Taking Back Your Time: How to Manage Your Time in Your First Semester

Hey everyone! 

 As the beginning of your first year at Ohio State starts to come around in full swing, everything might start to feel very overwhelming. This rang true for me, as my first year didn’t result in academic success. I think the main reason behind my failure to succeed in my major (Zoology/Pre-Medicine) was that I did not manage my time well AT ALL. I had no system to keep track of my events and homework, and I didn’t make a responsible schedule for myself that balanced my free-time and what should have been study time. After finally making a thorough schedule the summer before my second-year, I realized how important it is to stay organized and manage the time I have responsibly. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing now without one. Below are some quick Why’s and How’s of organizing a busy schedule. 

 Why? 

I used to think that I wasn’t the type of person who benefited from a planner (or note-taking for that matter) but as the year rolled around, I quickly became overwhelmed in a futile attempt to keep up with everything. The fact of the matter is, you can’t remember everything on your own. In college, your schedule is almost entirely up to you and having some sort of event-organizing device is simply crucial to keeping sanity AND a balanced scheduled.     

 How? 

Okay, I might sound like a broken record, so how do you go about this practically? For those of you who’ve never needed to use a calendar or planner, it might be hard to start (it was for me). These are some ideas that might work for you: 

 Online Calendars: 

Google Calendar, iCloud Calendar, and Outlook Calendar are all great examples of free online calendars. This my personal first choice (I love Google Calendar). This offers an easy and simple way to color-code, have high accessibility (your phone is probably always on you), and I personally think it’s the least tedious option. Here’s an example of what one of my weeks looks like in Google Calendar: 

 

Physical Planner:  

For some, this is the best choice. Having a planner you can customize and hand-write in is a very appealing option (some studies show that handwriting improves memory). The only stipulation about these is that the nicer versions cost money, you have to write, and you’re not always going to have it.

 At the very least, a reminders app: 

Just having something to jot down quick reminders will improve your quality of life tenfold. 

I hope these few quick tips help get your first year off in an organized way!

 

Love is in the air

Some people hate it, and some people love it, but either way Valentine’s Day is 4 days away! So, let’s have a chat about relationships! It doesn’t matter if you’re currently seeing someone, actively looking, or happily, perpetually single. Valentine’s Day and relationships are things most people thinks about on Feb. 14. Maybe you’re just in it for the discount chocolate on Feb. 15, your idea of sweet nothings is whispering I want to be with you as much as–if not more–I don’t want to be with a Furby at night, or you spend weeks planning something special for your boo.

To be honest, I’m more excited for Deadpool to be released on Feb. 12 this year, but to each their own.

Deadpool

Source: Marvel

But on a more serious note, let’s take a closer at some relationship statistics for college students…

  • 43 percent of women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors
  • 1 in 3 people in relationships have given their partner their computer, email, or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse
  • 57 percent say dating abuse is difficult to identify and 58 percent don’t know how to help someone who is experiencing it

What defines a healthy relationship?

No matter your relationship status these are important questions to think about. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is able to help:

Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and connected but still feel independent. COMMUNICATION and BOUNDARIES are the two major components of a healthy relationship. Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not. If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to voice your concerns to your partner.

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Where can you get help or just talk to someone?

*If you are in an unsafe relationship please use caution and access these links from a public computer.

I know it’s a heavy topic but it’s one that has the potential to impact everyone regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, or personality. So, please, if you or someone you know is in this position, speak up.

FYE Peer Leader Myths

Whether you saw us at Orientation or at the library studying for an exam, FYE Peer Leaders are everywhere. As the wise Hannah Montana once said, “I’m a lucky [student] whose dreams came true, but underneath it all I’m just like you.” The best part of our role is that we are YOUR peers! We take classes, participate in student organizations, and eat in the dining halls–and, believe it or not, we were all first-year students at one point, too! We know what it’s like to complete your first big college exam and get chills, or question what to get involved with on campus. Let’s face it: college is hard, but we’re here to help you figure those hard things out because we all wish that we had a Peer Leader there for us during the low points of our first year as well. In order to continue building relationships and connecting with Peer Leaders, it is important to bust some myths about Peer Leaders.

MYTH: Peer Leaders are scary upperclass students

Peer Leaders are in fact anything but scary upperclass students. Whether you want to talk about dogs to relieve stress or have a serious conversation about missing your home, every single Peer Leader is here to lend an ear. We care about the well-being of every student and want to help each and every person have a successful first-year and beyond. Do not be afraid to say hi when you see us on the Oval or reach out to us if you want to chat! Peer Leaders are friends, not food (:

MYTH: I should strive to be just like the Peer Leaders

The only thing you should strive to be just like is yourself! Although the Peer Leaders are wonderful people, you should utilize their knowledge and resources to help you grow closer to the person you have always wanted to become. Discover the people and things that make you light up the same way each one of us lights up about the things we are passionate about.

