Brandon Blackwell

Brandon Blackwell races to the finishStudent athletes often can face some hurdles when pursuing their college degree. Whether it’s trying to maintain good grades or practicing for a sport at which they excel, taking full advantage of the resources available from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) can alleviate some of the pressure of being a college student.

For Brandon Blackwell, ODI’s Bridge Program was the resource that helped him transition from high school student to a freshman at Ohio State. “I wanted to participate in the Bridge Program because I could not pass up an opportunity that would enhance my success in college. Along with wanting to be successful, I was an anxious kid excited to start his first year of college.” The ODI Bridge Program provided retention services designed to enhance students’ ability to become academically successful. After the students’ first year, the program offered continued assistance with full integration into the university as well as preparation for post-graduation options. The Bridge Program positively affected Brandon’s transition from high school to college when he began working with college professors who offered him regular college course loads. Once he arrived at Ohio State, Brandon wasn’t taken by surprise with the amount of course work or information covered. “The Bridge Program turned my focus from summer leisure to school mode to get me ready for the semester ahead. It also showed me how much time and effort I needed to put into studying,” recalls Brandon.

As a starter on The Ohio State University Men’s Track and Field team for the past four years, Brandon realizes that he stepped onto a different field once he entered college: “I learned quickly that I was no longer in high school and needed to include study time for all of my classes.” The importance of networking is what attracted him to be a part of this program. “The Bridge Program provided me with a network of students, faculty, and administrators that I could contact about any concerns that I had. The contact list really helps put my mind at ease knowing there were people available to help me.”

Brandon will graduate in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Just as ODI’s Bridge Program provided him with the necessary tools to navigate through college, through his degree, Brandon, too, will give support to those who need it. A degree in psychology will provide him with a good foundation for the next step in his academic journey: a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. “When individuals need rehabilitation from an ailment, being aware of their mental state will help me in planning their care,” Brandon stated.

For future Buckeyes, Brandon offered this advice: Enjoy your college experience because it goes by quickly. He also added a caveat: “While enjoying college make sure you spend your time wisely because not everything will come easy, and time management will become key. Try not to procrastinate because it will help to keep your stress level down when things become tough.” Pretty sage advice for someone who was anxious and excited about starting his first year of college.

Written by Whitley Hawkins, Advancement Intern