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yin-bodhi

Columbus, OH

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I have lived in Ohio all my life and I will graduate from OSU. If you have any questions about the area, I would be happy to try and answer them! If I can't answer your questions, I will ask someone who can or investigate myself! 8)

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Yes, sadly, crime has increased in the area. Around Christmas, there were a TON of break-ins. Tonight on the news, there was a story on this creep who has been breaking into women's apartments (mostly college students) and watching them sleep. One woman said he woke up to him touching her leg. My history prof got beat up and robbed a few months ago. My boyfriend has started dropping me off and picking me up when I have night classes. However, one girl in my class got robbed in the middle of the day on campus a couple of weeks ago. They stole her laptop. I had a creep follow me around the Ohio Union on Monday, but I gave him a dirty look and he left me alone.

However, if you stay in a group, I do not think anyone will bother you. If you live in an apartment close to campus, buy one of those $20 magnetic alarm systems where if they magnets break a loud noise will sound. That should scare people away. Also, know that our homeless are not as bad as people make them out to be. Most are nice and won't bother you. One even sings to everyone; he's actually pretty cool. Sure, we have our troublemakers, but most wil leave you alone.

The campus is HUGE. There is just no other way to put it. We have our own bus system (CABS) because it's impossible to get around the campus at times without one. There is a hospital on campus and that always makes me feel good. There are a ton of places to eat without leaving campus... we have everything! If you want healthy, we've got it. If you want Wendy's... well... there are Wendy's EVERYWHERE around here. If you come to OSU you must love Wendy's and football. North High Street also has a ton of places to eat, so the choices are endless. Our campus is nice. It's not drop dead beautiful, but it's peaceful and pretty laid back. OSU is a half liberal, half conservative campus, so you won't find many protests. Everyone seems to get along okay and when I first came here, everyone was so helpful in making sure I knew where to go. For the first few weeks, you will need your map; so, don't feel stupid walking around with one. Parking is bad at times... You have to be super careful when you drive because people speed alot around campus. Be careful walking as well because sometimes people don't stop so you can cross the street.

Off campus is okay, but it depends on what you like to do and whether you have a car or want to take the bus anywhere. Like I said, there are always new places to eat since there are so many around here. The "Short North" is our art district and every first Saturday of every month they keep the art shops open and have a gallery hop. It is a lot of fun! I love going to the Short North and sitting outside on summer nights at a coffee shop. The Gateway District is coming along nice as well. It's right by campus and has some bars, shops, places, to eat, and a movie theater. They just built it this summer, so it's brand new. North High has a lot of bars, but there aren't a lot of places to dance. The bars either have a rock theme or hip-hop theme. A couple do electornic music and Bento Go Go (sake bar/Asian food) has some techno nights. There are other events around here, such as The Pet Expo is going on this weekend. There are also a fair amount of concerts too. Of course, we have a hockey team and baseball team here in Columbus... and you can always go to OSU games. I, personally, like to go to Bento Go Go and coffee shops. :D

I hope this helps! If you want to know more, let me know!

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Guest andyecon

Hi, I'm considering OSU for econ. I was wondering two things:

1. How far does the fellowship (about $12,000 I think) stretch?

2. How important would it be to have a car? I won't, so this is important to me.

Thank you so much for doing this!

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I am also considering OSU with no car. Right now I use a bike to get around, and I would be interested to know if this would work in Columbus. Also, are there farmer's markets or other natural food stores (e.g. co-ops) near the university? And what do you think of the public transportation?

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Okay, let me tackle the car issue first. A lot of students live here without cars and it's pretty easy to live here without a car. OSU has it's own pharmacy, health center, and post office right on campus. Plus, there are a few grocery stores within walking distance that I can think of (there are probably more). I think that if I actually lived on campus or close to campus, I would not use my car. OSU has a bus route that goes to some off-campus places, so if I could, I would live on that route. Plus, they provide buses to and from University Village and Buckeye Village for residents in those areas. Also, public transportation is pretty good around here. It's not awesome, but it works. Remember that we do not have subways or trains of any sort because our downtown is smooshed together. OSU students ride for free on the COTA busses (our version of RTA)... just flash your ID and you can go anywhere. A lot of people have bikes here and ride them around. You really don't need them since we have the busses, but they're useful to a lot of people. Just PLEASE don't ride them drunk. Yes, people ride their bikes drunk and high around here and sometimes run into parked cars. Also, remember, you are in Ohio and we have the worst bipolar weather. One day you might not be able to ride because everything is icy and the next day may be fine. Our storms can get quite nasty as well, so make sure you can keep your bike inside. Oh, and DO NOT chain your bike up to a lamp post or our OSU cops will lock it up themselves and make you pay a fine to get it back. If you don't OSU will take the bike or someone will steal your tires.

