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Whether you are new to campus or are a returning student, you may still have some questions that have been left unanswered. The last two years for me have been chaotic, at times stressful, but above all memorable. There are some things I wish I did more of yet some things I wish I didn’t do at all. Here are some of the things I’ve learned (so far) as a bobcat.

Freshman year Emily was a sight to be seen. She was outgoing and talkative yet she didn’t really know who she was or where she fits in. I made the mistake of trying to push myself out of my comfort zone to the point of going to parties with random people I had just met. Now for a freshman, this may sound like a good time. However, making friends through going out or even partying is not the answer to finding yourself. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Ohio University to many is known for its parties and bars, so coming here as a freshman can be very overwhelming. There are so many experiences and situations that you can put yourself in that would never be possible at another school. There’s so much beauty inside Athens; so much more than blurry nights and loud music. Don’t get me wrong those things can be fun (at times) but the secret key to succeeding in a place like this is finding your group outside of the party scene. There are so many opportunities for students here however sometimes it’s hard to seek out those opportunities when there are so many distractions. The important thing is making time for yourself and your friends. But more importantly, realizing who is there for the right reasons and who isn’t.

I learned how vital it is to be able to say no and how to conserve your time and energy. My mom always used to tell me you are who you hang around with. To this day I don’t entirely think that’s true but there is some truth within the statement. I believe sometimes we start to adapt to the people we hang around with. If you’re devoting your time and energy to people who don’t care about your interests and hobbies, things might get hard down the line. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to devote your time and energy to people who understand and appreciate your hobbies and beliefs. Now it’s good to hang out with people who are different from you because you can gain insight into how they think and maybe learn a thing or two. However, finding people in college who push you to be the best version of yourself is so important. From my personal experience, I have found these people in the most mundane ways such as through mutual classes or even through mutual friends. Looking for friends and role models inside your college or major can help you so much in the long run.

Being a bobcat has been so exciting and eventful. My life is constantly on the move because I chose to put myself out there and find amazing friends and mentors who I look up to. There are so many great organizations in Athens and even outside of Athens. I truly believe the effort you put into your college experience determines what you will get out of it in the end. You have to step outside your comfort zone to realize why you were in it in the first place. You may rediscover yourself and find new passions you never thought were possible. Good luck and appreciate the next four years to come! :)

Emily Squance is a sophomore at Ohio University studying communications in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is an active member of Variant Magazine and Gamma Phi Beta along with her honors fraternity. She likes to spend her time outside hiking with friends and listening to a broad range of music. Her words to live by are "treat people with kindness and compassion." : )
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