The little mail truck slowly drives down the road. It has an important acceptance letter for you. You open the letter and sometime later you decide on Ohio University, hunted for a roommate (or went random) and you received an Orientation date. Thoughts about living in Athens race through your head. Your excitement of the future grows.
During your college years, you will have some amazing stories and meet a lot of people. You are going to mess up more than you will believe. Ohio University will test your academic and personal hygiene skills.
I have some advice that I wish I got when I was a freshman at OHIO. For a little background, I am a junior in the Scripps School of Journalism majoring in Strategic Communication with a minor in Computer Science. I will be talking about residence hall life, academics and stress management.
Residence Hall Life
One thing I wish I did was introduce myself to everyone on the floor. Most of the students that live in the residence halls are freshmen as well, and will appreciate someone taking initiative. Most students are as alone and as open to friendships as you are.
If you live alone, the biggest conflict will be yourself. Luckily, you can set your own room expectations and not have to worry about a roommate’s quirks. However, a lot of people have a roommate and it is inevitable that there will be problems. It’s a small space and people treasure privacy. What worked best with me is to state the issues I have with them. However, most of the issues I had with a roommate were minor problems that never annoyed me too much. However, there are some problems that you require compromise, sometimes with the assistance of a RA. It can range from how messy they are or how they eat food that you bought. If you and your roommate cannot come to an agreement, switching to a different room happens all of the time. I saw at least two roommate switches in each of my floors every semester. It is a nuisance to move out but some people cannot get along.Academics
On the first few days of classes, professors are lenient on attendance since you are a freshman. There are a few things that can help you out in the long-term. Making friends in each of your classes will help you when you need notes, get assignment help, and get food before or after class.
The most helpful thing that I learned freshman year was from my study skills class called UC 1100. Our homework during the first week was to write every deadline that each class had using the syllabus. That way, every week you can open your planner and see what you need to do.
It helped me prioritize my time for closer deadlines, and reminded me to work on stuff sooner.
A learning community is awesome and I recommend it. You will have guidance from a fellow student and have a group of freshmen where you can easily make friends. My learning community still talks in our group chat and I am still in some classes with the people from my LC.
The stress levels increase when you graduate high school. There are stressors that come out during the first month of your college career. Homework can stack up, homesickness will disturb your slumber, and those are just a few examples. However, there are resources and exercises that you can do to help combat them.
One thing I did a lot was meditate. It helped me realize how silly certain problems were that kept me up at night. Meditating eases my inner anxieties and makes me feel like I am capable of doing whatever I want with the right attitude and effort. However, it was tough to meditate with a roommate, so I biked to quiet areas, like a bench on the bike trail, or a tree I could climb, where I could sit down, close my eyes, and be alone with my thoughts. OHIO also has counseling services. I went there and they do their best to help.
Adam Maslowski is a junior strategic communication major with a minor in computer science. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMaslowski.