The time has come to pack your bags, huddle into a dorm room with your family, and let out a few hardy OU “Oh Yeah’s” in Mem Aud with fellow first-year students at Ohio University orientation! With your first day of college creeping closer and closer, and orientation only days away you may be feeling like a hot mess. I remember these feelings as if they were only last semester. With a strict schedule and information overload in the midst, BSO can cause a panic attack or maybe twelve. Ohio University orientation nerves are inevitable but here are 10 tips to make these two days a little less traumatic.
Tip #1 Don’t ignore those E-mails filling up your inbox.
Luckily, Ohio University doesn’t expect freshmen to accomplish everything prior to their first semester by themselves. Many months before school starts, your Ohio email will begin filling up with reminders of what you need to achieve, alongside other information to ensure that the weeks leading up to move-in day run as smoothly as possible.
On day two of Ohio University orientation, my group members were waltzing out of McCracken Hall with a printed schedule that they perfected in 10 minutes tops. I, on the other hand, was too busy learning that I should have completed entrance exams and already have an idea of the classes I was going to take prior to BSO. I spent an equal amount of time accompanied by many losses attempting to use the MyOHIO Student Center because I may have skipped over the E-mail demonstrating how to use that. Save yourself from a 40 minute long catastrophe with a task force of academic advisers on orientation day and read your E-mails!
Tip #2 Brace yourself, ice breakers are upon us.
Ohio University orientation is the Promised Land of all ice breakers. In other words, prepare for two truths and a lie, your poker face for “Honey, I love you”, a fun fact to share with the group, and for the discomfort these games generate because participation is unavoidable. Having fun with them will make your orientation experience even more worthwhile. Ohio University orientation is just the beginning of a long road filled with ice breakers and professors love them just as much during syllabus week.
Tip #3 Leave the Ohio State merch at home- Dr. Hall-Jones will show no mercy.
Prior to orientation, I heard many horror stories about Ohio University’s Dean of Students, Jenny Hall-Jones bringing freshmen on stage who dared to wear “the” Ohio State University gear. As BSO came to a conclusion my future classmates and I gathered in Mem Aud for a closing speech from the Dean of Students. This is when all of the stories I heard became a reality.
At that moment, Dr. Hall-Jones asked if anyone in the crowd was wearing OSU clothing. A group of ruthless students sacrificed one poor soul wearing an Ohio State shirt. Dr. Hall-Jones asked the man to meet her on the stage where she teased him for doing the unspeakable.. If there is one thing I learned at orientation, it is that we, by the associative property of Ohio University, do not like Ohio State. Supporting them at BSO is almost punishable by death but for that student, being harassed in an auditorium filled with people, receiving a free OU t-shirt, and being asked to retake his student ID picture in a different shirt was enough discipline. Whatever you do, whatever you may wear, don’t be caught in an Ohio State shirt. If an OSU shirt is all you have clean, you may want to consider coming to orientation shirtless.
Tip #4 You won’t remember everything you should from orientation.
Ohio University Orientation is two days filled with crammed schedules and tons of people giving you more information than you could ever process. You may leave Athens feeling like you know nothing more than how to spell your name but don’t panic! During orientation you are told about important deadlines, graduation requirements, and everything in between. You won’t remember all of the information provided at BSO and that is okay. Everything you learned between those two days can be found online, in your bobcat student guidebook given to you at orientation, or other resources on campus. Also, you will receive tons emails reminding you of the particulars when they are necessary. I wasn’t lying in tip #1, check your email!
Tip #5 Set aside some time to check out the dorms while you are in Athens.
Whether you are staying in a residence hall, hotel, or commuting to orientation, be sure to take a walk through a dorm room if you plan to live on campus. These rooms are not as spacious as many idealize. Chances are you won’t need half of the stuff on your Amazon wishlist. You may feel the urge to pack boxes upon boxes of things you could possibly end up missing if you decided to leave them at home. In many circumstances, you won’t actually need half of the things you emphasized packing.
When having your own space comes to mind, you probably envision it filled with decorations from top to bottom and your entire wardrobe in your dorm closet, but in reality you won’t need as much as you think. Taking a tour of a residence hall allows you to see how small your living space truly is and help you plan accordingly. Bring the things you can not live without, some dorm decor, and college essentials; with that you should be perfectly fine.
