Reasons Why Commuting is the Best!

Flashback to my senior year in high school, my family had just found out that my dad had been offered a job in Ohio. I didn’t know anything about Ohio State or what a Buckeye even was. Little did I know, I was about to be a part of something greater. Fast forward to a national championship in football and one amazing summer of orientation, and I began my junior year as a commuter! Commuting was definitely a challenge to adjust to and there are days that I still struggle to get to campus on time. However today, I want to focus on why commuting is actually so great!

You get to have your car on campus!

You are the ultimate expert of Columbus. You know the ins and outs and the secret places that everyone wished they knew. Take this as an opportunity to invite your friends to your favorite brunch place, the local park or one of the malls in and around Columbus! Some of the best memories of my freshman year were off-campus adventures! I can guarantee you that your friends will appreciate your effort! If you need some inspiration or ideas of some great Columbus events, check out Experience Columbus!

You get to have some more “Me” Time!

If you’re anything like me, I typically get up an hour before I have to leave, which doesn’t leave much time for me to mentally prepare for the day. During my commute, I typically find myself making a mental list of things I need to accomplish. Use this time to also check in with yourself to make sure you are ready to take on the week!

You get to have a daily mood boost!

For me, that looks like blasting some Beyoncé or some Coldplay. I can always count on music to really set my mood for the day. If you’re completely done with listening to music or morning radio shows and you want a more productive start to your day, listen to the news, NPR, or a new podcast! You can also try and learn a new a language! There are so many things that you can accomplish before your class even starts. Carpe diem!

Whether your commute is 15 minutes or over an hour, try and make the best out of your commuting time! Being positive about your commute will allow you to not only be productive but also more relaxed and ready to take on the day! Who knows, you might even start looking forward to your commutes!

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

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Cameras were designed to capture a moment forever, but how often are those images truly congruent with those moments? I can produce thousands of words to describe this picture: student leader, successful, involved, confident, perfect; yet, not one of these words even comes close to describing how I felt the moment that picture was taken.

This photo was taken early last fall semester, which was arguably my hardest semester to date. I was taking a full course load, working 10 hours a week, had my hands tied in too many student organizations to count, and was trying to train for a marathon amongst the madness. Since the majority of my course load fell on Tuesday and Thursday, I decided to fill the other days of the week with meetings, responsibilities, and commitments. As you can imagine, Tuesday through Thursday were by no means relaxing; however, my best friend and I managed to find time to get brunch at a different, local diner every Tuesday, making Tuesdays just slightly more bearable than Wednesday and Thursday. During this particular week, those days seemed almost intolerable.

On Thursday, September 3, I woke up around 6:30 a.m. like I did every Thursday to get ready. Thursdays were especially challenging since in addition to attending five classes, I also had a business professional meeting in the middle of the afternoon. Although the struggle here may seem to be walking to class in heels since I often had no time to change, the real struggle was my internal conflict with the organization for which I was attending this business professional meeting. I slowly but surely began falling out of love with something that once brought me so much joy. I felt frustrated after this meeting but knew I had to cultivate the energy to last me through three more rigorous classes.

After the clock struck 5:15 p.m., indicating the end of my last class, the day seemed to have produced a silver lining. I went to Scott Traditions with a good friend before heading to the first Student Leadership Advocates (SLA) meeting of the semester. SLA is an organization that has brought me significant happiness during my collegiate experience and I often feel quite comforted when I am there. This particular SLA meeting occurred in the same room as my meeting from earlier in the day, but I tried to move past my pessimistic thoughts and insecurities and jumped into a conversation with some friends about their summer.

About ten minutes into the meeting our supervisor announced that the photographer was waiting in the hallway to take everyone’s pictures.

What photographer? I didn’t bring my polo.

As you can imagine, I was often quite scatterbrained on Wednesday nights and, as a result, had not check my email. As I scrolled through my cluttered inbox, I saw it in the fourth line down in my SLA supervisor’s email: 

7 p.m.–photographer arrives! Take photos for the Buckeyes of Distinction TV screen (so look good and bring your polo!). 

