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How to get involved at OU in your freshman year

Welcome to Ohio University! We are so excited that you are joining us in the fall. It seems so scary to start a new journey far from home, your friends and your old ways of life. 

One of the most worrisome things for incoming students is whether or not you are going to be able to make friends when we get to college. However, getting involved is the best way to make friends and have an amazing experience at OU. So, here are some tips on how to get involved and feel at home within your first year.

Student organizations are the biggest way to get involved at OU. There are hundreds of clubs you will see if you visit the involvement fair, which happens within a week after you come back in the fall to move in.

If you were in a club in high school, OU has similar clubs available to join. Some are bigger than others, like The Post, Student Senate or the Marching 110, but there is something for everyone. You might think it is unimportant to join clubs that do not align with your major, but it is the opposite. 

Through clubs unrelated to your major, you get to take a break from your classes, recharge and likely enhance your academic success. In addition to this, you will be networking with a wider range of people. Leaving behind the things you love will make you unhappy and feel more abnormal in college. Making time for things you find fun is incredibly important in feeling more normal at the beginning of your college experience. 

The thing about joining a club with other freshmen is you just found a group of people who have similar interests and little knowledge of OU. Therefore, if you walk up to someone and initiate a friendship, you may have a lifelong friend.

Along with clubs, there are recreational and intramural sports teams you can join. Going to college does not mean you have to give up the club sports you played with your friends, it means you get a new group of people to enjoy the game with.

Clubs and sports are not limited to the things you loved in high school. If there are things you find interesting and either did not have the opportunity to try or were scared to, then become a part of them here. Nobody is going to judge you for trying something new in college.

The most important thing about joining clubs and activities is attending the meetings. Sometimes, people get scared and refuse to go to a club with people they do not know. However, forcing yourself to get out there will be the best decision you can make. 

Another awesome way to get involved is by getting a campus job. There are so many places to work, such as campus cafes, dining halls, markets and Alden Library. Working a job on campus gives you real work experience away from home as well as a built-in group of people you can bond with. 

After meeting new people, you can attend campus activities with them and explore more of OU. This could be going to a sports game, a campus event or the farmers’ market. This will make you feel more comfortable with the campus and your new friends. 

The university does a wonderful job of bringing guest speakers and musical artists to campus. Just this school year, we had The Driver Era, Tony Hawk, “Dance Moms” stars and Ambar Lucid. By taking advantage of these events, you can strengthen the bonds between you and your new friends and allow you to have a unique experience. College can be the best time of your life if you want it to be, so take advantage of living within walking distance of your friends and hobbies.

Some people decide to cut ties with people they knew from high school, but keeping in touch with at least one friend is a good way to feel more stable and less alone. Texting your best friend (or your mom) once a week should help you feel connected. 

Another tip for people coming from out of state is to have a line ready for when people ask, “Why did you pick Ohio?” It happens at least twice a day. 

This transition is different for everyone; there is not one solution to everyone’s problems. Everyone will tell you the same thing: join clubs and make friends. But, if everyone tells you to do the same thing, then maybe it works. I am excited to see you on campus in the fall!


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