1. Ohio State football has got us like
2. Learning how to study is tough
3. Hogwarts is Harry’s home and Ohio State is beginning to feel like our home
4. Living with roommates can be challenging, but it can also be fun
5. Tutoring services on campus are extremely helpful
6. Midterms, will they ever end?
What’s going on with Ohio State’s Class of 2020? These are the top trending topics from the past week with Ohio State’s first year class!
1. First time being sick away from home
2. Have you registered to vote?
3. First Chemistry midterm
4. Calculus midterm scores came back
5. Even more midterms are coming
6. OUAB events are the place to be (and for free!)
7. North Rec Center (NRC) is the place to work out
8. Laundry! It’s expensive and time consuming
Comment below with your own thoughts about how you are feeling at this point in the semester!
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the Oval is full of life. In the forefront of your mind, you are likely thinking about the summer plans taking place shortly. No matter what you will be doing, we all need some relaxation time! Amidst all of this happiness, you realize that the semester is almost over… meaning finals week is soon approaching us. Finals week this time of year can be a challenge for a few reasons:
- The weather is beautiful and you want to spend every moment outside
- This might be your last time on campus until the fall, so you want to take in every moment
- You have to saying goodbye and see you later to the many friends you have made this year
- You’re excited about summer plans and a long, much needed break
Keeping all of this in mind, here are some tips to tackle finals week and stay on top- even when you have spring fever.
Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
The most precious thing that we have as college students is time. With only two weeks left and a lot to do, good time management is key. Make a list of things you have to get done each day. The key is to set small goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. For me, I make a to-do list for each day and set small, realistic tasks I know I can accomplish. Plus, it is so gratifying to finish a to-do list!
Use the outdoors to your advantage
The idea of being stuck inside the library for the next two weeks seems sad, but if you utilize the great spaces on campus you can enjoy the outdoors, too. Even if studying outside isn’t for you, try taking a a break by walking or tossing a Frisbee outside.
- Study outside on a bench, picnic table, or grass
- The courtyard in Hagerty Hall is a great place to study and relax
- Try the nice grassy courtyard in between Park-Stradley and Siebert Halls
Take advantage of Reading Day
The Office of Student Life puts on an an entire day of free activities and events. Take a study break with some friends or even try a workout class to give your brain a rest. You can check out the schedule online for this year’s reading day, which is Tuesday, April 26.
Coordinate when you are moving out
With all of the assignments and studying, you might forget that you will need to make plans to move out of your residence hall if you live on campus. Talk to your RA or reach out to your Peer Leader if you need packing advice and travel tips, and review the information on the housing website to make sure you’re following move-out procedures correctly.
Make plans to stay in touch with your friends
All of your friends might be done with finals at different times, so it is important to stay on top of this. Plan ways to stay in touch with your friends over the summer, whether that be through Skype, texting, or even a trip! Having some trouble thinking of ways to stay in touch with your friends? Contact a Peer Leader!
One of my most important values is gratitude, for a simple thank you goes a long way. I would not be at the place I am now without the professors, friends, and family who have guided me through my Ohio State journey. Make sure to thank those that made an impact on you before you leave for the summer. Here are a few ideas of people to thank:
- The professor in the class you really enjoyed this semester, or the TA who helped you in your class
- The cashier at the Ohio Union who always swiped your BuckID
- The cleaning staff in your residence hall who made your building clean and safe
- Your RA for building community and supporting you throughout your first year of college
- The friends you have made at Ohio State
- Your family for supporting you along this journey
With these tips, I hope you can tackle finals week. Take a deep breath and enter finals week organized, and of course thankful for a great first year.
You’re about to make it through your first year of college in one piece (knock on wood). That’s a big deal, so give yourself some credit! My freshman year was so opposite of what I envisioned coming out of high school; it was actually one of the most challenging years of my life–socially, academically, psychologically, you name it. Despite the tough times, the real problem was that I–like countless others–tended to push the bad memories off to the side and focus on the good. However, I’ve learned the times I grew the most as a person were the times I was barely holding on. If you look back on the year without rose-colored glasses, you can really discover what worked and what didn’t, helping you to be cognizant of those things the second time through this fall!
Now, there are many options for self-reflection. The great thing about it is that it’s for yourself, so you can make what you want out of it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
When people think of self-reflection, journaling is often the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a great way of getting thoughts onto paper and allows a space of unfiltered reflection. If you’re feeling super crazy, you could buy yourself a nice notebook and some sweet pens, too.
I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it, but I think it’s time I show it.
I’ve recently found poetry to be a really cool way of expressing what I’m feeling in an abbreviated form. The extra attention it takes for word choices and having to think through things like rhyme and rhythm (or not!) helps you to think about what you’re feeling and what you’re trying to say.
“Lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go…”
Whether it’s putting sound to poetry, playing your favorite tunes on your favorite instrument, or just indulging in a few emotionally engaging songs, music as the universal language is a fantastic way of expressing and experiencing emotion without ever having to open your eyes!
