When Your First Year Doesn’t Go as Planned

You had high hopes for your first year at Ohio State, but it’s probable some facet of your experience has fallen short of or been different from your original expectations. As second semester is wrapping up, you may be facing a few questions and concerns.

I was used to getting good grades in high school. What happened?

College is much different from high school in terms of academic expectations, the ways you are tested, and professor-student relationships. It is important not only to recognize these differences, but to take actions that will help you succeed in this new and more challenging learning environment.

The emphasis in college is more on the application of the material you are learning rather on the material itself. While taking an exam, you may find yourself thinking, “We didn’t go over how to do this problem in class!” Panic mode usually ensues and you get upset at the professor for doing such a thing. In reality, not much changes throughout college and even into the working world. This style of testing forces you to leverage what you do know and apply it to something you may have never seen before; it is a tough transition at first, but gets easier the more you learn how you study best (and how you “studied” in high school is likely not how you should be studying in college).

You also may have been used to having immediate and easy access to your teachers in high school; now, if you want help, you need to seek it out yourself. Gone are the days of exams that are just like the study guide. I can’t emphasize enough how valuable office hours can be if you do not understand material you have been going over in class or want to gain insight into what topics your professor finds most important in terms of testing. It may be difficult to believe, but your professors want you to succeed.

If you have not recieved the grades you were expecting, I know it can be discouraging, but believe me when I say, “It is okay!” The issue is not your intelligence or maybe even your effort; it is likely that you have not made the transition from the high school mentality towards education to the college mentality. What can you do about it?

  • Use a planner or electronic calendar (I use Google Calendar) to plan out when you will study/work on homework for each week
  • Take study breaks and be conscious of your engagement level.
  • Don’t cram. Try to keep up with material as you are going through it in class.

 

I tried to get involved but I haven’t found the meaningful involvement I thought I would.

There is often a period of feeling like the “new guy” when you begin coming around to different organizations, but the more you go, the more people you begin to recognize and get to know, and the more friends you begin to make in that organization. Eventually, you will start to feel like it is a place you belong if you are patient and make it through that initial adjustment period.

It certainly helps to try and find organizations that align with your values, goals, or views on life as it becomes a place in which you feel refreshed and encouraged. I did not begin feeling like I truly found opportunities that helped me grow as an individual and feel as if I was integrated into the community until my second year.

During my first year, I went through huge changes in terms of what role my faith played in my life. It became my everything and so naturally, I got involved with a church on campus called H2O where I could continue to grow, learn, and be a part of an extremely caring community that can be fully empathetic toward my struggles and frustrations with life, with full understanding of my world view. This is not me saying that diversity of opinions in your life is to be avoided; rather, I’m emphasizing the importance of having support from a community that understand where you are coming from.

  • BE PATIENT. We all need to get over our culturally-imposed need for immediate gratification and be patient.
  • Figure out what you really care about in life, then sort through what types of organizations you may be interested in.
  • Deeply invest yourself in people and community. You probably won’t get much out of organizations if you view them as if they exist to serve you.
  • You are a Buckeye and you have a home at Ohio State. Finding that is the challenge, but it’s worth investing the time and energy to find it.

I still have no idea what I want to major in.

You are not alone! I changed my major in my second year. It happens. Focus on what you want your life to be about and how you want to use it, then work backwards and seek out opportunities in which you can contribute toward that purpose through your career. This summer is a good time to do some soul searching.

  • Reflect but know there’s no right answer. You will gain better direction as you get exposed to what is really out there through out your college career. Don’t be afraid to take opportunites to learn about new things.
  • A. W. Tozer’s Rules for Self-Discovery:
    • What we want most
    • What we think about most
    • How we use our money
    • What we do with our leisure time
    • The company we enjoy
    • Who and what we admire
    • What we laugh at

College is a huge time for personal growth but that doesn’t  happen if you do everything perfectly. Know that most people–including me–still struggle with these very same issues. I’ve found it helps to view college as a time to learn and develop your values, beliefs, and what truly interests you in life; the rest has a way of falling into place.