Natural food stores... well, I have heard people talking about them and I get flyers in my mailbox, but I've never been to one. Organic foods are semi-popular around here. We do have the North market (http://www.northmarket.com) which is right by the Short North. We also have a natural foods resturant/bakery. OSU has a department of agriculture and I know they make their own ice cream and sell products at different times of the year. Plus, the Kroger stores around here (huge 24-hour grocery stores where almost everyone shops) have an organic section where you can buy organic products. It's a decent sized section and I recently started trying organic foods... yummy! I'm sure natural/organic foods won't be hard to find around here.

How far does $12,000 stretch? Well, depending on where you live, it should give you the basics you need to survive. Keep in mind OSU does not have any sort of meal plan, so you're on your own for food no matter what. This can get expensive since OSU students eat out all the time. Think of it this way... you will have $3,000 a quarter. A quarter lasts 10 weeks, then a finals week, plus you need to add in a few more weeks for breaks. Columbus is not as expensive to live in as Cleveland or Dayton. If you need an idea about how expensive apartments are, go to: offcampus.osu.edu and do a search. Remember: Buckeye Village and University Village have busses that run to and from campus. Also, check out the "East Residental" route for CABS if you want to live where OSU busses to take you to your house: http://www.tp.ohio-state.edu/cabs

I hope this helps! Feel free to keep the questions coming!

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I feel the need to talk a bit more about Ohio weather. If you have bad sinus problems, Ohio is not for you. Monday is was snowing and today we have Severe Thunderstorm Watches looming about. I remember last fall in November we had Tornado Warnings one day and then the next week a Winter Storm Warning. This is Ohio. Plus, our summer storms are fun. A few times over the summer, when I left for school, it was nice and sunny. Then, after lunch, this HUGE severe thunderstorm would roll in, destroy us all, and then 10 minutes later it would be sunny out again as if nothing happened. OSU is a huge campus and by the time you get from one side of the campus to the other, the weather can change. One time, I was riding the bus to the other side of campus and it was sunny when I got on the bus and three minutes later, there was a huge downpour and I had to get off the bus in lighting, heavy rain, and our streets starting to flood. By the time I walked 50 feet to the building, I was soaked to the bone and my bookbag was full of water. Our bathrooms don't have blowdryers in them, so that was no use. I had to go to my car after class and turn on the heat (in 90 degree weather) just to dry off. Of course, the sun was only half out that day, so I couldn't get dry in the sun. Other times, it will thunder a lot and get black, but nothing happens. Needless to say, our weather is annoying. It's pointless to watch the weather and try to plan for the next few days because, more times then not, the weather predictions are wrong. I remember a few times it was supposed to get warm or cold, but it didn't because some high/low pressure system missed us or hit us. Also, remember, we have a lot of ice here instead of snow. Oh, and if it is freezing cold, it won't snow. It will be cloudy or sunny and in the teens because that's just how Ohio works.

This isn't to scare anyone away from coming to OSU, I just wanted to make sure you know what you're in for if you decide to come. Some places of the country may not have seasons or weird weather. Plus, out in the plains, you can see storms coming for miles and miles. Here, even though it's flat as flat can be, you just don't see those storms coming. Even on the weather radar, they pop up and go away very quickly.

Okay, so that's my rant about the weather! I hope this helps someone! I know people who actually ENJOY our weather. One kid came up here from down south and he thinks our weather is the best thing ever! No kidding... I think he's crazy....

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There's one more thing everyone here should know about. When I first enountered this, it scared me. On every single nice day (and on days when we have student visits), we have Father Dan out on the quad. Now, Father Dan is harmless, but he might be a bit creepy at times. He stands out there, with his Bible, and preaches about how all women are sluts and all Jews are going to hell. If you're a woman and you have on shorts or a skirt, he will single you out and yell at you for being a sinner. Oh, and you better not wear your jeans too tight! He hates that! This guy is crazy, but I've actually gotten used to him. He is good for a laugh. If you're having a bad day and walking around, just the sound of him screaming will make you giggle. I actually notice when he isn't around sometimes because everything can be so quiet. He's sort-of part of the landscape. OSU cops leave him alone and everyone either ignores him or laughs. Everyone knows who he is and everyone talks about him as if he's just another thing that comes along with going to OSU. So, if you come for a visit, and hear this crazy guy out on the quad screaming his lungs out about God, sluts, and Jews... you'll know who I'm talking about and you can laugh it off just like everyone else.

