How to Survive College: Commuter Edition

I know from personal experience that being a commuter in college can be really hard. The lack of motivation to get up and drive to school, the stress of finding a parking spot, making genuine friends, and eating on campus (especially without a meal plan) are all things that you constantly think about. It’s not easy to make a campus as big as Ohio State feel like home, but thankfully resources like Off Campus and Commuter Student Services (OCCSS) exist to help commuters feel more comfortable.

What is OCCSS? 

The Off Campus and Commuter Student Services office exists to improve the quality of life for off-campus and commuter students. The office is located on the third floor of the Ohio Union, which is without a doubt the best place on campus for commuters. OCCSS provides a commuter kitchen, which is directly next to the Sigma Phi Epsilon Commuter Lounge on the third floor (you’ll have to visit the OCCSS office first to get access to it), and lockers at the Ohio Union and the Younkin Success Center. They can also help students find housing, roommates, and provide services like Rideshare and Carpool that allow students to share transportation to and from campus.

How can OCCSS make commuting easier? 

Eating on campus

Eating on campus as a commuter is difficult especially without a meal plan because it’s harder to manage how much you spend on food during the academic year. Like I said, the Ohio Union is a great spot for commuters because it has options like the Union Market, Sloopy’s and Woody’s. Plus, it’s located along High Street, which means even more tempting food options. If you have classes every day and spend long hours on campus, it’s really easy to eat out frequently and form unhealthy eating habits, which does not feel great. Packing and heating up food from home in the commuter kitchen saves a lot of money, doesn’t take much time to do and is much better for your health. Campus Dining also offers a commuter meal plan, which is good for eating on campus 3-5 times a week using funding that’s added your BuckID account. 

Staying on campus

Although you might not have a room on campus, you can still feel at home. In my first semester, I often went home as soon as my classes ended, and I didn’t spend my time effectively when I went home; because I also wasn’t involved with campus activities, it made me dread being here. If you can, try to avoid scheduling/driving to classes during rush hour traffic hours–trust me: you will waste a lot of time sitting in traffic and it’s really not worth it. Instead of going home at 5 p.m., just find something to do on campus, whether its eating dinner, going to an event or getting work done. My favorite thing about the Ohio Union are the lockers because you can store extra clothes, books you don’t want to carry around, snacks, a blanket, etc., and they are available to reserve at the beginning of every semester; this makes remaining on campus more manageable. The commuter lounge is also a great space to do homework, take a nap, mingle with other commuters or just eat lunch. 

Making Friends 

Unless most of the friends you had in high school conveniently moved to the same college as you, it can be a challenge establishing friendships as a commuter. The biggest struggle for me was being comfortable staying on campus after my classes were over, and finding campus involvement. OCCSS hosts events during the academic year like a Cornhole Tournament, roommate fairs, the Scarlet Warrior Challenge and the Off Campus Living Expo. They also have a commuter mentoring program for first-year commuters which pairs new students with a mentor and includes monthly group events on campus and in the Columbus area. There are also a ton of other organizations on campus in general–pick the one you are most interested in and try it out, you’ll thank yourself later.

Ultimately, what I want you to know is that commuting doesn’t mean you can’t experience college the same way as others. I hope this was helpful and good luck, commuters!

A Southern Buck-I-SERV Spring Break

Your first spring break in college… we’ve all been there at one point or another. Was it as fun as you expected? Did you meet any new people? Is reality hitting you hard in the face because of how awesome it was?

If you would have asked me what I was doing for spring break in December, I probably would have said something along the lines of “I’m going to the Bahamas with my friends,” however, I did something else and it was an AMAZING experience. First year or not, listen up when I say that Buck-I-SERV at Ohio State is such a rewarding organization and I encourage everyone to participate in at least one before you graduate.

Wondering why?

I was asked to be a trip leader for a trip to Mullens, West Virginia, during spring break. When first asked I was kind of skeptical; I mean, why Mullens? Of course I learned more information about the destination.

Mullens is a town in southern West Virginia that is experiencing many hardships at the moment. You see, Mullens used to be a town where things happened. Downtown was booming and there were many residents. In recent years, residents  are finding a lack of jobs, which leads to the younger generations leaving the town.

