This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OSU chapter.
Explore Columbus! Columbus is a really cool city, so if you get the chance (actually, just make yourself get the chance) get out of the campus bubble. You can ride the COTA bus with your BuckID and, even though it might seem intimidating, you will see lots of interesting people and it’s pretty easy to use. Especially the #2 bus–it stops frequently on High St. and seemingly goes forever, perfect if you need to get to Clintonville or anywhere downtown. If you like exact, specific, down-to-the-minute plans, you can go to the COTA website and type in your starting address and destination and it will plan out your journey right down to the minutes it takes to walk to the bus stop. Some of my favorite things in Columbus are the art museum (free on Sundays!), random cultural festivals (like the Greek festival or Asian festival), Stauf’s, Pistacia Vera, Tasi, and taco stands (the worse the location, the better!).
- Don’t worry so much about the “Freshman 15.” A lot of people do gain weight after the first year of college, but that can easily be prevented. At OSU, you have to walk a lot because the campus is so big and you could have classes that are on the opposite side of campus from your dorm. If you live on North Campus and work out at the RPAC, the walk to the RPAC alone could be considered a workout! If you’re in a sorority or fraternity, walking to the house all the time is a long trek, going out you rack up like 15,000 steps! …Okay, the point is you will probably walk significantly more than you did pre-college, so that should balance the increase in beer consumption and processed foods. If you don’t want to eat all of the food you get with one block, you can always save it for later.
- Get involved! I know this is super cliché and I don’t really mean it in the cliché way (i.e. go join clubs), but I basically mean always be doing something. Don’t just sleep in your dorm or watch Netflix by yourself. Take advantage of the fun things OSU has to offer, like movies in the Union, rock climbing, or just playing on the Oval. A personal favorite pastime is playing hide-and-go-seek in Thompson Library during study breaks! Being in actual clubs or leadership organizations is great, too–just make sure it’s something you really love and not something you feel obligated to do. This is probably the only time in your life that you will be living with so many people your own age and have few “real” responsibilities besides studying–and you can make that fun, too, by doing it with friends.
- Take Strengths. Ohio State offers some really cool classes, one of the best being the Strengths Based Coaching Program class. If you want to search for it on Buckeyelink, it’s an EDUPL class. In the class, you take the Strengthsfinder assessment, which will tell you your top five strengths and the class helps you learn what that means and how to become a better leader based on your strengths. Everyone could benefit from taking this class!
- Don’t take your meal plans for granted. I know that some people get sick of campus food freshman year–don’t be one of those people! You really don’t realize how great having blocks is until you don’t have them anymore. They virtually allow you to get food like magic. And Ohio State has so many different options for food. Some of my favorites are cinnamon ice cream from Mirror Lake Creamery with tons of rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream, Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies from the RPAC, chicken Caesar pitas from KSA café, and everything about North Commons brunch. Seriously, North Commons brunch is clutch if you live on North–I still dream about it occasionally…
- Be open minded. Be friends with people you never thought you would be friends with. Ohio State is so big, you’ll likely meet people a lot different than those you went to high school with, which is a good thing! If you hate big lectures and realize most of your classes are in Independence, make the best of it. I thought the idea of huge class sizes sounded really scary at first but you can sit in the front row, go to office hours, and get to know the people who sit around you so you have study buddies.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This can apply to little things, such as asking someone you see on the sidewalk for directions to class, or bigger things, like being overwhelmed and feeling like you are in the wrong major. A lot of times people are embarrassed or scared to ask for help probably because they are afraid of what the person who they are asking will think or that they will be unwilling to help. The opposite is usually true–most people love to help! Think of how you would feel if someone asked you for help on how to get to class, perhaps that will make you feel better about it. Additionally, most teachers are more than willing to help you do well in the class and give you extra help, so definitely reach out to them before you get behind in the class.
- Jump in Mirror Lake. This is one of the wildest nights of the year and you definitely don’t want to miss out. Some people wear costumes, some people wear way too little clothing for a 40-degree night, but you just have to wear something you don’t mind throwing out because, trust me, you are not going to want to wear it ever again. There will be police everywhere, some of them on horses (however tempting it may be, definitely do NOT pet them), so make sure that you aren’t doing anything illegal or reckless, but don’t be afraid to have fun!