BLOG TOPIC: What I Wish I Knew

Transitioning from high school to college is a huge step. Life in your hall is different than life in your home. There is a lot more work in college and now you have the independence to do what you want, when you want. Our Hall Ambassadors are first and second-year students that wish they knew a few more things before they started life in college. 

The student advice on this page was written by Residence Life Student Hall Ambassadors. Their advice is their personal opinions but content has been edited for accuracy. The opinions of these students do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BGSU or the Office of Residence Life. For the most up-to-date information about dates and processes, please go to bgsu.edu/reslife.

Advice from...

Photo of Sara reading a book. Click to read Sara's blog post.
Sara
Hayden outside of McDonald with his family. Click to read Hayden's blog post.
Hayden
Photo of Mariah arm wrestling. Click to read Mariah's blog post.
Mariah
Photo of Brad behind the Centennial Front Desk. Click to read Brad's blog post.
Brad
Photo of Veronica smiling at the camera. Click to read Veronica's blog post.
Veronica
Photo of Deyante hanging sitting outside. Click to read Deyante's blog post.
DeYante
Kaylee in a BGSU t-shirt holding up BGSU foam fingers. Click to read Kaylee's blog post.
Kaylee
Kelsie in her room studying. Click to read Kelsie's blog post.
Kelsie
Photo of Sara reading a book.

SARA JURKIEWICZ
Founders Hall Ambassador . Class of 2022 . Sylvania, Ohio . Physics Major .

College is as difficult as you make it: In high school, I always thought college was going to be so much harder. For me, it is just continuing education. When I keep up with my work, it's just slightly more difficult than senior year. When I don’t keep up, that’s when it gets difficult and stressful. You get out what you put in, so I work hard to do great.

You are responsible now: I always knew there would be more personal responsibility in college, but I did not expect how much there was. I have to keep up with meals, homework, fitness, and health for the most part all by myself. The Freshman 15 is real and can happen. I am an adult now, so I have to know my personal information and that with more freedom comes more responsibility. In my room in Founders, there are bathrooms. That means we have to clean them. We all have certain jobs to keep our suite clean, and we all have to do our part.

I call my parents more than before: While college tends to separate you and your family by distance, I have found I actually talk about my life more with my parents than before. When I call my parents or go home for the weekend, they want to know all about classes or the silly little things that happen during the week.

It’s starting over: There were only a few people from my high school that came to BGSU, and they were just people I knew, not necessarily friends. I had to make a new friend group and re-find myself (or start). The friends started with my roommates and the room next door. The next friends came from joining various organizations on campus, such as hall council and a sorority. I found what fit for me and what I could handle. Founders Hall has given me so many friends and opportunities to grow and meet so many people.

How much I would miss Founders: When I go home on the weekend or over breaks, I miss living in Founders. I miss seeing my friends every day. I even miss hearing the trains and sirens from the fire department. I got so used to hearing them, that I miss it when I go home. It’s a strange thing. Founders has become a home to me, and with any home, leaving it is sad.


Hayden outside of McDonald with his family.

HAYDEN WEBER
McDonald Hall Ambassador . Class of 2022 . Defiance, Ohio . Education Major .

There are a few things I wished I knew before move-in day at Bowling Green. Those things are to not be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone, to constantly check your email, and to buy a desk calendar. These things may seem like strange things, but in the long run they are super helpful as a first-year student.

The reason I recommend checking your email everyday is that there are things will and are going to be emailed to you at random times of the day and they could be important. Emails from professors, classmates, campus events, or even updates from Canvas. Without having your email hooked up to your phone you could be missing out on a multitude of things. I personally love being able to see what activities are happening around campus so that I can prepare for them a week in advanced.

Now, buying a desk calendar may seem like a really random thing to wish to have. The reason that I wish I would have known is because the desk calendar is a great way to write down your assignments. This now allows you to keep track of what you need to work on and what has a higher priority. The desk calendar also allows me to keep track of the activities I want to attend. For example, the month of April I have plans every weekend. So, I write them down and keep track of each and every thing I need to complete before the weekend and what time I need to be somewhere.

