Freshman year of college can be both an overwhelming and exciting time of any student’s life. College is a time to make life long friends, create memories, discover new interests, and become the best version of yourself. Unfortunately however, most freshman make some simple mistakes. Here I’ll include the 20 most common mistakes every freshman at Ohio State University makes and how to avoid them.
1. Skipping the pre-convocation seminar class
This is your first opportunity to meet your freshman seminar teacher, meet students, and get a guide to the Schottenstein Center for the president’s convocation. It is so important that every freshman takes advantage of this chance to get a taste of what your first day will be like on Tuesday (and get some awesome freebees from President Drake).
2. Not going to the involvement fairs
Getting involved is the #1 way to make lasting connections in your time at college. You can find people with similar interests and connect just by being in the same club. The easiest way to find these clubs is by going to the fall or spring (I recommend both) involvement fairs. I suggest going online and planning out what booths you want to hit so that you don’t get too overwhelmed. Even though it is usually hot and crowded, it is so important to meet real club/sorority/fraternity members to get a feel for the organization before you join. Plus, there’s guaranteed to be free food, drinks, t-shirts, and more.
3. Buying a planner/agenda
Guys this one is huge! If you go to the involvement fair you can get a free planner. I got mine from Alpha Kappa Psi, but you guys can probably find other free planners there as well. Save yourself the hassle and cash, its free y’all!!!
4. Always using Lyft or Uber
Even though you cannot have a car on campus as a freshman, there are free ways to get around campus or around Columbus. Lyft and Uber can be really expensive, and while I definitely recommend using them when you are drunk or when the ride is off the bus to routes, there are better options. First, you have CABS and COTA which are busses included in tuition charges. CABS is the on campus bus and COTA is the Columbus city bus (disclaimer to be careful riding the city bus alone/at night/in bad areas). There is also bike sharing, car2go, and car rental services sponsored by Ohio State University. While these are not free options, they are much cheaper than Lyft and Uber fare costs. Additionaly, you can walk or bike around campus.
5. Not joining Buckeyethon
So many freshman skip out on joining clubs their freshman year, but they miss out on the best event (in my opinion) of the year; Buckeyethon. The club is so ridiculously low commitment and goes towards an absolutely amazing cause. They help you reach your fundraising minimum and then you get to take part in the dance marathon that raises money for pediatric cancer patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Join Buckeyethon everyone! It’s something you do not want to miss!
6. Not taking advantage of the Younkin Success Center and all it has to offer
Most freshman don’t even realize that they have so many free services on campus, or are too lazy/stubborn to use them. I’m telling you now, use all the free stuff you can before it’s too late! The Younkin offers tutoring, academic services (studying seminars, academic counseling, etc.) , career services (career counseling, major/minor assistance, etc.), and wellness services (group therapy, individual therapy, etc.). All of this is included in your school bill each semester, so take advantage of these great tools before you graduate.
7. Making as few advising appointments as possible
Please don’t cringe when I say this, but making advising appointments is so crucial! Your advisor is a key resource in your development at OSU, and so many freshman only do the required minimum of meetings, don’t take them seriously, fail their seminar classes, or all of the above. I suggest meeting with your advisor at least 3 times per semester. Once at the beginning of the year to introduce yourself, another time for check ins, questions, job fairs, etc., and a third for scheduling for the next semester. This however is merely my minimum and I totally suggest becoming very close with your advisor, as he or she could be a resource for future internships, research projects, jobs, events, and more.
I do this too so don’t think I’m a saint, but procrastination is so so so bad. Freshman find it so simple to slack off and put of exam studying to the day before. This is not the way to go guys. Study progressively. This means doing homework ahead of time, doing all textbook readings/class readings even if they aren’t graded, rewriting/reviewing notes, and attending office hours. DO NOT start a research paper or start studying two hours before due dates. This is such a grade killer. Using check lists and planners will help to stay on track, so use either paper or apps to keep you up to date on studies.
9. Walking around with your campus map on the first day
Nobody wants to look like the scared, lost freshman on their first day. Avoid this by downloading the FREE osu app, available on all phone types. There is a campus directory, link to your meal plan and buckID account, grades, class schedule, dining locations, and much more.