Life After Formal Sorority Recruitment: The Social and Financial Realities

Bid Day is the final day of the exhausting, two-week formal recruitment process. Not only is Bid Day the end of recruitment, it is also the beginning of a whirlwind experience that is joining a sorority. It is the first day in the journey of becoming an initiated, life-long member of a national organization. If you are like me and signed up for formal sorority recruitment on a whim–without any family members who had ever participated–you are probably feeling completely overwhelmed in the weeks following Bid Day.
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I began thinking about signing up for sorority recruitment during my first semester when I felt nostalgic and missing my girlfriends from home, who I had spent endless hours with rehearsing and performing. It occurred to me that a sorority might be a way for me to replicate that community of girlfriends that I cherished. I loved high school because of friendships with older girls I admired and then becoming that person who younger girls looked up to. In other words, I wanted to be someone’s little, and then be someone’s BIG.

That right there was the extent to which I thought through the decision to sign up for sorority recruitment. I didn’t ask questions about how much it cost. I didn’t ask questions about the new member process. I was completely unprepared for being a member of the Greek Community.

What I wish I had known as a first-year student going Greek:

The Costs

According the most recent data, the average new sorority member will pay $1,280 per semester.

  • $1,280 x 7 semesters = nearly $9,000 over the course of four years
  • I need to earn $80/week during the 16-week semester to pay for it
  • Some chapters have payment plans and additional scholarships – for example, my friend washes dishes to help pay dues.
  • The reality: The majority of students are not paying their Greek life dues on their own. There is limited socioeconomic diversity.

Financial barriers

Our campus should be sensitive to the fact that access to participating in Greek life is limited to those who can pay for it. If you have a friend who may really have wanted to try Greek life, but cannot afford it:

  • Only 11% of Ohio State is Greek! Encourage your friend to seek out involvement that provides a similar community – you can find incredible friends in other student organizations.
  • Invite her to hang out with your friends in your sorority. My best friend from freshman year did not go Greek but I take her as my date to different functions and she was always welcome at my sorority house.
  • Be careful with how you paint your experience and be aware of your friend’s feelings. It’s important to share the exciting moments as well as the overwhelming ones. A sorority experience is not a perfect one.

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The realities of sisterhood

  • A sisterly bond is stronger than friends, right? That bond does not form overnight. You become sisters with 100 girls and getting to know them takes time. It might take a whole semester just to learn names. Be patient. I wasn’t sure if Greek Life would be for me until my sophomore year when my sisters became some of my best friends.
  • Go to your new member meetings! The New Member educator’s primary responsibility is to care about your transition to the sorority. The New Member educator cares that you feel comfortable–talk to them.
  • Not everyone who goes Greek drinks alcohol. In fact, it is an expectation that as a member, you act responsibly and represent your chapter well. There is a team of sober monitors to enforce the rules at every event with alcohol present. In my sorority, the other sober monitors dress up in ridiculous outfits like footie pajamas! If you feel pressure to drink to make friends, or feel that a majority of the experience is drinking, talk to your chapter advisors and executive board.
  • It’s unrealistic to think you are going to be best friends with every girl in your chapter…or even want to be. This is where that sister component comes in. Sorority sisters should value each individual and respect them regardless if you like them.
  • The reasons you join are different than the reasons you stay. Look out for the reasons that make your sorority a really positive influence in your life.

Lastly, keep in mind that sororities that fall under PHA are just one branch of Greek life. Members of multicultural Greek organizations, academic Greek organizations, and fraternity men go through this transition into their chapters as well. No branch of Greek life is better than any other; support and honor your fellow Greeks!

 

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Best Friends or Roommates: Same Thing?

It’s that time of year: time to decide who you will spend the entirety of next year sharing your precious personal space with and calling your roommate. For some, the decision may come easy. But for many, the decision feels dreadful. Day in and day out I see friends posting Buzzfeed articles on Facebook entitled, “20 Reasons How You Know Your Roommate is Your Best Friend” or “8 Reasons Why Living with Your Best Friend is the Greatest Thing Ever.” Living with your best friend could be a great decision. But I have also seen the opposite be true; many friendships fall apart after deciding to live together. Some people, regardless of how close of a relationship, will not make good roommates and that is okay! As it comes time to make your decision, I recommend having an honest conversation with your potential roommate about living preferences. What matters is that you will be good roommates and do not necessarily have to be best friends.

