When I graduated high school, friends and family encouraged me to have the best time at college, and live it up. They told me college was going to be the best four years of my life. I think it’s safe to say I had fun.
Coming to college, I honestly couldn’t tell you how scared I actually was. I had never been away from my family or friends for that long of a period, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how long it was going to take to make new friends and get adjusted to life away from Cincinnati, but I knew if I didn’t think about it too hard, I could make new friends pretty easily. Luckily, I was rooming with a friend from high school and it wasn’t long before I made, arguably, the biggest and best decision in college – joining a fraternity.
Many students adapt to the new environment and figure out what their favorite places on campus are sooner rather than later…especially in Athens!
As my time at Ohio University is running out, it’s hard not to look back at my four years here on campus, and think about all of my friends that I have met.
When I look back at my time here, there are so many different memories, good and bad, that pop into my head. There are some that make me want to stay in this little town forever, and some that make me glad I’m leaving. I’m going to remember strolling all the way back down to west green freshman year after a night uptown and grabbing some chicken and waffle, then only eating half of it and waking up to the other half the next morning. I remember sophomore and junior year living in my fraternity house. Honestly, there are too many stories to even reminisce on. But, what I will say is some of the best memories I had were sitting in a friend’s room on a Saturday or Sunday morning trying to figure out what exactly happened the night before. Senior year was probably the most interesting year I’ve had in college. For the first two weeks of school I had no interest in being there, I actually wanted to go home a few times. I don’t know why I was feeling like this, but I was. Maybe it was because deep down I knew it was my last year, but I don’t know. But it turned out to be the best year I’ve had on campus, but it comes with a price.
Being a senior, you get asked the same two questions about 10 times per minute. “So, are you going to miss Athens?” and, “What are your plans after graduation?” Honestly, I can’t answer the first question with a straightforward reply. In my four years, I haven’t been away from Athens long enough to know whether I’m going to miss it, besides Christmas break and summer. But will I miss hanging out with friends every weekend? Absolutely! What I won’t miss is having the same routine every weekend, going to the same bars every Friday and Saturday night. To me, it just gets old after a while. I also won’t miss the politics on campus. I was never a very political person until this year. It’s safe to say it brought out the worst in me. But I think I get more annoyed with the second question. I’m in a complicated situation right now. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do after graduation. Not only do I not have a job lined up, but I’m not too sure on what I even want to do exactly, but I think I have enough confidence to figure it out before the stress mode kicks in. It’s a work in progress. It just gets a little annoying answering the same thing over and over and over.
Obviously I know how I feel about leaving, it’s a whole mixture of different emotions, but I also think it’s interesting to see how other seniors feel, and how they are going to remember OU.
When talking to different seniors, some in Greek life and some not, there were a few different trends that I noticed, most of which I could relate to. You could notice some of the bars the younger students would go to, as well as those of the older students. But, along with some of the favorite bars, you also notice some of the places people liked going to as a freshman and how that differed from their senior year.
After talking to these seniors, you notice that OU is a special place not only for partying and going to the bars, but also meeting girlfriends and creating lifelong friendships. It’s these memories that people will cherish forever and take with them after college.
My personal favorite is listening to the different bars people went to as freshman and how they slowly transitioned to the different bars as they got older. Most of the people I know started off at Red Brick, but quickly transitioned to The Crystal, or “Stal”, which is the popular spot for Greek life.
Once you start talking to a current OU student, or even an alum, about where their favorite spots Uptown are/were, you start talking about the amazing dining spots. There are so many different spots to grab a bite to eat Uptown, sober or not sober. Let’s just work our way down Court Street. If you start at the very beginning right next to campus, you can grab some Chipotle on one side of the street or if you’re in a hurry, you can pick up some Wendy’s. Then work your way down the street a little more and you’ll find Bagel Street Deli and Brenen’s, two more OU gems. A little further down you’ll run into an OU favorite, Big Mamma’s. I personally never got hooked, but I think this is where some people’s paychecks went every weekend.
After you pass Big Mamma’s you’ll run into the heart of Court Street and the other favorite eateries. You’ll find Wings Over, which for some is quite delicious drunk and sober, which is simply a win for everyone. Once you turn the corner by The J Bar, which is known to many alumni as “The Junction”, you’ll find my two personal favorites, Souvlaki’s and O’Betty’s. I was introduced to O’Betty’s my freshman year and immediately fell in love. Since my freshman year, the only thing I have purchased from there is the cheesy fries. It’s a mix of fresh, crispy fries with melted cheddar cheese and topped with shredded cheese. It’s a little pricey but most nights that I get it I’m not too worried about it.
Ryan Lysaght, senior studying communication studies, has had a very different and unique college experience than any other student. As a senior, Lysaght has spent four years in a fraternity, and has been a student football manager for OU. His freshman year, he pledged into Phi Gamma Delta social fraternity, and then a semester later accepted a job with Ohio University Football.
“One memory that I won’t forget from college is during spring semester of my freshman year, I started working with the football team and the first day I went in for my interview, and they put me to work right away, and now four years later I’m now going to be doing this as a career,” Lysaght said.
Its memories like this that people will be able to remember forever and speak about them when they’re older. He also said joining the fraternity has given him so many different memories, skills, experiences and other things that he will be able to take with him and utilize after college.
He said some of his favorite experiences would probably be setting up and organizing events through the fraternity. He described some of those experiences as learning how to fail fast as a group, but learning how to get through the adversity and figure out what went wrong and be able to turn it around and make it successful.
“Dealing with the fraternity, holding events and hosting them, creating them from scratch and learning from those experiences and figuring out how to host a successful one has been some of the best times,” he said.
When he isn’t helping organize different events for the fraternity or running through practice with the football team, he likes to hang out Uptown with friends.
“My favorite place to eat would probably be Broney’s on Tuesday nights for loaded margaritas and quesadillas,” he said, “I’ve gone for the first 13 out of 15 weeks in the semester, and I plan on finishing the semester strong.”
As we’re counting down the days, all of the seniors are now thinking back on all of the memories we have over the last four years. The countless of hours we have spent studying…and the countless hours we have rewarded ourselves at the bars. We’re thinking about the all the friendships and relationships we have made that we will take with us after school. Leaving home to go to college hasn’t been easy by any means, but it definitely has been worth it. I wouldn’t have traded coming to Ohio University for anything. It’s all of my friends, professors and memories that make me proud to say OU OH YEAH!