A guide to Instagram: Athens edition

Nestled in the foothills of Appalachia, Ohio University and the city that hosts it are a mix of bricks, hills and green spaces you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Athens provides students with a bevy of beautiful photos.

And like most college students, Bobcats love their Instagram feeds. The following is a collection of some of the most Instagram-worthy spots in Athens.

Campus Gateway

Just a little excited to be home ?? #athens #bobcats #alumniproblems #ohiouniversity #becauseshebeatme

A photo posted by Alyssa Marie Wilson (@alyssawilson628) on

One of two spots on campus known by some as the campus gates. The other is currently getting a facelift.

Getting there

This spot sits at the northwest corner of College Green. In other words, it’s on the corner of Union St. and Court St.

Tips and Tricks

If there aren’t many people around the gates when you walk by, take advantage of the moment and get your picture — most days at least one campus organization will be handing out flyers here.

Bong Hill

 

Just hanging OUt ??☀️ #BongHill #OhioU #Athens #Hiking

A photo posted by Calvin Holloway (@calhollow) on

Despite the name, I’ve never walked in on people doing illegal things here. Wear comfortable shoes because it’s going to be quite the walk.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 2.25.14 PMGetting There

The most physically ambitious spot on this list, a trip to Bong Hill is not for the faint of heart. Enlarge the map to the right to see how to get there on foot. It’ll be about a two-mile trek by foot. The final ascent is a steep couple hundred feet.

Tips and Tricks

If you’re lucky enough to have a friend with a car, have that person drive you there. It’ll shorten the journey by a tremendous amount. If you’re going by foot, be careful walking along the side of the road. You’ll be on a state route for a few minutes.

It’s important to note it’s unclear how legal this OU tradition is. The land isn’t clearly marked as private property, but there appears to be a residence somewhat close to the vantage point.

Emeriti Park

The springtime lunch times ???? #OUpics #athensohio #ohiouniversity

A photo posted by Emily (@svveetdisposition) on

You might’ve already seen this park on a visit to OU. It’s a good place to study on a sunny day.

Getting there

The park is situated between Baker University Center, Clippinger Laboratories and the Ping Center.  You can’t miss it.

Tips and Tricks

The pond is pretty in the spring and fall, but walk here in the winter after a light snow. It’s a wonderland.

Bike Path

The bike path on the edge of campus is part of the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, a 21-mile bike path that stretches all the way to Nelsonville. Our slice of the path plays host to Sakura blossoms in the spring and a frozen Hocking River in the Winter.

Getting there

The bike path hugs the Hocking River on the outskirts of campus. Popular spots for entering the bike trail are the bridge on Richland Ave., South Green and Union Street. You should be able to get there in five minutes or less from just about anywhere on campus.

Tips and Tricks

The path is a favorite for runners, dog walkers and cyclists. Part of the path is lit by streetlamps, but I wouldn’t advise spending time here after dark. It’s relatively secluded compared to the rest of campus.

College Green

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 2.59.21 PMThe heart of OU is also the oldest area of the campus. According to OU’s website, Cutler Hall, the building in the middle of the above photo, was built in 1816 and currently houses some administrators, including the president.

Getting there

Most of the photos of College Green are taken from in front of the campus gateway, denoted by the little gray point on the map to the right.

Tips and Tricks

If you work up an appetite taking this picture, there are usually several food trucks stationed along Union St., including the famed Burrito Buggy.

Court Street

Many would call Court Street the true heart of OU. Well over 10 bars call this half-mile stretch home, which only adds to OU’s reputation as a party school. But beyond the bars, Court Street’s bricks are iconic, and many of the buildings have maintained their historic facades.

Getting there

From the top floor of Baker University Center, you can get to Court Street by walking straight out of the doors and down the street between Scripps Hall and the Alpha Delta Pi sorority house.

Tips and Tricks

Employers are increasingly checking out your online identity before hiring you. While Court Street can make for some artful pictures, you might want to hold off on posting that picture of you and your friends having a little too much fun at the bar, even when you’re of age.

The Ridges

#TheRidges #AthensOhio #KeepAthensWeird

A photo posted by Cameron Price (@akidnamedcam) on

Formerly known as the Athens Lunatic Asylum, a walk to The Ridges is a Halloween tradition for many OU students. Some of the buildings are now used by the University in various capacities, but they once were home to Billy Milligan — a serial killer who will be portrayed by Leo DiCaprio in an upcoming movie.

Getting there

You can see the ridges from most places on campus, but to walk there you’ll need to cross the bridge near Peden Stadium on Richland Ave. There are sidewalks and crosswalks. Once you cross the roundabout after the bridge, walk up the brick path on your right, and you’re there.

Tips and Tricks

It is possible to go inside the abandoned buildings. Some students do it at night for a cheap thrill — but it might not be so cheap after all, because it’s illegal, and if caught you’ll be paying a hefty fine.

An open letter to future freshmen

Dear future freshmen,

As incoming freshman, you all have these crazy expectations of Resident Assistants. I don’t know why, but each year, freshmen are terrified of RAs and come up with the wildest expectations. As an RA in an all freshman hall, I’ve had to bust these outrageous myths for the past two years. It’s completely normal to have certain expectations of the heads of your floor, but not the irrational  ones you have now. I’ve heard some weird rumors that freshmen have about RAs as they move in, but I’m here to tell you that everything you’re thinking of right now is most likely wrong. Let me break those unrealistic expectations down into realistic ones and tell you exactly what RAs expect of their residents.

“The RAs are just going to be out to get me!”

Yes, I'm sure this RA is "out to get you." We're just try to stomp the naughtiness out of you.
Yes, I’m sure this RA is “out to get you.” We’re just try to stomp the naughtiness out of you.