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Guest andyecon

Heheh, I love the weather talk. I am from Indiana, and we have very similar weather to what you have described. My school also has a crazy bible guy, but he isn't common enough to be an icon like you guys. Ahh... the Midwest.

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Ok, I'm ignorant. How does the quarter system work? How many classes per quarter would grad students take? Is it more intense than semesters (i.e. would I have less time for a social life?)

Is there a vibrant theater community? Live music scene? Do the grad students hang out in bars, clubs, etc that the undergrads don't frequent or is everyone mushed together?

I know there's some on-campus housing for grad students. Is it a bad deal? Am I better off looking for housing on my own? Thanks again yin-bodhi for all of your help!

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Quarter systems are fun. Classes are five hours a week per class for ten weeks. Most graduate students take three classes; although some departments make you take an extra 1-2 credit hour introducation class that really isn't much of anything (no work to do, just listen and plan your program). Undergrads take 3-4 and once in a while you'll find an insane person, like me, who takes five. If you have a major paper due at the end of the quarter, you better have a rough outline by week three. Quarters are very intense, but you still have time for a social life. Most departments have events they attend together (dinners, football games, basketball games, football games, football games... oh yes, and football games).

There is somewhat of a theater community, but there's more of an "art" community. Like I said, there's a gallery art hop the first Saturday night of every month. Plus, we just built this huge art center with a nice film viewing room that can hold about 400 people. There's a place to hear live music across frm campus and they have rock bands every week. We also have a TON of local groups that rotate around the bars. If you're into local rock, then Columbus is a good place to live. I've been to a few shows and they're not too bad. At Shi-Sha lounge (coffee shop where you can smoke hookahs until 4am every day), they have a movie night on wednesdays and every friday they have a weird live music act for free. Usually, it just a couple of guys with guitars screaming about how much they hate Bush, but it's a good time. Most of it is improv and not meant to be taken seriously. I love to go to Shi-Sha because there are all kinds of people. At Bento Go-Go, they have live DJs spinning different types of electronic music, depending on what night you go. I love going there in the summer because I like electronic music. Columbus also has water fire on the mile (http://www.waterfireonthemile.com/) and several art festivals.

OSU is a party school, so everyone is mushed together. However, there is some division. Most grad students take advantage of the coffee shops and hang out in the Short North because it's a little more classy (except for the gay strip club with guys dancing in the windows). You can get dressed up, have a nice dinner, and then go to an upscale bar. Undergrads stick to bars right across the street from campus and don't venture all the way up to the Short North unless it's gallery hop night. There's a small bad area between the campus and the Short North and it's not safe to walk at night (although, remember, busses are free).

Okay, I don't know anything about the dorms. I also don't know any grad students that actually live in the dorms.

Here is a link to check them out: http://housing.osu.edu/halls.asp?type=4 ... on=gradpro

Here is pricing: http://housing.osu.edu/gradpro_fees.asp

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Thanks for the great info. I'm a bit wary of Big 10 football, having grown up as an SEC football fan (Go Gators!) and a FSU hater (problematic since I grew up in Tallahassee). It would be nice to be in a football atmosphere again. Is it difficult to get student tickets to the game? (I think of how until FSU revised their system students would camp out for half the week to get tickets to the games, particularly UF v. FSU). Who is OSU's biggest rival in the Big 10?

Is there a strong religious preference on the campus (besides Father Dan)? If so, what is it like?

Do you have any idea where most grad students live?

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OSU is not just a football atmoshphere, it's a football lifestyle. You go to any bar and you'll hear some drunk guy screaming about anything OSU football. It's the off season and every other day, the news has an OSU football story. It gets to be too much sometimes. OSU hates everyone in the Big 10 and we'll turn everyone into a rival... but, of course, the University of Michigan is still our biggest rivals. We even have a "Beat Michigan" week. Every year, an insane amount of people get drunk and jump into Mirror Lake to awaken the spirit of some dead football coach to ask him for his help in beating Michigan. This year, they had to break the ice to jump in and there were bloody footprints everywhere. Homecoming is NOTHING here... beating Michigan is EVERYTHING. If we beat Michigan, something is going to get lit on fire and a lot of people are going to get drunk. If we don't, people will cry and still get drunk. Students get pre-sale tickets to games, but people who have had passes to OSU games for 20+ years get first pick. You cannot get Michigan tickets no matter what... they are sold out years in advance.