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Whether you sketch, paint, photograph, etc., a visual representation of what you’ve been experiencing throughout your first year is a powerful way to express your feelings. It’s not an art contest; it’s for your own self-expression, so don’t be too critical on yourself if you aren’t the second coming of Michelangelo!
Whether you had the best year ever, or the worst of all time, reflecting back on it while it’s still fresh in your mind is something that can be helpful, rather than bottling it all up. Expressing yourself in some form can help you to know how to build upon your success this year, but just as important, how to take what you’ve been through and grow and learn from your shortcomings. Once you’ve taken the opportunity to look back and discover where you’ve grown–and need to continue to grow–you can look to the future with confidence that you’re a better version of yourself because of it.
I recently wrote a poem about my first year struggles and how I dealt with it. If you’re interested, you can check it out here!
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.
Spring is finally here and the weather is starting to get warmer–yay! I don’t know about you, but I want to spend as much time as possible outside, enjoying the nice weather. There are some fun things to do here on campus, but there are even more ways to enjoy the weather out and about in Columbus. You could explore German Village, attend a Columbus Clippers baseball game, or take a walk through Goodale Park. Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t have a car, how am I supposed to get there?” You have lots of options!
The one option you are probably most familiar with is the COTA. This is the public bus system in Columbus, and you get to ride for free with your BuckID. The bus I use the most is the #2; it goes straight up and down High Street, making it easy to get downtown.
If you plan on spending a lot of time out and about in the city, you might want to look into car2go. You have probably seen the blue and white Smart cars around campus. You can sign up for car2go with a onetime fee, and then pay $0.41 per minute of driving. When you are ready to go somewhere, just find a car, use your member card as a key, and drop it off in a designated space when you are done. This is an easy way to get where you want to be on your own time.
My favorite option is the University-affiliated bike share program! It is just $35 per year, or $6 a day, but there are additional fees for longer rides. You can download their app on your phone, and then when you want to ride you just tell the app the bike number you want, and you will get the code to unlock the bike. You can take these bikes to class or to a fun off-campus location. This is a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the weather, and explore Columbus! There are so many cool places you can ride including the Olentangy Trail and Scioto Mile. I also recommend checking out the Scioto Audubon Metro Park–they have a pretty awesome climbing wall.
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.
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!
From being cooped up inside all of the time and practically living inside your parka, it is easy to feel the blues–especially when it comes to body image. Negative self-talk can be prominent in these winter months, especially as we approach spring break. I have heard all types of conversations in the dining halls, with the most popular tagline being,
I can’t eat this cookie because of my spring break bod.
I see people I know picking out parts of their bodies they do not like, exercising extreme amounts, and fantasizing over the sculpted and tan bodies of celebrities in magazines and on TV. With half of semester under your belt, I wanted to pose this question: How do you feel about yourself?
The real truth
It is easy to feel like you are the only one suffering from poor body image, but it is more prevalent than you thought–especially on college campuses. Here are some statistics from a body image campaign through dosomething.org:
- About 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to measures to achieve the body size they desire
- Only 5% of women are naturally born with the body type portrayed in media
- Men feel just as pressured by media and can feel inadequate about their bodies
Steps you can take today to have a better body image
The National Eating Disorders Association website has many resources on how to develop a better self-body image. Here are a few steps that you can take today to feel better about yourself:
- View yourself as a whole person. You are one complete individual, not just separate parts. Refrain from picking out certain parts of your body and realize that you are one cohesive unit.
- Find joy in all that you can do, from having the best laugh, scoring an A on your last chemistry midterm, or being a good friend. Think about the areas where you shine and make others and yourself happy.
- Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Being around people who are negative can really bring you down. Take action and be with people who boost your mood and lift you up.
- Be critical of social media. Just by scrolling through Instagram, you might think that some of your followers have perfect lives based on their social media photos. Realize that people don’t typically post about their bad days, and that photos can often be distorted. Magazines and TV shows can also display perfection and distortion of real life. Interested in learning more about the feelings behind social media? Read a great blog post.
- Write down things you love about yourself on Post-it notes and stick them on your mirror or computer for a daily reminder that you have so much to offer.
- Wear clothes that you feel comfortable and happy in. Wear your favorite color, or those shoes you feel amazing in.
- Always remember that there is something to be thankful for–whether that is being a Buckeye, having supportive friends, and the opportunity to attend such a great university!
Resources for you
Be sure to know when it is important to work with a professional. Here are some campus resources if you would like to seek additional information and help.
- Ohio State’s Student Wellness Center–This resource offers nutrition, wellness coaching, and additional links to help you learn more about body image
- Body Image screening tool–Take this short online test to see if you how feel about your body
- Ohio State’s Counseling and Consultation Services–For individual counseling, specializing in mental health
- Wilce Student Health Center–Ohio State’s student health center is here to make a doctor’s appointment