11 Ohio State words and phrases you may be using incorrectly

Ohio State is a big place with complex ideas, people and places, so it’s natural to be confused every once in a while with our university-specific terminology. Here are some words and phrases that we often hear misused by campus community members (new and old):


INCORRECT More-EL Tower (Morrill Tower, emphasizing the second syllable).

CORRECT MORE-al Tower (Morrill Tower, emphasizing the first syllable). Morrill Tower was named for Senator Justin Morrill of Vermont, the individual responsible for the Morrill Act of 1862 which provided federal funding for land-grant institutions, including The Ohio State University. 

INCORRECT East 18th Avenue Building (EA Building).

CORRECT West 18th Avenue Building (EA Building). EA stands for EIGHTEENTH AVENUE, not East 18th Avenue. The building has not been name after anyone (yet!), so its formal name is the address: 209 W. 18th Avenue.

INCORRECT St. John’s Arena.

CORRECT St. John Arena (no apostrophe and not plural). The arena was named for Lynn St. John, who served as Ohio State’s men’s basketball coach and longtime athletic director…but he doesn’t own the arena (so it’s not a possessive apostrophe). This historic arena is the site of the President’s Convocation on Monday, August 25th.

INCORRECT SEL (Science & Engineering Library).

CORRECT 18th Avenue Library. You may hear upperclass students use SEL (the former name) for this 24-hour university library on 18th Avenue. Feel free to correct them; the library contains many more resources than those just for science or engineering. 

INCORRECT Central Classroom Building and Enarson Hall.

CORRECT Enarson Classroom Building and Hale Hall. Central Classroom Building on Millikin Avenue was renamed Enarson Classroom Building in 2013 after Enarson Hall on 12th Avenue was renamed Hale Hall (the Hale Black Cultural Center was torn down and relocated here). Crazy confusing, right? 


INCORRECT Resuscitation: to bring (someone who is unconscious, not breathing, or close to death) back to conscious or active state again.

CORRECT Recitation: small class section where quizzes are taken, homework is reviewed, and questions from the lectures and readings can be addressed.

INCORRECT Foreign students, foreign professors.

CORRECT International students, international professors. Anything that belongs to a country other than your own is foreign, but anything that involves more than one country is international. 

INCORRECT Teacher, counselor, school nurse.

CORRECT Professor/instructor, advisor, health center. Be sure to shed the high school lingo for the preferred words in higher education.  


CORRECT BuckID. Ohio State’s student identification card is used for a variety of purposes including the campus meal plan, access to secure buildings, and admission to athletic and other campus events. (See, the I in ID replaces the eye in Buckeye…get it? It’s clever.)

INCORRECT Meals blocks = BuckID cash

CORRECT Meals blocks are used for food/meals in on-campus, university-owned dining facilities only (and expire at the end of each term). BuckID cash may be used on-campus or off-campus, at restaurants (McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chipotle, etc.), bookstores, convenience stores, and for things like laundry or printing; BuckID cash stays on your card from one term to the next.


CORRECT Ohio State. Otherwise, we don’t know if you’re talking about Oklahoma State University, Oregon State University, or the Office of Sustainable Utopias.

That’s our list…did we leave anything out? Let us know!

One Orientation | One University

Seven thousand new, first-year students. Nearly 10,000 family members. Over 400 buildings spread across more than 1,700 acres. Thirty-six days of orientation. Twenty-eight orientation programs. Twenty-four Orientation Leaders.

One summer.

One Ohio State Class of 2018.

One university.

Today begins my tenth summer of working with new student orientation at Ohio State. I could (and would) go on and on about the history of our orientation program (it used to be called Freshman Week and it started in 1927..but I digress), but instead I will take this opportunity to highlight the myriad ways in which orientation is the embodiment of one university on this day one of orientation 2014.

The numbers above don’t lie: orientation brings together a bunch of people and they travel all over campus in a relatively short period of time. Daunting? Perhaps. Overwhelming? At times. I say this not to deter you from ever coming to campus (or to second guess your commitment to Ohio State — you are ready to be a Buckeye!), but to prepare you for what awaits you upon your arrival. Ohio State is a large, complex institution; its resources and opportunities are vast and multifaceted. Successful students are those who learn to navigate those resources and opportunities early on, and that learning begins at orientation.