Okay… First off, you’re wrong. We’re not “out to get you.” We’ll never be “out to get you.” Nor do we really want to be “out to get you.” Writing you up means more paperwork for us and that’s not something we look forward to. Yes, we signed up to enforce rules and regulations, but seeking out the rule breakers isn’t our number one priority. All we want to do is keep you safe. Yes, we know you’re going to drink and try new things; it’s college. To be honest, we did the exact same things when we were freshmen. We’re not the saints you think we are, we want to live out our college experiences too.

Now, if you do drink, it’s different for a lot of RAs. A majority of them would prefer if you stay in the building. It’s a lot safer than going to the bars. Other RAs would rather you do it out of the hall so you have a better chance of not getting in trouble. I understand both sides, but I’d personally prefer if freshmen drank in their room; it’s safer, near an authority figure that can lend help when needed and you don’t need to worry about being drugged (as long as you know who is in your room and what you are drinking.) College is scary and you have to be on your guard.

So, to bust that unrealistic expectation; no, RAs are not going to be out to get you. Just don’t be stupid. We know you’re going to do things, just don’t take advantage of it. Be smart and know what you’re doing.

“My RA is going to love me so much that I’ll be able to do whatever I want!”

Yeah, a lot of people come in with that mind set. Yeah, we do have favorites. No, we won’t tell you who’s the favorite. But, do our favorites get away with a lot of things? Of course they do! They hang out with us all the time and get on our good side. We become friends and start doing more things together while getting to know each other on a personal basis. Can they do whatever they want? Haha, no. They don’t and we make sure they know they can’t, sorry.

You may be an outgoing individual, which is amazing! We love residents that step out of their comfort zone and get involved with the school and hall. But, as soon as you start acting up and doing things you really shouldn’t do in front of us, we’ll put it to an end. Sorry, that means no skateboarding in the lobby, rearranging the furniture while attempting to stack them as high as possible or swinging from the wooden pillars. That’s just annoying and we don’t want you to get hurt, because you will. So, please, don’t be that one kid. I’m begging you. You’ll immediately go from our favorite to hated.

Come to college thinking we’ll love you, because we will! Don’t come to college thinking you’ll be able to do whatever you want, because you won’t be able to. End of story.

“My RA is going to try to be like my parent; I won’t be able to do anything.”

We may be like your parents at times, but you'll learn to accept it and become a big family throughout the hall.
We may be like your parents at times, but you’ll learn to accept it and become a big family throughout the hall.

Yes, I look at all my residents as my children. I’ve gotten superlatives from them and my staff members declaring me “Most Mom-Like.” Get over it. I love my job and I love looking out for you all; all RAs do, it’s why we wanted the job in the first place. That’s the same way with your parents, like it or not.

You’ll be able to do things you want to do. We may care for you like your parents, but we’re not going to be on your butt about everything. Want to stay out until four in the morning? Go right ahead, I’m not going to stop you. Want to go drink? I don’t mind. It really doesn’t bother me. Don’t want to clean your room? Okay, I just won’t visit. The whole “parent” thing comes in when you have a problem and need help. RAs are always there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on. I know my door is always open when my residents need someone to talk to, vent to or hang out with. Most RAs are people that will get up at two in the morning to make you chicken noodle soup or hot tea with honey if you’re sick. College is tough, things happen; we know that. We were freshmen once, too, don’t forget that. That’s why we’re here for you every step of the way.

That’s what people mean when they say we’re like a parent. All we do is try to protect you and help shape your years here at college into the best years of your life. We will try to point you in the right direction, but it’s up to you to take your own path through college.

“All RAs are just going to be ‘funsuckers.’”

She was breaking the rules by screaming at the top of her lungs at 3 am on a Wednesday. That's just annoying.
She was breaking the rules by screaming at the top of her lungs at 3 am on a Wednesday. That’s just annoying.

First of all, I have no idea what you mean by “funsuckers.” I am personally a joy to be around! And to go off of that, we’re not “narks,” either. The only reason we write you up for incidences is because you broke the rules. This only happened because you didn’t know how to hide anything or were obnoxious. Don’t leave alcohol on the windowsill, don’t keep your door open while you drink, don’t walk the halls with an open container and, please, just don’t scream, “Shots” if you don’t want to be caught.

Our job is to stop rules from being broken when we see or hear them happen. Our job is to step in when there’s an issue and someone needs help. Nothing else. Honestly, we don’t like dumping out all your alcohol and ruining your night. We know how much alcohol costs, we know you want to party with your friends. We know. This isn’t fun for you, just like it’s not fun for us. I hate writing people up. It takes away the fun from the night and gives me more work. Some advice: just be quiet and smart. Keep things hidden and you’ll be fine.

“RAs are the ones that will help me get through college.”

After meeting in the beginning of the year, this RA made the biggest impact on his resident. They are now best friends.
After meeting in the beginning of the year, this RA made the biggest impact on his resident. They are now best friends.

Yes. We’re your friend, parent, protector and advice giver. We want what’s best for you and help you make your mark here in college. As an RA, my goal is to make an impact for each and every student so that they can have the best freshman year at Ohio University. It’s important to me to direct them in the right path and stay by their side every step of the way. Even when you’re no longer my resident, you’ll always be able to come to me for anything you could ever need. You’re more than a resident; you’re family, my Bobcat Family.

Well, I hope that helped. Resident Assistants aren’t bad people. We have a bad rap and it frightens you. Don’t be scared when you move to college, we’re here for you when no one else is. Try not to bring in those unrealistic expectations, think realistic. We’re people, students and college kids. We know and understand. Trust me.

Sincerely,

A second year RA