Roommate Picture

Two years ago I struggled immensely with the decision of who would be my sophomore year roommate. There were at least four different contenders, and I was closer with some than others. However, I ultimately decided to live with a friend that I was not nearly as close with (at the time) but I knew for a fact we would be phenomenal roommates. We lived next door to each other during our first year, and it was very clear when you walked into either room which desks were ours based on the level of organization and cleanliness. Also, I knew I would feel comfortable talking with her if an issue were ever to arise (which fortunately didn’t end up happening!). While some may not believe me, I can honestly say I don’t think we had a single disagreement all year.

Being able to come home at the end of a long day to a room that I knew would be clean and drama free was a major reason I found my groove during my second year. Living with a fellow introvert, I knew that I could come home and just stick headphones in if I needed alone time. She wouldn’t misunderstand my need for quiet, thinking I was mad or upset. She recognized that we both sometimes just needed quiet time and that was not a reflection on her. Other days, we had great times together just hanging out and being silly. It was through this mutual respect and understanding, that we became great friends over the course of the year and ended up traveling across the United States together. I am so thankful that I picked my roommate based on someone who I knew would make a compatible roommate because that created the foundation for a wonderful friendship.

While I was fortunate to have made a great decision, some of my other friends found their friendships deteriorate because living with a best friend ended up being harder than they thought. I was so thankful day after day that I could confidently say that I had such a stress-free living environment. After all, there are plenty of other stresses that come with being a college student. Do you want to add the stress of incessant roommate disagreements and arguments? Think through your preferences and communicate with your potential roommate before you sign the housing contact. Don’t forget to submit your housing and roommate preferences by Feb. 26!

Second Year Roommates

Sharing a confined space with another living, breathing creature–and I’m not talking about your fish or body pillow–can be difficult. In my first year, I was challenged going from my own room at home with a bed big enough for my entire graduating class to a room half that size and a bed that was barely big enough for my Brutus pillow pet and me. Add three more people–strangers–to that space and life has never been the same. Those roommates I was forced to share bunk beds with turned out to be some of my best friends, but that isn’t always the case.

For some, it may seem as though school started yesterday, and here we are ten weeks later and the test are getting more difficult, we’ve become dependent on taco salads from the RPAC for survival (or is that just me?), and students are already making housing plans for the coming year. Whether you’ve found someone you plan to live with the rest of your life or you are a Nervous Nelly worried that it’s too late to find compatible living buddies, these second-year housing tips may be useful for anyone:

There are few things in life you have to be selfish about, but housing may be one of those things.

Whether you are living in a cave, your parent’s basement after graduation (oh no!), or the 37th floor of the Empire State building, that is YOUR home. When it comes to deciding where to live and who to live with, make sure you are comfortable and can come to consensus with your roommate(s). The last thing you want is to spend a year of your life unhappy trying to please someone else. Never agree to live with someone or somewhere out of guilt. Those tough conversations are hard to have, but you will be much happier in the long run…trust me.

Best friends are not the best roommates and roommates do not have to be your best friends.

Because of what we see in pop culture, we often come to college with an unrealistic expectation that our roommates are going to be our best friends and we will all live happily ever after drinking hot chocolate and having pillow fights every night until 2 a.m. When this turns out to not be the case, the perfect vision we created in our heads of college is no longer and we start to compare our experience to others. The best roommates are simply people who have compatible living habits. You do not need to be best friends; you simply need to get along. In fact, you may want to also consider not rooming with your best friends, simply to protect your friendship. Although they may be a great companion, they may have living habits that get under your skin. Find that perfect balance between good friend and compatible living habits, and you have the perfect match!

The Golden Rule: treat your roommate how you want to be treated.

If you do not like to come home to passive-aggressive Post-It notes, do not leave them for your roommate. If you do not like moldy food in your living quarters, store your leftover taco salad in the fridge. If you like to go to bed by midnight, study at the library or down the hall in a common area when you roommate wants to sleep. Chances are that the small things that get under your skin get under your roommates skin as well. Don’t do anything to your room or your roommate that you would not want them to do to your room or you.

Address a situation when it arises.

If you find that your roommate is violating the roommate contract or doing something that you do not appreciate, address the situation as soon as possible in a face-to-face conversation. The sooner you address the situation, the better things will become. Gossiping with your friends down the hallway will not make the problem go away. The last thing you want is to build up anger or frustration toward them for something they may not even realize they are doing. These conversations may be hard to have in the moment, but can have positive impacts on the roommate relationship in the long run.

Share the snacks that Mom sends.

This is mega important for your friendship, especially when Rice Krispies treats are involved.