Orientation is your first exposure to all that Ohio State has to offer. Throughout your two days of orientation, you will:

  • meet and mingle with other incoming students, upperclass students, faculty and staff
  • register for autumn semester classes and learn more about what is expected of you in a college classroom
  • hear about opportunities for co-curricular involvement on campus and in the surrounding Columbus community
  • become familiar with policies and procedures surrounding the business of being an Ohio State student
  • begin to navigate the physical (and conceptual) layout of campus

It sounds like a lot…and that’s because there is a lot that goes into a university like Ohio State. But it’s nothing you can’t handle, and we’re prepared to support you along the way. All across campus, individuals who care about the successful transition of new students (YOU!) collaborate to make sure orientation runs smoothly all summer (disclaimer: we can’t do anything about the humidity…sorry). When I say that orientation embodies the one university mantra, I truly mean it.

Although you’ll interact with different personnel from different offices and departments — academic advisors, hall directors, FYE staff members, Campus Dining employees, specialists in the Student Service Center, staff in Recreational Sports and the Ohio Union, etc. — believe and take comfort in the fact that we are all contributing to something bigger than ourselves, to one university, to your university, to your Ohio State experience. 

This summer’s blog contributors — our incredible team of Orientation Leaders — will be challenging one another to post content about orientation, the first year of college, and Ohio State (all for your benefit, written from the perspective of someone who has been in your shoes). The terms of this challenge are that, a) each post must correspond to whichever day of orientation we’re on in the summer and, b) the current blogger issues the challenge for the next blogger.

For day three of orientation on Wednesday, the talented Jay Seetharaman will blog about the three ways in which the first year of college is like a traffic light. It has the potential to be a CAUTIONARY tale that will STOP you in your tracks, so be ready to GO.



Phones and other things that have improved since 1997

With the end of February comes an opportunity to look back in reflection. In this case, I’m looking back 17 years to February 1997, when I was in the middle of my second term as a first-year student at Ohio State. Most of you were infants or toddlers. I’m okay with that. Because now, you are in your first year at Ohio State, and you are in the middle of your second term at Ohio State, and you get to benefit from my 30-something interpretation of my ’90s girl experiences.

My landline phone

Until recently, residence hall rooms came equipped with a landline phone, typically with a phone number that started with 688. Since the vast majority of us did not have cell phones, the landline phone was how we called home and each other. In my freshman year, we had to supply our own answering machine to go with our landline phone. The answering machine I shared with my roommate, Jen, looked like this:


One day in late February, I returned from class to our room in Mack Hall and I press the blue “play” button to hear our messages, and I hear a message from a friend something along the lines of the following:

Hey Nicole, not sure what’s going on with your outgoing message or if this is even your machine, but we’re all going to dinner at Kennedy Commons tonight if you want to join us. Bye!

Outgoing message? I was perplexed. So I listened to our outgoing message. As it turned out, Jen (who I think is like 1/16 Irish) had decided to celebrate the upcoming Saint Patrick’s Day holiday with this little gem (in a horrific Irish accent):

Top o’the morning to you! We leprechauns aren’t home right now because we’re off looking for our lucky charms, but leave us a message and we’ll be sure to get back to you!

I was humiliated. But, things got better: the following year, University Housing began to include voicemail along with the landline phone, and each roommate had their own access to a voicemail box. To leave a message for Nicole, press one.

Ross & Rachel break up

I challenge you to find a bigger Friends fan than yours truly, and my fanaticism has existed since college. In February 1997, Friends was in the middle of its third season, and in the last episode in February (because February is a sweeps month) Ross and Rachel, American’s most beloved TV couple, break up. I. WAS. DEVASTATED.

I must have sent a dozen emails back and forth to my best friend – also an avid Friends fan who was a freshman at the University of Dayton – through which we would create hypothetical scenarios and elaborate plot schemes that would reunite this fictional couple.

But, it got better. The next year, at the end of season four, Chandler and Monica got together. In my opinion, their relationship was far superior to Ross and Rachel’s relationship.

My class schedule

In my second term at Ohio State, my class schedule consisted of only General Education courses: Astronomy 1161, History 1151, and Psychology 1100. I hated all of them. I was a Journalism major (at the time), and I struggled to find the connection among the classes or to my major (in retrospect, I probably should have seen the History connection). I suffered through my second term (and my grades suffered, too) because I was uninspired by the course material and unmotivated to master the subject matter. I was plotting my crusade against the General Education curriculum until…it got better.

