COLUMBUS, Ohio - The third-annual Ohio State Athletics Summer Bridge Program officially began Wednesday evening. Around 75 student-athletes gathered at The Younkin Success Center for the kick-off social event led by Gene Smith, Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director; Janine Oman; SWA, Senior Associate AD, Student Services and Sport Administration; and Dr. David Graham, Assistant Provost/Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Success.
After all the student-athletes had filed into the room, Smith welcomed the freshmen to Ohio State. He opened the evening with an explanation of the summer bridge program and how it prepares each student-athlete for the four years ahead. As an Ohio State student-athlete, there are many resources available to be successful. Smith listed several support services on campus and expressed the importance for the group to take advantage of these services.
— OhioStateMensSoccer (@OhioState_MSOC) June 22, 2017
"My goal for every student-athlete is for them to never lie their head down at night and go to sleep worried," Smith said. "There is too much support here to worry."
Oman was next up to speak and gave valuable advice for the incoming freshmen. She also expressed they should be excited to be a part of the program. Being a freshman, especially away from home, can be challenging at times and Oman reassured the group it's normal to be nervous.
"We want to prepare you for the real world now," Oman said.
Representing SASSO, Graham, explained there are many key pieces to the puzzle in order to be successful at Ohio State. He left them with a helpful acronym, PRIDE. Each letter stands for powerful characteristics and actions they should adopt. P-Prideful, R-Resilience, I-Integrity, D-Discipline and E-Endurance.
Following Graham's conclusion, the group headed outside for ice breaker games and a delicious meal. The most popular game played, by far, was rock, paper, scissors.
A few of the student-athletes in attendance shared their gratitude over the opportunity to meet their peers and familiarize themselves with Ohio State. They believed the program will help with their adjustment to college during their first year and are happy to become friends with peers facing comparable situations.
An incoming freshman on the field hockey team, Sammy Stone, reflected on her eagerness for the program.
"I'm hoping to gain a lot of new friends from this program who have similar mindsets and excitement for becoming a Buckeye."
An incoming freshman on the football team, Haskell Garrett, echoed Stone's thoughts about the kick-off social.
"I've been here for two and a half weeks and I love it," Garrett said. "Ohio State is a very welcoming family. It's a close-knit community. This summer bridge program is very helpful. I'm not the only incoming student-athlete going through this transition. It's a great chance to meet others who are going through the same process."
Check back at OhioStateBuckeyes.com for a video of the kick-off event and updates on the third-annual summer bridge program.