A Look at Freshman Year

Nine short months ago I was heading into what seemed like the scariest transition I would ever face. I was leaving my friends, my family, my home, everything I knew, and running headlong into a world of unknowns. Like any major transition, moving into college came with its challenges. I was forced to make new friends, try new things, and explore new places.

But, through that, I built great relationships. My friends and I studied together on weeknights, explored the Short North and downtown Columbus on weekends, and spent countless evenings at Kcomm simply enjoying each others’ company. I tried plenty of exciting new restaurants, with AAB India Restaurant being one of my favorites, and visited countless coffeeshops.

I also took challenging courses, got overly involved, and ended up spreading myself too thin. But, by the time spring semester rolled around, I took the time to prioritize my activities and focus on the important things. I realized very quickly that studying was a necessity, so I learned to do it efficiently. As finals approached I even found myself enjoying the hours spent in the library, poring over textbooks and lecture notes. I became involved in a research lab, where I spent my free time looking at neurons through a microscope and studying various mutations in DNA and reignited my passion for cellular biology and the medical field as a whole.

Overall, freshman year was a success. I learned lessons that I know I’ll carry with me throughout the rest of college. I gained a level of responsibility that I’d never been forced to take on at home, and I started applying that to other areas of my life. I hope that the growth I’ve experienced over the past few months is indicative of the rest of my time at OSU. I know that the friendships I’ve built and the skills I’ve learned this year will last me a lifetime, and I can’t help but be optimistic about the next three years here.

Humans of OSU

“So I was born August 1st, 200 in Alliance, Ohio, which is a fairly small town, there’s only about 20,000 people who live there. That’s actually just the nearest town to us, I grew up in Homeworth, which is this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. I went to a private catholic school up until 3rd grade and then I switched to public school. It was really hard because the private school was really small and there was not a lot of diversity and then I went ro public school and it was like a free-for-all and I hated it so much. But then I started to get into the groove of things and I did pretty well in high school. It was still a tiny school though. People don’t understand that when I say I’m from a small town I really am. When I explain that we had to drive to the nearest store they think it’s crazy—like in Little House on the Prairie or something.

At first I hated Ohio State, I didn’t even want to come here. I told my mom that I wasn’t even looking at Ohio State—I hated it so much. I was going to Malone university in Canton. The day before decision day I got an email from Malone saying that they were getting their accreditation taken away and that I should probably withdraw my application—so I had to come here because it was my only other choice. So I came here and I found out that I actually love it here. And I also have one sister and I don’t really like her because she’s really mean to me because I don’t have the same political views as her.”

-Sam Morrow

My First Week at OSU

My first week at the Ohio State University was overwhelming, to say the least. The transition from rural Ohio to a college campus three times the size of my hometown was accompanied by a lot of mixed emotions. Ironically enough, as I walked home after convocation, surrounded by thousands of students who were just like me—intelligent, top-of-their-class, talented freshmen—I realized that I had never felt so lonely. I had gone from being one of the best athletes in my school, one of the best students in my city, one of the best musicians in my orchestra, to suddenly being just one. One student among thousands who were also used to being “the best.” That idea terrified me, not only because I did not know how to deal with being average, but also because, even with so many people like me, I had no meaningful friendships and no support system surrounding me.  

I had moved in a week early to attend a program for first-generation college students called Buckeyes First. We spent three days talking about coursework, expectations, stress management, financial decisions, and leadership. Their goal was to aid in the transition to college for students and parents who had no idea what to expect. Throughout the program, they stressed one phrase repeatedly: “No matter what, you do belong here.” It wasn’t until move-in day, when welcome week began, that I realized how much those words meant.  

Welcome week started and suddenly I was surrounded by 65,000 students. But, somehow, I had never felt lonelier. The idea that there were that many people, and that I knew so few of them, hit me really hard. I went to the involvement fair and found a lot of clubs that I never ended up joining. Then I went to convocation and listened as a group of extremely educated people stood up to speak. After that I started classes with students who had taken eight AP courses in high school, or whose parents both graduated from prestigious universities, or who had played five different sports in high school. And then there was me: a student from Zanesville, Ohio, from a school that barely even offered AP courses and where roughly 30% of the students attended college and even less graduated—and I wasn’t even the valedictorian there. I sat in a general chemistry class where most of the students had taken AP chemistry and I had never even been offered the choice of taking even general high school chemistry.  

Thankfully, after the chaos of move-in weekend subsided and classes began, I started to settle in. I talked to teachers and other students in my classes and I finally began what I came to the Ohio State University for: to learn. Suddenly, being just one of thousands of smart students played to my advantage. We were able to cover material at a much higher rate than in high school. My classmates asked meaningful questions and we discussed applications of concepts, rather than simply memorizing facts. As the first week of classes continued, I started to see my place here at the university. It’s not just to make friends or to be “the best;” it’s to work together with other students to learn and to apply that learning. It was at that point that I began to understand what they had told us in the Buckeyes First program. “No matter what, you do belong here.” For some reason, when reading over applications, the Ohio State University had decided that I had potential and that I could contribute to the campus. I have yet to find exactly what that potential is, but I am encouraged by the idea that I have four years studying under some of the best professors and alongside some of the brightest students to discover it. I l look forward to everything that I will learn and cannot wait to find my place as a student at the Ohio State University.  

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

G.O.A.L.S.

[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.

  • Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc.
  • Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
  • Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
  • Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
  • Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]

Career

[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

Artifacts

[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation includes both a description of the artifact and a reflection on why it is important to you, what you learned, and what it means for your next steps.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me

[Your “About Me” is a brief biographical statement that might include your intended major, your academic interests, your goals, as well as the things that make you unique.  Definitely include a picture! Also, remember that you can always update this post at any point. For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email eportfolio@osu.edu. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]