Real name is Snigdha Malladi, but I’d like to go by the pen name Aarya, thanks!
It’s a known fact that College Orientation can be a rather intimidating experience for any freshman… Not to mention an overwhelming one. The night before orientation is always a stressful time – figuring out what to pack, which clothes to wear, when you’re leaving, and what you’re doing can induce student panic-mode. But not to fear – Here are 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before OSU’s START to help you out.
- Dress casual – And for warm weather!
I was the one kid who made the mistake of literally wearing a scarf and cardigan to START. Don’t be me, or you might actually physically melt. There’s no reason to dress formally or semi formally for start, because it’s a casual event. A t-shirt, shorts, and a hat would suffice. But if you want to be prepared for any weather changes, try layering up – for example, wear a jacket that you can always tie around your waist or wear a tank underneath your shirt in case it gets too unbearably hot.
- There is a LOT of walking, man.
If nothing else, make sure you have sturdy, comfortable walking shoes, because there’s a lot of walking. Campus is pretty big, and the walk from one place to another can get pretty bad if you decided to wear your cutest pair of flats or your new, crystal-clean white sneakers. Instead, opt for an old pair of athletic shoes so that you don’t have to worry about aching feet.
- Don’t forget to bring a blanket!
The staff at start say they’ll provide you with bedsheets, pillows, and a blanket, but I swear what I saw at START was for sure not a blanket. At least my scarf came into use, though… as a blanket. Since the beds are already so crazy hard and you’re convinced a spider might jump out at you from any corner, bring a nice blanket to make sure your first sleeping experience in a dorm isn’t a total bust.
- Bring a snack… or 20.
You are provided with food at START, but it’s mostly big meals like lunch, dinner, and breakfast. Unfortunately, there are crazy long gaps in the middle where you watch presentation after presentation, or are sitting outside with your START leader getting to know about OSU and your fellow classmates, so you’re going to be starving. My suggestion? Bring a couple snacks and a pack of gum so you can keep the grumbling stomach at bay until mealtime arrives. Besides, what better way to make friends than offering a snack or gum to another starving freshman? Also a bonus tip for my fellow foodies: take advantage of the free food at Dixon Rec center on the first night!
- You don’t actually get to see your parents.
Almost at the very beginning of START, you’re separated from your parents and you’re sent off in different groups. That’s how it is almost all throughout START, actually – Your parents (and siblings, for that matter) have completely separate activities while you have your own all the way up until dinner on the first day, and the same goes for the second day. Most importantly, your family won’t be with you when you choose your classes, so be sure to include them in what classes you plan on choosing/what you choose.
- Don’t stress about your major.
I know picking your major is a big commitment, but don’t feel like you HAVE to have it figured out just yet. If you’re undecided, you get to pick which academic presentation you want to go to, so check out the one that most interests you. If you have chosen a major but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, no stress – check out that academic presentation and if you’re like, “yup, I’m not going to do this,” you can go to the Change Your Major table on the second day of START and talk to them about what your next steps are. When you’re signing up for classes, just make sure to take a wide range of classes you’re interested in that complete your bac core (which they’ll explain at START) and worry about major related classes after that. You have a while until you need to solidify your choice of major!
- The earlier you schedule your START, the better.
You know what they say: “The early bird gets the worm.” And they weren’t kidding: Classes fill up really fast (especially for honors kids) so the earlier you choose your START date, the more classes you have to choose from.
- Take advantage of the activities and people at START!
the whole point of START is to introduce you to all your resources, so why not take advantage of them while you have the opportunity? Ask your START leaders any and all questions, explore the campus after dinner on the first day, talk to your advisers privately, go to all the different booths, and engage in icebreaker activities! Most importantly, don’t skip anything just to hang out with your friends because you never know what you’ll miss. In my START, we were supposed to play jeopardy, but the game wasn’t working, so instead all the START leaders gave us their most important and random advice and I have to say, it was crazy useful.
- Go through the OSU classes catalogue before you come to START.
I know – who wants to think about school unless they have to, right? But trust me when I say, you’re going to feel overwhelms at START with all the information they throw at you, so to take some of the stress out of the experience that is START orientation, check out classes you might want to take. If you have decided on a major, then see what requirements you need. This’ll really help you prepare for START so you’re not staring at the course booklet at START wanting to drop out already.
- Literally everyone is just as confused and overwhelmed as you are.
I promise, you are NOT the only one. Other people might not look it, but it’s their first experience with college too, and they’re probably just really good at hiding their confusion. So don’t think that you’re all alone in how you’re feeling. Just enjoy the experience as much as you can and learn about your university!