Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sean's Guidelines for Freshmen

As you may be aware, classes started last week here at OSU. A lot of freshman are getting their college careers started. OSU can be a pretty daunting place to get yourself educated. As I am starting my fourth year at the Ohio State University, I have seen and done a lot on and around campus. So, as a public service, I am providing some guidelines, rules, suggestions, and/or observations designed to help freshmen get through their first year. If you aren't interested in the typical college life (e.g., you don't drink, you only care about getting good grades, etc.), then these guidelines aren't for you. Do your thing, have fun with it, and do it well. But if you're after the standard college experience, I may be able to help you out. Here we go. . . .
  1. Don't be a jerk. I understand you're off on your own for the first time. I understand you may have been Mr. or Mrs. Popularity at high school. Nobody cares anymore. There's enough people around that nobody has to be impressed with you, like you, or even acknowledge your existence. Be nice to people. You never know who might be able to help you out in the future, or who is just an interesting person worth knowing. The people that like everyone and have lots of friends are happier than the people making sarcastic comments behind people's backs.
  2. Don't be an idiot. Sure, you are expected to do stupid things as a college student, especially as a freshman. But there's a difference between doing stupid things and being an idiot. Drinking so much you black out and wake up naked on the Oval during gameday is doing something stupid and hilarious (at least to everyone else). Drinking so much you black out and pee on somebody's floor during a party is being an idiot. Basically, if your actions are funny and hurt nobody (or at least nobody but yourself), they're stupid things that you should occasionally do. If they annoy or hurt others, you're an idiot. Don't be an idiot.

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    Public Service Announcement: That rug you're peeing on may really tie the room together. Don't do it.

  3. Leave your dorm room door open, unless you're doing things you don't want people to see. Basically, your door should only be closed if you're not there, sleeping, partaking of illicit substances, or engaged in sexual relations of one sort or another. If your door is always closed, people assume you're antisocial, and you miss out on all sorts of stuff. Plus you run the risk of being that guy who's always in his room alone with the door closed. We know what you're doing in there, young man.
  4. Don't have a long-distance boyfriend or girlfriend. Sure, it might be true love, and occasionally these relationships do work out, but almost all the time, they just die a slow, painful death. Meanwhile you're sitting in your dorm room on the phone while everyone else is out having a life. Freshman year is, in part, about irresponsibility and having fun; spending your weekend on the phone talking to a girlfriend you only see four times a year is neither.
Those four guidelines should help to ensure that you have some sort of social life. What do you do when you're out on the town? Funny you should ask:
  1. Don't go to parties in groups larger than five. Freshmen tend to all go to the same parties. It makes sense: freshmen don't know many people, so the ones that know someone throwing a party tend to attract a large crowd. It's one thing to tell twenty people about the huge party your friend's cousin is throwing; it's another to bring them all with you in one group. Doing so just screams "freshmen," and you don't want to look like freshmen. If a bunch of people are going to the party, at least break up into smaller groups. Everyone will still find out you're freshmen, but at least you won't make it so blatantly obvious. Speaking of going to parties. . . .
  2. Don't stand outside parties wondering if you can get in. That also screams "freshmen," which means "we don't belong here," which means "we won't get in." If you're just walking around looking for parties, decide if you're going to try to get into a party before you get there. If it's worth a shot, walk up like you belong. It might not work, but it's better than looking like you aren't supposed to be there. Of course, there are easier ways to get into parties. . . .
  3. Bring girls. Simple fact: pretty girls can get into any party. Sexist, but true. So if you want in the party, bring girls. At least enough to not hurt the guy-girl ratio, ideally more. A bunch of freshman guys showing up is annoying; girls showing up and bringing a couple guys is alright. And if you are a freshman girl, well, go to any party you want.
  4. Don't be an idiot. I bring it up again because it seems to be a problem for so many people. Don't be loud and annoying; don't scream out lines from Old School, Wedding Crashers, Animal House, or anything else. Don't pick fights with anyone. And especially, don't drink so much that you do something stupid and attract the attention of the police. The cops will generally leave you (and parties) alone so long as you're minding your own business and not causing trouble. So just stay cool and relaxed when you're out and about, and you'll be fine.
  5. Know your limits. Many hilarious stories involve blacking out and waking up in a random location. However, it's better to be the one listening to the story than the one telling it. Neither of you remembers experiencing it, so why be the one that picked a fight with the hockey club team, stole a hot dog from a 7-11, and passed out on the shoulder of a highway? If you're going to drink, you'll be better off in the long run if you maintain some sort of control over yourself.
Now, of course, you aren't at college to party; you're here to learn. I have advice on that too, but you've heard all of it already: go to class, study, get to know your professor, etc. It's all good advice, honestly. It will help you if you do all that, but you've heard it all already. I have only one piece of class-related advice to add.
  1. Don't half-ass it in your easy classes. It doesn't seem like a problem. Most of the 100-level classes seem so mind-numbingly easy that there's no good reason to go to class or study. Don't fall for it. They are that easy, but you need to make sure you do well in those to make up for the tough classes. It sucks to get your worst grade of the quarter in your easiest class. It sucks worse to not be able to apply for a couple internships you want because you don't meet the GPA requirements because you slacked off in a couple easy classes (happened to me, but luckily I found a job anyway). It sucks even worse to have to retake a 100-level course because you were too lazy to go. So put in the effort needed to get the grade you want. It might not take much, but if you don't do it, you'll regret it.
I'll finish up with some stuff I suggest you do on and around campus:
  1. Eat at the following: Raising Cane's on High Street between 14th and 15th Ave. (great chicken fingers, fantastic sauce), Flying Pizza on High, also between 14th and 15th (one of several good places for pizza), PJ's on Frambes, just east of High Street (home of the fat sandwiches, featuring such silliness as french fries, chicken fingers, mozarella sticks, and mac & cheese, all on a sandwich), and any other non-chain restaurant you can find. There's a lot of good places to eat on High Street; check out as many of them as possible.
  2. Do the following: jump in Mirror Lake on the Thursday of Michigan Week (wear sandals, but don't lose them in the lake), hang out on the Oval on the first nice day in spring (and just about any other nice day as well), attend the Big Free Concert (at least some point in your college career, you will get to see an artist you want to see for free), attend a concert at the Newport (small venue, pretty big names, good place to see a show), eat breakfast at Jack & Benny's (it's all the way up near Hudson Street, but the breakfast is great), sit in Block O (only because if you're here, you're a football fan, and there are no crazier fans at the Horseshoe than Block O).
There's certainly more to do than I listed, but if you follow the above guidelines and suggestions, you should be well on your way to enjoying your time at Ohio State. If anyone else has any other guidelines (or hilarious college-related stories), feel free to leave them in the comments. I leave you with one last point: class is important, but once in a while, it's perfectly acceptable to skip class because it's too sunny or because lawnmower racing is on TV.

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I have skipped class to watch this on ESPN2. I have no regrets.

6 comments:

Jack Fu said...

Cluckerbees, baby.


Wait, Cluck-U still exists, right?

Tim said...

The man speaks truth. Therefore I propose the 10 commandments of OSU Freshmen Life. If all freshmen followed these rules, it would be glorious.

Sean said...

Oh yeah, Cluck-U still exists. I have a couple amusing Cluck-U-related stories from freshman year, matter of fact. I will not share them, but I have them, and that's what matters.

Jack Fu said...

I don't have any "stories" per se, but I can definitively say that I never once ate Cluck-U while sober...

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