My little home away from home

When I think about places in Athens, there is only one that immediately comes to mind

It would be my office, which is located on the second floor of the Radio-Television Communications Building.

Since I don’t live within the city and commute several hours to be in Athens for just a couple days

The Tardis from Dr. Who was part of a Halloween costume that now resides in 273 RTV building.
The Tardis from Dr. Who was part of a Halloween costume that now resides in 273 RTV.

a week, there isn’t a lot of time for exploring.

However, my office serves as a place of peace and quiet. It’s a refuge from the activities that occur throughout campus and the place I typically arrive before the sun rises and leave after it sets.

While it doesn’t seem like much, those four walls provide the solitude and space necessary. It’s the place where I prepare for the classes I teach, conduct research, and work with the two other graduate students with whom I share the office.

One of my office mates researches journalism history and the other studies fans of Dr. Who, which leads to some interesting conversations. It also results in an office that consists of a lot of books, some Dr. Who photos and a Tardis that was part of a Halloween costume.

The office certainly isn’t a palace. It’s messy, doesn’t have a view, and certainly isn’t in the best location. It does, however, have everything I need. We’ve got a refrigerator, a few computers, comfortable chairs, and most importantly a photo on my desk of my wife and daughter. These are the two people who serve as my motivation as I move forward towards receiving a doctorate.

My space isn’t always perfect. We had a water pipe burst above the ceiling in the first week of the fall semester, and the heat doesn’t always work in the way that it should.

But it’s a place where I can put on my headphones, concentrate and forget about the rest of the world.

Plus, I think we’re the only place on campus that has its own Tardis.

Brookfield Church: a Casual Place of Worship

Warm greetings, friendly faces and strong coffee. These are just a few of the characteristics that make Brookfield Church a treasured gem of the Athens community. Brookfield is the perfect place for those who are looking for easy access to quality worship – or just a free cup of coffee and a bagel. Located on Court Street, the church is within walking distance for many students.

Warm welcomes are given upon entering Brookfield Church
Warm welcomes are given upon entering Brookfield Church

Brookfield is a church plant of Vine Community Church in Carbondale, Ind., giving the church its own unique story that makes it irreplaceable to the town of Athens. Since its move to Athens in 2011, Brookfield first met in lead pastor, Aaron Kuhnert’s personal home, until it moved to holding public services in the Athena Cinema in uptown Athens. Within a year, Brookfield found its current home in a store front building.

One of the more favored features of the church’s services are the small groups that meet throughout the week to share a meal and community time together. Small groups are especially beneficial for college students looking to make close friendships with others who have a shared interest in their faith. Brookfield also offers extra opportunities for service in the church and provides occasional classes after service that teach more in-depth on certain areas of Christian beliefs.

Like all true Athens gems, Brookfield Church is anything but traditional. A typical Sunday service begins at 10 a.m. with plenty of time to meet new people before enjoying contemporary worship and relatable teachings for all ages. Brookfield is a wonderful place to find a loving, family connection that will last for years to come.



Donkey: Decaf for nobody

I don’t like Athens, Ohio.

I understand the small-town charm, but I’m immune to it. In three years, I’ve yet to gather more than a handful of friends, the majority of which I’ve already lost. I will probably not be coming back for a single post-graduate hOUmecoming, nor will I force my children to go to college here. Despite my overwhelming gratitude and praise for the journalism school at Ohio University, I cannot wait to graduate and get out of Athens.

A cozy December afternoon spent at Donkey Coffee with an iced chai latte.
A cozy December afternoon spent at Donkey Coffee with an iced chai latte.

The exception is Donkey Coffee. The back room on the first floor, the couch to the right, next to the sound booth? That’s my spot. During finals week when it is crowded, during winter break when their isn’t a soul in town… anytime of the year, I love it. Donkey’s atmosphere is what really draws me in (although I have always been a coffee fan).

There is something about a room full of 30+ undergraduate students hunkering down, surrounding each other with silent support and studying at a coffee shop that is open 24/7 for the week; the infectious determination fills the air, overpowering the scent of unwashed hair and the aura of unhappy souls.

There is something about sitting on a sunken-yet-comfortable couch in the middle of a silent town– inhabited by few for longer than a couple of years– and comprehending how small you are in that moment.

It’s only here, at Donkey Coffee, that I allow myself, even for a few moments, to appreciate the opportunity to live in a town that still has a DVD rental store, a comic book shop and a bell ringing on the hour.

I don’t like Athens, Ohio. Sitting in Donkey Coffee, though, I can see why people do.

Six Floors Up

My corner in Alden Library.
My corner in Alden Library.
I sometimes watch people smoke in this courtyard during difficult study sessions.
I sometimes watch people smoke in this courtyard during difficult study sessions.

I’m in a predicament.

During my first semester at OU I begrudgingly enrolled in an economics course. It’s something you have to do to graduate with a journalism degree here. But with each passing lecture, I started to like the class more and more. By exam time, I had a crush on supply and demand models.

Then I enrolled in a second course. My relationship with the study of trade-offs became more serious — I began considering going steady with the dismal science. But after our first few dates it became clear that if I wanted our relationship to continue, I would need to learn to love numbers.

Here’s the problem: I’ve never gotten along well with math. Crunching numbers and manipulating equations has always made me feel anxious, stupid and tired. But I decided it was worth it, and so the above scene became mine and the numbers’ regular meeting place.

This desk (pictured) is on the sixth floor of Alden Library, hidden from the commotion of campus. It’s quiet. There is about a foot between the wall and my chair, so I know nothing is going on behind me — I think this appeals to some leftover primal instinct in me. I feel totally at ease.

In this state, I can settle into the slower, more rational way of thinking that allows me to digest unfamiliar concepts (psychologists and economists call this System 2). I can focus, totally and completely, without fear of interruption.

My relationship with economics depends on this corner of Alden Library, six floors up.