How to make the best of your second choice school

When I imagined college, I wasn’t thinking of snowy Ohio winters, colonial style buildings and rolling hills. I wasn’t sporting the classic green and white and I had no idea who Rufus was. When people said, “F–k Miami,” I wondered what an Ohio college could have against Florida.

According to a quick poll on my twitter, OU was the first choice for about 45 percent of participants. I did not fall under that category.

If you would have asked me during my senior year of high school, I was bound for The University of Texas in Austin — until I saw the bill.

So, coming to OU was my only choice, and for a while, I let that bother me. It took me a while to find my feet and fall in love with being a Bobcat.

Here’s five things that helped me — and hopefully will help you — fall in love with a second choice college.

Julia Fair and Megan Henry hang out in The Post's newsroom.
Julia Fair and Megan Henry hang out in The Post’s newsroom.

1) Get involved

When you feel like one of the only freshmen who doesn’t want to be in college, it can be hard making friends. Find a club or group on campus who share your interests. I found some of my best friends after joining The Post. Remember, it’s the people who make the memories, not the place.

My mom trying to keep it together when she dropped me off at OU.
My mom trying to keep it together when she dropped me off at OU.

2) Stop calling you mom

Yes, mom’s voice is always comforting. Yes, mom has been making you feel better about things for the last 18 years. But, it’s also mom’s job to do that, so she won’t tell you that you have to accept the situation you’re in and stop calling her.

Anyways, your mom isn’t going to come back and pick you up (I asked), so stop trying.

Taking a step away from mom is taking a step into being independent, which is essential for succeeding in college. Once you stop calling mom to talk about your problems, you can start finding friends to talk to.

Emily Bohatch, Liz Backo, Julia Fair and Patrick Connolly attend an OU football game.
Emily Bohatch, Liz Backo, Julia Fair and Patrick Connolly attend an OU football game.

3) Go to a Bobcat’s game

Sportsball may not be your thing, but something about standing in a sea of green and yelling builds up team spirit. And if you’re not particularly interested in watching football, the Marching 110 will get you fired up about being a Bobcat.

Stroud's Run State Park
Stroud’s Run State Park

4) Explore Athens

I grew up in a town with two stoplights, so Athens was an upgrade for me. But for you city-dwellers, small-town Appalachia can be a shock. Believe it or not, Athens has a bunch of gems hidden just around the corner. Take a day to explore the Ridges or hike around Stroud’s Run. Hit up every shop up town. You’ll be surprised at all of the kitchy, Athens-esque things you find.

OU students enjoy Mill Fest.
OU students enjoy Mill Fest.

5) Get out of your dorm

Some of the most fun events in Athens are held outside of your dorm (can you imagine that?). So, instead of sitting inside on a Saturday afternoon marathoning Netflix, go out and enjoy one of the many events Athens is famous for: Halloween, Fests, International Street Fair, Humans versus Zombies, karaoke nights, house parties, ect.

Survivor Advocacy Program should offer services for survivors of sexual assault in the fall

After a year of turbulence, Ohio University should have its Survivor Advocacy Program up and running by the beginning of Fall Semester — or at least that’s what officials hope.

Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones said the program will open as soon as staff members are hired.

Formerly known as OUSAP, the new SAP program will be under the Division of Student Affairs, and will offer counseling and confidential services to survivors of rape and sexual violence.

OUSAP closed in the 2014-2015 academic year after the program’s director left the university.

A lot is still in the air with the new SAP program, and Hall-Jones isn’t sure what it will look like next year.

“I can’t really say right now, as the ultimate delivery of service to students will be shaped by the Director we hire – but basic services (being with students at the hospital, attending ECRC meetings with students, helping with academic accommodations, etc. will all be the same),” Hall-Jones said in an email.

Job postings for two full-time licensed individuals will be posted until April 24, Hall-Jones added.

Other changes to the program include the following:

  • Setting up an after-hours hotline with trained professionals
  • Moving student advocates, who worked with the program’s director before, to work with the Sexual Assault Prevention Educator
  • The Ohio University Advocacy Outreach program, which provides support to Athens County residents and residents of other counties, will operate outside of the Division of Student affairs, according to the email.

The Survivor Advocacy Program will be located in Lindley Hall.

 

Looking back: OUSAP during the 14-15 year

At least this mayor doesn’t make fun of me

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson took office at the beginning of 2016.
Athens Mayor Steve Patterson took office at the beginning of 2016.

Former Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl used to make fun of my notecards.

Since then, I’ve evolved away from carrying notecards lined with questions  — organized by story, who was asking them and when the story was due — to asking things off the cuff during the weekly mayor’s press conference. But I don’t think the new mayor, former Athens City Councilman Steve Patterson, would make fun of my notecards; we have a pretty good rapport.

The first time I came to one of these things, I was just a fresh-faced city writer with the Post who had spent a week avoiding her editor because she was in over her head. I think we asked Wiehl about the roundabout on West Union Street (Sam Howard did the asking, because I was far too nervous), but I’ve been to this meeting so many times that it’s become hard to remember what we’ve talked about.

Sam Howard, The Post's Digital managing editor, asks Athens Mayor Steve Patterson questions during the weekly press conference.
Sam Howard, The Post’s digital managing editor, asks Athens Mayor Steve Patterson questions during the weekly press conference.

As fate would have it, Sam sat next to me again during my (arguably) last press conference with the mayor Wednesday Feb. 10. Sam smiled when I told him that I thought things had come full circle and reminded him of the first time I had walked to city building with him.

Patterson opens the 2 p.m. press conference two minutes late (Wiehl was quite punctual).

“I don’t have a lot on my agenda tonight aside from some things that are extremely important and then one thing that is more informational,” Patterson opens with.

