease for a full year going through the summer, so take into account an extra three months rent if you’re going to move back home. Also, don’t forget about the less obvious fees such as monthly utilities and furnishing your apartment.

2. Figure Out Your Ideal Location

There are plenty of options in terms of location depending on what is most convenient for you. If you’re a business major, consider staying north so you don’t have to walk too far to get to your classes. If being close to the Chipotle on High Street is a deal-breaker, think about staying closer to south campus.  There are even rental locations far away from campus that are available if you don’t mind driving in or taking the bus every day! If you decide to go that route, factor in the cost of a parking pass if you plan to drive to campus.

3. Don’t Forget About Laundry!

As a student in a residence hall, all it takes to do laundry is loading up your BuckID and walking down to the laundry room. However, it’s not always that simple when it comes to off-campus housing. When you look at a house, don’t forget to check whether or not there’s a laundry hookup, a common laundry area, or no laundry at all. Chances are you won’t want to have to walk or drive to a laundromat where you’re going to have to pay a higher rate than campus laundry for every load.

4. Take Full Advantage of the USG’s Renter’s Guide

Every year, OSU’s Undergraduate Student Government publishes a Renter’s Guide that provides extensive data and reviews on most rental companies with properties near campus. The guide is based on student responses to questions on topics such as rental cost and how satisfied the student was with the property and landlord. This is undoubtedly the most reliable way to learn about different landlords in the area, and with it you can see a list to compare different realty companies.

5. Don’t Hesitate to Ask OSU Student Legal Services to Look Over Your Lease

A lease is a legal contract, so once you sign it you’re obligated to follow it and are bound to its terms for the stated length. This is probably one of the first, if not the first, legal contract you’ve ever had to sign — so you want to be absolutely sure you understand and agree with everything listed, such as whether or not the landlord can increase your rent during the year you’re leasing and whether or not you have to buy something like renter’s insurance. OSU Student Legal Services staffs trained legal professionals who are here to help you, and chances are you already paid for their services in your yearly tuition.

Don’t end up with a landlord like this!

Ask Dr. Jenna*: Tips for Flu Season Away from Home

I think I suffer from a perpetual cold. Maybe it’s spending time outside walking to class, or maybe my immune system is just wimpy, but I swear my nose is drippy from October to March (too much info? maybe).

Sometimes that cold turns into something worse, and you’re stuck in bed, missing class, and wanting your mom to take care of you. Trust me, I’ve been there. Whether you’re already hacking up a lung or desperately trying to avoid it, here are some quick tips for beating (and avoiding) the flu.

Take Preventive Action

Get your flu shot.

ASAP. The Wilce Student Health Center has walk-in hours for flu shots, which cost $30. Depending on your insurance, though, part or all of this cost may be covered. Additionally, places like the CVS Minute Clinic also provide flu shots. As a clarification, you cannot get the flu from the shot. The shot contains dead virus of the most prevalent strains predicted for this year. If you do get sick around the same time, it’s possible you could have picked another variant close to when you were vaccinated.

Wash your hands frequently.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but take a minute to think about all the public things you touch on a regular basis: door knobs, hand rails, even your BuckID can harbor bacteria. If you don’t have time to run to the bathroom constantly (who does?), Bath and Body Works has mini hand-sanitizers in scents that scream fall and are $1 a piece. I know I like to smell like a PSL at all times. If you’re looking for something more traditional, check out CVS or take a CABS ride to Target at Lennox.

Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. 

Getting more than 6 or 7 hours a night may seem impossible during midterm season, but make sure you are getting your rest. Your body needs that time to recharge and fight off infection, so if you feel illness coming on, hop into bed an hour or so earlier than you usually do. You’ll be happy you did. Also, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Sipping from a reusable bottle during lecture will help you pay attention and help drown out virus in your body. If you have a sore throat, there are tons of varieties of tea available on campus (my personal favorite is orange chai)! And if you bring your reusable mug, you can refill for the price of a small, SCORE.

 

If you are sick, stay home!

Don’t spread your germs to your friends and peers.

It can be nerve-wracking to miss class, especially if attendance is mandatory, but if you’re sick, you’re sick. If you are able, go to the Wilce Center and see a doctor to get an excuse from class. If you are not that ill, just email your professor and/or TA to let them know you won’t be in class. Taking the responsibility to find out what you missed is a good way to earn good graces with them. Most are understanding and offer one or two freebie absences for illness. Also, be sure to grab the lecture notes from a friend or online if they upload them to Carmen.

Again, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.

At this point in the semester, you probably have a few extra blocks piling up. Kindly ask your roommate to grab you some soup and Powerade from the C-Store. This way, you won’t be missing out on all your nutrients just because you are bedridden.

I hope these tips are helpful for you as cold and flu season pick up.

*I am not a doctor, I just thought the title was clever. If you think something is wrong, definitely seek out medical advice from your primary care provider.

Stay healthy!

Behind the Title: Academic Advisor

One of the first people first-year students have in their corner is their academic advisor. I sat down with Shannon Peltier, an academic advisor with Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, to learn more about what advisors have to offer and why students should visit them.

What are the most common reasons students visit their advisors?

Most students see us for adding and dropping classes, and for scheduling concerns. Not enough students see us for referrals to other resources.

What resources do advisors offer that more students should utilize?

Really, students can see us for any problem, even if you’re sick for a week and miss class, we can refer you to student advocacy or elsewhere. You can come to us if you’re feeling lost, not feeling right about your major.

