Academic Coaching: The Key to Academic Success

If you’re anything like I was as a freshman, your first semester might not have gone how you expected. It happens to most first years; the first semester is filled with the excitement and stress of simply adjusting to a college lifestyle–learning where to eat, meeting new people, learning the campus, etc.–and for many, it was the first time that academics have been a challenge.

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So, maybe the first semester didn’t go as you planned, but you’re optimistic that you’re going to turn everything around and ace all of your classes and be the perfect student. You have it all figured out: you’re going to study every day, complete all your homework on time, pass your midterms, work out daily, join a club, get a job, and get 8 hours of sleep. Totally possible, right?

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Without any help, unlikely. But, with a little help from the team of Academic Coaches at the Dennis Learning Center, I think you could get pretty close. Here’s what to expect from Academic Coaching and why I believe it is one of the most underrated, underused, and most valuable resources Ohio State offers its students.

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Academic Coaching

  • Schedule online to have your own, free, personal, 1:1 hour-long appointment with a trained Academic Coach. In this meeting, you will discuss with your coach any struggles you are having with school/life, including but not limited to: time management, note-taking, test-taking strategies, testing anxiety, organization, motivation, procrastination, studying, and memorization. Your coach will help develop a personalized plan and provide you with strategies to combat these issues.
  • Form a connection with your coach and keep coming back weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to check in on the progress you are making and to continue learning more about what works for you as a student.
  • From my experience with Academic Coaching, I have become a more productive, organized, and relaxed person. I used to stress about how much I had to do and felt like I had no time, but once I was able to sit down with a coach and go through my classes, responsibilities, and schedule, I was able to regain control and now have more time than ever.

Workshops

  • Workshops are held all over campus throughout the year and might even be happening in your residence hall! These workshops include topics on stress management, note-taking, organization, and more.
  • While the workshops are very helpful, I encourage you to schedule an appointment after attending a workshop to get the most benefit!

Courses

  • You can even enroll in a 3-credit course to improve and develop yourself as a student. Choose from a list of classes emphasizing learning strategies, motivation, time management, self-regulated learning, success strategies for international students, and more.

Again, I cannot emphasize enough how truly beneficial the Dennis Learning Center can be for your success not only at Ohio State, but also personally and professionally. Having these foundations of self-regulation, accountability, organization, and time management are crucial for success, and there’s no harm in taking advantage of your resources. Try it out, you won’t regret it!

If you’d rather explore Academic Coaching and the resources in the Dennis Learning Center yourself, schedule an appointment, or learn more, check out their comprehensive website on all of the services they have to offer online on The Dennis Learning Center website.

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Being a Resilient Student

Whether it’s your first year or your fifth year, you’re most likely going to experience some type of obstacle during your time at Ohio State that affects you academically, financially, emotionally, physically, or all of the above. Being able to overcome these types of challenges is a crucial part of being a student and individual. Resiliency and learning to advocate for myself was the theme of my first year, and the experiences, successes, and challenges I endured allowed me to grow and learn so much about myself.

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Being a resilient student could mean something different to every person. To me, being a resilient student means that in the face of obstacle – a failing grade, a homework assignment you forgot, or something entirely unrelated to academics – you’re able to advocate for yourself, overcome, and continue. Resiliency is being able to ask for help, use your resources, and having an open mindset to overcome your challenges.

When approached with a new challenge in college, having a “growth mindset” guided me. It was incredibly easy to view failures and average grades with a fixed mindset, being stuck in as negative of a space as possible; I would blame myself for not being productive and successful and stay stuck in a cloud of worry, which only distracted me from what I needed to do, which in return worried me more, and the cycle would continue. Teaching myself to have a growth mindset (which took a lot of practice) that could let me view challenges as learning and growth opportunities and in a slightly more positive light would at the very least allow me to shift my perspective and not spiral into worry. Image result for growth mindset

If faced with an unexpected obstacle during your first year, remember that you are capable of advocating for yourself. There’s most likely someone on campus who can help you with whatever you are going through, or who can direct you to someone else who can help. So many of my problems during my first year could have been solved or reduced by asking for help. Being able to ask for help during these periods of struggles is one of the largest components of resiliency and a form of self-advocacy; use what you have available to help you.