MYTH: If I make a mistake, a Peer Leader will be disappointed in me

We have all made mistakes, trust me. I have made plenty of mistakes during my collegiate career and so has every other Peer Leader. The best feeling in the world when you make a mistake, however, is having someone tell you, “it’s okay”. That is exactly what we are here to do. We are not here to get you in trouble or instill our own values upon you, but rather love and support you through the best four–yet toughest–years of your life. Some of the greatest mistakes I have made here at Ohio State have in fact not been asking for help when I needed it most. No matter if you find support through your Peer Leader, family, friends, or other campus resources, make sure to have the courage to ask for help, because we all need somebody to lean on!

MYTH: Peer Leaders have it all together

This just might be the biggest myth of them all. I can 120 percent guarantee that each one of us is still trying to figure life out one day at a time, just like each of you. None of the Peer Leaders are perfect, and neither are you, but that’s okay! It makes us normal and unifies us as one Buckeye family! It is important to remember that even Ohio State’s greatest leaders do not have it all together, but together we have it all.

When these barriers come down and myths are broken, you can finally start to see us for who we truly are: not the cool students in a red polo, but rather a genuine friend and resource who wants nothing more than see you find happiness and success here at Ohio State!

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Behind the Organization: The Student Wellness Center

One of the most easily confused and under-utilized resources on campus is the Student Wellness Center, on the main floor of the RPAC. This center may seem small from the outside, but it houses many offices, countless resources and is supported by over 200 peer volunteers.

I sat down with Blake Marble, one of the assistant directors, and Todd Gibbs, the Wellness Coaching program coordinator, to learn more about what the Student Wellness Center has to offer and why students should access its many resources.

Part I: The Wellness Center

For those who are unfamiliar with the Student Wellness Center, can you explain what exactly this center is and does for students?

Blake: “The Student Wellness Center works to educate students about wellness topics and wellness issues. We focus on education, prevention and raising awareness. We are oftentimes confused with Student Health Services. We don’t provide any clinical, medical care or anything like that; we focus on the education piece.

“One of the main things to know about our office is that we are very student-driven. A lot of our one-on-one services are facilitated by students, so it’s students helping students, and that’s one of the main pieces we focus on here because we want to give our students the opportunity to develop those skills to help each other.”

What are the most common reasons students visit the Student Wellness Center?

Blake: “I think there are three main reasons students come to the Student Wellness Center:

1. One is for the excellent one-on-one services we provide students, the personal one-on-one conversation.

2. (Another reason) is for our workshops and presentations; we give over 150 educational workshops each semester.

3. Lastly, to get involved. We have over 200 students who are trained to volunteer in a variety of different ways at the Wellness Center — in all of our one-on-one services (Scarlet And Grey Financial, Nutrition Coaching, alcohol and other drug one-on-one educational sessions, HIV/STI testing, and Wellness Coaching).”

What kinds of programs do student volunteers help with?

Blake: “Every single one of (these programs) has a peer education component to them. We have students who are trained to facilitate all of those one-on-one conversations with students. Students are also involved in giving those presentations to a variety of groups and organizations across campus.

“All volunteers go through extensive training about other resources outside of the Student Wellness Center, to help refer students to outside resources if needed.”

What are your numbers of students and staff?

Blake: “We have around 10-11 full-time staff members, with program coordinators all specializing in different areas and a tad over 200 student volunteers (some graduate level, majority undergraduate level).”

*Interested students who have a passion for helping others can become trained volunteers at the Wellness Center. Often, students in Fisher who desire to one day become financial advisors get involved in Scarlet And Grey Financial Services, and many Public Health students look to become Wellness Coaches. However, the Wellness Center eagerly accepts students from any background or major! If you have a passion for helping others, consider the incredible opportunity! Interested in getting involved? Get started here!

What resources does the Student Wellness Center offer that more students should utilize?

Blake: “Every single one of them. There’s so many here, and I’ll say the one thing that I tell students in every workshop and conversation that I have with them: ‘You’re at a point in your life as an Ohio State student that you have more resources available to you free of charge than you probably will again in your life, and odds are you can walk to just about all of them within about 10 minutes. So no matter what it is that you want to work on within your own personal life – there’s someone here to help you, so use those resources.”

“We see thousands of students every year for one-on-one sessions but we always want more students to come.”

Are there any new programs students should know about?

