Traffic lights: A guide for First Year success

Two days of orientation have passed and now we’re here at day three. With that comes three tidbits of information for students to utilize during their first year at Ohio State, using a traffic light analogy.

RED: It’s true that through all of the opportunities and resources available to first-year students, there are some boundaries and things that students should avoid. One thing that I would discourage a student from doing in their first year is skipping class! Although you may accidentally sleep through an alarm, just like unintentionally running through a red light, keep in mind one thing: classes in college are fast-paced and rigorous. Attending class can make a huge difference in your success in college and your final grade. That being said, professors know the difficulty of the material and offer additional resources to students outside of class such as:

  1. Office hours: hours set aside for students to meet with their professor in his or her office and ask questions about class content
  2. Review sessions: meetings held before large tests or exams in order to review content that may be included on the test
  3. Teaching Assistants: people pursuing a professional degree in the content related to your class who assist the professors, offer their own office hours and teach students during recitations (smaller classes affiliated with a lecture)

Each resource works to ensure students are able to understand the material completely and thoroughly. But if you are forced to miss a class, the last thing you should do is PANIC! Many professors have policies in place regarding class absences and acceptable excuses. They will be as accommodating as they can to make sure you succeed, so make sure you do everything possible to be present, and communicate if for some reason you are unable to attend class.

YELLOW: Everyone has his or her own comfort zone but I’ve been told that nothing ever grows in a comfort zone. In your first year at Ohio State (as well as the years to follow), stepping out of your comfort zone is crucial to developing as an independent and unique individual. For those who may feel more comfortable surrounded by groups of people, I challenge you to step outside this protective layer of friends. Do not be afraid to take on a meeting, project, or initiative solo. Many new students are nervous to participate in activities by themselves, but taking it upon yourself to be proactive can pay off in your personal independence, belief in yourself and expansion of your knowledge. When coming to Ohio State we are all heavily concerned about our social life, but don’t be afraid to be comfortable with yourself and take that time necessary to recoup, learn your personal strengths and make some quality “me-time.”

GREEN: Now that we got the hard part out the way we can delve into being proactive and outlining what a student should definitely take on and do in their first year. Although every first-year student is going to hear this a billion times, I cannot stress enough the importance of GETTING INVOLVED on campus. Even making it all capital letters doesn’t do it justice. Every student has heard how getting involved can benefit your social network, allow you to gain leadership experience and be a part of something with a purpose and goal. Although all of these points are true, in addition, when you get involved on campus you can benefit from everything Ohio State has to offer, especially real world experience. Each student organization is almost like a small business and every one has responsibilities to ensure prosperity and success with their goals. These experiences are prevalent throughout Ohio State but each student club on campus offers a variety of lessons and experiences for students to apply after graduation and that is an invaluable opportunity that no one can pass up.

Hopefully the information above helps if you’re an incoming first-year student, especially if you are anxious, nervous, or scared about your transition from these summer months to your first semester as a Buckeye. Granted, these tips are not finite! There is so much Ohio State has to offer and a multitude of decisions that students will have to make during their time as a college student.

I hope you get started in the right direction on your path of success during your time here at Ohio State. Go Bucks!

Friday’s post is going to come from Mackenzie Hogan; she will describe five ways to meet other first-year students at orientation as your college journey begins to unfold!