If you find yourself at loss of something you need, Ohio University has many markets and stores throughout campus alongside Walmart that is only a bus ride away. If you are thinking you can’t survive without that extra hair straightener or a sewing kit, you should reconsider. From experience I can assure you that most of those “what if” moments never occur. Don’t over pack!
Tip #6 Your orientation days are what you make of them.
Ohio University orientation is to help prepare you for college and as a result, make the most of it! Ask all of the questions you have been wondering, meet all of the people you desire, and do it all with a positive attitude. The better orientation experience you have, the more excited you will be for the semester. If your couple of days in Athens did not go as planned, don’t sweat it because you have 4+ years for redemption. Whether you are scooping up all of the freebies, going to Union Street Diner with other students after BSO, or speaking to a Bobcat student orientation leader about the questions you have, make orientation the best it could possibly be!
Tip #7 Making friends is both the easiest and hardest thing you will do.
Whether you are moving across the country or commuting from down the road, starting college can be intimidating. With the right friends by your side you can conquer the worst case of homesickness accompanied by everlasting memories. Ohio University orientation is a perfect day to begin meeting new people. Making new friends your first semester is uncomfortably comparable to speed dating. Starting a friendship in college can be as simple as: “Hi, my name is _____” and talking long enough for you both to realize that you both love buffalo chicken pizza and Stranger Things, followed by an exchange of Snapchat usernames.
Meeting new people can be awkward especially if you are not willing to step out of your comfort zone. Making friends may seem like one of the hardest parts about coming to school. Being a grade A social butterfly will pay off when you are grabbing some late night Insomnia Cookie with your newly found best friends. As a veteran of BSO, I recommend staying in touch with the people you meet at orientation and tackling the first few weeks of college together. You will be glad you did!
Tip #8 Life will be totally different next year.
Unfortunately, after high school many of your group chats will stop buzzing with messages. You and your classmates will take separate paths and begin to take on new responsibilities. As 18-year-old’s, we believe we hold the knowledge of the world at our fingertips, but that is everything but the truth. As your start your first semester of school, you will endure many experiences which will lead you to gather new knowledge, discover more about yourself, and meet new people along the way.
A year from now you may have entirely new interests, a new job, and surround yourself with a new group of people while occasionally catching up with high school friends during the holidays. There is no guarantee that college will change you but if it does, don’t approach it with hostility. Change is a wonderful thing along with the growth it entails. Therefore, enjoy your summer filled with adventure and friendship because who knows where life will take you within the next year.
Tip #9 Time flies, don’t forget to spend time in Athens on your own!
Bobcat Student Orientation is action packed therefore you aren’t given much time to venture on and off campus. Try to find time after the chaos to explore all of the local businesses Court Street has to offer; I personally recommend Artifacts and Union Street Dinner. Before saying your temporary goodbyes to the beloved town, grab a bite to eat on East State Street, rock climb at Ping, ghost hunt at The Ridges, or take a walk on the bike path. Post-BSO is a perfect time to begin familiarizing yourself with everything Athens has to offer, so start exploring and never stop!
Tip #10 Freshman year is more than just due dates and requirements.
As orientation passes, move-in day creeps closer, and adulting begins to feel like a reality, so feeling overwhelmed may be an understatement. Stop stressing! BSO provides you with the need-to-know information but they don’t tell you about all of the memories you will make, things you will learn, and the amazing time you will have.
College goes beyond all of the work you may be worrying about but through all of the fun don’t lose sight of what is important! Whether you meet the love of your life, study abroad, join a club that you wonder how you ever lived without, or anything else college has to offer, you will make an endless amount of memories outside of the classroom.
Ohio University will not only expand your education but also make you a more well rounded person. Whether you are scared for the workload, being away from home, or all of the approaching deadlines; don’t let those worries rain on your parade because OU is filled to the brim with excitement. Enjoy your last few weeks of break and start packing because the semester will be here before you know it.
As Bobcat Student Orientation approaches, begin to check the collection of emails in your inbox, pack a non-Ohio State shirt or two, and prepare yourself for those awkward ice breakers. When the days finally arrive they will fly by but be sure to checkout the residence halls and the city of Athens, blossom into a social butterfly, and soak up as much info as you can. Follow these tips for a successful orientation and to make your trip worthwhile. It is time to spend your summer relaxing in the sun and getting ready for some of the best years of your life. Go Cats!
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Ohio University student studying Integrated Science Education who loves lifting and being outdoors almost as much as she loves buffalo chicken pizza.