The one thing I knew I was going to need to bring to college with me was one or two fans. I was living in McDonald Hall and there is no air conditioning (in the bedrooms). Personally I knew what it was going to feel like to not have air conditioning and I knew I was going to need a fan. I brought two of them. One for my bed and one for my desk, because there needs to be air movement at all times. I also like the noise of a fan so that is why I personally brought one, but as said before it can get warm and the movement of air is amazing. For the best air movement a box fan in the window helps a ton. All I will say is prepare for warm nights and warm days with no blankets on you at night the first few weeks... after a month, it cools way down and you don't have to worry about it.

The last thing is to not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. In high school I really kept to myself and did not go out and do new things. Once I arrived at college I really put myself out there and I wasn't afraid to be myself anymore. I met people that allowed me to be myself and pushed me to try new things. When I came to college I was worried I was not going to put myself out there and do new things. I am almost through my first year of college and I completed everything I had wanted to and more. That is due to the amazing support of my friends, family, and the staff at BGSU.

In conclusion, just keep in mind of what you want out of your time at college and what there is to do on campus. Always keep a lookout for things that sound fun or interesting. Also, always be on the lookout for ways to put yourself out there and do new things that you never would have originally done, you'll learn a lot about yourself.


Photo of Mariah arm wrestling.

MARIAH GROW
Falcon Heights Hall Ambassador . Class of 2021 . Ashtabula, Ohio . Biology Major

Time management is your best friend: Please, for yourself, look over your syllabus and at the beginning of the week or even the beginning of the month, write out your assignments. This way you can prioritize them and better time manage yourself.

No excuses: No excuses and by this I mean, unlike your high school teachers, most professors do not care for your excuses. Your computer died? Should have brought your charger or used a public computer. Your printer wouldn’t print? There are printers at the public library and all over campus. Your assignment didn’t submit when you pressed submit? Should’ve double checked.

No one is going to tell you what to do: You’re on your own, especially if you live on campus. Your parents, nor school are going to remind you to do your homework, or when to eat, they are not going to tell you that you should get more sleep; these are your decisions to make.

Everyone changes their major: College is a time to learn about yourself; you may think you know everything about yourself but when you get to college those things will most likely change. The things that may change are the things you thought you would like. Some people come in and stick with the major they decided and feel great. Others may realize that they did not know much of what their major entailed and decide they don't want to do that - this is okay!

It’s okay to nap: Know your limits. Nap long enough that you can still function and feel refreshed, but also be able to go to bed at a decent time.

Everyone fails a test: Now I'm not saying to not take your academics seriously but if you fail a test, it is not the end of the world and will most likely not set you that far back. Life happens, we forget sometimes or think we know everything.

Real learning takes place outside of the classroom: Read that again.. Real learning takes place outside of the classroom. You will learn so much about yourself, people, habits, while also broadening your knowledge of subjects; you will become submerged into so much and learn so much more than what you thought you would; more than just a subject.

Use the resources: Resources like the academic advising department, career center, and the learning commons should become your go to places for questions; that's why these people are there; utilize them! Ask questions!

You can never be comfortable being uncomfortable: Go out of your comfort zone. Try new things. Experience a new culture. Never be too comfortable.

Understanding the room layouts: they are not all suite-style as I thought. There are traditional layouts (bathrooms are down the hall shared by the floor) and in-room bathroom (like a hotel room).


Photo of Brad behind the Centennial Front Desk.

BRAD SILLIMAN
Centennial Hall Ambassador . Class of 2022 . Mansfield, Ohio . Education Major .

I was never a "college" kid when I was in high school. I was in a career tech/vocational program with an emphasis on precision machining. I also planned on joining the Marine Corps after graduation. But, things change. I was disqualified from the military due to hearing problems and figured I would just be a machinist forever. But the more I worked at my job, the less I enjoyed it. I worked there for almost 2 years during high school. I had always had the thought of going to college and being a teacher but never wanted to spend the money. Well after military and machining didn’t work out, I decided to go to college here at BGSU.

I applied in late February/early March. If you are an aspiring college student, even if you are unsure, I highly encourage you to apply ASAP. I had amazing grades and awards in high school, and as such it would be thought I would receive a ton of scholarships. Well, since I decided very late, I missed out on the freshman scholarship, which would have given me around $6,000 each year. I was also too late for other scholarships.

