October 20, 2013

College 101: The Ohio State University for the New Malaysian Buckeye

written by Syn Dee Chua

To all incoming students:

Here’s a list of things to things to guide you with and for you to brace yourselves with, prior to coming to OSU :

 1. OSU is a big campus

– Expect to be going around on foot A LOT. But, be thankful Ohio is flat and the campus has no hills to climb. Learn campus bus (called “CABS”) and public bus (“called COTA”) routes and use them to get around without a car. Note: CABS buses will stop at every single bus stop. You do NOT have to pull the cord to notify the driver to stop for CABS buses! (Doing so will cause silent laughter and snickering from the other ‘seasoned’ bus riders.) COTA buses on the other hand, will require your notifying the bus driver for your upcoming stop. Just pull on the yellow cord when you want to get off! Both CABS and COTA will stop at every stop and will only pick up and drop people off at designated stops – so don’t expect to wave them down in the middle of the road and have them stop to pick you up!


2. Ohio’s mad weather

– You WILL be checking the weather reports and daily temperatures almost daily. Get a smartphone or rely on weatherchannel.com for hourly updates! Here’s an overview of the weather

  • August – September: Weather’s slightly cooling and breezy. Occasional hot summer days.
  • September-November: Weather becomes cooler. You will need a light jacket.
  • late November-December: It starts to get into winter weather. There might be snow around the last week of November/finals week – depending on how lucky we are with global warming.
  • December – April: Winter weather! Might snow, might sleet, might rain then snow. Might not even snow but be super duper cold. OSU is famous for not closing the campus down despite “bad” weather. It’s a campus tradition. Layer up as you go out everyday – remember, you’re dressing to keep your body heat in your layers of clothes, not to keep the cold air out! Wear boots if you want.
  • April-June: Spring weather! Slightly warmer compared to winter, almost like September-November autumn kinda weather. Light jacket occasionally. Oval beach pops up this time!July-August: SUMMER! Hot, Malaysian like weather! 🙂 Shades and sunblock out!

NOTE: Umbrellas are for rain days only. Unlike us Malaysians, Americans think using an umbrella to block the sunlight is silly. Use at your own risk.


‎3. Football Saturdays

– Fall Semester is football season. Campus will be swarmed with Ohio State spirit and blocked roads on the Saturdays that games are going on in OSU. [see football schedule here: http://goo.gl/vOmH4] Very happening day of the week though! Attend “tailgates” if you can! (Google kalau tak tau apa tu for now).


4. The RPAC!

– We’ve a great recreational facility. Bring things like swimming wear from Malaysia if you like to swim or play a certain sport!http://recsports.osu.edu/


5. Compass directions

– Know where North, South, East, West is, relative to the OSU campus. People refer to places with those directions. e.g. “Ohio Stadium is located at North Campus.”; “The Ohio Union is at South Campus.”; “Go towards North campus on High Street and you’ll see Buckeye Donuts on your right”; “This entrance is closed. Please enter the building via the east entrance”


‎6. Groceries/General shopping for Everyday life

– Supermarkets like Kroger and Giant Eagle are some of the ones close to campus. Further away, would be Walmart. You don’t want to shop for groceries at places like CVS, which would be like shopping in 7-11 for groceries. There are Asian markets around too to get your Instant Ipoh OldTown Coffee – YaoLee, Crestview are near to campus. If you have a car, CAM (Columbus Asian Market) would be the bigger one to go to. If you’re not looking for groceries, places like Target and Big Lots are good to shop for everyday items. Looking for organic, local Ohio food products? Whole Foods is the place to go. The place is like Cold Storage – can be pricey but has quality goods.


‎7. Buildings/locations to know

– There are some important ‘landmark’ buildings/places on campus that people expect you to know where there are. Just cuz there are so many classroom buildings on campus, the few main buildings are good to know. So, when you’re in campus and you pass by or go into these buildings, try your best to remember where they are located and how to get to them:

  • Thompson Library (the main library with a very stunning view of campus on the 11th floor!)
  • 18th Avenue Library (the only 24 hour library on campus)
  • The Ohio Union (main hangout place for events, and student organization acitivies!)
  • Hitchcock Hall – College of Engineering main building
  • Fisher College (Mason Hall and Schoenbaum Hall) – this is the Business School!
  • Oxley Hall – you’ll want to know this cuz that’s where we settle visa/immigration issues and get our I-20 signed before we go on any vacation out of the USA!
  • Arps Hall
  • The Wexner Center
  • The Oval (not exactly a building)
  • Knowlton Hall
  • Central Classrooms Building
  • Mirror Lake
  • Lincoln/Morrill Towers
  • The RPAC
  • University Hall


8. OSU got Malaysian restaurant ah?

– Uhm. Sorry lah. Campus area tak de Malaysian restaurant. (Yes, I can hear your moan right about…now.) Anyone care to open one?


9. OSU Traditions & School Spirit

– OSU is HUGEEEEE on its school-loving spirit. You can say everyone is proud to be a Buckeye or Ohio State affiliated. Don’t back down on opportunities to appreciate the fun that comes with supporting/loving your school. Learn Carmen Ohio (the school’s song), and shout “I-O” everytime you hear some one shout “O-H”; get OSU merchandise if you want; JUMP MIRROR LAKE prior to the M!ch!g@n game!

