OSU freshmen pour into Ohio Stadium during Autumn Quarter 2010 Freshman Convocation.

OSU freshmen pour into Ohio Stadium during Autumn Quarter 2010 Freshman Convocation. Credit: Lantern file photo

I expected to feel overwhelmed by my course load during my first semester of college. What I didn’t expect to feel overwhelmed by was the complete independence I was faced with when my family gave me their final goodbyes and drove back home.

Independence slapped me in the face when I realized that I didn’t know the first thing about using Carmen or BuckeyeLink and I still couldn’t log in to my university email.

On the first day of classes, I showed up to my 8 a.m. freshmen survey class half an hour early because I had been so afraid of getting lost and being late. Luckily, the building in which I had survey was easy to find. Also luckily, the first college class I sat through was a crash course on how to master the basics of college.

I can’t stress enough how beneficial the survey class is to new Ohio State students.

Each week, I learned how to master essential aspects of life as a university student. From informing me of the tutoring and mental health services available, to logging into BuckeyeLink and running my degree audit online — survey class covered everything I could have had a question about.

Furthermore, guest speakers from student research and the Younkin Success Center visited class on occasion to give students information about how to get involved and be successful on campus.

The content of the class was also specialized for students of each major. This made going over specific requirements for different paths of study easy and made me feel as though the class was tailored to my needs for majoring in communication.

I sympathized with the kids who decided to switch majors halfway through the semester, though. They were stuck in a communication-based survey class. The survey class gave students the tools to reach out to academic advisers of other majors, but it still seemed wasteful for students to learn the ins and outs of being a communication major, while they could spend an hour a week learning about the major they hoped to pursue.

The requirement to attend First Year Success series was also a valuable aspect of the class. I’m not sure I know any freshman who talked highly of the time commitment tied with attending the survey-mandated sessions, which lasted anywhere from 40 minutes to two hours. Regardless, the sessions had a lot to offer first-year students.

The sessions were separated into six themes: Academic Engagement and Career Exploration, Buckeye Book Community, Diversity and Global Awareness, Health and Wellness, Finances and Leadership and Civic Engagement.

I found some options to be more beneficial than others. Finances, for example, were especially helpful to me as this is the first year that I am balancing a job with my academics and bearing the weight of some of my own financial responsibilities.

On the other hand, Buckeye Book Community-themed sessions seemed so wasteful when taking into consideration the other sessions’ merit. With most sessions focusing on giving students knowledge about health, finances and getting involved on campus, the Buckeye Book Community sessions seemed like an afterthought to me — something I would attend only if I couldn’t fit any other session into my schedule.

In the future, I see myself continuing to reap the benefits of taking survey. I see myself feeling confident in the major I have chosen, in scheduling classes, in handling my finances and overall in being an independent student at OSU.