Freshman Year Lessons


Top 10 lessons learnt from freshman year

Riley Runnells / Asst. Culture Editor

Summer break has begun, and as I enjoy my free time and break from the stressors of college, I find myself reflecting on my first full year at Ohio University. The transition between high school and college was extremely difficult, and though I was offered many knowledgeable words of advice, what I learned on my own about myself were things no one could have taught me. Here are the top ten pieces of knowledge I learned my freshman year at OU:



Branch out and meet new people

Undoubtedly my favorite part of freshman year was the people I met. I made some of the greatest friends I could have ever asked for, and I know I’ll meet many more in the years to come. Learning communities are a great first step to making new friends, but don’t be afraid to talk to people in your classes, your hall or other organizations on campus. A great way to meet people is by leaving your door open for others in your hall to pop in and say hi. Who knows, you might make some of the best friends you’ll ever have in a very unexpected place.

Exploring is everything

Athens is one of the coolest places in terms of things to explore and places to go. Of course if you have a car on campus you can explore East State Street, or drive to surrounding cities and explore those, but without a car it’s easy to explore the Athens area as well. Try local food places, because some of the best food I’ve ever had is in Athens, walk around campus on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway trail that runs all around campus or simply just walk around the campus until you find a spot you love and can hangout in for hours. It’s important to know your area and where you’re living, and exploring is the best way to do so.

Studying is extremely necessary

I was definitely one of those people in high school who didn’t need to study that much to get good grades. However, that same strategy is a terrible idea in college. If you’re serious about schoolwork and getting good grades, then spending a significant chunk of every day studying is the way to go. If studying for a lot of classes is overwhelming to you, then be smart about your course load as well. It’s important to choose classes that will mesh well with each other in your brain, otherwise you’ll be drowning in work all the time and won’t get to have fun and take care of yourself as well.

Don’t feel trapped in your major

It’s almost impossible to know exactly what you want to do with your life right after you graduate from high school, so why should you be expected to have to stay in one major? If you go into freshman year undecided, good for you. Explore yourself and the careers you love, because that’s totally okay. However, if you go into freshman year declaring your major, that is also totally okay. But if at any point you feel you don’t love what you’re doing or the classes you’re taking, don’t be afraid to switch things up. As a journalism major, I have felt set in my decision since the moment I began classes. However, some of my friends from journalism just didn’t love it the way they love other career paths, so they switched their majors and are now 10 times happier than they were before. It’s okay to change your path, even if it seems scary.

Join whatever clubs you can

As mentioned a few times before, college is a great time for exploration. What better way to explore as much as you can than joining as many clubs as you can? Don’t overwhelm yourself, but definitely branch out and join clubs that will further your career path and major, but will also be stress relievers. You should be doing some clubs that coincide with your major, but also some that are just fun ways to volunteer, meet people, or stay in shape. Clubs are a great way to become better involved with OU.

Stay healthy

Everyone talks about the “freshman 15,” or gaining weight as a freshman. Though this may happen to some people, it’s easily avoidable by staying active and focusing on what you eat. Ping Recreation Center is free to OU students, and there are many different ways to workout at the gym other than just the typical gym equipment. There’s a rock wall to climb, racketball to play and a track to walk along inside. In addition to the gym, it’s easy to walk around campus and use exploring as an exercise as well. For most people, going to college is the first time they’ve had to take care of feeding themselves, so instead of loading up on ice cream and pizza every day, balance it out, with ice cream and pizza some days, and fruits, vegetables and other healthy choices on other days. Exercise and a healthy balance of your diet are the key ways to stay as healthy as possible.

Utilize your resources

OU is home to incredible resources for almost everything. From resources about internships, career paths and class scheduling, to counseling services and centers like the women’s center, LGBTQ center and multicultural center. If you’re dealing with any problems, need help or need advice, there is most likely a resource to help you. The centers and advisors are free, so use them as much and as often as you can. It’s important to have help during the transition and people to guide you, and OU’s resources can do just that.

Self care is where it’s at

College is a lot. It’s a lot of work, a lot of self-exploration and a lot of responsibility. Life can get pretty stressful during college between classes, on-campus jobs, extracurriculars and so much more, so self-care is the way to combat becoming overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s okay to put the homework down, eat some of your favorite snacks, put on a facemask and watch a movie. Self-care should not be used as a procrastination technique, but it’s important to take care of yourself so you stay happy and healthy. Make sure to schedule time into your busy lives to practice self-care and make sure you’re putting your happiness first.

Don’t forget to call home

Some people pay college tuition themselves, but some are fortunate enough to have their parents chip in or completely pay. Whichever case you are, calling home is extremely important. If your parents are helping you with college, the nice thing to do is to call and update them about your life, how you’re doing and what’s going on, because they love you and want to see you succeed. If they’re not helping you with college, it’s still important to call and check in to see how they’re doing, and to update them about how you’re doing. If you’re someone who isn’t close with your parents, call some friends from home to keep your connections stable, or your siblings, aunts and uncles or grandparents. Make sure to keep in touch with your family and your friends, because keeping those relationships intact is so important.

Figure out who you want to be

College is a clean slate. It’s the best time to reinvent yourself and be the person you want to be. Don’t be afraid to better yourself, change a few things and start over. College is when you learn the most about yourself and who you want to be, so welcome the change and engage with the reinvention. Most importantly, just be who you are, who you want to be and the best version of yourself.


Development by: Mijana Mazur / Web Development Director

Landing Page

Special Projects

This story is part of a series of specially designed stories that represents some of the best journalism The Post has to offer. Check out the rest of the special projects here.