10. Only socializing with your friends from High School
Freshman who only hang out with their friends from High School are completely missing out on the college experience. College is all about making NEW life long friends. While there is nothing wrong with keeping some of your friends from your High School, you should also step outside of your comfort zone and make new friends as well. You may meet a best friend or soul mate, who knows?
11. Skipping floor meetings/events
Freshman have the easiest way to make friends; their floor. It baffles me how some freshman ignore their opportunity to have great friends right down the hall from them. Make friends with your neighbors by attending floor/building events. You don’t have to go to all of them, but you should go to some. It is especially important to go to your building closing meetings before breaks so you know how to leave your room over winter/spring break.
12. Not talking to your RA often
Your RA is a great source of knowledge, advice, and information on any and all things. From safe sex, alcohol consumption, and partying; all the way to life skills and job tips, your RA is a wealth of knowledge. Get to know your RA and ask them as many questions as possible. Soon you will no longer be living in dorms and won’t have this source. Take advantage of it while you can freshman.
13. Only going to Big Bar
So many Ohio State University Freshman go to literally only Big Bar, their excuse being that is the only 18+ bar around. WRONG. Big Bar is honestly not that great and there are so many great 18+ bars in Columbus for freshman to experience. The first one is Axis, a gay bar in the Short North (super fun and my personal favorite). Then there’s Old North Arcade Bar, which is 18+ on weekdays and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade. Skully’s in the Short North is fun as well. Plaza on High Street is a good place for freshman as well as Long Street District. There are more as well, you just have to call ahead to ask if they are open to 18+ that night.
14. Wasting money on “certified” Buckeyes gear
Many Ohio State Freshman are so determined to have the best Buckeye shirts and hats that they will waste ridiculous amounts of money on “certified” gear from the bookstore and other shops on campus. My advice is to use sites like Amazon and Ebay to get great items at much lower prices. Also, check the clearance sections at and Kohls, JC Penny’s, Target, or Walmart in the state of Ohio for discounted gear as well.
15. Buying full priced textbooks
Freshman find it easy first semester to purchase their textbooks online through the bookstore. Little do they know that if it is not a custom book they can get it so much cheaper on sites like Chegg and Amazon or at the Student Book Exchange.
16. Not going to Buckeye Kickoff
A lot of Ohio State Freshman skip Buckeye Kickoff as well. For most who go it is the start to their amazing Ohio State experience. It’s what makes everything feel real, because you get to sit in the stadium and listen to the band and learn the chants you will sing at the football games. You are taught “Hang on Sloopy”, OHIO lets go bucks, “We don’t give a damn for the whole state of Michigan”, and many more. You also usually get seated next to some strangers so it’s a great way to meet new friends. Plus, you get free food and you make your first “block O”!
17. Randomizing roommate(s)
A lot of freshman (including myself) were unaware that there was a roommate search Facebook page that could help you find someone amazing to live with instead of clicking that random button on the housing contract. While you could get a great random roommate, I’d say don’t chance it and hook up with someone on Facebook. It’s a great way to avoid any possible “roommate from hell” situations.
18. Not going to the gym
Don’t worry, if exercising isn’t your thing I’m not going to berate you for not wanting to work out. Many freshman though don’t use the RPAC or other divisions of the gym even though it is completely free to them! There are group fitness classes, rental equipment, state of the art facilities, an indoor pool, and more. The smoothies there are also AMAZING.
19. Not getting STD tested for free
Lets get serious for a sec. Getting STD tested is tremendously important. You should get tested every time you get a new sexual partner. A lot of freshman at Ohio State avoid getting tested because they don’t want their parents to know they are having sex. There is however free testing on campus 5 days a week. The Student Wellness Center also offers other great programs, so check those out too.
20. Not stepping outside of your comfort zone
A lot of Ohio State University freshman find it easy to do exactly what they did in high school. This is surely comfortable and simple, but it is not how you grow as a person and it isn’t exciting. So check out arts events, new sports, join an interesting club, join skydiving class, and find your niche!