A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words


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

Second Year Roommates

Sharing a confined space with another living, breathing creature–and I’m not talking about your fish or body pillow–can be difficult. In my first year, I was challenged going from my own room at home with a bed big enough for my entire graduating class to a room half that size and a bed that was barely big enough for my Brutus pillow pet and me. Add three more people–strangers–to that space and life has never been the same. Those roommates I was forced to share bunk beds with turned out to be some of my best friends, but that isn’t always the case.

For some, it may seem as though school started yesterday, and here we are ten weeks later and the test are getting more difficult, we’ve become dependent on taco salads from the RPAC for survival (or is that just me?), and students are already making housing plans for the coming year. Whether you’ve found someone you plan to live with the rest of your life or you are a Nervous Nelly worried that it’s too late to find compatible living buddies, these second-year housing tips may be useful for anyone:

There are few things in life you have to be selfish about, but housing may be one of those things.

Whether you are living in a cave, your parent’s basement after graduation (oh no!), or the 37th floor of the Empire State building, that is YOUR home. When it comes to deciding where to live and who to live with, make sure you are comfortable and can come to consensus with your roommate(s). The last thing you want is to spend a year of your life unhappy trying to please someone else. Never agree to live with someone or somewhere out of guilt. Those tough conversations are hard to have, but you will be much happier in the long run…trust me.

Best friends are not the best roommates and roommates do not have to be your best friends.

Because of what we see in pop culture, we often come to college with an unrealistic expectation that our roommates are going to be our best friends and we will all live happily ever after drinking hot chocolate and having pillow fights every night until 2 a.m. When this turns out to not be the case, the perfect vision we created in our heads of college is no longer and we start to compare our experience to others. The best roommates are simply people who have compatible living habits. You do not need to be best friends; you simply need to get along. In fact, you may want to also consider not rooming with your best friends, simply to protect your friendship. Although they may be a great companion, they may have living habits that get under your skin. Find that perfect balance between good friend and compatible living habits, and you have the perfect match!

The Golden Rule: treat your roommate how you want to be treated.

If you do not like to come home to passive-aggressive Post-It notes, do not leave them for your roommate. If you do not like moldy food in your living quarters, store your leftover taco salad in the fridge. If you like to go to bed by midnight, study at the library or down the hall in a common area when you roommate wants to sleep. Chances are that the small things that get under your skin get under your roommates skin as well. Don’t do anything to your room or your roommate that you would not want them to do to your room or you.

Address a situation when it arises.

If you find that your roommate is violating the roommate contract or doing something that you do not appreciate, address the situation as soon as possible in a face-to-face conversation. The sooner you address the situation, the better things will become. Gossiping with your friends down the hallway will not make the problem go away. The last thing you want is to build up anger or frustration toward them for something they may not even realize they are doing. These conversations may be hard to have in the moment, but can have positive impacts on the roommate relationship in the long run.

Share the snacks that Mom sends.

This is mega important for your friendship, especially when Rice Krispies treats are involved.

Deciding to go random for my roommate(s) was one of the best decisions I ever made and I do not know if our Ohio State paths would have crossed if it were not for the lovely housing office that put us together. As you can see, living with another person is hard. A lot of the time it takes patience and every once in a while a hard conversation, but by keeping these rules in mind, you are bound to have a great year!

FYE Peer Leader Myths

Whether you saw us at Orientation or at the library studying for an exam, FYE Peer Leaders are everywhere. As the wise Hannah Montana once said, “I’m a lucky [student] whose dreams came true, but underneath it all I’m just like you.” The best part of our role is that we are YOUR peers! We take classes, participate in student organizations, and eat in the dining halls–and, believe it or not, we were all first-year students at one point, too! We know what it’s like to complete your first big college exam and get chills, or question what to get involved with on campus. Let’s face it: college is hard, but we’re here to help you figure those hard things out because we all wish that we had a Peer Leader there for us during the low points of our first year as well. In order to continue building relationships and connecting with Peer Leaders, it is important to bust some myths about Peer Leaders.

MYTH: Peer Leaders are scary upperclass students

Peer Leaders are in fact anything but scary upperclass students. Whether you want to talk about dogs to relieve stress or have a serious conversation about missing your home, every single Peer Leader is here to lend an ear. We care about the well-being of every student and want to help each and every person have a successful first-year and beyond. Do not be afraid to say hi when you see us on the Oval or reach out to us if you want to chat! Peer Leaders are friends, not food (:

MYTH: I should strive to be just like the Peer Leaders

The only thing you should strive to be just like is yourself! Although the Peer Leaders are wonderful people, you should utilize their knowledge and resources to help you grow closer to the person you have always wanted to become. Discover the people and things that make you light up the same way each one of us lights up about the things we are passionate about.

MYTH: If I make a mistake, a Peer Leader will be disappointed in me

We have all made mistakes, trust me. I have made plenty of mistakes during my collegiate career and so has every other Peer Leader. The best feeling in the world when you make a mistake, however, is having someone tell you, “it’s okay”. That is exactly what we are here to do. We are not here to get you in trouble or instill our own values upon you, but rather love and support you through the best four–yet toughest–years of your life. Some of the greatest mistakes I have made here at Ohio State have in fact not been asking for help when I needed it most. No matter if you find support through your Peer Leader, family, friends, or other campus resources, make sure to have the courage to ask for help, because we all need somebody to lean on!

MYTH: Peer Leaders have it all together

This just might be the biggest myth of them all. I can 120 percent guarantee that each one of us is still trying to figure life out one day at a time, just like each of you. None of the Peer Leaders are perfect, and neither are you, but that’s okay! It makes us normal and unifies us as one Buckeye family! It is important to remember that even Ohio State’s greatest leaders do not have it all together, but together we have it all.

When these barriers come down and myths are broken, you can finally start to see us for who we truly are: not the cool students in a red polo, but rather a genuine friend and resource who wants nothing more than see you find happiness and success here at Ohio State!

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