Mullens is a great little town, it reminds me of my own little hometown. Everyone knows one another and everyone is SO FRIENDLY. It was so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of schoolwork and the city for a while. I didn’t know how much I was missing nature (or the woods) until I stayed in Twin Falls State Park. The scenery, the hills, the trees, the waterfalls — everything about it was gorgeous.

There were six of us, including our advisor. It was a tiny group, but we had SO MUCH FUN. We were able to volunteer at the Mullens Opportunity Center (otherwise known as the MOC). They actually had a pretty horrible flood the week before we got there, so a lot of our work was to help with the outdoor cleanup.

We worked with students from the University of Baltimore (they were awesome, by the way) the entire week. We shoveled up the fallen dirt to rebuild the hillside by a river behind the MOC, we filled in holes in the concrete with gravel, but our biggest project was the High Tunnel.

You see, the MOC is an awesome place. This opportunity center holds workshops for the residents of Mullens that can help them in nearly all aspects of life. They have a workout room, a lawyer’s office, line dancing, a computer lab where individuals can earn their GED and SO many other programs. They also have fitness programs going on, where individuals can keep track of how many laps they took around the gym and the activity they’re involved in. If that wasn’t awesome enough, they hand out prizes to the person who completed the most that week. LIKE COME ON THAT’S CRAZY COOL.

One of the MOC’s coolest projects, in my opinion, is their Farm to School campaign. Basically, this campaign is to try and get local farmers to grow fruits and vegetables for the schools in the county. Eventually, they would like each school to have their own High Tunnel to grow produce for the community. (A high tunnel is a fancy word for a greenhouse, in case you’re wandering, as I was.) We worked on constructing this and getting top soil and compost for the beds. By the time we were leaving they were working on the roof.

Hands down, this trip was such a blast. The workers at the MOC were so thankful we had decided to come and showed us so much love. It was an amazing experience.

One of the last nights we were there, we had a campfire with the University of Baltimore where a local orator told us stories about the town’s history and scary stories. We roasted marshmallows and listened to a delightful woman sing. It is so nice knowing that we helped make a difference.

I love the little town of Mullens, and I want them to thrive. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend the week with some new friends, make some memories, and help make a difference. If you ever have the chance to go on a Buck-I-SERV trip, GO. I promise you will love it.

Your Week in First Year Success: September 15-19

Congratulations! You have made it through your first few days of classes!  Now that you are ready to explore what the First Year Success Series has to offer, here are some sessions to consider for the first week of sessions (which begin one week from today!):

Comfort Zone
September 16, 4-5 p.m.
Theme: Health and Wellness

Are you already feeling stressed about college? You’re not the only one! This interactive session will provide an overview of stress, how to prioritize things in your life, and manage your time wisely. Join your friends from the Student Wellness Center to identify ways to relax and overcome your stress.

Book Discussion: The Glass Castle
September 17, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Theme: Buckeye Book Community

You’ve read the book. Now let’s talk about it! Join fellow first-year students to discuss the themes of The Glass Castle.  A staff member from First Year Experience will help guide your discussion while exploring the themes of the book. Attend this session before you come to see Jeannette Walls on September 23!

A+ Research: How to Structure a Term Paper
September 18, 6-7 p.m.
Theme: Academic Engagement and Career Exploration

You’ve heard that college writing will challenge you to be a better writer, but what does that mean? Come to this session and hear from an experienced Ohio State senior student about what it takes to craft a great paper in college! You will leave with tools and resources to help you get your writing to “A+” status.

Study Abroad Expo
September 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Theme: Diversity and Global Awareness

Sure, you may be interested in studying abroad while at Ohio State. But have you thought about which of the over 100 countries you will travel to for your study abroad experience? Do you know what things you should be considering now to make your study abroad dreams become a reality? Stop by this expo facilitated by the Office of International Affairs to hear from experts about what options are available to you.

Extreme Couponing
September 19, 2-3 p.m.
Theme: Finances

College can be stressful enough without worrying about finances. Come hear from two-time star of TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” and Ohio State student Cole Ledford about how you can start couponing and save your money. Save your money now to save yourself from headaches later!

Of course, these are just five of the dozens of sessions offered in any given week! See all of the options online by visiting and make sure to register for your favorite sessions before they fill up! Let us know which sessions have you most excited!