Another thing I wish I knew was to apply earlier to get better hall selection time. Residence Life starts accepting initial housing payments in the fall, and the later you pay the later you get to choose your room. I lucked out because my confirmed roommate paid on day one so I received the same selection time as he did. But without him, I would have picked on the last day.

Visiting campus so I could have seen room layouts in person would also have been great. Now there are 360 Housing Experience tours on the BGSU website which you can use to figure out what rooms will actually look like, rather than just looking at layouts in a picture. Overall, apply early and see as many halls as possible. BGSU is great, but it can be even greater with proper planning.


Photo of Veronica smiling at the camera.

VERONICA MENENDEZ
Kohl Hall Ambassador . Class of 2022 . Cincinnati, Ohio . Business Major .

Starting college is a major milestone in a person’s life and it was something that I truly was looking forward to doing for a really long time. Coming into college, there were some things I wish I knew before stepping in this new chapter of mine. By knowing these things, I feel it would have prepared me much better for this new adventure.

I wish I knew that in college, you need to reevaluate your values and passions and find extra-curriculars that fit that. I say this because I thought going into college, I could get involved in many things like I did in high school. The reality is that the course curriculum and workload are much more demanding that requires much more time so one does not has as much time for many extra-curriculars as one did in high school. My advice for you is to evaluate what you truly are passionate about and seek extra-curriculars for them.

I wish I knew that in college, I will be changing and getting to know myself in a deeper way. Before I started college, I never thought I would have changed so much as I had in my first year of college. The reason that I changed is due to the fact that in college, one has the freedom to pick the classes that they want to pick, especially for the Bowling Green Perspective (BGP) course requirements. Through the BGP classes, one is challenged to think critically and deepen our ideas and see different views. At the same time, in college, one gets exposed to different experiences and people that you wouldn’t have gotten exposed to before at your hometown because people from all over the world attend different colleges. For all these reasons, is why I recommend you take in everything you received at college and be open to it because you never know if it could help you become a better version of who you are.

Lastly, I wish I knew my responsibility to get all the things needed and important accomplished by myself, especially since I was living on my own for the first time. I lived in Kohl Hall, where I was responsible for doing my own laundry and things like that.  College is the time where students like myself, received more freedom and independence but with that being said, it also means that students receive more responsibilities. This will be most likely that first time where all responsibilities lay on you and you have no one to remind you to get them done besides you. I can tell you that it was the first time for me.

With that being said, I at first had no idea I was going to re-evaluate my study skills and time management. I changed them so I could get all my responsibilities accomplished and done in a timely manner because the way I did things in high school, most likely wouldn’t work in college. That is ok because, through this process, we all grow and mature.


Photo of Deyante hanging sitting outside.

DEYANTE JOHNSON
Kreischer Hall Ambassador . Class of 2022 . Columbus, Ohio . Business Major .

When I turned 18, I was so excited to finally be an adult. Most teenagers feel this way when reaching adulthood because we are now able to make our own decisions. Parents typically ingrain the thought of you going to college in our heads, and we listen to them. Well at least that is how it was for me. As the time started to get closer for me to move into my residence hall, I was quite ecstatic! I was so ready to move out of my parents home that way I was on my own, but that was the problem. I came to college and I didn't really know what I was coming for besides being on my own.

Whenever I was asked what major I planned on studying, I just said business without having any knowledge of what specialization I wanted to study. I wish I really put some time into thinking what direction I wanted to go BEFORE I moved to BGSU. We are here to live a better life and prepare ourselves for adult life. The sooner you know what you want to do for a career after college, the better position you will be in.

I was lucky enough to take a career and life planning class my first semester and figured out I wanted to specialize in accounting and finance. Save yourself the money and the time and really do your research on all the possible careers you would like to have. One thing that really helped me determine my specialization was by making a pros and cons list and narrow down which fits me the best.


Kaylee in a BGSU t-shirt holding up BGSU foam fingers.

KAYLEE KOVACH
Conklin Hall Ambassador . Class of 2022 . Minerva, Ohio . Business Major . 