The following autumn, I took a political science class and a Spanish class that not only prompted me to become a Spanish minor, but also helped me to value the General Education curriculum. So astronomy wasn’t my cup of tea, and I didn’t “get” psychology. But had I not experienced those classes, along with classes that I did enjoy, I wouldn’t have had a holistic experience from which to discover my passion and interests, or to clarify my dislikes. There are people who are meant to be astronomers and psychologists; I was meant to be an English major. I learned that through my General Education.

Tell me what you want (what you really really want)

The end of February 1997 began a four-week run of “Wannabe” (Spice Girls) at the top of the Billboard charts.

But it got better? “My Heart Will Go On” (Celine Dion) topped the charts in February 1998.

Here’s hoping that today is the worst day of the rest of your life. Have a great weekend, Buckeyes!

8 Great Things About This Blog

Happy New Year, welcome to spring semester, and here’s to our inaugural blog post.

For our devoted passive readers of the FYE-News email you received on a weekly basis from First Year Experience, this blog is our new (and improved!) way of sharing information with you.

If you never realized you were getting a weekly FYE-News email full of insightful, life-altering information, believe me when I say that this is better. Here’s why:

FYE is an office of peopleWe are a staff of seven professionals, one office manager, and two incredible graduate students. A weekly email doesn’t care about you, doesn’t have feelings or opinions, and will never tell you a bad joke…but we do. (How do you make a tissue dance? You put a little boogie in it). Through this blog, you’ll get to know us, as we hope to get to know you. You’ll come to realize that the staff in First Year Experience are invested in the success of first-year students, and we have knowledge to share, advice to dispense, and candy bowls in our office cubicles.

Students helping students. Over 200 upper-class student leaders devote time and energy to supporting and mentoring new students each year. You see them at Orientation, at Convocation, in the classroom, and at many events and programs coordinated by FYE throughout your first year. These students have experience in what you may be experiencing:

  • They fail midterms
  • They’re homesick
  • They struggle with time management
  • They ignore the recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • They have their hearts broken.

But, they persevere. They learn a lesson (or two). They have tremendous success. They’ll share their stories with you in this blog, and you can learn a lesson (or two) from their experiences.

Real time. Real talk. A formatted weekly email is typically drafted, edited, and scheduled to go out 4-5 days before it hits inboxes (true story). A blog lets us be timely and relevant with our thoughts and ideas when something BIG happens on campus. And you, in turn, can share with us your comments about those (or other) thoughts and ideas.

This thing called the Internet. Ohio State makes u.osu.edu accessible to students, faculty, and staff anytime, anywhere (with Internet access) from laptops, desktops, portable devices. You can comment on a post at three in the morning when I’m sleeping (wait, you should also be sleeping…see recommendations for maintaining a healthy lifestyle), and each of our blog contributors can create posts through their own preferred method of submission.

Comments on comments on comments. We want to hear from you. We want you to talk to each other. This is a public forum, but it’s also a safe space…we hope that you’ll engage in respectful and reflective ways.

Stuff you care about. Let’s say we have a blog post about living in Columbus and taking advantage of all this city has to offer (spoiler alert: it’s happening). You grew up in Columbus, and you could practically write that post in your sleep…with your toes…while playing the accordion. (How’s that mental image working out for you?) Okay, so that blog post probably won’t be interesting, but you can search this blog for terms, categories, or tags about things you would find interesting. And, if you’re coming up empty, shoot us a comment and we’ll dedicate our next post to you.


Memes. GIFs. YouTube. Soundcloud. Oh, the media frenzy! We get it: Buzzfeed is awesome. We like it, too. They’ve got a good thing going, and we’re not ashamed to say that we’re going to try to emulate its approach to sharing information…to an extent. I’m calling it now: we’ll probably never post anything like 22 Lies Disney Told About Hair.

I will, however, include this music video of my favorite song from 1996 (the year I started college at Ohio State):


Look back, plan ahead. I kept a diary in elementary school. The steamiest entry was circa February 1988, when I was in fourth grade and the boy I had a crush on picked me to play the tambourine next in music class. Irrelevant is the fact that our teacher told him he had to pick a girl and that I was one of only two girls left who hadn’t been picked; the point is, I was convinced that I was going to have an extra special Valentine in my cardboard box the following week (nope, didn’t happen).

This blog can be your elementary school diary. Read through these posts in May and remember where you were at this moment, how you felt about beginning your second semester at Ohio State. Think about how you’re different now compared to when you started here in August. Use these posts to jar your memory, to help you set goals for the future, and have a snapshot of one of the most transforming years of your life.


Until next time…