There are very few things I hate in this world more than mushrooms and people wearing their name tags on the wrong side of their shirt, but being unprepared is one of these things. I attribute this hatred of being unprepared to not wanting to let people see what I perceived of myself: that my life was a disaster. A friend so politely offered to let me borrow her black polo for the picture, which I tried to make look classy and normal with the pleated navy blue dress I was still wearing from earlier that day. As I stood on the balcony of the second floor of the Ohio Union with a fake smile while the photographer took my photo, that moment was worth a thousand words, among them being: forced, tired, stressed, uncomfortable, broken and unauthentic—none of which are words I would expect anyone to attribute to this picture let alone my life.

The pressure to be perfect is powerful indeed and is perhaps something that has guided my life for the past twenty years; however, we must be vulnerable and brave enough to tell our own stories that pictures could never tell. To many I am seen as a person who has it “all figured out”, but I can assure you that I am constantly battling insecurities, working to improve my weaknesses, and still trying to figure life out one day at a time, too. So, in conclusion, don’t judge a book by its cover or a picture by its filters because I guarantee you that nearly every photo is hiding a story untold.

Start this semester off strong by taking the initiative to take care of yourself because YOU MATTER.

Mental health resources on Campus:

Counseling and Consultation Services

Student Wellness Center

Psychological Services Center

Suicide Prevention Resources

Why Getting a B was the Best Thing that Happened to Me

By now (for better or for worse) fall semester grades are posted. You may be less than thrilled with how your courses turned out. You may be panicked that you did not achieve that perfect 4.0. This may be the first time in your life you have ever had to study, struggled academically, or even gotten a grade lower than an A.

A "Perfect" 4.0

A “Perfect” 4.0

This was me. Entering my first year at Ohio State I had never gotten anything less than an A- and I was bound and determined to make sure it stayed that way. Yes, I knew that college courses were more rigorous, but I had always succeeded academically…so why should anything be different once I got to college?

What I didn’t know was that on top of all of my course work, I had to teach myself how to study. This was a skill I had never truly developed in high school and I was finding it a difficult skill to acquire. I thought that spending all of my time reading and “studying” was what it would take to be a successful student. It took me a while–actually, my entire first year–to learn what worked best for me when it came to studying and that what works best for other people doesn’t necessarily work for me.

I spent an excessive amount of time my first year studying and focused mostly on my studies. And while I did achieve a 4.0 my first year at Ohio State, I didn’t feel as accomplished as I thought I would. My mother actually told me that she wished I would get a B because she thought it would take a lot of pressure off of me. I thought she was crazy, I was doing fine at Ohio State; I had a 4.0 for goodness sake!

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Fall semester of my second year I was enrolled in an Honors accounting class. It was the toughest class I had ever taken; the material was difficult and I was thoroughly confused. I spent many hours trying to decipher the information and went to office hours regularly. I had gotten a C on the first midterm and I was traumatized. I didn’t know how this had happened. I worked even harder, getting more and more stressed over this class. To this day, I remember taking the final exam and the joy I felt when I got my cash flow statement to balance.

How I felt the whole semester.

How I felt the whole semester.

I ended up with a B+ in that class and to be honest it is the grade I am most proud of. Yes, it may not have been the A I wanted, but I learned the most from that class and I worked the hardest for that grade. I not only learned the material for the exams, but I retained the information and still use the knowledge from that class in my accounting classes today.

As much as I hate to admit it, my mother was right: getting a B did take a lot of pressure off of me. I realized that the world didn’t end because I no longer had a 4.0 and that everything was okay. Looking back, I realize I had neglected a lot of relationships and missed a lot of opportunities because I was holed up in my room studying all of the time.  I now have a much more relaxed attitude toward my academics and spend more time on my relationships. I realize that ten years from now I am not going to remember those two extra hours I spent studying for my law exam, but I will remember that dinner I cooked with my friends and the conversations we had. This more relaxed attitude has actually helped me in my academics because it has reduced the stress and anxiety I often felt before exams.

