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.

So What’s The Deal With Housing Reselection?

At this point, you have hopefully received an email with your housing re-selection information. Here are 5 things you should know to set yourself up for success in your second year!

1. Housing contracts are due by 11:59 p.m. on March 3, 2017. Make sure yours is in on time!

 

2. Housing is being done by a lottery system this year! This means once the portal closes on March 3rd, you will be assigned a random number to determine the order you will select your room. No need to stress about this–everyone has an equal chance to select their room!

 

3. Roommates: Whether you absolutely loved your roommate(s) this year or not, with the housing re-selection process comes the time to figure out who you want to live with next year.

  • I have my perfect roommate! What do I do? In the housing re-selection portal you can request one roommate. The roommate request must be mutual–which means they will accept and approve the roommate request.
  • I want to live with 7 of my friends! What do I do? If you want to live with a group, during the re-selection process you will form a “group” and select one person to be the group leader who will assign you into rooms once your lottery number is reached.
  • I have no idea who I want to live with! That’s ok! The best piece of advice I was given regarding roommates was that, “you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, you just have to be roommates.” Sometimes best friends won’t actually make the best roommates (sometimes they do though!). Also, if you decide you don’t want to have a roommate next year you will also be able to request a single room in the housing re-selection portal.

 

4. STEP: The Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) was definitely one of the highlights of my second year. Personally, my favorite parts about STEP were getting to know a really awesome professor on an individual basis, getting to know the other 2nd years in my cohort (and hear about all the amazing things they were doing), and completing my Signature Project (through which I actually got to go to Costa Rica!). Had I not participated in STEP, I wouldn’t have that great connection with my STEP faculty mentor nor would I have had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica (which definitely was a life-changing experience for me!). When you fill out your second year housing re-selection contract, there will be a checkbox for you to opt out of STEP. More questions? Check out the STEP website or talk to your Peer Leader!

 

 

5. Food! Did you know that as a second year you will have an additional option for a dining plan? Check out the dining website or the chart below to decide which meal plan is right for you for your second year! If your current meal plan is working for you, you can just go ahead and select it again for your second year (makes life easy, right?). Lucky for you, if you change your mind, you can change your meal plan until the 2nd Friday of next semester.

Component

Unlimited Scarlet 14 Gray 10

Declining Balance

Weekly Traditional Visit Unlimited 14 10 Not Included
Traditional Visit Exchange Not Included Included Included Not Included
Dining Dollars $100 $200 $200 $1,310
BuckID Cash Option to add $150 $150 Option to add
Available to all residential students? Yes Yes Yes Only available to second years or higher

Unpack your bags: Settling down at Ohio State

Spring break is over and finals are in sight, which means your first year is almost over. So, now what? About this same time during my first year I had the opportunity to attend a retreat with a student organization I am involved in on campus. At the end of the retreat the director gave a very powerful message about how as the first year was coming to a close and it was time for first years to settle down and “unpack their bags.” After spending a year exploring various options for involvement, if they had felt they had found their place in this group it was now time to settle down and dive deeper into the organization to provide the next generation of leadership for the group.

Bags

It’s no secret that the success of a student organization is often due to strong leadership from upper class students. Thus, it is crucial for the next group of students to step up to take on leadership roles and dive deeper into the organization. That’s not to say that you should take on leadership roles in every organization; instead, you should think about stepping up to lead in areas where you feel passionate. I am a firm believer that stepping up to lead does not necessarily mean that you have to have an official leadership title or position, but that you lead by example. For me, there were two juniors that I met during my first year who did not have any official position of leadership in our student organization, but to me they were two of the strongest leaders because they led by their examples. They went above and beyond to make me feel welcome and a part of the group. As a result of their example, I have worked to do the same for the students who are coming after me. Being devoted and a consistent member who is fully present is sometimes the most significant way to contribute.

As you think about areas where you may want to dive deeper and “unpack your bags” make sure that you evaluate WHY you are doing it. As a college student, I understand the temptation to take on a positional leadership role simply so you can list it on your resume. If that is your motivation to take on a leadership role, I urge you to think twice about the role. Work to find something you are truly passionate about, you believe in, and that excites you. If you are passionate about what you are doing, it will be easier to be motivated to do a good job. If you don’t care about the organization or your position, you will likely struggle to stay motivated in the role.

While some may have found a niche on campus where they feel they belong and can call home, it’s alright if you haven’t! As my first year came to a close I still wasn’t 100 percent sure where I belonged and I continued to explore a few involvement opportunities at the start of my second year. I think it is much more important to find meaningful involvement than just any involvement, so if it takes a little longer to find the perfect place, that is okay!

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!