No, there is not a strong religious preference on campus. We have religious groups for just about every religion you can think of. We even have a strong athiest group who always holds meetings and has special panel discussions. We also have good Buddhist and Muslim groups. There are several inter-faith groups that get together and try to promote religious understanding and they hold several events per year. You can bet that if Christians start holding too many events, the athiests and inter-faith groups will respond in a big way. Oh, and the Christian groups are mainly moderate and liberal here. I would say most people here are Christian (we have a decent sized Ethipoean Christian population too), but remember, this isn't the Bible belt. Everyone thinks Father Dan is psycho and no one agrees with him.

I don't know where most grad students live. I know one of my profs (grad student) lives in Upper Arlington, a couple peole live in/by the Short North, but I see most people wandering around High Street. I don't know if they're undergrad or grad students, though. There is an insane amount of housing around campus, so I'm sure you will find something to your liking. My advice is to go through OSU off campus housing because they only work with people they know won't screw over students.

Off campus housing site: http://offcampus.osu.edu/

University Village: http://www.universityvillage.com/ (provides free transportation to and from OSU)

Married? Have kids? Check out: http://buckeyevillage.osu.edu/ (provides free transportation to and from OSU)

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OSU is not just a football atmoshphere, it's a football lifestyle. You go to any bar and you'll hear some drunk guy screaming about anything OSU football. It's the off season and every other day, the news has an OSU football story. It gets to be too much sometimes. OSU hates everyone in the Big 10 and we'll turn everyone into a rival... but, of course, the University of Michigan is still our biggest rivals. ... Homecoming is NOTHING here... beating Michigan is EVERYTHING. If we beat Michigan, something is going to get lit on fire and a lot of people are going to get drunk. If we don't, people will cry and still get drunk. Students get pre-sale tickets to games, but people who have had passes to OSU games for 20+ years get first pick. You cannot get Michigan tickets no matter what... they are sold out years in advance.

OMG, that sounds just like home. I don't know if you know anything about the Florida State-University of FL rivalry but that's pretty much what it is. I grew up in a football town and I actually miss the hoopla and having ESPN's College Gameday come to town and all of that. (I mean, this is Tallahassee where we kicked the reporters covering the 2000 election recount out of their hotels because football fans had booked those rooms 2+ years in advance. The reporters were offering money to anyone and everyone in their desperation to find some place to stay within 50 miles.) Soooo exciting.

And being out of the Bible Belt will be nice too.

I just realized that my OSU visit is this week (Thursday-Saturday afternoon). They haven't given us an itinerary yet. Any suggestions on things I should make sure that I see or do?

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Come see me and we'll smoke a hookah! I'll actually be taking my last final Thursday morning.

Ummm... go see the Wexner Center for the Arts. Something tells me they'll drag you over there anyhow, but go see it if they don't. Also, go see the RPAC and climb the rock wall. OSU is all about fitness here. Okay, you should probably go see The Horseshoe and pay homage to the football team. If it's nice, go sit by Mirror Lake for a while and people watch; see the cow duck (it's a duck that looks like a cow... I hope he's still there, I haven't seen him in a while). The best way to get an overview of OSU is to get on a Campus Loop North or South bus and ride it once around the university. The busses are free and you don't have to show ID.

If you can, catch a bus up (actually down, you have to go south on High Street) to the Short North. It's safe to walk down there during the day. Check out the art shops, the more upscale bars, the dominatrix shop, watch the guys at the gay strip club dance in the window, and grab a cup of coffee. Oh yes, we are an odd bunch here in Ohio. Okay, so I've never actually been into the dominatrix shop because it looks a bit creepy, but maybe you're a bit more brave than I am. If you don't feel like walking all the way down to the Short North, you can at least walk to the South Campus Gateway to look in the shops and grab a bite to eat. The Short North is about half a mile from the Gateway. Do NOT go into the smoke shop with the Playboy bunny and the joker painted on the side of the building. I made that mistake once... all I wanted was some clove smokes... I didn't need to see... errr.... not normal adult products....

We have a lot of music stores up and down High Street, so feel free to check those out. Make note of how many different places there are to eat around High Street. Some places are open 24-hours, or at least until 4AM. We have: American (we have a good deal of sub places... try Jimmy John's), Italian, Indian, Ethipoean, Korean, Chinese (do NOT eat at the "Number One Chinese Resturant" because they have had way too many health code violations), a 24-hour pizza place (Mad Dog's Pizza), a place that only sells chicken fingers, seafood, and many others! If you're not feeling brave, The Ohio Union has a good variety to pick from. If you want to try sake (Japanese beer) go to Bento Go-Go. It's on High Street before the South Campus Gateway.

