It’s that time of year again – another class of talented, enthusiastic and remarkably prepared students are ready (or mostly forced) to leave the nest of Athens, Ohio, and take on the world. While we know we are moving on to bigger and better endeavors, it doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to our home of four years or the people who made it. When these four years come to an end, leaving our perfect little college town isn’t easy, and here’s why:
Athens is the definition of a college town, completely secluded from the outside world. A 90-minute drive stands between Athens and the closest big city, the state’s capitol, Columbus. While being trapped in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere sounds like a curse, it is a true blessing. The seclusion compels Ohio University students to stay there, meet each other and explore the town. Our crooked bricks; steep, rugged Appalachian hills; hot pink sunsets, abundant trees and narrow Hocking River make our home rare and picturesque. After living in the Promised Land, it doesn’t take long for the place to become your home, and leaving it becomes close to impossible.
Ohio University was founded in 1804, five years before that other copycat university with red bricks, Miami University, and a whopping 66 years before the Ohio State University. How’s that history lesson for you? It has become one of the most progressive cities in Ohio, including politics and support for local businesses. From corner to corner, local restaurants sweep the town and college campus, including Bagel Street Deli, Donkey Coffee, Big Mama’s Burritos, Brenen’s Cafe, Jackie O’s and plenty more. Local farmers’ markets and festivals such as Ohio Brew Week, Pawpaw Festival and Athens International Film and Video Festival are put on each year and showcase the immense amount of culture nestled in this Appalachian Ohio town.
Our Party Reputation
Because many schools will attempt to insult our party school reputation by playing the, “You will never get a job” card, we can’t help but find it comical when they try to outdo us in the party department – yes, I’m talking to you, Miami. We are famous for our Spring Fests, Halloween block party and probably most prominently, Court Street. Who would have thought so many memories could be made on a half-mile, brick road? Court Street is lined with 23 bars, each with its own character, drink specials and regulars. The cheap prices and the unforgettable (ok, sometimes forgettable) nights are what keep us coming back. We are broke, we know the bartenders by name, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t have a hard time saying goodbye to Courtside’s 50-cent Slice Night, Pawpurrs 50-cent drafts and Lucky’s $5 Liquor Pitchers?
Our Fellow Bobcats
At the end of the day, it is the people who make leaving Ohio University so difficult. The care free, yet passionate attitudes of those who surround us are contagious, and we quickly learn the work hard, play hard approach to life. We arrive excited, yet uneasy about what our future holds. Before we know it, we have settled in. Strangers become family, professors become mentors, and the bricks become a symbol of our perfectly imperfect journeys. As we leave, we take the meaningful lessons and the memories with us, and carry them for the rest of our Bobcat lives.