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Tips for Success


As the first day of class draws near, it’s normal for incoming students to arrive on campus with anticipation and nervousness. While you’re buying school supplies and wondering what to bring for your room in the residence halls, take a few minutes to read these pieces of advice from faculty, staff and students who will, no doubt, become familiar faces over the next year.


Dr. Juliet Hurtig
Interim assistant vice president for academic affairs

Find a balance. Work hard, but have fun too. Make friends. Get involved on campus. Just don't get so involved that you neglect your work.

It is to your advantage to know your professors and for them to know you. Go to class and make sure to see each of your professors during their office hours no later than the fifth class meeting. Come with two or three questions to start the conversation. You might want to discuss a course assignment or topic, find out what interests your professor has, or explore ways to improve your résumé for job placement or graduate school.

Inform the professor prior to your class absence, especially if you are not in class due to a University-sponsored activity (sports, music, etc.). Get the notes from a fellow student. After you have seen the notes, confirm with the professor any assignments or deadlines so that you are best informed of what you missed.

Paul Logsdon
Director of Heterick Memorial Library

Heterick Memorial Library offers excellent academic resources: the Communication Skills Center, Wintzer Music Media Lab, OhioLINK access to more than 45.3 million library items from 85 state institutions, Inter Library Loans, audiovisual equipment, reference databases, periodicals, individual and group study carrels with power and network connections, and two computer classrooms. For more information, contact the library at 2181 or visit the website

Don’t forget to bring your ID card – you’ll need it for a variety of transactions.

Other helpful hints:

  • Choose a study spot: A quiet, well-lit place where you can concentrate is essential. Try academic buildings and the library.
  • Utilize your advisor: More than a good resource for classes, your advisor can help you decide on a career path and keep you on track academically.
  • Find a mentor: Upper-class students in your major are excellent sources of advice on classes and job options in your field.
  • Get organized early: A 10-week quarter can become hectic unless you stay organized from the start. Make an academic game plan and stick to it. Wasted time is the downfall of many students.

Residence Life

Justin Courtney
Director of residence life

Living on campus is a wonderful part of life at ONU and will assist you in growing as a person. Take time to meet new people and experience new things. The greatest moments of college are the times spent laughing, eating, studying and hanging with your new neighbors. Resident assistants (RAs) are peers on your floor that can help with your transition and often times serve as professional, personal and spiritual mentors. Make sure you get involved on campus! Talk to your RAs, your professors and your peers. Be sure to look for opportunities to participate in organizations and student events. Most importantly, go to class! You are at ONU for your education and future, so invest in your journey!

Todd Sega
Fifth-year pharmacy major
Head resident (HR) of Founders Hall

Wow, everything is new! You will be on an expedition in a new community, surrounded by new friends and exposed to a new level of academics. As with most expeditions, a guide serves as an essential resource. Therefore, during your expedition at ONU, you will have many guides, known as Resident Assistants (RAs), that are “well equipped” to make your experience the best it can possibly be.

However, your experience is entirely dependent upon your attitude, willingness to ask questions and use your RA as a resource, and desire to get involved in the ONU community. Furthermore, be open to meeting new friends and classmates, especially in the positive, living environment of the residence halls. Be sure to respect others and understand that everyone is coming from a different living environment. In addition, be cognizant of quiet hours, which begin at 8 p.m. on school nights, and visitation hours, which end at 11 p.m. on school nights and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Ultimately, if you utilize your RA, I can guarantee that your expedition will be a success as you become engaged and take pride in ONU. Tremendous opportunities are waiting for you; all you have to do is figure out where you would like to begin!

Social Life

Adriane Thompson-Bradshaw
Dean of students
Acting vice president for student affairs

Be sure to participate in the orientation activities planned for your first few days on campus. Although some may seem silly, or you may be tempted to use that time to settle into your room, these activities are designed to help you meet new people and connect to ONU. Any experience that makes you feel more at home will prove valuable as you adjust to college life. The same is true of getting involved with campus organizations and events. Avoid the temptation to go home every weekend. Choose to stay on campus and participate in social activities. You will enjoy your college experience all the more if you allow yourself to connect to the campus and the other members of your new community.

Kelly Morman 
Junior political science major
Student Senate vice president

The activities sponsored by Student Affairs at the beginning of the year provide tremendous opportunities for new students to get involved in the ONU community. Welcome Fest brings all campus organizations together under one roof for students to see what is available to them.

There may be activities that you were involved with in high school that you want to continue, or something completely different could catch your eye. A word of caution though – it is easy to sign up and get involved with multiple different organizations in the first few days you are at Northern. It can be an overwhelming experience. So, make sure that you sign up for those organizations that you have the most passion for and participate in them well.

It is easy to get in a routine during those first few days by spending time with the same people. While they may prove to be some of the best friends you’ll ever have, take advantage of all the opportunities to meet new people, not only at the beginning but also throughout your collegiate experience. You’ll develop some of your best friends in ways that you never envisioned with people you never expected.

Older students in your department are excellent resources about what to expect in classes, and they can provide insight on what classes to take while becoming good friends and influences.

Get to know campus and the offices that you never saw on your initial visits to campus – the controller, the registrar, financial aid, your college dean’s office and your department chair’s office in the departmental offices. Take a visit to Lehr Memorial – you will be glad you did. The same goes for career services and the Communication Skills Center in the library. (But you should get to know those two places at some point during your first month on campus.)

