Going to the third largest school in the country might seem a little overwhelming at first, but I can promise that it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. Ohio State will become your second home, and before you know it, you won’t want to leave. Here are some tips that every incoming Ohio State freshman should know before coming to OSU.
1. Introduce yourself to someone in every class.
It might seem scary at first, having classes with hundreds of people, so make sure you take the time to introduce yourself to at least one person. It will make that 8 a.m. in Independence just a little more bearable if you know you have a friendly face to look forward to!
2. Explore Columbus.
There is always something to do, whether it’s spending the day at the North Market, going to a Columbus Crew game, or taking a trip to Jeni’s. Your Buck ID gives you access to take the COTA straight to downtown for free, so you have no excuses to miss out on exploring the city. Experience as much as you can!
3. Use the Ohio State app.
It will definitely become your best friend during your first week of classes, when you can use the maps option to get directions everywhere. Plus, it’s a quick and easy way to check your grades and how many swipes you have left for the week on your meal plan. You can even use it to see where the buses are. Check out the app and what it has to offer before you get to campus, so you’re ahead of the game.
4. Go the gym.
I know it might seem like a rumor, but the freshman 15 is real, especially with all of the food that Scott has to offer! Luckily there’s a gym on every part of campus, so you have no excuse not to go. And you have to make at least one trip to the RPAC – it’s worth the walk to west campus (especially for the pasta; because yes, even the RPAC has delicious food).
5. You don’t have to go out every weekend.
It is perfectly acceptable to order Insomnia Cookies and watch a movie on a Saturday night. Bullwinkles can wait. Don’t feel like you always have to go out just because it’s the “college thing” to do.
6. Get to know High Street.
You’ll be there a lot over the next four years, so you might as well know it now. Canes and Bibibop will become your best friends, and chances are you’ll find yourself at Buckeye Donuts in the middle of the night at least once. And UDF has the best milkshakes in case you didn’t know.
7. It’s okay to change your major.
Even if you come into college feeling confident about your major, you might surprise yourself when you start taking classes and begin to feel like changing it. If you do change, it will be okay and you won’t be nearly as behind as you might think. Nearly everyone changes their major at least once, and even if you have to change it five times, it will be okay.
8. It’s okay to change your friends.
The first friends you make as an Ohio State freshman might stay with you forever, or they might stay with you for a few months. The good thing is, you go to a university with over 60,000 people, and there is always someone new to meet. Don’t worry if your friend group changes over the year; you are still going to make memories to last a lifetime.
9. Take advantage of free stuff.
You’ll be grateful for that free t shirt you got from Buck-i-Frenzy whenever laundry day comes around. And you will learn to love events in your residence hall and around campus that involve free food. Not to mention the fact that Ohio State always has exciting concerts, guest speakers, and movies that you can see for free thanks to the Ohio Union Activities Board.
10. Don’t over pack.
At the end of the year, you will realize you packed things that you never touched once. Think twice before you bring that shirt you wore one time, because your closet space will fill up fast, and there isn’t any reason to bring a large amount of food when you have a meal plan (but definitely stock up on Ben and Jerry’s). And college won’t require as much paper and pencil if you’re a laptop person, so keep that in mind.
11. Laundry can be costly.
Stock up on quarters or be prepared to use your BuckID cash on laundry. Also, beware of Tide Pods, because you’ll probably end up with goo on your clothes at least once. And choose your dryers wisely, because some work better than others. Don’t procrastinate doing your laundry for weeks; you’ll regret it. Choose a day of the week to do it and stick to it.
12. Attend at least one football game.
Nothing beats the energy of this campus on a game day. Even if you aren’t a sports person, there is nothing more special than singing Carmen Ohio in the stadium (and seeing a halftime performance by TBDBITL).
13. Join your OSU class Facebook page.
It will be used for more than just finding a roommate. You’ll also be able to buy and sell football tickets, as well as textbooks (it’s definitely cheaper than the bookstore!). It can also be a good way to meet people and ask any questions that might come up.
14. Attend events in your residence hall.
Not only for the free food, but also to meet new people. You’ll want to know people in your residence hall before winter hits and you don’t feel like leaving the building.
15. Learn the buses.
Speaking of winter, you’ll want to learn the bus system sooner rather than later. CABS bus stops are all around campus, and you will save yourself at least a little bit of walking to that class across campus. Plus, COTA will become your best friend whenever you’re in desperate need of a Target run.
16. Be studious.
This goes without saying, but college is harder than high school. You will need to study and go to office hours, and maybe spend the night in the SEL to write that last minute paper or study for multiple midterms the following day. Your education is why you’re here, and if you do find that you’re struggling, there are so many resources available to help (check out the Younkin Success Center); and many of your teachers will be willing to work with you.
17. Don’t forget about home, but don’t live there either.
Pack a few pictures of your family, friends, and of course your dog. And don’t forget to call home regularly. But don’t spend all of your time mentally living at home, because you’ll miss out on the amazing place right in front of you. Ohio State isn’t the type of campus that most people want to leave on weekends, and you’ll find a new home if you open up to it.
18. Get involved, but not overly involved.
There are thousands of clubs and student organizations to join, so pick a few that you really like and dedicate yourself to them. If you decide to join every club you wrote your name down for during the Involvement Fair, you’ll find yourself having a meeting every day of the week, and it won’t be as fun as you think.
19. Every residence hall has its perks.
Don’t try to change your housing assignment before you even get to campus just because you heard something bad about your hall. If you have multiple roommates, chances are you’ll become very close friends! Communal bathrooms? They’re not as bad as you think, and it’s a guaranteed way to meet people on your floor. And no air conditioning is only really a problem for a few weeks out of the entire year. If you change your housing assignment because of one tiny thing, you could be missing out on something great (like those underground tunnels on south campus, hint hint).
20. Think positively.
One of the coolest things about OSU is that it is such an incredible community, in the way that there are always people around you ready to help and support you. If something good happens for you, people are genuinely happy for you and ready to encourage you. If you need help with absolutely anything, there are so many places you can turn for assistance. No matter what happens, there is always a support system of Buckeyes who will have your back, and it continues even after you graduate; and that’s something that makes Ohio State truly special.