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Back to school: the first-year experience


When you’re the new kid on the block, you have a lot of questions. The adjustment period often comes with excitement and some uncertainty. The College of Public Health and Human Sciences’ Office of Student Success offers academic advising services dedicated to helping first-year students make the transition.

A first-year student is defined as anyone who graduated from high school the previous school year. Students who selected any major in the College are assigned a first-year academic advisor. CPHHS Academic Advisor Andrea Nelson serves first-year students with last names beginning with A­–L, and Academic Advisor Khrystal Condon serves first-year students with last names beginning with M-Z.

Academic advising is required each term for all first-year students, who have a choice of how they would like to meet the requirement each term. They can either schedule a 30-minute individual appointment or attend a first-year advising workshop during weeks six through nine.

Andrea and Khrystal use OSU’s first-year advising syllabus (pdf) as a roadmap to ensure students have a successful first year on campus. They help them navigate through all the resources and services offered and check in with them to make sure they’re satisfied with their major selection.

“We really want students to know they’re not locked in to their first choice,” Khrystal says. “Many students feel that once they pick a major, they have to stick to it. But there is some fluidity in the first year, and we can help students explore other options if they are not enjoying themselves after the first couple of terms.”

Drop in

Drop-in hours are new this term and allow students to stop in for brief 15-minute sessions with their advisor. Andrea’s drop-in hours for fall term are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4–5 p.m., and Khrystal’s are Tuesdays from 9–10 a.m., and Thursdays from 1–2 p.m.

To schedule an appointment with your advisor, call the CPHHS advising office at 541-737-8900.

Advice for first-year students

From Andrea:

  • This is really the land of opportunity, and it’s great when students open up to the opportunities available to them both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Learn to manage your schedule, including taking time for yourself and your health.
  • Know that you belong here and be open to new experiences. Everyone is just beginning, and there will inevitability be bumps and obstacles, which is perfectly normal.
  • Stay on campus as much as you can. When you’re here on campus, you can take advantage of more resources. Connecting with campus creates a sense of home.

From Khrystal:

  • Utilize everything the campus has to offer. There’s so much going on, and there are so many ways to get involved and connected. I believe part of being successful here is to create your own support network that can help cheer you up or be there when you need somebody to talk to.
  • It’s essential to build resiliency during the first year by accessing resources and connecting with peers.
  • Set aside more time than you think you need to study. Things come up, you’ll get asked to go to events or spend time with your friends, and mid-terms come up before you know it.