Starting life in a new place can be difficult, and college is no different. Most of you are on your own for the first time, miles away from home, with no real physical connection to anyone you know. Some of you are a mere 15 minutes away from home, still trying to navigate what it means to pursue a higher education and where your majors will take you in the future. 

Now, as you’re reading this, it's probably almost time for First Flight. You're caught up in a whirlwind of people, completing your march to Cowan Hall as staff and faculty members clap you in. That moment can be daunting, taking in the smiling faces of, yet again, a group of people you don't know. Pause. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. It may sound a bit cliché (and also daunting to mention now) but the people clapping you in will be some of the most influential people in your life during your time here at Otterbein. When you graduate four years from now, they’ll be the same people clapping you in with a look of pride. Take it all in stride. Understand that you deserve the applause, and if anything, it's a testament to how far you’ve come and how far you’ll go.

The first thing you should remember about the first days of orientation and the first month of college is that you will meet a lot of people, most of whom will get lost throughout the coming semesters, and that is okay. You’ll make friends by association for various reasons: they live down the hall, they held the door for you when you walked into the laundry room and they sit in your classes. These people will still remain your friends, but as the days and months pass, you’ll weave out your closest friends, who will more or less hold hands with you throughout college. They'll panic in a corner at the library with you about a deadline and stand in line with you at Schneider’s for a doughnut run. 

You will get pulled into organizations you find interesting but will soon discover do not work well with your schedule, and that is okay too. Allow yourself to be present. Allow yourself to be curious and to take part in things you’ve never heard of. Do it just to see. Do it just because you can. Do it because this is the time to be curious and to ask questions, and there are a wide range of resources on campus ready to help and assist you.

          

If you don’t know by now, there is something called the Common Book, a summer reading and writing assignment with the goal of exposing you to the integrative studies curriculum here at Otterbein. The assignment is due the day you meet your First Year Seminar professor. Some of you will be crowded in the lobby of your dorms, working on the essay together the night before it's due. Don’t worry. That is where the first bonding experience happens. It is always good to be responsible, but it is also good to know that you won’t be the first or the last student to work on an assignment the night before it’s due. Don’t be hard on yourself. 

In your time at Otterbein, it is wise to take one INST course per semester to keep you on track with the eight courses toward graduation. Here is a small list of recommended courses by T&C Media students to take. It is important to step outside of your comfort zone by experimenting with these INST courses and thinking outside of your individual perspective. 

We at T&C Media wish you the best of luck with your first year of college and hope to see you around campus!