21 Events to Experience on Campus

For Ohio State students, there is always something to do around campus. Here are some highly anticipated events that I recommend you experience during your first year:

1) Buck-i-FrenzyThis is my favorite fall event which takes place before the first day of class. Buck-i-Frenzy is a “lifestyle festival” that features local and national companies, each giving out many, many samples (basically lots of FREE STUFF).

2) Community Commitment: A day of service for all Ohio State students to volunteer around Columbus.

3) BuckeyeThon: Like to have fun while supporting a good cause? Take part in BuckeyeThon, a 24-hour dance marathon that raises money to support children treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

4) Hockey Game: Want a fun and FREE night with friends? Check out the Ohio State Men’s Hockey team as they compete against other schools. Just bring your BuckID!

5) Movie on the Oval: Grab your blanket and friends and come watch a movie on the Oval! Free food and snacks provided 🙂

6) Homecoming Parade: Watch the Buckeye community parade down High Street— music, cheering, and all!

7) Study Abroad ExpoPlanning on studying abroad? The study abroad expo is a great first step to take. Make sure to come with questions to ask the experts!

8) Welcome Week Concert: Come out and enjoy some music with your fellow Buckeyes! Past performances include 2 Chainz and The Band Perry.

9) Taste of OSUA great evening filled with cultural performances, exhibits and food from all around the world.

10) Football Games: Need I say more? Even if you don’t buy season tickets, Ohio State football games are something to definitely experience at least once during your college career.

11) Group Fitness classes: As a student with a BuckID, you can take advantage of all the great programs Ohio State Recreational Sports has to offer, especially all of the group fitness classes! You can find the group fitness schedule on

12) Skull Sessions: Held two hours before every home game, skull sessions are concerts/pep rallies with over 10,000 fans in attendance.

13) Involvement Fair: Your greatest opportunity to get involved by finding an organization or club that fits your interests. This is one of the most exciting events of the year!

14) Columbus Welcome event: A large-scale event where all first years are transported from campus to Nationwide Arena and given a taste of all that Columbus and Ohio State has to offer!

15) Basketball games: Ohio State Men’s basketball games are a great display of school spirit and camaraderie. Come to the Schottenstein Center and cheer on the Buckeyes!

16) Big Free Concert: Hosted by the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB), this free concert is an annual springtime event. Past performances have included Childish Gambino and Skrillex!

17) MLK Day of Service: Hosted by Pay It Forward (an organization that sponsors several service events throughout the year), this particular service project takes place on Martin Luther King day.

…He who is greatest among you shall be a servant. That’s the new definition of greatness…Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.

18) Convocation:  Your first official welcome to the Ohio State community! At convocation, you will hear from several university leaders, faculty, and special guests, as well as experience the several different time-honored university traditions.

19) Light Up the Lake: Hosted by the Ohio Staters, Inc., this event takes place after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday season! Students hang up seasonal lights around Mirror Lake and Browning Amphitheatre for this lovely lighting ceremony.

20) Synchronized Swimming meets: What better team to watch than the multi-U.S. National champions, AKA the Ohio State Synchronized Swim Team? Add this to your Ohio State bucket list!

21) Homecoming Pep Rally: A large-scale event held in the Ohio Union featuring several guest speakers in order to rally support for the football team against their opponents in the Homecoming game.

Make sure to tune in on Wednesday (orientation day 23) – Alex will share 23 Things to Do on the Weekends!

The OUABest Experiences!

Wait a second, why are you on this website? Are you bored or something?!  Never fear, I am hear to tell you about the great opportunities that Ohio State and more specifically, OUAB has to offer.

Now you should be like, “Hmmm I’m listening.”


(feline representation of YOU)

To begin, OUAB stands for the Ohio Union Activities Board, and this organization helps provide diverse programs and events that are educational, entertaining, and thought provoking for the students of the Columbus campus.  More importantly, they bring cool events, free food and CELEBRITIES.

Your reaction:


Okay, first off stop being so sassy this is all true!!!

Let me tell you some upcoming events for OUAB!

March 2nd 2 p.m. Archie M. Griffin West Ballroom

Reinventing Radio with Ira Glass








March 3rd 7:30 p.m. Performance Hall

Performance Painter David Garibaldi


March 6 7:30 p.m. Archie M. Griffin East Ballroom

Breaking Good: Raising Awareness with RJ Mitte


You can BET that I will be at all of these events! Just click on the link if you want more information!

