Life Hacks: Ohio State Version

By this time of the school year we’ve figured out the basics of surviving college–but what about all those tips and tricks that make your life just a little easier? Peer Leaders provide their insights on the hacks they’ve discovered during their time at Ohio State. Feel free to comment with your own personal Ohio State hacks!


  • Canvas has an app that makes it significantly easier to access your grades and class information from your phone? The app is just called “Canvas” and can be downloaded for free from the App Store.
  • On a Canvas grade page, you can click on the check+ and see where your grade compares to the average, high and low scores for your class.
  • Lots of times you can get cheaper textbooks by buying them directly from older students–ask around or check social media pages to buy used textbooks from older students.
  • Tired of not finding a seat at Thompson? Check out another hidden gem on campus such as the Fine Arts Library or the Geology Library! Check out this link for the full list of library hours and locations.
  • You can reserve a study room at the library–check out this link!


  • Follow OUAB on Twitter or other social media to find out about events before all of the tickets are gone!
  • Take advantage of D-Tix! (Did you know you can get Gateway Movie d-Tix at the Union for $3?)!
  • Take advantage of FREE group fitness classes at the university recreation facilities (check out the full schedule here).
    • Be sure to get there a few minutes early to make sure you get a spot!
  • Venmo makes life easier for paying back friends/splitting costs.


  • When it comes to bikes: “cheap bike, expensive lock”
  • Don’t bike on the Oval.
  • Lots of off campus parking meters are free on the weekends—check the meters if you have friends or family coming into town!
  • Don’t jaywalk (especially on Woodruff) by Scott.
  • The COTA bus now provides real time updates of when they’re coming on Google Maps and the COTA transit app.
    • Sometimes it is quicker to ride the COTA around campus than a CABS bus (and it’s free with your BuckID)
  • Always carry an umbrella…at Ohio State you should be prepared for all 4 seasons in one day!


  • Get creative with the food in the dining halls to change things up. For example, you can build your own buffalo chicken wrap at Traditions at Scott (chicken from the breakfast station, buffalo sauce and lettuce from the grill station, and a tortilla from the Mexican station).
  • Having a Brita pitcher for water in your residence hall room will save you lots of walks to the water fountain on your floor!
  • Food apps (such as Hooked, Tapingo, PostMates, and UberEats) make getting food super easy and convenient!
    • You can even use your meal plan with Tapingo!

Headed Home For The Holidays? 5 Ways to Get Back

No car on campus? Mom and Dad don’t want to make the round trip drive to swing by Ohio State and get you, then drive all the way home? Don’t fret! There are tons of other ways to get home for the holiday break.

1. OSU Facebook Rideshare Page

While the idea of getting into a car with a stranger might not appeal to everyone, I can say from experience the OSU rideshare page really is a great resource to use! People on the page are going everywhere from Cleveland to New York and anywhere else you could imagine. It’s a great way to make some new friends, and usually all you need to have a good time is pitch in for gas money, bring some snacks, and don’t forget all of your favorite road trip games.



2. Greyhound Bus

The bus has kind of a bad reputation, but in reality (from experience, again), it’s actually a nice way to get places. Greyhound buses aren’t too expensive, you can go to the bathroom whenever you want, and there’s free Wi-Fi! Also, you can get a student advantage card and score some deals.



Trains are pretty awesome — they are like buses but even better. Especially if you are taking it a really long distance, a train is a great option, and a lot cheaper than flying. While a train isn’t always the quickest mode of transportation, you can get food, your own car, and pretty much do whatever you could do in your dorm or any other building. The downside to taking a train — there isn’t a station in Columbus. There are a lot of train stations that are close, but you’ll probably need to take a bus to get there.


4. Fly: Port Columbus International Airport

Now if you live really far away, a plane is probably your best option. Although plane tickets can be pretty expensive, it’s also the fastest way to get around. Flying by yourself for the first time can be an intimidating experience, but it’s not as bad as you may think. The Columbus airport is relatively small, and very easy to navigate. Have a friend drive you to the airport or take a taxi. Just make sure you check all of the baggage guidelines and have all of your flight information ready before you leave.


5.  Floo Powder

Well hey- if all else fails you could give it a try.

Floo Powder. Diagonally. by roobarbcrumble

Exploring: A guide to navigating Ohio State and Columbus!

Your first year is all about exploring. Whether it is a new area of study, new ideas, relationships, new places, or a new city–college is the place for you to embrace your inner explorer. Another important piece to this search is to plan HOW you will navigate your first year. When it comes to transportation options on and around campus, you can’t go wrong in finding a way to explore Ohio State and Columbus. Here is the rundown of some alternative forms of transportation to be a sustainable and travel-efficient Buckeye!

CABS: Campus Area Bus Service

Certainly, if you’ve been to campus at all this academic year, you have seen plenty of CABS buses shuttling students across campus. They look like this:

To ride, just hop on! There is no need to show your BuckID while riding.


  • The Campus Loop North has overnight service around campus and runs 24/7!
  • The Ohio State mobile app and the Transportation and Traffic Management website provide information on arrival times so you don’t have to wait in the rain, snow, or look like this:


COTA: Central Ohio Transit Authority

If you’re a commuter trying to get to campus or a student who lives on-campus and wants to explore outside the university walls, COTA is the bus system for you!

COTA provides service throughout Franklin County and surrounding areas both day AND night. All you have to do as an Ohio State student is show your BuckID and hop on for free (it’s included in the fees you pay each semester)! Maps and service availability for the campus area (and beyond) are available on the COTA website.


