Best Friends or Roommates: Same Thing?

It’s that time of year: time to decide who you will spend the entirety of next year sharing your precious personal space with and calling your roommate. For some, the decision may come easy. But for many, the decision feels dreadful. Day in and day out I see friends posting Buzzfeed articles on Facebook entitled, “20 Reasons How You Know Your Roommate is Your Best Friend” or “8 Reasons Why Living with Your Best Friend is the Greatest Thing Ever.” Living with your best friend could be a great decision. But I have also seen the opposite be true; many friendships fall apart after deciding to live together. Some people, regardless of how close of a relationship, will not make good roommates and that is okay! As it comes time to make your decision, I recommend having an honest conversation with your potential roommate about living preferences. What matters is that you will be good roommates and do not necessarily have to be best friends.

Roommate Picture

Two years ago I struggled immensely with the decision of who would be my sophomore year roommate. There were at least four different contenders, and I was closer with some than others. However, I ultimately decided to live with a friend that I was not nearly as close with (at the time) but I knew for a fact we would be phenomenal roommates. We lived next door to each other during our first year, and it was very clear when you walked into either room which desks were ours based on the level of organization and cleanliness. Also, I knew I would feel comfortable talking with her if an issue were ever to arise (which fortunately didn’t end up happening!). While some may not believe me, I can honestly say I don’t think we had a single disagreement all year.

Being able to come home at the end of a long day to a room that I knew would be clean and drama free was a major reason I found my groove during my second year. Living with a fellow introvert, I knew that I could come home and just stick headphones in if I needed alone time. She wouldn’t misunderstand my need for quiet, thinking I was mad or upset. She recognized that we both sometimes just needed quiet time and that was not a reflection on her. Other days, we had great times together just hanging out and being silly. It was through this mutual respect and understanding, that we became great friends over the course of the year and ended up traveling across the United States together. I am so thankful that I picked my roommate based on someone who I knew would make a compatible roommate because that created the foundation for a wonderful friendship.

While I was fortunate to have made a great decision, some of my other friends found their friendships deteriorate because living with a best friend ended up being harder than they thought. I was so thankful day after day that I could confidently say that I had such a stress-free living environment. After all, there are plenty of other stresses that come with being a college student. Do you want to add the stress of incessant roommate disagreements and arguments? Think through your preferences and communicate with your potential roommate before you sign the housing contact. Don’t forget to submit your housing and roommate preferences by Feb. 26!

8 Things I am Doing While Home for Winter Break

Check over grades

Before I completely check out for the semester, I will definitely log into my Buckeye Link or Ohio State Mobile App to make sure my official grades look alright. You should do the same! Double check them with what is in Carmen. If you think there is a mistake don’t hesitate to email your professors to clarify.

OSU Mobile App

File the FAFSA

Since the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is due Feb. 15, I will definitely take some time to fill it out over break! Complete the form for free through the FAFSA website. The application opens Jan. 1, so the last week of winter break is the perfect time to get it done. You will need information from your parents from last year so completing it while all together is ideal. I know I will be glad to have it done by the time February rolls around and I am swamped with spring semester midterms!


Apply for scholarships

There are so many scholarships out there and I definitely will take the time to fill out a few applications over break. Keep in mind that some of these applications require you to fill out the FAFSA, so make sure you do that as well! A few easy ones to apply for are the:

Pay fees for spring semester

Since the fee payment deadline is Monday, Jan. 4, I definitely will make sure I have all my fees paid on time so I don’t risk being dropped from my classes.

Review schedule for spring semester

I plan to go over my schedule to make sure everything looks good before the semester starts. I will check on any classes I was waitlisted for to see if I have been placed in the class or if I need to make any changes to my schedule. I want to make sure I start second semester off on the right foot!

Class Schedule

Purchase books for spring semester!

Since the books I need will likely be posted before break is over, I’ll check this over to make sure I have all the necessary books. You can find the books you need in your course syllabi (if your professors post them on Carmen before the semester starts) or on Buckeye Link. On Buckeye Link, click on “My Class Schedule” then select “Spring 2016 Semester” and then the “Buy Books” button is a blue hyperlink in the top right corner. This will take you directly to the Barnes and Noble website. I usually look at this list and then check out other book sources (such as used bookstores and Amazon) to find the cheapest place to purchase or rent those textbooks.