This week, Patterson is talking about the “sexual predator” that has made his way into the news lately.

 

“That investigation is ongoing and if anyone has any information that you feel might be pertinent to the case I would encourage you to go to the city’s website,” Patterson said, rattling off the city’s URL.

Patterson is an interesting guy though you may not be able to tell it from the straight face he puts up during those press conferences. I mean, how interesting can you be when you’re just reading announcements off of a sheet of paper in front of you into an empty room.

The mayor's press conference is held every Wednesday at Athens City Building's council chambers.
The mayor’s press conference is held every Wednesday at Athens City Building’s council chambers.

“Snow removal: you know, the city has been pretty diligent in getting the snow removed from the streets especially after last night’s return to a level two snow emergency,” Patterson said.

Last year, the city had some issues with salting sidewalks, and it was often a snowy mess next to its own parking garage. I spent many days in the city building, so I know this first hand.

“With that said, I strongly encourage all the citizens to keep your sidewalks clear, as well as the businesses to keep your sidewalks clear of snow obstructions,” Patterson said.

Though the city owns the sidewalks, the responsibility for snow removal falls to the owner of the nearest establishment, according to Athens City Code. Sadly, I didn’t even need to look that up; I wrote a story about it last year.

“It falls under Athens City Code and the Code Office has been instructed to get out and cite individuals who are in violation of the sidewalk snow removal law which is to have sidewalks cleared four hours after the snowfall ends or if the snowfall ends over night, have it removed within four hours of sunrise the following day,” he added.

It may be interesting to look later at how many citations were handed out, especially considering that the Athens Code Office is currently lacking in leadership after Patterson fired former Director John Paszke.

Patterson moved on to another oddly contentious subject: a mural.

At this week’s Athens City Council meeting, discussion — I dare say arguing — broke out at the meeting after an Ohio University undergrad asked to paint a mural on the side of ARTS/West, the city’s art center. I repeat: contentious.

Finally, Patterson turned his attention to the press, otherwise known as Sam and me.

“It’s good seeing the media here today,” he said. This is the first time in his time as mayor that the press has shown up to his presser, minus the predator one.

During the press conference, reporters typically sit at a table to the left of the council desk.
During the press conference, reporters typically sit at a table to the left of the council desk.

The last time someone other than a Postie went to a weekly press conference was for the conference touching on the serial rapist. The Post reporter who went was absolutely shocked to find cameras propped up in the back of the room and the media table full to capacity.

Otherwise, it’s normally just the mayor and me — or, it was when I was the city writer.

Actually, one time Connor Morris from the Athens News went, but I don’t think he asked any questions, just listened to mine.

But why waste an opportunity to catch a source? It’s free answers that he’s required to answer because he’s on live TV.

So, I asked about Zika (why not, it’s trending on Twitter) and Fest Season (always good for the website). It’s all a little more important that asking about roundabouts, but at least I’m asking my own questions this time.

David Jones

"I sailed to Panama city. I guess we didn’t sail straight there. We sailed to … the San Blas Islands first … which is a little bit further east. And then we slowly made our way to Panama City where I flew home. Just moving the boat for some people that I met in Virginia. They run a 105 foot schooner that they do charters and things on and they sail down to Panama every year to do maintenance. So, I was lucky enough that they wanted to take me with them. It was about two weeks. I grew up here, so I’m staying with my family here for the winter and I’m going back to work for that same boat this summer"
“I sailed to Panama city. I guess we didn’t sail straight there. We sailed to … the San Blas Islands first … which is a little bit further east. And then we slowly made our way to Panama City where I flew home. Just moving the boat for some people that I met in Virginia. They run a 105 foot schooner that they do charters and things on and they sail down to Panama every year to do maintenance. So, I was lucky enough that they wanted to take me with them. It was about two weeks. I grew up here, so I’m staying with my family here for the winter and I’m going back to work for that same boat this summer” — David Young

Smiling Skull Saloon a sanctuary for students and townies alike

The Skull is famous in Athens for its odd patrons and horrendous creation of "Skull Ale"
The Skull is famous in Athens for its odd patrons and horrendous creation of “Skull Ale”

If the 16 bars of Athens were people, the Smiling Skull Saloon would likely be the quintessential representation of Athens.

Affectionately referred to as “The Skull” by its loyal patrons, the dive bar represents the small, Southeastern Ohio town itself: the perfect fusion of faithful “townie” population and the transient students who call the city home for four years.

From its patrons to the decor covering the walls that pay homage to an interesting history of its owner and the bar itself, the Skull is the perfect mix of seedy dive bar and beloved hang out. Settled into its Union Street location in 2000, the Skull has spent 16 years acquiring character and meaning to its loyal customers. From old license plates and photos hanging on the wall to the tables defaced with carvings of people’s names, the saloon embodies a sense of tradition and home, even if it does smell a little and is in a desperate need of a powerwash. The 116 year old building housing the old watering hole only adds to the air of history.

Bargoers crowd around the Skull's bar, not to drink, but to stare intently at each other.
Bargoers crowd around the Skull’s bar, not to drink, but to stare intently at each other.

One does not have to order a drink to enjoy the Smiling Skull; one only needs a childlike sense of wonder and a natural affinity for people watching.

After walking the streets of uptown and peeking into bars like the Crystal or JBar, the world of bargoers begins to look monotonous. All the faces begin to blur together. It isn’t until one finds a biker-esque man dressed as Santa with a full, belly-lengthed beard perched on a stool at the Skull that that tedium is broken.

From the dogs often running around off-leash in the bar to the warbling of townies and students alike trying their hand at open mike night, the Skull exudes that feeling that just makes Athens Athens.