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First-year Bobcats adjust to a new academic and social environment

For many recent high school graduates, the past month has been a time of exploration; moving away from home, starting new classes and being surrounded by new people brings a huge life adjustment that everyone handles differently. Being a freshman in college can be incredibly challenging, but it can also be a gift that brings irreplaceable memories and life lessons. First-year students have shared how they are adjusting to college life, and what has been the most difficult yet rewarding part of their experience thus far. 

The majority of students at Ohio University are from Ohio originally, with only 16.6% of students being from out of state, but it seems that no matter the distance away from home, living away from family for the first time can be difficult to get used to. Charlie Lusk, a freshman studying journalism, is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he commented on how strange it can feel to live in a new environment for the first time. 

“I feel like even more so it hits me at random points,” Lusk said. “I’ll just be walking, and then I realize that my mom and dad are three hours away.”

Camryn Smith, a freshman studying journalism, is from Dover, Ohio and she shared similar feelings, even though she recognizes people from her hometown around campus. She explains while the distance has been hard to adjust to, seeing old friends makes it a little easier.

“There’s fifty students from my old school here,” Smith said. “So it’s kind of nice seeing familiar faces.”

Even though the distance away from home can be tough, new OU students are enjoying their experiences on campus. First-year Bobcats have expressed how much they cherish their independence and appreciate meeting new people. Rylie Haynes, a freshman studying journalism, is one of these students; she is thoroughly enjoying her college experience coming from Eaton, Ohio, a small town. 

“I love college so far,” Haynes said. “I love the independence I have. I love how much free time that I have… and I’m enjoying meeting new people.”

Since one of the biggest changes when moving to college is the entirely new social scene, one may assume that new students have more challenges making new friends than keeping up with their academics. However, when asked which is harder to adapt to, first-year students said their classes are harder to keep up with than their social lives.  

“(Academics are) harder, I was really stressed out because I was going to all these classes and I was like, ‘oh my gosh, this is a new level,’” Nia Perez, a freshman studying journalism, said. “Socially, I feel like everyone has an open mind and everyone is equally as nervous and anxious to meet. So it’s very easy to talk to people.” 

The general consensus among first-year students is everyone is very proactive about creating friendships since people are starting fresh in social settings. Academics seem to be more challenging than meeting new people; college classes are of a higher caliber than high school classes, and the pressure to balance schoolwork, extracurricular activities and a new living environment can be a lot of pressure for new Bobcats. 

“I would say (it’s more difficult) academically because everybody’s kind of clinging, everyone wants to meet new people.” Smith said. “I found that everyone’s been pretty welcoming that I’ve met, but the adjustment to schooling (has been hard) because my senior year, I took three classes. So, it's been a little bit more challenging.”

OU is home to a tight-knit community that happily welcomes new Bobcats each semester. Four weeks into this fall semester, first-year Bobcats are overall accommodating well by getting involved and attempting to balance academics, social activities and extracurriculars. 


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