Getting a B was the best thing that has ever happened to me. It made me realize there is more to my college experience than academics and that the relationships I build are just as important  as the grades I achieve.

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5 Interviewing Tips

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It’s about that time in the school year when you start to think ahead to your summer plans and financial assistance. A lot of applications have been posted, and you are hearing back from people left and right to interview you. You’re thinking to yourself, “I made it through the application process and got to the interview portion. Woohoo! ” Well, congratulations to you! This is the true test, though. The closer it gets to the interview, the more nervous you feel. That’s okay! Being nervous is not always a bad thing; it just means that you care. Don’t let the nerves get the best of you, though. Whatever it may be—an internship, job or scholarship—you have to be confident in yourself that you will nail that interview. I will share a few tips you should think about prior to waiting for that interview date in order to prepare and be as ready as you’ll ever be.

Know your facts.

Make sure you do your research on the organization or position you are interviewing with. One time, I went in the interview, and the first question was “Tell me what you know about us?” That’s going to be extremely awkward if you don’t have an answer to this question. It will only take 10 minutes or so to read or polish up on the people you are interviewing with and the job or qualification requirements. Not only does it show you know your stuff, conducting research helps you answer questions along the lines of what the interviewer is looking for. Google is your best friend!

Review common interview questions.

The weirdest question I have ever gotten in an interview was, “If you could be any fruit, what would you be?” (I answered a guava, and I don’t know why. It was the first thing that came to mind, LOL!) I think it’s safe to say that you probably won’t get a question like that 99 percent of the time. Some common questions to review would be tell me a little bit about yourself, or what are your strengths and weaknesses? They may even come right out and ask, why should I hire you/give you this scholarship? In any case, you should be prepared to give your answer confidently and to the best of your ability. When you are in the interview, it is okay to take a pause to think and take a breath before answering the question that is being asked. Career Counseling and Support Services has a ton of interviewing tips and cover letter/résumé writing assistance.

Look AND dress the part.

It’s true! You only get one chance to make a first impression. This is why you want to make that first impression a good one. This tip is pretty simple. Make sure you adhere to the dress code that was given to you by the interviewer or employer. Body language is also an important part as well. You want to exude confidence and maintain proper posture the entire interview. Basically, you want to look like you want to be there AND dress to impress.

Sell yourself, not sell yourself short.

Now, you don’t have to go over the top with selling yourself. Keep in mind that to get to that point you must have shown them you are worth their time. Therefore, make sure you use that time effectively to show them who you really are and that you ARE, indeed, worth their time. Be elaborate with your skill set and accomplishments. Interviewers are truly interested in getting to know in such a short amount of time, so they need you to shine right away. C’mon! Name another time when you get to talk about yourself in detail for 20-30 minutes.

Ask questions, thank them, and follow up.

The last and final tip I deem to be important is asking questions. The worst thing is when they finish the interview, ask you if you have any questions, and you don’t say anything. Always inquire about something afterwards. It can be as simple as, “What can I expect the timeline to be following this interview?” This just lets the person know that you are really interested in hearing back from them, and you are serious about getting that internship, job, or scholarship. Then, you should thank them when you are done as a common courtesy practice. Now, following up can be done a few different ways. For instance, I have a friend who always sends thank-you notes to his interviewers no matter what. That’s just his method. You can send an email or call if it is necessary to even follow up. Be sure to give the interviewers time to make a decision, though, before doing this step. In some cases, it won’t be needed.

I really hope I’ve helped. Good luck! I am sure you will be great. (:

 

Why You Should Be A Peer Leader

Are you looking for a position where you can impact the lives of first year students? Check out this video where current Peer Leaders and a professional staff member discuss what it means to be a PL, outreach to specific populations, and our personal growth throughout the entire process. I would highly encourage you to apply for this amazing opportunity!

 

5 Tips for Getting Through the Winter

Some people have their own favorite tips and tricks to make life a little more manageable in the winter. Most people know the simple ones: wear a winter coat, a hat will keep your ears warm, drink hot chocolate, etc. Here are some tips based on lessons I learned the hard way during my first year!