Doctor’s appointments!

Take advantage of this extended break to take care of any necessary doctor’s appointments. I know I personally have multiple appointments set up for over break so I don’t have to worry about them during the semester.

Doctors Appointment


We’ve worked hard this semester and deserve a break! I definitely plan on taking some time to enjoy some holiday movies by the fireplace!


Bus confusion? 5 tips and 5 routes!

It’s November and it’s about to get real cold, real quick. If you are anything like I was as a freshman, the only thing I knew about the buses was that the CABS was the Campus Area Bus System and the COTA had routes throughout Columbus…but I had no idea how to use them or the difference between routes.

CABS versus COTA

If you read nothing else, here are five tips for the bus system…

CLN versus CLS

For the CLN (Campus Loop North) and CLS (Campus Loop South), the North and South references the direction the bus travels on CANNON Drive. Since it’s a loop, it goes the opposite direction on College Road (the CLN travels SOUTH on College Road, whereas the CLS travels NORTH on College Road). They make the exact same loop–just opposite directions. Also, the CLN runs on weekends, but the CLS does not (be aware that the route is slightly different on the weekends–check the Bus app for details).

CABS bus

Requesting stops

CABS: The bus will stop at every stop (so no need to pull the yellow cord).

COTA: The bus will only stop if you pull the yellow cord around the perimeter of the bus to request a stop or if someone is waiting at that COTA stop to get on the bus.

Interior of COTA

Electronic bus tracking

CABS: You can get up to date bus information on the Ohio State mobile app or the OSU Bus app. The thing I really like about the OSU Bus app is it will utilize the location services on my phone to find stops “Near Me” and give me up to date information about how many minutes until the next bus will arrive!

COTA: If you are riding the COTA, I have found the easiest way to know when a bus is coming is to utilize the Google Maps app, and then click the icon for public transportation. It will give directions of exactly where to pick up the bus, what time it is scheduled to come, how many stops to take the bus, and where to walk once I get off the bus to reach my destination. However, this information is not updated if a bus is running behind schedule, it only gives a rough estimate based on when it is scheduled to come!Bus App Screenshot

What to bring when you ride

CABS: Nothing.

COTA: Swipe your BuckID at the front of the bus OR pay $2

Always thank the bus drivers!

…and here are five routes to know…

CABS: CLN (Campus Loop North)

Where it goes: North on Cannon (by Morrill and Lincoln Towers), left on Woodruff to the Carmack parking lots, back east on Woodruff (by Knowlton and Traditions at Scott), turns right down College Road (heading south), to the Union, and then turns right down 12th Avenue (by Baker East/West and then down past Kennedy Commons), turns left on Neil (goes by Marketplace), then turns right on 9th Avenue and travels around the perimeter of the Med Center and back up Cannon.

When it runs: All day everyday! (Less frequently during at night and on weekends)

CABS: CLS (Campus Loop South)

Where it goes: Same route but opposite direction as the CLN!

When it runs: Mon-Fri, 5:30 a.m.-midnight

CABS: NE (North Express)

Where it goes: East on 17th Avenue (the street just North of the Oval), turns left on College road (north), left on Woodruff (heading west) out to the Carmack parking lots, then comes back down Woody Hayes/Woodruff (the street name changes!), and then turns right on Tuttle Park Place down to the RPAC plaza and then back up 17th again!

When it runs: Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

COTA: #2 (#21 at night)

Where it goes: This bus runs up and down High Street. The different letters after the number 2 distinguish how far north and south it will go. This bus comes about every 9 minutes. The 21 is the “Night Owl” version of the 2 and comes about every 30 minutes.

When it runs: #2–everyday! #21–Thu-Sat, 7 p.m.-3 a.m. (depending where you are on the route)

COTA: #52

Where it goes: This route is the OSU Airport Express and runs a special route on peak travel days from campus to the airport. It has 6 stops around campus and then goes to the airport. Be aware that it only runs certain days of the year!