Deciding to go random for my roommate(s) was one of the best decisions I ever made and I do not know if our Ohio State paths would have crossed if it were not for the lovely housing office that put us together. As you can see, living with another person is hard. A lot of the time it takes patience and every once in a while a hard conversation, but by keeping these rules in mind, you are bound to have a great year!

Stand Up to Peer Pressure: College Edition

MYTH: Peer pressure only exists in high school

When we graduate from high school, we don’t graduate from peer pressure. I remember thinking that if I could just make it out of high school, I would finally escape the peer pressure to drink, smoke, and hook up that was ever present, especially on weekends. The reality is that peer pressure is a class from which few of us ever graduate. I had such high expectations for college that it was a rude awakening to realize that peer pressure was stronger than ever.

peer pressure 3

In college, peer pressure is heightened because–unlike high school, where we could escape to our bedrooms to avoid some of what was going on–we can’t separate ourselves so easily from our peer groups. Instead of a sanctuary to which we can retreat, our residence hall rooms can be the scene of the peer pressure. For many Ohio State freshmen–away from home for the first time–the physical presence and the emotional and spiritual support of parents and siblings is greatly diminished. The friends who shaped our experiences have gone off in different directions and some have radically changed. These alterations to our support systems can be confusing, and challenge our ability to distinguish among the morals and values we thought we packed and brought along to college.

Why is it so hard to say no?

We all want to make friends, fit in, and be liked. The desire to feel like we are part of a group is completely normal, and most people feel this way their entire lives! We want to appear cool to a potential new friend, so we go along with our ‘friend’s’ request despite knowing that it is not the right choice. I know from experience that sometimes my values can be compromised, especially when I’m trying to escape the loneliness that comes from being with others who don’t share the same values and morals.

peer pressure 1

How can we effectively deal with peer pressure?

I’m a senior in college and I still struggle with peer pressure. From the glimpses I’ve gotten of the working world, I’ve learned that peer pressure isn’t going away any time soon. Developing the skills to effectively deal with peer pressure will be a lifelong benefit to us. I have gathered some of the strategies that I and my fellow Peer Leaders use to cope with peer pressure:

  • Educate yourself with the facts. Not everyone is drinking or having sex!
  • Have honest conversations before you are put in a situation where peer pressure may arise. Peer Leader Lauren has found that when she is up front with her friends about her decision not to consume alcohol, her friends respect her choice and don’t pressure her to compromise her values. Don’t be afraid to communicate your perspective with your roommates and friends and be open to listening to others’ perspectives. Good communication on your part about your values helps others know where you stand, and others will be less apt to pressure you to do things you don’t want to do.
  • Try not to rely too heavily on the approval of brand new friends. This is easier said than done. Give more weight to the opinions of those you hold dear than to the opinions of new acquaintances. When stuck on a decision, consult those who embody your values instead of someone who doesn’t.
  • Surround yourself with people who share similar values, especially when you’re still developing a sense of self. I didn’t know myself well enough in my first year to know that I needed friends who didn’t go out and party. I wish I would have realized that there is always someone who wants to watch Gossip Girl or go to Jeni’s for ice cream instead of go out to a bar.
  • Have an exit plan. If you are in a situation where you feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do, it’s perfectly okay to say you’re not feeling well or you have to go. You don’t owe anyone a long-winded explanation.
  • Find someone you trust to talk to when you have felt peer pressured. Debriefing is a good way to understand more about yourself. Perhaps you might have these conversations with your Peer Leader or RA 🙂

5 Ways to Meet New People on Campus

Welcome Week was fun and busy with hundreds of events all over campus, making it easy to meet new people through opportunities that were already planned for you–all you had to do was show up! Still, some new students do not make great connections during Welcome Week, and if you’re one of those students, you’re not alone…and you don’t have to worry. Here are five great ways to meet new people (now that Welcome Week is over):

Leave your door open in your residence hall (when you’re inside your room)

If you are living in a residence hall, you’ve learned by now that you are surrounded by many other students living on your floor, many of whom are new just like you. If you are just hanging out in your room, leave your door open. As people walk by, invite them to join you. Who knows, your new best friend could be living down the hall!

