5 things I wish I had known in my first few weeks on campus

It’s okay to ask for directions

I remember walking around completely lost my first week of college desperately trying to find my class. Despite having the Ohio State mobile app on my phone, I still could not seem to find my class. As I walked around campus and saw students who clearly were upperclassmen, I refused to ask for help. I remember thinking, “if I ask for help, they’ll know I’m a freshman!” However, as I look back and laugh at my freshman self, I realize how silly that was of me. Sure, if I had asked for directions they would have known I was a freshman…but who cares? On a campus of 60,000 students, the likelihood of me ever seeing that upperclassman again was slim to none. Even if I did see them again they probably wouldn’t even remember me. All I know is asking another student for directions would have been a lot less embarrassing than walking into class late.


The best way to learn the CABS system is to ride it!

If you are anything like me, you were probably handed what feels like five different versions of the CABS (Campus Area Bus Service) map at Orientation and during Welcome Week. I remember looking at these maps trying to figure out what all the different colors on the map meant and which bus went which direction…only to end up more confused. No matter how much time I spent looking at the maps, what I realized is the easiest way to learn the bus system is to just ride it! When I finished class for the day I would use the OSU Bus app to try and figure out how to get back to my residence hall via bus. After just a few trips actually on the bus, I felt way more comfortable with the system. Try it out now because you will appreciate knowing the bus routes when the snow starts to fall and the buses become crowded!

CABS bus

Always carry an umbrella

Since I grew up in California where the sun was shining almost 365 days a year, I didn’t believe anyone when they told me the weather in Columbus could change drastically in a matter of minutes. I remember my mom telling me before she left, “no matter how sunny it is when you leave for class, put your umbrella in your backpack.” As a typical teenager, I didn’t listen to my mom and I still remember my very first day of college leaving for class in my shorts and a tanktop and by the end of day looking like a drowned rat because of the afternoon storm that rolled in. Don’t learn the hard way: buy a small umbrella and just throw it in the bottom of your backpack!

OSU UmbrellaYou don’t have to be best friends with your roommate!

I still remember going to practically every Welcome Week event with my roommate. While this was great and made us both feel comfortable, when classes started and we started to make other friends I was kind of bummed that the girl who I had known for a week and seemed like she was my new best friend for life may not be. While we may not have been best friends, we were phenomenal roommates. There is a major difference between a best friend and a roommate. While yes, some people are best friends with their roommates (which is awesome!), if you’re not, that’s totally okay and normal! You don’t have to force yourself to be best friends! Just remember, there are tons of other places to meet your new best friend- try a student organization, on your floor, or in class!

Don’t be on your phone during class.

I remember looking around in my first college class and seeing older students scrolling through various social media on their phone. I, too, pulled out my phone as I tried to fit in during my next few weeks. However, one day in my Stats class, I accidentally held the home button and sure enough Siri began to talk to me. Let me just tell you how awkward it is when a professor asks a question and is waiting for students to respond and Siri says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.” While I may have had to learn the hard way my first year, learn from me! If that’s not enough reason for you to put your phone away, just think about how much money you are spending to be in each one of those classes. Believe it or not, professors have a LOT of valuable information to teach you and you will learn a lot more if you are actually paying attention.