Strategically plan your walk.

Did you know that University Hall and Dulles Hall are connected through their basements? Walking from your North Campus residence hall to Scott Lab? Cut through the lobby of the Physics Research Building to let your nose warm up a bit.

University Hall Snow

Toes still cold even with doubled up socks? 

Another pair of socks won’t typically help. Invest in some winter boots, and look for ones with traction on the soles so you don’t slip. If they aren’t waterproof, look into buying some waterproofing spray to keep your toes extra toasty.

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Find yourself repeatedly applying Chapstick?

Put it on right before you walk outside. It will create a protective barrier between your cracked lips and that pesky cold. But keep in mind that overdoing it with the Chapstick may just lead to you needing it more! I find that applying it before going outside, rather than after, is a good, happy medium.

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Invest in warm gloves.

Think heavy-duty gloves. Mittens just won’t cut it unless you keep your hands in your coat pockets the entire time. I have never found a good pair of smartphone-friendly gloves that are both warm enough for the walk across campus and allow me to reply to a text message. Keep me posted if you find an efficient pair. (:

kitten mittens

 

Check the weather and your email before you go to class!

Sometimes, the weather may be especially bad and you will need to double up on your clothes. Other times, your professor may have difficulty getting to class and cancel it or the university may be closed completely. Trust me, you will not want to walk all the way to class to find out no one else is there.

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If you have any helpful tips for getting through the winter, be a pal and share them in the comments!

14 things FYE Peer Leaders want you to know about the PL position

The application for the 2016-2017 FYE Peer Leader position is now available! As we thought about how to describe this opportunity to work with new, first-year students, we quickly determined that the people who could best represent this role are the current PLs…so here they are, with incredible things to say!

Jono

My first year didn’t go as planned–I struggled BIG TIME and it wasn’t until recently (three years later) that I started to find my niche. Becoming a Peer Leader helped me to fall back in love with Ohio State. I always wondered what good could possibly come from struggling in my first year, but through the Peer Leader role I have had the honor of sharing those experiences in hopes of helping people find their own niche here at Ohio State.

Lauren

The Peer Leader role will impact your entire Ohio State experience. It is so much more than a job; to me, it has been a transformative and educational experience. The impact is largely due to the amazing people I have met through the position–both fellow Peer Leaders and the FYE professional staff–and the friendships I have built. This position has made this my best year at Ohio State so far!

Tinae

When I first applied to the Peer Leader position, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and how much the position will make me grow. It was a life-changing decision to apply, as I met and worked with the most caring, passionate people I have ever encountered. The most rewarding experience has been supporting underrepresented students as they transition to a large institution. With intensive training, this position will push you to be a better ally for those who cannot go through this first year experience alone.

Kayla

Several times a week, I get texts and emails from coworkers, supervisors, and even first-year students encouraging me to be healthy, happy, and successful in my own journey. I feel like I have 300 Peer Leaders of my own that want the best for me.

Julia

This job will make you a better friend. When you interact with first-year students as a Peer Leader, the most important thing to do is to care about them. How do you show that you care? Listening empathetically, asking questions, and being their biggest fan. The Peer Leader role has required me anticipate what others need. This shift in your character, toward becoming a more selfless individual, will help you in your other relationships. The qualities that make me a better Peer Leader have also made me a more thoughtful daughter, sister, and friend.

Morgan

It is easy for me to look back on my experience as a PL with a smile, and I can confidently say that it has been the best decision I have made in my college career. The best part is that it never feels like work. I have met my best friends on this staff, developed meaningful relationships, and gained skills that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.

Sarah

This position is rewarding and allows you to develop more than you might expect. Many of the skills I have learned and practiced through this position, such as being a more empathetic listener, have easily been applied to all areas of my life. Personally, it has allowed me to deepen many of the other relationships in my life.

Becca

I have met so many amazing people through this position. The first-year students I have been working with are great, and to see them grow throughout the year is truly inspiring. Whether though a student organization or a campus job, I love seeing first-year students find their home away from home on campus and follow their passion.