Introduce yourself to someone in class

If you get to class a few minutes early, introduce yourself to the person next to you. Maybe you will make a new friend, or–at the very least–a new study buddy. The First Year Success Series is also a great place to introduce yourself. Everyone in attendance at your session will be a first-year student, too, and since you all selected the same session, you already have something in common! Ask a student why they choose the particular session–it could be a great conversation starter!

Ask someone new to get lunch

Everybody has to eat, so next time you are heading out for a meal, ask someone new to join you. Maybe this is someone in your residence hall, or someone in class. Maybe you choose to venture out and try a new dining location.

Attend a fitness class at the RPAC

Group fitness classes at the RPAC are a fun way to get exercise. There are a bunch of different types of classes, and you can find one you are interested in through the Recreational Sports website. Just like class, get there a couple minutes early to introduce yourself to someone new.

Check out a student organization

There over 1,200 student organizations on campus. Find one you are interested in and plan to attend a meeting. Many student organization accept new members any time throughout the year. This is a great way to find people with similar interest as you.

Still not feeling connected? Reach out to me or to any Peer Leader in First Year Experience–we want to help you find your fit at Ohio State!

A Southern Buck-I-SERV Spring Break

Your first spring break in college… we’ve all been there at one point or another. Was it as fun as you expected? Did you meet any new people? Is reality hitting you hard in the face because of how awesome it was?

If you would have asked me what I was doing for spring break in December, I probably would have said something along the lines of “I’m going to the Bahamas with my friends,” however, I did something else and it was an AMAZING experience. First year or not, listen up when I say that Buck-I-SERV at Ohio State is such a rewarding organization and I encourage everyone to participate in at least one before you graduate.

Wondering why?

I was asked to be a trip leader for a trip to Mullens, West Virginia, during spring break. When first asked I was kind of skeptical; I mean, why Mullens? Of course I learned more information about the destination.

Mullens is a town in southern West Virginia that is experiencing many hardships at the moment. You see, Mullens used to be a town where things happened. Downtown was booming and there were many residents. In recent years, residents  are finding a lack of jobs, which leads to the younger generations leaving the town.

Mullens is a great little town, it reminds me of my own little hometown. Everyone knows one another and everyone is SO FRIENDLY. It was so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of schoolwork and the city for a while. I didn’t know how much I was missing nature (or the woods) until I stayed in Twin Falls State Park. The scenery, the hills, the trees, the waterfalls — everything about it was gorgeous.

There were six of us, including our advisor. It was a tiny group, but we had SO MUCH FUN. We were able to volunteer at the Mullens Opportunity Center (otherwise known as the MOC). They actually had a pretty horrible flood the week before we got there, so a lot of our work was to help with the outdoor cleanup.

We worked with students from the University of Baltimore (they were awesome, by the way) the entire week. We shoveled up the fallen dirt to rebuild the hillside by a river behind the MOC, we filled in holes in the concrete with gravel, but our biggest project was the High Tunnel.

You see, the MOC is an awesome place. This opportunity center holds workshops for the residents of Mullens that can help them in nearly all aspects of life. They have a workout room, a lawyer’s office, line dancing, a computer lab where individuals can earn their GED and SO many other programs. They also have fitness programs going on, where individuals can keep track of how many laps they took around the gym and the activity they’re involved in. If that wasn’t awesome enough, they hand out prizes to the person who completed the most that week. LIKE COME ON THAT’S CRAZY COOL.

One of the MOC’s coolest projects, in my opinion, is their Farm to School campaign. Basically, this campaign is to try and get local farmers to grow fruits and vegetables for the schools in the county. Eventually, they would like each school to have their own High Tunnel to grow produce for the community. (A high tunnel is a fancy word for a greenhouse, in case you’re wandering, as I was.) We worked on constructing this and getting top soil and compost for the beds. By the time we were leaving they were working on the roof.

Hands down, this trip was such a blast. The workers at the MOC were so thankful we had decided to come and showed us so much love. It was an amazing experience.

One of the last nights we were there, we had a campfire with the University of Baltimore where a local orator told us stories about the town’s history and scary stories. We roasted marshmallows and listened to a delightful woman sing. It is so nice knowing that we helped make a difference.

I love the little town of Mullens, and I want them to thrive. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend the week with some new friends, make some memories, and help make a difference. If you ever have the chance to go on a Buck-I-SERV trip, GO. I promise you will love it.