Always check your email. It will be your best friend for the next four years. Check it at least once a day because your professors, academic advisers and clubs and organizations you are in will email you. If you do not check your email every day you might miss out on bonus assignments, extra assigned assignments, make-up work if a professor misses a day, club meetings, on-campus events and important Residence Life emails.

Pack only what you will use frequently. Res Life releases a packing list to help students decide on what to bring, I would definitely use this as a starting point! The rooms may be not as big as your room back home and space is limited. Only bring the clothes you need before your thanksgiving break, so your summer clothes and the start of your winter clothes like a jacket and some sweaters.

Also, I recommend organization. In order to have the maximum amount of space, you need to organize well. Organization tools for your closet or under your bed, maybe even a shoe rack. Whatever kind of organization tools you can get will only help make the small space a bit bigger.

Some things will be outside of your comfort zone and that is okay. When you first move in you might not know many people. Or if you do, when you go to class you might not know anyone. So meeting new people and making new connections might get you out of your comfort zone, but as soon as you do it you will not regret it. Do not wait to get involved. Take this experience and run with it. You only go to college once and you’re only a first-year once. Do not take advantage of your time here, get involved. That is the way to make the most of the college experience and a way to make memories.

A planner really will be your best friend. In high school I never used a planner, I always thought I was really good at staying organized on my own. Once I got to Bowling Green I realized that was not the case. There are too many assignments, meetings and events for me to keep straight on my own. The best thing I did was get a planner and write everything in it and check it once a day.

Do not be scared to use the library and all the resources they offer. When I came to BGSU I knew the library offered resources like tutoring and writing help, but I never thought I would use them. Now I go to tutoring or find a tutor if I am struggling in a class, I go to the writing center whenever I have a paper due, and I use the research consultation with a librarian whenever I have a big research paper coming due soon. It is also a really great resource because of how close it is to my dorm, Conklin. I know that if I need a quiet place to study it is a short walk across the street to some silence where I can get some work done.

You do not have to come in decided on a major, and if you do, you definitely are allowed to change it a couple times. And you probably will change it a couple times. Take some classes that interest you. You do not have to take bland classes for your BGP’s. School does not have to be boring, so make it fun however you would like. Take the one credit hour yoga class, or the ice skating class. Put yourself out there, try new things and have fun. It does not all have to be strict.


Kelsie in her room studying.

KELSIE VAILLANT
Offenhauer Towers Hall Ambassador . Class of 2021 . Toledo, Ohio . VCT Major .

Professors Actually Care: I would always hear my parents or teachers in high school say that professors in college don’t care if you show up, they get paid either way or they don’t care to see you succeed. Maybe it’s major or a different generation, but so far all the professors I’ve had want to see you succeed and care about your education. Now I have had one or two professors that have had the attitude “I don’t care if you show up, I get paid either way”, but still they care and want to see you succeed.

College is a lot harder than high school: I took seven classes each year of high school and thought that was hard. Each semester of college I’ve taken five classes and that is a lot more work and stress than high school. Having multiple projects, papers, and exams in one week was a big eye opener for me.

Time Management: Because of the increase in stress as I stated above, having excellent time management skills will be a great skill you will learn in college. A lot of the homework and stuff is online so having a planner or bullet journal to map all of the due dates you have will be key to your success in college because I know it is to mine. Plus, I don’t know if your parents are like mine and were constantly down my throat about getting homework done, but in college that is all your responsibility.

You’re going to have some late nights: If you are anything like me and procrastination is your middle name like my mother says, then you are going to have some late nights. In high school, most of the time I went to bed around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. In college, I wish I had that luxury. I’m lucky if I’m in bed before midnight. Now some nights are not always like that, but most of the time they are.

Freedom: In high school, I would wake up at 7 a.m. to be at school by 8 p.m. Then be done with school at 3 p.m. and most of the time stay afterwards until 5 p.m. for extra-curriculars. Then come home eat dinner, do homework, and go to bed. In college, you can have your first start at 8 a.m. or 6 p.m. You can wake up whenever you want. Eat whatever you want for lunch or dinner, and hang out with whomever you want. There is just so much more freedom in college compared to high school.