Now go, entertain yourselves with these OUAB events., and while you are at it, go find OUAB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even the OUABlog!

Thank you and until next time, stay classy people. Here’s a treat for all of you that stayed to read everything <3



13 Things BuckeyeThon 2013 Taught Me

We’ve all heard it: “For The Kids” or “FTK“. But what exactly does that mean? Kids…okay so that means small humans. For them? Baking for them? Creating games for them? No, it’s so much more than that. BuckeyeThon is Ohio State’s dance marathon that raises money and support for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The ultimate goal is to get one step closer to curing childhood cancer – a goal we would all like to see achieved within our lifetime (and hopefully very soon). Dancers participate in a 12-hour session filled with music, dancing, competitions, and cheering for these amazing kids. As a freshman last year, I participated in the 2013 BuckeyeThon. Here are highlights from my experience, and an overview of what the event meant to me.

1. These children are little superheroes.

Not many of us have gone through anything like what these kids are battling. It really is unfathomable to most to even consider fighting such a horrendous disease. But these kids are fighters- superheroes really- and are able to defy many odds. These kids live and fight each day- something that is truly remarkable.

2. The kids impact your life.

Whether or not you personally interact with the kids at BuckeyeThon, your life will be impacted. Seeing first-hand the patients of such horrible diseases will stick with you forever. Your life isn’t impacted in a terribly depressing way though; these Miracle Kids will make you hopeful for a cure, and dedicated to being a part of finding one.

3. You’ll impact their life, too.

You’re there as support for these kids. This is a whirlwind for both parties, and certainly one that won’t be forgotten. Seeing how grateful the kids and their families were to witness all the support from Ohio State students was truly something special.

4. Every dancer is capable of participating for all 12 hours.

Think about it… these kids fight every day, every hour, every minute, and every second. There are no true breaks until the cancer or disease is gone. You can dance all 12 hours. And I bet you’re going to want to!

5. The power of family is really amazing.

The Miracle Kids are all backed and loved by their families. This love is so obvious and so incredibly strong. The impact that a family has on the spirit of a child is evident.

6. The student body cares…a lot.

This event is evidence that this university is full of students with very caring and loving hearts. The excitement and energy never died. Everyone continued to dance, to wear a smile, and to make an effort to tell the kids that we’re there for them. Having the opportunity to participate in such a tremendous event with my friends and peers was one that I’ll never forget.

7. The community cares, too!

The closing ceremonies and final reveal proved that the community cares a lot about the efforts taken against these horrible diseases. Many community members donate to the cause or come and watch parts of BuckeyeThon. It’s really a collective effort to find cures to these diseases.

8. So what if you’re sleep deprived! You’ll have a blast.

With one of the shifts being held overnight, you won’t be snoozing during your normal sleeping hours. But it’ll be better than catching up on your Zzzs. You’ll be participating with hundreds of your fellow Buckeyes! And you may even experience the sleep-deprived alertness, which can only improve your dance skills.

9. Your friends will keep you going.

Signing up and dancing with your friends makes the experience that much better! And when you are feeling the pain of shin splints or a cramping muscle, they’ll keep you moving! These memories are ones you’ll share forever.

10. There are thousands of reasons to keep hope alive.

Let’s be honest, the news is scary. News headlines make America, and the rest of the world, seem like humanity is crumbling. This dance marathon is proof that there is so much good in the world that is often overshadowed by depressing and dark stories. The patients, the students, and the thousands of dance marathons held all over are reason enough to have hope.

11. Crying in public is 100% acceptable.

The opening and closing ceremonies are emotional. There’s no denying that. Knowing more about the lives and histories of these Miracle Kids will make you tear up- and that is absolutely okay. No one will judge you, because it’s natural to be empathetic.

12. The money you raise makes a difference.

Not every student can go out and raise thousands of dollars for the cause. Even the smallest donations matter and will be used to benefit and support hundreds of Nationwide Children’s Hospital patients. Just by registering and receiving donations, you’re helping save lives!

13.  It’s absolutely worth it.

The experience is worth it. Period. I encourage every student to participate in the event. You’ll add to the fight against these diseases, you’ll make a difference in someone else’s life, and you’ll be forever changed- for the better.

FTK! And Go Bucks!