That's all I can think of for now. If I hear of any events going on this weekend, I will let you know. 8)

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Guest

I've been waitlisted at OSU, so I've been reading this thread with fond hopes that I'll get in! I'm from NE OH and I've been to Columbus a bunch of times, but I'm still learning a lot. I do have one question, though, that I'm sure will make it evident that I'm completely hopeless: what's a hookah? I have no idea what this is other than something from Alice in Wonderland.

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Guest

Don't worry, Guest... until I came to OSU, I didn't know what a hookah was either. I've seen them at other places, but I never knew what they were called.

green%20genie%20hookah.jpg

You can rent one at a local cafe for $8-$10 and smoke all night. The tobacco comes in a variety of flavors! They last about two to three hours, depending on how many people are smoking the hookah. A lot of people who don't smoke enjoy smoking a hookah. There isn't any nicotine in them. I enjoy smoking one every now and then... the most popular flavor at the cafe is Double Apple, but I like the Honey.

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Guest mary

FYI: Most grad students live in Victorian Village, the Short North, Clintonville, or Grandview. There are lots of organic food stores, including Wild Oats, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, the Clintonville Co-op, and the Sunflower - a new store is scheduled to open near campus this summer, too.

There IS a large conservative christian population on campus, but overall, it's pretty nice. I've been here for two years and like my department and the University as a whole. When I moved away from the campus area and into the Short North, though, I found myself a bit more happy to be in Columbus. (I guess this is my word of caution: if I were you I'd try to live in the four neighborhoods listed above. Stay away from campus if you're a graduate student - while North Campus is OK, that's where I lived for a year, it's just so much better being in Clintonville or Victorian Village.) :)

If you have any other questions, ask away. I'm a grad student here and can help you with what you need to know, especially regarding the city.

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Guest mary

One more thing: yes, there are tons of things to do off-campus, as Columbus is a nice mid-sized city. Tons of restaurants, bars, galleries, parks, summer outdoorsy things, etc. It's nice here.

And, at least in my opinion, a car is necesssary for the city. Columbus is basically a city of SPRAWL (think of Atlanta but about 4X smaller) and while it's possible to get by without a car, having one makes life a lot easier. With that being said, I drive my car about once a week and either walk the 2 miles to school (I like to walk) or take the bus. Again, it all depends on where you live in the city.

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Guest mary

Let me answer some of these, from the perspective of a graduate student.

Ok, I'm ignorant. How does the quarter system work? How many classes per quarter would grad students take? Is it more intense than semesters (i.e. would I have less time for a social life?)

Quarters are intense and it takes some getting used to! You will totally have time for a social life - but as a grad student the whole social life thing is obviously a bit limited :) It's more a matter of you learning to put away your work and get to the bars, or whatever it is you like.

Is there a vibrant theater community? Live music scene? Do the grad students hang out in bars, clubs, etc that the undergrads don't frequent or is everyone mushed together?

As far as I know there's some theater and some shows here. There seems to be a rather large hipster community (heh), but it's not like Austin or anything regarding live music. There are lots of shows though, but it does depend on what you like. From my experience as a grad student, we generally avoid "undergraduate" bars. Things seem to be pretty segregated in that regard, which is a good thing, as seeing your students "out" can totally suck :) But yes, there's A nice graduate student bar near campus (Larry's) and other than that, I think people just go out in their respective areas. For example, I go to bars in the Short North (and sometimes in North Campus) and don't see too many undergrads, or at least my students.

I know there's some on-campus housing for grad students. Is it a bad deal? Am I better off looking for housing on my own? Thanks again yin-bodhi for all of your help!

STAY AWAY! :) Some of my friends have lived there and it's kind of sucked. Again, check out Victorian Village or Clintonville. :) Let me know if you need anything else. But i'm sure your future department has tons of information for you regarding COL, etc.

Best of luck.

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Mary, I think you've just turned me from being sort of anti-living-in-Columbus (because I'm sort of ready to leave the midwest) to almost a little interested and enthused...I'm still only waitlisted at OSU, but if it's really not that bad of a place to live and I happen to get in, it definitely might be worth a campus visit to check out. It's great that there are that many organic food stores around. Thanks for all of your helpful information!

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Hey gradgirl (et al.),

I visited Ohio State over the weekend and found it to be a lot cooler than I expected. The town was great, housing is inexpensive, and the university seemed welcoming in spite of its overwhelming size. Although I wasn't seriously considering OSU before, I am definitely considering it now (it helps that they are top 5 in my field). We'll see how other visits go though.

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I didn't actually see much of the Columbus area. We went to High St (I think that was what it was called) and Larry's, a bar. We also went to Damon's because it was near our hotel.

What really got me was how friendly the students and faculty are.

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