When it runs: Check this schedule for dates and times.

CABS Routes

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.


Reflections of A First Year Out-Of-State Student

Where are you from?

Long Island, New York

What is your major?

Speech and Hearing Science

Why did you choose to come to Ohio State?

I chose to come Kiley Nolan Pictureto Ohio State because after looking at 19 schools, I knew I wanted to go to a large university where everyone was able to be themselves. I really loved the athletic atmosphere and traditions. I felt like I was very welcomed here.

What has been the best part about coming to Ohio State?

The best part about coming to Ohio State has been getting to learn so many different things from so many different people, faculty and experiences. I have learned so much outside of my realm of knowledge, my major, my prior experiences and places I have been.

What’s been your funniest moment as an out-of-state student?

The first week of school we were trying to order a pizza and I kept asking if we were going to order a pie. My friends looked at me and kept telling me they were ordering a “large.” I kept asking if we were getting a “pie,” and then someone said, “We’re not going to a bakery Kiley, we’re getting pizza!” At that moment I realized they don’t call “large pizzas” a “pie” here. I still to this day do not understand why these crazy Ohioans don’t call it a pie. All I know is I’m not in New York anymore!

Kiley Nolan Picture 2

What has been the most surprising part about coming to Ohio State?

The most surprising part about coming to Ohio State has definitely been that you are MUCH more than just a number. Coming to a large school, I was kind of excited to be just a number because I came from such a small high school. However, now that I am here I realize that I am WAY more than just a number. I can walk anywhere on campus and know at least one person.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given coming into college?

I was given two really good pieces of advice:

1. Make every day an adventure

2. Sleep is for when you are dead.

Both of those have held true this past year!

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of your college experience?

So much! I’m excited to have the opportunity to leave my mark on the university. I have seen how the people above me have accomplished so much in the Ohio State community and I would love to be able to do the same by the time I graduate.

If you could give one piece of advice to other out-of-state students what would it be?

I would tell them to say “YES!” Say yes to things people who live in Ohio tell you to do, to taking a random class, to having lunch with a family member, to going to a new state. Just say “Yes!”

Kiley Nolan 3


Forget Freezing: 5 Ways to Stay Warm on Your Walk to Class

  1. Learn shortcuts through building: Almost all campus buildings are unlocked when you are likely walking to class, so start walking through them. Many of the buildings have clear paths through the main level that you can cut through. Even if it takes a few minutes longer, I personally would rather take a few extra minutes in a warm building over freezing in the cold or slipping on the ice outside.University Hall Snow
  2. Learn to knit (or make a friend who is great at knitting): Rather than having to use your precious paycheck to buy scarves, beanies, and gloves, why not learn to make them yourself? Make all your friends jealous with the many different colored beanies and scarves you have to go with every outfit. Plus, a bright colored beanie or scarf might be just what you need to brighten up a cold, dreary walk to your 8 a.m. class across campus.Yarn
  3. Take a bus: You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but CABS buses are free to use, so why not utilize them? If you don’t have the OSU Mobile App, make sure to get it to keep track of bus times. After a few trips you will likely learn exactly how many minutes it takes you to get from your dorm room to the closest bus stop. Once you figure that out, you can minimize how long you have to stand in the cold waiting for the bus if you have the app on your phone. CABS bus
  4. Layers, layers, layers! Don’t forget to wear layers so you don’t overheat when you get to class. Even though it may be annoying at first to practically have to undress when you get to class, just realize everyone else is in the same boat and it is better to take off a few layers when you get there than to freeze outside or burn up inside.Ohio Snow
  5. Run Forrest Run! Let’s face it, when that wind is blowing and there is no bus around, some days you are just going to have to bear the cold and get to class. But just remember on those days to leave a few minutes early so you have plenty of time once you arrive to class to get the feeling back into your hands and face to be ready and prepared for class to start. Nobody wants to be the one who walks in late with a bright red face from the cold and interrupts class as they struggle to take off all their jackets, scarves, and gloves. Walk in Snow Meme