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What I Wish I Knew as an Ohio State Freshman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OSU chapter.

It feels like just yesterday that I moved onto Ohio State campus and was getting ready to meet my orientation group on my first day. I remember feeling so scared, staring at myself in the mirror to build courage before I officially stepped out into the world as a Buckeye. I had no idea where to begin with making new friends, learning about Columbus and starting my college career. I was terrified to step out of the dorm.

Four years later and with graduation just around the corner, I can’t help but look back on that terrified girl and appreciate how far I’ve come. This university has helped me grow my confidence and become the person I’ve always wanted to be. Taking the first step is always scary, but I can say with all honesty that I couldn’t have chosen a better university.

Before I leave Ohio State, I wanted to leave behind some tips and tricks that I wish someone had told me when I was a Freshman.

Use Your student discount

Though I knew OSU student discounts existed, I didn’t really take advantage of them until my Junior year. I wish I had used those discounts earlier!

I highly recommend getting weekly Gateway tickets (they are only $3!) and supporting a local small business. I also really enjoy the discounts at Clay Cafe and the Franklin Park Conservatory. Columbus is an amazing city to explore, and student discounts help you complete your Columbus bucket list on a budget.

Additionally, sign up for the weekly raffle for high-value tickets and discounts. I’ve won free tubing tickets and Jeni’s gift cards that way!

Enjoy Your time in the dorms

As an underclassman, I lived in Baker Hall West (which I do not recommend) and Busch House. The dorms definitely had their ups and downs. I didn’t love sharing a room and have since come to covet my personal space. However, I recommend that all Ohio State students spend at least a year in the dorms.

Living in the dorms is a great way to meet new people and learn how to live on your own. The vibe is just so different from an off-campus apartment. You get such a great grasp at what’s happening on campus that I often miss in my off-campus apartment. I recommend savoring your time in the dorms while it lasts!

Use the buckeye network

Ohio State is a big school, and as such there are thousands of Buckeye alumni around the world. Buckeyes have a special connection with fellow alumni and current students. Using that common connection will help you land internships and find jobs.

LinkedIn is a great tool for locating Buckeyes around the world and connecting. I highly recommend building and utilizing alumni connections while you’re in college.

Classes come first, but don’t forget about life

It’s easy to get consumed by classes when you’re in a difficult major or are taking a lot of credit hours. While classes should come first while you’re a student, don’t forget to explore, experiment and enjoy your time here.

College is a key time to make friends and try new things. You’re not just here to chisel out a career, you’re also here to find yourself as an adult. Don’t be afraid to cut yourself some slack and take a break from studying to pursue new interests.

You will be ok

During my time at Ohio State, I experienced a loss in the family, I changed my major and, oh yeah, my college experience was put through a shredder due to a global pandemic. Things definitely felt dicey at times and I remember being nervous that my degree and social life were going to be ruined.

I wish I could tell my past self that everything will turn out alright in the end. Looking back, I can see that these challenges were just step stones on a path to where I am now. I really encourage future students to take a deep breath when things get rough and focus on their college experience as a learning opportunity. Even when things seem hectic, you will be alright.

After four years, I can finally say that it’s true- as soon as you figure everything out at college, your time here will be over. Even so, I’m incredibly excited for what comes next. I think Ohio State truly prepared me for my post-grad life, and I can’t wait to see how else I can grow.

So, here I go, ready to be a real adult and join the world as an Ohio State alumni. Thanks, Ohio State, for four years that were better than I could’ve ever imagined.

Olivia Cohen is a Communication student at The Ohio State University.