Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Navigating College Life: Tips from an Ohio State Sophomore to Freshmen

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OSU chapter.

Arriving on a college campus with over 60,000 students as a freshman can be overwhelming by itself, and when combined with the challenges of adapting to a new atmosphere, area and community, it’s even more overwhelming. As an incoming freshman at Ohio State, adapting and familiarizing yourself with its environment and diverse student population while preserving a sense of individuality and comfortability can be mentally demanding.

As an Ohio State sophomore who struggled with an overwhelming sense of loneliness, anxiety and perplexity as to how to get more engaged on campus my freshman year, here are six tips I have for freshmen.

1.) Visualize loneliness as a prologue to future friendship developments

A common misconception of college is that lifelong friends naturally materialize. However, the natural evolvement and sometimes accidental formation of these relationships is just as common.

Learning how to let these relationships formulate on their own, and time is key to developing a healthy mindset. That does not mean these friendships will always appear on their own. Taking proactive steps on your own is vital to finding potential friends and immersing yourself in the college experience. Engaging with other students on your dorm floor, attending club meetings or simply saying “hi” to a neighbor in class are ways to actively find friends. Understand that finding friends as a freshman is a process and not an automatic occurrence that makes you unusual for not having a similar experience.

Nurturing and discovering connections is a way for you to discover the personalities, relationships and characteristics of a friend that resonate with you. Your freshman year is a time to experiment, so don’t feel cruel in searching for and navigating what works best for you.  

2.) Experiment with your comfort zone

Along with making friends, challenging your comfort zone is important to your acclimation process as a freshman. For myself, this was the biggest hurdle I could rarely surmount.

Ask a friend in class for their number in case you have questions about the course, make a Facebook post on your university’s page expressing your interest in finding friends or attend as many campus events as you can. Escaping your comfort zone is a chance for self-discovery and development; you can explore new values, beliefs, interests or skills you were never exposed to before. It is also a time for you to expand your knowledge and embrace different cultures, traditions and perspectives.

Venturing outside your comfort zone is a chance to build your self-confidence, expand your boundaries and overcome hurdles you never thought you could. Broadening your horizons is also a way to network, prepare for any future career and gain experiences that will transition and prepare you for a post-graduation domain.

3.) Get involved

Getting involved on campus is a way to expand your horizons, form relationships and connections, feel a sense of belonging and gain vital experiences. As a freshman, there are a variety of opportunities for involvement on campus.

Joining clubs, playing an intramural sport, volunteering, exploring Greek life, attending Ohio State campus events like OUAB’s Flicks for Free on the Oval and remaining friendly and approachable to others are ways to actively involve yourself within the Ohio State community.

Ohio State can be overwhelming to any freshman, but navigating that experience and discovering ways to become involved will assist you in feeling more connected with the campus and community. Building friendships, expanding your comfort zone and becoming involved all come to a common conclusion: the freshman college experience is not always easy, but Ohio State offers a variety of programs and opportunities that can help you immerse yourself into the community.

4.) Organization and time management are key to success

The academic demands of college can be overwhelming and a major transformation from high school. Organization is crucial for time management, mental health and balancing your priorities as a student and individual.

Organization can effectively reduce stress and anxiety levels by prioritizing important tasks and saving less urgent tasks for later; however, making sure this organization is adaptable and accounts for mental health needs is essential. Maintaining an adaptable mindset is essential, as well, because life can be unpredictable. Whether you utilize Google Calendar for important dates, schedule timed breaks from homework or sign up for an RPAC group fitness program, organization can significantly lower stress levels as a student while maximizing time management skills.

5.) Take a hot girl walk

Amongst the stress and anxiety of being a student or freshman, self-care prioritization is valuable. Taking a break or a walk to get alone time is key to maintaining mental well-being along with healthy relationships.

Navigating a new and large campus, living independently and sharing a room with someone can be overwhelming, and understandably so. As a freshman, I would take walks to lessen my anxiety and to recuperate. Getting fresh air, exercise and a mental break can be more beneficial to your experience as a freshman (and student) than most would assume.

6) Prioritize your mental health

Prioritizing your mental health as a college freshman is key to academic success, stress management, proper adjustment, physical health and the maintenance of healthy relationships.

Simply taking a 15-minute break from homework, attending an RPAC group fitness yoga session or taking a walk around campus can significantly lower stress levels for overwhelmed students. Properly adjusting to college life includes concentrating on mental and emotional well-being. Maintaining healthy relationships with family members and friends can significantly decline if self-care is not a priority. Prioritizing your mental well-being as a student can help you navigate your adjustment and adaptability to college life while equipping yourself with effective stress management tools that can be utilized post-graduation.

When you focus on your mental health, your academic performance can significantly increase. Getting that extra hour of sleep or stepping back from the computer for a few minutes will expand your concentration and retainment abilities while maximizing your performance levels. College life is overwhelming and consuming, but it is also an opportunity for self-growth and development. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and balance can benefit your emotional well-being while helping you navigate yourself, others and Ohio State as a freshman.

Brooke is a second-year at Ohio State studying journalism and criminology. She is a reporter for The Lantern, a writer for Her Campus, and journalist for Parent and Family Relations where she writes Department Debriefs, a project widely acknowledged by other universities and Ohio State offices. Her hobbies include reading, hiking, rewatching "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" until all her tears are dried and smelling fall candles while wishing it was October.