My favorite place on Ohio University’s campus isn’t so much a building or object as it is a setting; the location is more important to me than the object itself. Keep that in mind, because my favorite spot can be pretty underwhelming without context. It may seem a bit disappointing, especially given the options available to me in Athens, but my favorite spot on campus is a green, metal bench that sits outside of the Academic and Research Center on West Green.
Honestly, the bench really isn’t that comfortable. I usually bring an extra sweatshirt with me to place on the seat to make sitting on it for long periods of time tolerable. And I usually don’t sit there before 4 p.m. on weekdays. The rush of students going in and out of the ARC can be pretty distracting. The bench is also right next to a bike rack. I — or I should say my elbows — learned very early on not to get too comfortable while students are adding and removing bikes from the rack. Elbow bruises cause more problems than you’d think.
But the bench does have its redeeming qualities. It’s outside. As one can easily determine after looking at how pale I am, I don’t really get outside much. Spending an hour or two outdoors is not only good for my complexion, but it’s pretty relaxing as well. I also look forward to hearing birds chirp or seeing the famous Athens squirrels digging through trashcans to find dinner. It’s all part of the college experience, you know?
Don’t be fooled; I’m not a person who is extremely fond of nature. I flinch when I see an ant. I’ve never been a huge fan of outdoor pursuits, but there’s just something so calming about doing homework while sitting in a secluded part of campus and being able to glance over my shoulder to watch the sun set on the western horizon.
The best part about my favorite spot is I can still continue to work there after the sun goes down. Unlike other spots on campus, the area by my favorite bench is still illuminated at night. The spherical lamps and yellow light spilling from the windows and entrance to the ARC spreads across the area so well, I can still read notes I wrote by hand in light blue ink. Even when the sky becomes pitch black and the stars become visible, my favorite spot remains not only beautiful, but functional, too.
So here’s to you, green bench. Thank you for being something seemingly unimportant to most and a treasure to me.