  • Late night service around the city
  • It comes and leaves from Ohio State–which is great for commuter students!


Don’t have a car on campus and need to run some quick errands off campus? Want to be able to drive somewhere, drop off a car, and not have to worry where you left it? If so, CAR2GO may be just the method of transportation  for you! You’ll need to purchase a membership card first, but after that it’s simple: just take it, drive it, and park it.


  • It’s a great alternative to bringing your car to campus and keeping it parked across campus for months on end
  • It’s sustainable (and sort of like a toy car for adults)!

There are plenty of other options to get around campus and the city, but the three above are my personal recommendations; you can also learn more about biking, carpooling, and other options.

As you think about exploring and navigating campus, remember this: you WILL get lost. And that’s okay! We have all been there! Once, I took COTA instead of CABS and ended up in Clintonville instead of Fisher College of Business. A great part of exploring is the potential to getting a bit off course. Granted, it may not be the most convenient to test out the bus for the first time when your class is in five minutes, but it is important to figure it out for yourself. I recommend trying it out when the stakes are low. Hop on a bus and see where it takes you when you have an extended period of time to “get lost”. Bring a friend. Ask the bus driver if the bus is the right one for where you’re heading. And know that (at the very least), they all come back to the stop you hopped on originally! Happy exploring, Buckeyes! Oh, and don’t forget to look at the maps.

The Four Things I Didn’t See Coming During My First Year

Before beginning my first year at Ohio State, I was aware of many new changes: more responsibilities, a new city, a whole new living environment, larger classes and, of course, independence. However, there were many things that I did not anticipate.

Now a ripened old senior, I hope to share a few tidbits of advice with the newest Buckeyes. I have included four problems you may not expect to run into your first year and my tips for finding a solution.

Problem: Transportation without your own car


Perhaps Stow, Ohio isn’t bursting with things to do but my chipped and dented Honda Accord got me where I was going. For those of you who used to drive around town, dancing from your seat and blasting music from your beloved high school vehicle, be ready to say goodbye to your wheels (unless you are a lucky commuter) and say hello to the three Cs of college transportation.


COTA: Bus transportation to the Columbus area–take the #2 to travel down High Street!

CABS: Your bus system to get you around campus–use the mobile app, OSU BUS, to find nearby routes

CARPOOLING: Need to go home for a long weekend? At such a large school chances are someone in your residence hall is from the same area or state as you, so make friends and save your parents some driving!

Problem: Balancing the little things

Often the simple things–the ones you overlook–are the most difficult to balance. Get ready for the BIG DADDY of the little things: TIME MANAGEMENT.

With new opportunities every day, so many fun things to do, and great people to meet, you may find that it is hard to follow a regular schedule. My recommendation? Take time to make trips to your favorite dining hall with friends, go for walks on the Oval, join a club or attend your campus events; however, find balance between studying, socializing and SLEEPING (in class is not the solution).


True story: By not taking time for our health, my roommates became susceptible to illnesses and my brief bout with mono from high school came back full force to strike even harder in college! Taking time to rest could have saved me from falling asleep on my calculus final!


Create a healthy schedule and set aside a reasonable amount of time every night to sleep. Make this a priority! If you risk starting your homework at midnight, be prepared for the exhaustion to take a toll on your body, immune system and your effectiveness in school.

Problem: Living with roommates “in sickness and in health”

One of the biggest adjustments I had to make in college was when I became ill and had to make an appointment to the doctor for the first time by myself. I was sick, lonely and absolutely TERRIFIED.


Preventative Solutions:

  1. Be prepared for small living quarters! The common cold can spread very quickly if you aren’t diligently washing your hands and avoiding shared drinks and food.
  2. Exercise, get plenty of sleep, and eat balanced and nutritious meals.
  3. Hand sanitizer.

Proactive Solution:

Don’t be afraid to make an appointment!


When I called ahead and made an appointment at the Wilce Student Health Center, I was warmly welcomed by the ladies at the front desk; they called me “baby” and I never wanted to leave (I may form attachments easily). I met with a wonderful doctor, received my diagnosis and was soon on my way. If you need a prescription, you can even pay at the full-service pharmacy using your BuckID cash!

Problem: Schoolwork overload

One thing that I was totally unprepared for was the amount of work I would be faced with in college.

In college, your schoolwork becomes your full-time job. Although you may only be in class for about 15 hours per week, the amount of material and homework you are expected to cover tends to amount to at least 40 hours per week. That means an average amount of 5-8 hours of additional studying every night.


How can you succeed?


1. BE PREPARED, BUDGET YOUR TIME: Know what is expected of you and keep up with your assignments! Make schoolwork a priority during the day and between classes so that you have more time to relax during the weekend.

2. FOLLOW THE SYLLABUS: Unlike high school where you might have had a rough outline for what you will learn during the year, college professors tend to follow the assignments and readings on the syllabus PRECISELY. You will not be reminded of the work you are expected to be completing; instead, you’ll use your syllabus to track those deadlines. You will be expected to come to lectures prepared, meaning half of the learning process is expected to take place during your own time.


3. SEEK OUT RESOURCES: Struggle with learning things from simply reading or by yourself? Do not fear! At a large school, there are ENDLESS opportunities for you to get help. However, it falls on your shoulders to seek them out and actually show up.

  • Group study sessions: learn from your peers!
  • Office hours: weekly meeting times set aside by your professors to speak directly with them!
  • Free tutoring: in mathematics, chemistry, writing, etc. and in your own residence halls!

I hope you are as eager to begin your journey as I was and that these solutions lead to a successful first year!

With Buckeye Love,