Scarlet Scramble is Back

Did you know University Hall is the real building used as Hollis College in Pretty Little Liars? Or that the first Wendy’s restaurant ever opened was in Columbus? Do you think you can eat a stack of Sloopy’s pancakes faster than anyone else? Then boy do I have an event for you — Scarlet Scramble 2015 is here!

So what is Scarlet Scramble?

It’s a 24-hour campus and city adventure that includes challenges, trivia questions, and clues to decode. Teams compete from 6 p.m. on March 27 to 6 p.m. on March 28 to earn points and win prizes (like Amazon and HOMAGE gift cards). The Scramble is brought to you by First Year Experience, and each team should have at least five first year students, but can have up to five other students (non first-years) too.

You know you want a new HOMAGE shirt.

You know you want a new HOMAGE shirt.

I participated in my first Scarlet Scramble my freshman year and have helped plan it the last two years. It is one of my favorite events on campus because not only do you get a sweet T-shirt just for signing up, you also get to run around campus with your friends, learn something new while you’re doing it, and compete for prizes! Plus you end up with some pretty cool pictures like these.

TBT to Scarlet Scramble 2013

TBT to Scarlet Scramble 2013

TBT to Scar Scram 2014

TBT to Scarlet Scramble 2014

To learn more about #ScarScram2015, check out the video below!

Registration is open until March 9. To sign up for the best time of your life visit fye.osu.edu/scarletscramble.

See you March 27!

4 Ways to Solve Roommate Conflict

During my first year, four of us lived together in Drackett Tower from different schools and with different backgrounds and majors and–as we soon found out–different habits. I was used to sharing a room and living with sisters, so I figured I’d be a pro.

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Although we finished our first year as good friends with some incredible memories and most of us are living together again this year (our senior year!), we also had some less admirable moments: late night arguments, food possessiveness, what “clean” looks like and–oh–one roommate’s infamous decision to wake us up at 4 in the morning during finals week. (We laugh about it now.)

From my own experiences with roommate conflict–and later, training as an RA–here are tips to make your year successful with your roommate(s)!

1. Honest and polite communication

In my first year I became sick with mono and slept through almost all of my morning alarms. In my heavily unconscious state I had no idea that I kept hitting snooze and my roommates interpreted this as my blatant inconsideration. As a result, one morning I awoke to a roommate throwing pillows and wrathfully yelling at me. I felt horrible because I was not aware of the problem and I could certainly sympathize with their frustration! Had I known sooner, I could have established a better plan for waking up.

Another time, I left my shoes by the door, which irritated one of my roommates. She told me this directly before it became a big deal. It was a simple fix to move my shoes and I appreciated that she would let me know, before sharing her feelings with our other roommates!

  • Be honest and upfront, but don’t blow the issue out of proportion. Let your roommate know that you realize it’s something minor, but that it is a pet peeve of yours or that it makes you feel uncomfortable.

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  • Be polite!! Don’t be so blunt that you come off callous and hurt someone’s feelings. By not wording your request carefully enough you can accidentally incite an argument or isolate yourself from any future constructive conversations.
  • Avoid going to hall-mates and friends before talking directly with your roommate. Direct communication (after giving a little time to work out how you will politely approach your roommate) is the best way to solve an issue and avoid gossip or hurt feelings.

*Disclaimer: If it’s a legal issue, dangerous or your roommate is unwilling to change, do not hesitate to talk to your RA!

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2. Know when to pick your battles

Although it is good to be honest when something is bothering you, realize when an issue is worth talking about and when something is so minor or ridiculous that your request may come off as extreme.

  • Think how you would feel if that person asked you to change something about your own habits or behavior.
  • Note if you are the one who always becomes irritated and reflect on whether it’s due to the actions of your roommate or if you’re frustrated with something else (and blaming your roommate).
  • Be careful of the frequency of these requests—be fair and balanced whenever you come forth and address issues with your roommate!

3. Respect different views and compromise

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Problem: Your roommate brings a significant other to the room during weeknights, when you like to use the room to study.

Potential Solutions:

  • Work out a reasonable schedule or timeframe
  • Offer to do your homework in a study room; ask them to find a different location on other occasions
  • Definitely ask for a heads up

It is very easy to observe your roommate’s actions and think, “I would never do that.” Be careful of expecting your roommate to behave and think just like you. Judging your roommate and determining that your values are right and his or hers are wrong is a very dangerous barrier to cross.