Really, it’s anything. If you don’t know who to ask, ask your academic advisor. We can refer you to student legal services, landlord services. We are trained to know Ohio State’s resources—emotionally and academically related—from scheduling, finding your major, interview prep, or any smaller details of your life at Ohio State.

What are some common mistake students make in their first year?

Not dropping classes they should have. As Ohio State becomes more competitive, a lot of students were in the top of their class in high school: they never had to study, never had to ask for help. Some students are too stubborn or don’t realize that dropping is an option. Editor’s note: be aware of your credit hours; dropping below full-time–12 credit hours–could impact your financial aid.

Another mistake, going along with that, is not seeking tutoring resources we have here. Some students see it as a challenge to their sense of self, to ask for help when they might benefit from it.

What would you say to a student considering changing their major?

I’d say, “Why do you want to change? What drew you to the major you have in the first place?” and then we’d look for something similar that might suit your skill sets. I’d have them talk about their long-term goals, where they see themselves in the next five years after graduation, and figure out how to help them get there.

I might also refer them to other advising offices, or to university exploration to help narrow down their choices. Another great resource is the Counseling and Consultation Service, to help with any emotional side to changing a major.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I’d have to say seeing the moment when the student “gets it”—whatever “it” is. Whether it’s a major or realizing they can start their own student organization, it’s just such a growing moment, an empowering moment for them.

What are some resources on campus that students should utilize more?

Oh, Ohio State has so many resources. I think a mistake some students make is not getting familiar enough with everything Ohio State offers. You’re not just here getting a degree, you’re crafting who you want to be. You have to think about, “where are you going?” and then find what at Ohio State can get you there.

More specifically, the Writing Center is a great tool students should take more advantage of. The Wellness Center is always doing supportive and innovative things. And we’re a research university, and more students could always be involved in undergraduate research. I don’t think some students realize how easy that is.

What is your favorite Ohio State tradition?

It might sound really corny, but the singing of Carmen Ohio on senior day at the football stadium. It’s just really beautiful—the words take on an extra depth.

What else would you like first-year students to know?

I’d like them to know that advisors want you to come see us! The days I hate are the ones with no appointments and no one to talk to. We’re here to help you gain life skills.

31 Ways Your First Year is Like Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream

Ohio State was founded in 1870 as a land-grant university. 75 years later in 1945, two hopeful entrepreneurs created an international sensation and paved the way for ice cream shops. This sensation is now known as Baskin-Robbins, which originally featured 31 ice cream flavors – one for each day of the month. Oddly enough, these 31 ice cream are similar to different aspects of your first year. Here is a fun and lighthearted list of what you may experience during your first year at Ohio State, represented by Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors.

1. Creole Cream Cheese: Get ready for a whole new experience.

2. Chocolate: Use campus resources for a rich, smooth transition.

3. Lemon Custard: Like some untraditional flavors, you may need to adjust to some things. 

4. Peppermint Stick: Many aspects will be fresh and new.

5. Banana Nut Fudge: Like the many ingredients in this flavor, there will be so many things to do.

6. Maple Syrup: Love syrup? Get a side with some pancakes at Sloopy’s Diner. 

7. Egg Nog: During the holiday season, be sure to go to Light Up the Lake.

8. Rock ‘n Pop Swirl Sherbet: Want some exercise? Dance to the music at BuckeyeThon.

9. Splish Splash Yogurt: Get your swim on at the RPAC (the pools are amazing!).

10. Amazing Spider-Man 2: See your favorite movie on the Oval with OUAB.

11. German Chocolate Cake: Visit German Village.

12. Baseball Nut: See a Clippers baseball game downtown.

13. Cherry Macaroon: Maybe you come here and find that special someone, that “cherry to your macaroon.” Go for a romantic walk around Mirror Lake (see #2 on this list of romantic places)…

14. Love Potion #31: …and maybe even win his or her heart.

15. Peppermint Fudge Ribbon: If you’re looking to “make ties” you can start by attending the Student Involvement Fair in the fall.

16. Super Yumberry Greek Yogurt: Find out what it means to be in Greek Life.

17. World Class Chocolate: Definitely look for a study abroad opportunity! (I went to Guatemala this past year and it was such a great experience.)

18. French Vanilla: En savoir plus sur l’étude à l’étranger à l’étude à l’étranger exposition!

19. Pistacho Almond: So get crackin’!

20. Chocolate Ribbon: A school like Ohio State is a gift, unwrap that gift and think outside of the box.

21. Rainbow: There is something here for everyone, regardless of background. Find your own “pot of gold” at the end of your journey.

22. Cotton Candy: Have fun and don’t be afraid embrace your childish side.

23. Pineapple Sherbet: Trust me, college is going to be sweet.

24. Lemon Crisp: It can also be sour at times.

25. Rocky Road: There are going to be bumps along the way.

26. Coffee: You may need some energy for those late night study sessions.

27. Strawberry: Stop by for a treat at Thompson Library’s Berry Café.

28. Chocolate Chip: Big or small, no two chips are the same. Be your own person.

29. Peach: Do your best in your classes, so you can be just peachy.

30. Vanilla: Vanilla is standard. Ohio State has high standards for you, but we have faith you can be successful here.

31. Date Nut: And at the heart of it all is a nut that we all love: a Buckeye.

Your first year will be one to remember, so try to make the most of it. Get involved, meet people and take risks. This will be a time that will challenge you, but at the same time will teach you so many things. You will discover more about yourself and make the friends of a lifetime, so get pumped because your college experience is just around the corner!

Stay tuned for Sam’s post, the 33 Things I Now Know About Ohio.