“I would say one of the newest programs that we have that has really taken off over the past year or so is our Wellness Coaching program. But it’s basically a strengths-based approach to wellness. So it’s a one-on-one coaching session where students can come in wellness coaching regarding anything, any types of issues that they’re having, any obstacles they have in their life… (Wellness Coaching) has a strength-based component to it; you take a strengths finder before you come in, and then use those strengths to then meet your goals in life — to really maximize your potential.”

*The Wellness Center partners with all student life programs including CCS, Student Health Services, refer back and forth based on how to best meet the needs of the students coming in.

What are some common challenges students face in their first year? 

Blake: “I immediately think about the transition from high school to college. But with that come many challenges relating to personal wellbeing or personal wellness. Some of the things that I automatically think of are stress and time management, and these things affect your emotional wellness and stuff like that. There are so many changes and decisions your first year that it comes down to prioritizing the things in your life and not letting it overwhelm you at times.

“A lot of it too is finding that social support system around you. I think a lot of students come from high school and are challenged with coming to such a big place and finding that support group within Ohio State and it can be kind of overwhelming at times. So a lot of it is that social-emotional aspect of it and finding where you fit in and understanding that college is a place to explore different things, get involved in different areas, but also being strategic about that.”

What would you say to a student who’s going through some of those transitional issues and is perhaps hesitant about addressing those problems?

Blake: “We all face challenges on a daily basis, it matter of how we approach those challenges and the way that we view things in our lives and put things in perspective. But one of the things I tell students on a daily basis, no matter what it is or what they’re working on or what they’re challenged with, just utilize the resources that are available to you. Whether that’s the Student Health Center, FYE, counseling (CCS), anything on campus, just utilize the resources that are available to you. All of our students and staff are trained in resources outside of our office so if maybe we can’t answer all the questions or maybe we’re not the people that are trained to help you in one specific area but we can connect you to the people and resources that are.”

What would you say is the program area that students access the most?

Blake: “Honestly, the most foot traffic we probably get on a weekly basis is Condom Club. It’s quick, easy, accessible, and one of our resources that student utilize the most.”

“Some people think that’s all we do (laughing). It’s a struggle at times but it gets them through the door and they then learn about all the other things that we do.”

For students who may be apprehensive about asking for help, how can they take that first step?

  • Email
  • Schedule appointment online
  • Connect through peers

Blake: “Research has shown that students feel more comfortable talking to other students about different things that they’re dealing with in their lives and that’s been one of the reasons that we have so many students that go through extensive training on this, but we also do have experts in each of these areas that help reach out to those students if needed.”

“There’s a lot of stigmas associated with wellness issues, and we’re trying to break down those walls on a daily basis and we’re trying to approach things from a different perspective that might help reduce those stigmas a little bit.”

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

Blake: “We’re here to help, I just want students to know that. And everything we do is free too, everything is free of charge. You pay for it in your student fees, but nothing that we do cost money, so we want students to really utilize these resources.”

Appointments: After you reach out to make an appointment, most appointments are 45 minutes to an hour long.

Blake: “We usually can see students within a week or so (of their initial call) for their session — so it’s a pretty quick turn around.”

Some services do have some pre-appointment components for students to fill out prior to an appointment:

Part II. Wellness Coaching

Nutrition Coaching, Financial Coaching… but what really is Wellness Coaching?

Wellness Coaching is one of many services available through the Wellness Center. However, Wellness Coaching specifically focuses on the nine different dimensions of wellness using a strengths-based model. 

Todd: “We think that challenges are just part of being human. So if people can identify their strengths and start to use them to move toward the goals they have for their wellness, then lots of good things can happen. That’s what we do.”

Coaching vs. Counseling

Todd: “Our coaches are largely peers rather than medical professionals.”

Counseling: Uses medical model: diagnose the problem then treat it.

Coaching: Uses strengths and positive psychology to look at what’s going right with people, not what’s going wrong

What are the top wellness areas (out of the nine dimensions of wellness) that students seek help through wellness coaching?

Blake: “Two of the top areas that students want to focus on more are social wellness and emotional wellness.”

 Q: Why do students typically face emotional wellness concerns? 

A: Stresses of finding a major or making life decisions.

Todd: “I think that you can feel (stressed, overwhelmed, anxious) if you don’t know that you’re capable of navigating through those transitions. It can pose a real threat.”

“I think that’s what’s at the core of the coaching, helping people see that ‘Oh I am someone that can make the decisions for my life and who knows what I really care about and value so I can find my way through that, so now I don’t get quite as stressed or as anxious when I run into those things in the future.’”

Attempting to be well in all nine dimensions can be overwhelming:

Todd: “When you improve your wellness in any area, it improves your wellness overall … If it matters to you and you invest in your wellness in that area, it is going to have nothing but benefits for you in that area, whether it’s something you are already strong in, or an area where you think you need more improvement.”

More information:

Student Wellness Center Hours:

Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

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.