It’s important to remember why you’re here at Ohio State and how capable and worthy you are of success. Use that as motivation to continue through those obstacles while studying here, and the skills you learn along the way will allow you to be a more open-minded, aware, and resilient person.

Deciphering Dining at Ohio State

Now that you’ve had a few weeks under your belt as a first-year student at Ohio State, hopefully, you’ve used your meal plan at least once or twice.

Have you finally cracked the code to the seemingly overwhelming mess of dining dollars, BuckID cash, swipes, and visit exchanges? Have you discovered the perfect way to use your swipes and dollars each week?

No? Still confused? Don’t worry, I like to consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to budgeting and dietary needs, but even I had trouble understanding at first. Luckily for you, I’m here to show you what I wish I had known dining at Ohio State throughout my first year.

First, the Basics: Dining Dollars, BuckID Cash, and Swipes

  • Dining Dollars can be used at any student dining services locations. They are intended to give you added flexibility in what you eat and where. By using dining dollars you get a 35% discount on your purchase. Even better, they roll over every semester you are enrolled.
  • BuckID Cash can be used at any merchant that accepts BuckID both on and off-campus. This is not just restricted to food purchases. Use your ‘Ohio State’ app to look at all the available merchants.
  • Swipes (all-you-care-to-eat visits) give you access to any of the three Traditions Dining locations (Scott, Morrill, and Kennedy).
  • Visit exchanges involve exchanging a swipe for a monetary amount. At most dining locations, it is $8 to one swipe, but at C-Stores it is $5 to one swipe. For example, if I were to spend $7.50 at Union Market, instead of using Dining Dollars or BuckID cash, I could use one swipe to pay.

Now that you know what each component of a plan is, how do you choose which plan is best for you? Gray 10, Scarlet 14, or Unlimited? 

  • Gray 10, at $2,025, will give you 10 swipes each week, $200 Dining Dollars, and $150 BuckID cash.
  • Scarlet 14, at $2,412, will give you 14 swipes each week, $200 Dining Dollars, and $150 BuckID cash.
  • Unlimited, at $1,976, will give you unlimited swipes to any Traditions locations, and $100 Dining Dollars.

When I was first deciding my meal plan, I scoffed at Gray 10, thinking that it could never feed me, so I chose Scarlet 14. A few weeks into the semester, I found myself routinely having at least seven swipes left at the end of each week. So, in my second semester, I decided to switch to Gray 10, which was much more suitable for my daily intake. The meal plan that will work best for you is just that – the meal plan that will work best for you. If you choose a meal plan you’re unsatisfied with, there is a grace period each semester where you can change it – you can’t drop down to a less expensive meal plan after the second Friday of the term, but you can always bump up to a bigger plan at any time.

Alright, you’ve learned about and chosen your meal plan, and now you’re absolutely dying to know what my top 3 dining locations are, right? 

  1. The MarketPlace on Neil. In my opinion, it has the best and most versatile menu. Anything from breakfast sandwiches and coffee to sushi to oven-fired pizza.
  2. Sloopy’s Diner. If you’re craving some late-night classic diner food, Sloopy’s has got you covered.
  3. Courtside Cafe. Located in the RPAC, if you’re looking for some versatile, healthier options after a workout (or anytime), this is your best bet!

Okay, but what about dietary restrictions?

Many students at Ohio State must navigate the dining services with dietary restrictions! Although common allergies and dietary preferences are posted on menus and in Traditions, in my opinion, the best way to view ingredients is to use NetNutrition. This web tool allows you to view updated menus, nutritional facts, and filter by allergies and dietary preferences.

Struggling to find balance or what works best for you nutritionally? 

As important as it is to simply understand dining plans, it’s also important to take care of yourself. If you feel like you need some additional guidance as far as meals and eating on-campus, the best advice I could possibly give is to check out the Student Wellness Center in the RPAC. They offer free, personalized nutritional education and coaching.

Hopefully, you’ve now mastered dining at Ohio State, and if not, trust that you will soon! It’s confusing, it takes time, and it takes practice. Luckily, you get to practice multiple times a day.

Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and as always, Go Bucks!