The First Day of School is, in many ways, a holiday. It’s a celebration that you’re in another year of classes, whether you’re traveling far or just going down the street. It’s a countdown to the next year, then the next first day and the next last day, until the very final day. It’s a day that shows that you are a Buckeye like the rest of us. No matter what objects come between us (like iPads), we are all Buckeyes, and today is our first day on campus for classes.
There are differences of course. I’m not showing up to campus tomorrow for a G.E. algebra class or a first-year writing course, but I’ve already done those things and I’m here to tell you that I know you can, too. If this is your very first First Day of School at Ohio State, welcome. Welcome to Buckeye Nation from wherever you are. Welcome to long weekends of partying and longer weeks of studying. Welcome to your campus meal plan, your late night adventures on High Street and to getting a degree.
This is going to be fifth First Day of School, and it feels as important as any, because I know this will be my last First Day of School (of undergrad, at least). It’s so rare that you know you’re doing something for the last time, and I just wanted to reflect on that, so that maybe you can learn something (or not). If this is your first First Day of School, you might be scared. If you’re from Columbus (or nearby), maybe a family member has offered to take you to class. That’s what my family did. And, when you get out of the car, remember that those people are so happy to see you off to this wonderful school, so don’t big time them when they ask for a hug and they’ve stopped all the traffic near Enarson. They deserve that hug from you.
Get involved with 15 different orgs your first year and bail on all of them except one in your second year. Stand outside GameStop in the rain for the midnight release of Fallout and spend your last $7 on Bibibop. Skip class to watch reruns of The Office (just, maybe wait a couple weeks until you have a rapport with the teacher). Ask that person that was in your orientation group out, start a blog and try out for the football team. Do everything at Ohio State, because that’s what Ohio State is here for. We all know that it isn’t cheap to be here, so you better take advantage of every day—and every First Day—while you can, because every good story, every great memory and every amazing discovery starts on the First Day.