Finally, invest in a good pair of rain boots and snow boots.

Even though you will be told these things innumerable times during your time here, they won’t truly resonate until you learn them for yourselves.

Levi Good
Senior management major
Student Planning Committee president

Freshman year should be renamed the “go-getter’” year. It is the perfect opportunity to get involved in one or more of the many student organizations Northern has to offer. Whether social or professional, these organizations provide the perfect outlet to meet new people, learn important time management skills, and help you discover new, unique things about yourself! Just remember, not every organization will be for you. Do not be afraid to test the waters, attend a few meetings and meet a few members. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions; the members won’t mind, and in the end you’ll be glad you did. And remember to smile and be friendly – people love it!

Other helpful hints:

  • Don’t be afraid to branch out. Everyone loves their high school friends, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet other great people at college.
  • Be cautious about relationships: With so many new people around, give yourself time to adjust to college before jumping into a relationship with someone you just met.
  • Stay safe online: Facebook, MySpace and instant messenger are fun and easy ways to communicate, but they don’t make up for in-person interactions.
  • Be careful who you “friend” or give personal information to.
  • It’s all Greek to me: Greek life is a fun and exciting opportunity, but it’s not for everyone. Recruitment begins in September, and representatives will visit the residence halls. Even if you don’t decide to “Go Greek,” recruitment is a good chance to meet new people.

Health and Well-being

Dr. Michael Schafer
Director of counseling

Coming to college for the first time is an exciting experience, but it can also be a time of difficult adjustments. Missing friends and family is normal, but if these feelings become overwhelming, you might be experiencing homesickness. Becoming involved in campus activities and talking with others about your feelings are two of the best ways to get back on track. If you are still having trouble, it might be time to talk to a professional from the Counseling Center. “Stressed out” is a term we often hear, but what does it really mean? Everyone experiences stress in varying degrees. When educational or environmental demands begin to exceed our coping resources, we end up feeling stressed out. Danger signs of being over-stressed include things like getting sick more often, not sleeping well at night, using drugs and alcohol, procrastination or a loss of interest in activities. The best defense is to be aware of your stress level and take charge before you become totally overwhelmed. You can do this by striving for a sense of balance in your life, eating healthy and exercising regularly. Many people benefit from relaxation techniques like stretching or deep breathing. Contact the Counseling Center at 2190 for more ideas on how you can deal with stress effectively.

Other helpful hints:

  • Be wary of late-night eating. Midnight snacks are a nice diversion from studying, but they’re also a nice way to pack on the pounds. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and avoid eating greasy food late at night.
  • Drink plenty of water, take power naps and wash your hands often. These basic health tasks can make all the difference when cold and flu season hits.
  • With so many people living together, dorms can be germ hotbeds. Staying well rested will help you combat stress and illness. Twenty-minute power naps are excellent ways to rejuvenate yourself.
  • Sick at school and your mom is at home? Visit the Health Center and take the time to feel better. Sometimes it’s hard to slow down for a cold, but chances are you’ll be sick much longer if you don’t.
  • Take time for yourself. Even if it’s just a few minutes, taking a pause every day will ensure you don’t get burnt out.

Information Technology

Jeffrey Rieman
Information technology project manager

Your personal computer and its connection to the Internet are integral parts of your academic studies here at ONU. It is important to maintain a system that runs efficiently in order to maximize your use of these resources. The Office of Information Technology recommends the following practices:

  • Keep your computer operating system up to date
  • Install Symantec Antivirus
  • Keep your virus definitions up to date
  • Set a strong administrator password
  • Never give out your username and password
  • Be careful following links in e-mail and instant messenger programs
  • Back up your work regularly

Robert Beer
Director of academic computer users services

Be aware of social engineering in the form of e-mail scams and phishing. E-mails and links that look legitimate can be used as a means to get your personal information. These are things to look for in e-mails that indicate social engineering:

  • The sender does not know you. For example, the e-mail starts with “Dear Customer.” Any legitimate business that has a relationship with you will know you by name.
  • There is a claim of some action either good or bad, like a notice that you have won a $1,000,000 prize or your account will be deactivated in seven days.
  • The sender appears to be legitimate but is really rather anonymous, such as IT staff or EduWebmail. Any legitimate IT communication will come from a staff member whose name the department will recognize.
  • Requests for personal information, username and password, birth date, or social security number.
  • The “sender” and “reply to” addresses aren’t the same.

Other helpful hints:

  • Watch what you post. ONU has a variety of security precautions, but ultimately you’re responsible for the information you post or share online.
  • Check your campus e-mail frequently. The campus communicates largely by e-mail. Weather delays, closings and other campus highlights (student-l’s) will be sent directly to your account. This is also where you register for classes and check your grades. Be sure to delete unwanted messages to help the system run more efficiently.
  • Print responsibly. Every student is granted a University printing limit of 750 pages. You will be charged for any materials over this number. Make sure you need something before you print it, and recycle scrap pages.

Most importantly, remember that you are in charge of your experiences at ONU. If you start out with a positive attitude, you will have positive experiences. Remember that the next four (or six, depending on your major) years are going to be some of the most valuable in your life. Someday you may discover a forgotten box filled with old mementos from ONU in your attic or garage, and you will look back on these days fondly, so treasure them now and make these the best years of your life!

Jamienne Scott
Junior communication arts major from Columbus Grove, Ohio