Libby

This position has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have learned so much about myself and have been able to find my values and capitalize on my strengths. I have also been able to meet so many amazing people–my co-PLs are some of the greatest people and the students I have interacted with have taught me so much; I was so lucky to get to experience Ohio State along with them as they navigate their first year.

Austin

The PL position will test how you find your identity. It’s not about putting on a show, or impressing anybody; rather, it’s about being real with who you are, what you are about, and the hardships that you face in life. Dependence on others’ approval for your self-worth and identity doesn’t work with this job.

Joanie

As a leadership studies major, I have heard the term “servant leadership” come up in many of my core classes. I adopted the term quickly and identified myself as a servant leader; however, it wasn’t until this position that I truly and fully understood the meaning of giving yourself wholeheartedly to others. This position taught me the power of a single relationship, how to let go of positional leadership and power, and most importantly find pure happiness in paying forward my Ohio State experience to better the experiences of others.

Caitlin

The Peer Leader position has taught me how to truly listen to not only first-year students, but also my friends, peers, and mentors. I’ve learned that people usually have more to say before I share my advice and opinions. Sometimes, being a leader is simply being someone who can be trusted and truly wants to provide the support and care that students need.

Julie

An interesting thing about this position is the self awareness that comes with it. Through the work of helping others, you develop a better understanding of yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. It’s been rewarding to see how much the position has changed me (and will probably continue to change me) in that respect.

Inah

Anyone can be a Peer Leader–whether you are extroverted or introverted, this role will help you grow into the person you want to be. I wasn’t even going to apply in the first place; the role seemed too much for an introverted person like myself, but I’ve always wanted to make an impact on our campus. This role has given me more confidence in my ability to be a leader and advocate on campus and that has allowed me to promote confidence in first-year students to build a successful year.


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Applications are due Jan. 31, 2016–learn more at go.osu.edu/FYEpeerleader.

Football Disappointment

Singing Carmen Ohio after a home game

Singing Carmen Ohio after a home game

After clinching the 2014 National Championship title for football (and sooo many other sports, too!), I had high expectations for our football team this year. I was hoping that I would be able to witness TWO National Championship titles. But, even the first game against Virginia Tech showed that our team needed a lot of improvement in order to get to that title. And yet, no big deal–we improved last year enough to win, and we would do it again this year, too! And, hey, at least this year we beat Virginia Tech. We could do it.

Unfortunately, as the season went on and we improved, it showed that we weren’t improving fast enough. And that effect culminated during the Michigan State game. I was crushed watching those last thirty seconds and that ball flying through the goal posts. It didn’t seem real for us to lose because I hadn’t witnessed a Buckeye loss in so long.

Some of you may have come to Ohio State for the school spirit, traditions, and the excitement surrounding our football team. Some of you may also be Cleveland Browns fans and are just excited that the Buckeyes can gain 6 points in a way besides two field goals, as my roommate (and Cleveland sports fan), Madeline, says. Some of you may not care about football…at all.

Whether or not you are a football fan, we can all celebrate the successes of our fellow Buckeyes. Let’s celebrate Braxton’s spin move against Virginia Tech, Zeke’s countless runs for first downs, and our quarterbacks’ complete passes (thank you JT and Cardale). Let’s celebrate Women’s rowing for their 2015 National Championship. Let’s celebrate Asia Doss, who plays Women’s Basketball, who has been honored for this week’s Student-Athlete Spotlight. Let’s cheer on Men’s basketball this Saturday against Connecticut. Let’s cheer on our football team at the Fiesta Bowl.

As great as our disappointment is in not making the college football playoffs and being ranked #6 (first world problems, amiright?), let’s be grateful for what we do have. Let’s cheer on all of our Buckeyes in to reach their goals and ace their finals. Good luck to all of you.