10. Money Matters

– Cash? What on earth is that? It sounds familiar though… Yeap. It’s all about using the credit/debit card here. Even parking meters accept credit card. Occasionally people would use checks. The most frequent “cash” you’ll be using would be quarters (the 25cent coins) to do your laundry.


‎11. Technology

– Some things you need to know:

  • “Buckeye Mail” refers to your OSU email account that ends with a “@osu.edu” or “@buckeyemail.osu.edu”. Those two endings are usually interchangeable. So sending emails to abc.123@osu.edu will be the same as sending emails to abc.123@buckeyemail.osu.edu.
  • “lastname dot number” or “lastname.#” refers to your assigned ‘Ohio State Username’. So for someone who’s name is “Samy Vellu”, your “lastname.#” would be “vellu.1234”. Usually, that is what you use to access your online email (vellu.1234@osu.edu or vellu.1234@buckeyemail.osu.edu) and your Student Center on buckeyelink.osu.edu.
  • “Carmen” refers to the online page (accessible athttp://carmen.osu.edu) where your lecturers will use to distribute online materials, do online quizzes, have a dropbox for homework submissions, post grades/scores and display news about the course like office hour changes for the week or class cancellations etc. [It’s like Blackboard/BB7, for those of you who are familiar with that online software thing.]


‎12. The BuckID

– “BuckID” (get it? Buckeye-D? Heh.) refers to your student ID card. The BuckID is what you’ll be using to do things like…swipe into buildings; confirm your identity on campus e.g. in exams or by your College department; to borrow books in the library; to get “FREE” (paid for in fees) + UNLIMITED rides on the COTA buses (the public bus that serves the Columbus area); get occasional student discounts; deduct money for printing in the libraries/certain computer labs. Also, it acts as a Debit card in itself that can be used all around campus and even all the shops right next to campus, on High Street. Remember to look/smile nicely when you’re taking your BuckID photo for the first time or you’ll regret it later on. https://buckid.osu.edu/about.asp


13. OVAL BEACH! [Spring Semester..and whenever the weather is warm outside] 

– Yes, the big padang in OSU turns, literally, into a beach without the sand and sea, when the weather gets warm, nice and sunny! Students sun bathe, bring their dogs out, throw frisbees or footballs, or simply, lie on a beach towel on the grass and take an afternoon nap in between classes and after classes! One OSU “tradition” that isn’t exactly officially recorded but a great one nonetheless!


‎14. Welcome Week events you should not miss! [Autumn Semester only] 

– The first week of Autumn Quarter, even before classes begin on Wednesday is Welcome Week, welcoming new students and welcoming back students from summer break. So.. Free stuff and free food awaits you. (Seehttp://welcomeweek.osu.edu/)

Must attend these:

— Student Involvement Fair: OSU has 1000++ minus one student clubs/organizations for you to join. So use this biggest fair on the Oval, to see which you would like to join! (That minus one is MASA lahhhh! Unless you bukan Malaysian.)

— President’s Convocation: The official welcome ceremony at Ohio State. See OSU’s President, Dr. Michael Drake to officially kick off your year at OSU. I highly recommend going. Very inspiring and fun event!

— Buckeye Kickoff: Learn the school songs, and get to experience sitting in Ohio Stadium and doing OSU spirit cheers without needing a football game ticket! Free food too. Instant lesson on Ohio State traditions and cheers. And free performance by the Ohio State’s Marching band, TBDBITL (The Best Damn Band In The Land – the largest brass bands in the world)

— Buck-i-frenzy: OMG SO MUCH FREE STUFF HERE! GO EARLY! ‘Nuf said.

 If you’re coming in Spring semester, be sure to attend the Winter Involvement Fair!


15.  On-campus Housing

– Please refer to these links below,  they will give you a much clearer picture about where to stay.
– For Spring admission students, your contract will last for Spring semester only.
– For Autumn admission  students, your contract will last for a year ( Autumn- Spring)
– When a housing contract, OSU requires you to purchase a meal plan. This cannot be opt-out.



16. On- campus Dining

– Block – 1 block = USD 5.00 and it’s money for food on dining areas on campus only.
– BuckID cash – Money for food AND other stuff like printing or buying utensils and buying food from on and off-campus dining places.( The off-campus dining places normally have “We Accept BuckID” on the front door)
– It’s highly recommended to buy Semester Block 350 ( More flexibility and cheapest among other meal plans.)
– Difference between semester and weekly blocks

  • Semester Block 350: 350 blocks will given to you at one go from the first day of classes. You can use however and how much you want to throughout the semester. If there’s excess blocks left after the semester, it’ll will be burnt off from your BuckID.
    Tip – If you’ve excess, buy granola bars, oats or food that has long shelf-life, so you can store it for next semester.
  • Weekly Block 350: a certain amount of blocks will be given to you per week only. If you’ve excess after that week, it’ll be burnt off from your BuckID.

Link: https://dining.osu.edu/meal-plans/dining-plan-descriptions/

17. Off-Campus Housing

– Refer to the link for more information or MASA OSU Facebook Group.
– Sometimes, seniors will be subleasing their rooms/houses.

Last but not lease, Welcome to Ohio State University, we wish to see you here.