You may have different habits and different values: this is okay! Learn to be courteous of one another’s differences.

Whether your roommate goes out a lot, has visitors over often, skips class or argues with his or her parents, you don’t have to agree with it, but you have to respect that person’s life choices.

Create a well-constructed plan of give and take; be prepared to compromise, and if you request something, be willing to make sacrifices of your own in exchange. This is your shared space, so both individuals have to take steps to ensure the comfort and freedom of the residents of that space.

4. Know how to create change

Take the first step in creating change and change your own mentality.

Do not expect to be best friends with your roommate. Oftentimes the best roommates are the ones who are simply capable of being respectful and courteous to one another, and that can start with you!

Instead of thinking of the ways your roommate is a bad one, think about how you will be a good roommate.

5 Roles of a Peer Mentor

One of the amazing things about Ohio State is the opportunity to meet new people.

Perhaps you’re excited to bond over late-night movies with the people on your residence hall floor, or maybe you’re making plans to hang out with friends you meet in your classes.

Is a peer mentor on your list of people to meet at Ohio State? Peer mentors can be a telephone switchboard, a magnifying glass, a trampoline, a street, and a cheerleader all rolled into one incredible resource and source of support. Crazy, right? Read on to learn why you should find a peer mentor at Ohio State.

A peer mentor is a magnifying glass

Peer mentors who are in their second year (or beyond) can benefit you in many ways. They have been in your shoes not too long ago–they have experienced the excitement of Welcome Week, the thrill of meeting new people, and the pleasure of being a new Buckeye. They have also endured the occasional bad grade, the rough patches of being in a new environment, and the stress of finals week.

The good news is peer mentors want to share their experiences with you, and give you tips and advice to succeed and excel. Maybe you have a chemistry professor with whom you’re just not clicking. How can you get through the semester when you’re really struggling with this class? Peer mentors can share with you a similar experience they navigated and discuss some resources that may help. When you’re struggling with something, or simply seeking another opinion, your peer mentor can offer a helpful perspective because they have already examined the problem thoroughly (using their magnifying glass of experience).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A peer mentor is a switchboard operator

Think back to a time before we were born, and offices had switchboard operators to direct telephone calls to the proper recipient. Your peer mentor can be like a switchboard operator, taking different avenues to make a connection for you. Let’s say you’re interested in getting a part-time job on campus, but aren’t really sure how to go about looking for one. Peer mentors have a variety of tried-and-true resources to connect you to the correct contact on campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A peer mentor is a trampoline

No, your peer mentor won’t be doing jumps and flips–though we would jump through hoops for you! We are a sounding board, someone with whom you can “bounce” around ideas. Maybe you have an idea to start a new club on campus. Peer mentors are happy to listen to you and hash out your idea. They’ll also help you set it in motion by connecting you to the right resources on campus.

Much like how you soar on a trampoline, peer mentors also help you soar. Let’s go back to that chemistry class example: we want to see you succeed and will do anything to help you. Your peer mentor might study with you, quiz you, and encourage you on the day of your test. We’ll help you receive a Au (ahem, the chemical symbol for gold) star at the end of the semester.

A peer mentor is a street

Peer mentorship is not just about the mentee (that’s you!); it’s a two-way street. Through peer mentoring, not only are you connected to resources around campus, you also develop a meaningful relationship and resource in each other. Peer mentors learn as much from you as you learn from them. You may come from a different background or hometown, or you could be pursuing a different major; and yet, here you are guiding each other along. Don’t look at this as an upperclass student telling you what to do and what clubs to join. Think of it as a relationship you’re building with someone who has been in your shoes, and you’ll learn and grow from each other.

A peer mentor is a cheerleader

Peer mentorship is not only about providing you with resources and helping you get through tough times. It’s about celebrating all the successes too! A peer mentor is your own personal cheerleader. We’re here to support you and cheer you on, and to make sure that your time at Ohio State is one that lives up to our alma mater:

Time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship O-HI-O.

So all those people you want to meet while you’re at Ohio State–your hallmates and classmates–make sure to add a peer mentor on the list, because we want you to enjoy every second you spend here, and we come with our own set of pom-poms.

Next step: The First Year Connections Team is a group of dedicated upperclass students who want to ensure that YOU have a memorable first year. Sign up by Monday, September 8 to participate in the Connections Team peer mentoring program this fall: click this link and enter the code fyctmentor.