The reason you may want to limit your Netflix binging over winter break

If your Thanksgiving break was anything like mine, you probably made your way to the fridge, overwhelmed with the amount of food fresh for the taking. You hunkered down on the couch in front of the TV or maybe turned to Netflix and binge-watched whatever Netflix suggested for you. You stayed up late and then slept in until you were too restless to flop around in your bed any longer, only to start your day of pursuing technology and comfort. Maybe you fell into the trap of video gaming until the wee hours of the morn, only taking breaks to refuel or use the facilities. You essentially did a lot of things that were relaxing, comforting, and fulfilling for a short time, but when those things lost their luster you moved on to the next thing. By the end of it, I felt like I was ready to get back to school but I was not fulfilled by my time off. I wished I could do it over again; I put off responsibilities to the very end and headed back to campus feeling dissatisfied.

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Unfortunately, truly resting is a struggle for many of us. We are used to constant stimulation and entertainment, whether that’s through social media, Snapchat, texting, or any other ways we use technology to stay “busy.” If you don’t come into this longer break with somewhat of a game plan, your winter break could leave you feeling unfulfilled anxious rather than well rested.

How do we do this? I think it starts with recognizing the difference between true rest and being entertained. It is easy to find yourself seeking to be preoccupied when you get home. We probably have many things we look to to keep busy and entertained whether that is TV, movies, Netflix, shopping, eating, frequent naps, or browsing social media. Though they do not involve much effort or physical exertion, I would not say that these things make me feel rested and refreshed.

What I find truly restful is to unplug from the constant brain stimulation that I am so used to during school, and focus on being more present. I personally try to find rest during breaks in going for a walk or run outside, reflecting over the semester, reading my Bible, spending time in prayer over my life and for people in my life, or even going on a spontaneous adventure (your local grocery store can be an adventure). I think the key is to find things that are enriching to your life and leave you feeling more alive and refreshed which can look like a lot of different things for different people. Another way that I like to do this is by spending quality time with my friends and family, catching up on what has been going on in life, or doing something that goes beyond just “hanging out.” Winter break can be a great time to sort through the direction you are currently headed in life and to reflect on ways you have grown.

I am not trying to say that you shouldn’t watch movies, Netflix, or plop down and watch some TV at all over break. The new Star Wars movie is coming out and I will be all over that. However, I don’t think these things bring much refreshment or rest to my life and so it is important to devote time to doing the things that truly offer rest rather than vainly hoping to find that rest in binge watching “Orange is the New Black.”

May the Force be with you this finals week and over break.

6 New Places to Study for Finals

With finals week approaching, Thompson Library can get pretty full, and sometimes it is hard to find a seat. However, no need to worry: Ohio State features many other great study locations on campus!

Residence hall study lounges

All of the residence halls have places for students to study, with 24-hour quiet hours during finals week. If you live on campus, this is super convenient because there is no reason to leave the building. I recommend studying in your building if you plan on being up late; that way, you don’t have to worry about walking back alone in the dark.

18th Avenue Library

18th Avenue Library is great because it is open 24 hours. Nobody is going to ask you to pack up and leave when you are on a roll. Whether you are planning on studying all night or just stopping in between classes, this is a great location!

Loft above 12th Avenue Bread Company

The space above 12th Avenue Bread Company (adjacent to Kennedy Commons) houses a study room with some large tables and some comfy chairs. There are rarely many people there and it stays pretty quiet. I find this to be a great place to spread out if I have a lot of papers and books. And once you are finished studying you can reward yourself with a great meal from Kennedy!

Cafés all over campus

If you don’t mind a little noise, the cafés can be a great place to get some studying done and enjoy a nice cup of coffee. My favorite is Connecting Grounds on north campus because not only is the coffee delicious, but the chairs are super comfy.

Smith Laboratory

There is another great study room in Smith Laboratory. This room has a lot of tables and chairs, as well as a ton of outlets to charge your computer. There are also some great group study rooms here. Check this out when you need a change of scenery!

Other libraries

If none of these places are your cup of tea, you can find the whole list of campus libraries–as well as extended hours for finals week–on the University Libraries website. I’m sure you can find library that works well for you!