Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a senior at OU? Here are some memories

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.

The Crystal bar via Pinterest

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.

Big Mamma’s Burritos

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.

O’Betty’s very cheesy fries via Food Spotting.

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.

Ryan Lysaght (pictured with the whiteboard) sits with his fellow managers before a football game.

“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.

Broney’s Alumni Grill via Another Food Critic

“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!

I’m dreaming of a Court Street Christmas

Yesterday, for some odd reason, I was completely in the Christmas spirit. I had an insane craving for cookies that was easily satisfied by my box of Girl Scout thin mints. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” blasted through my headphones. Personally, my mood was more chipper than usual however quickly subsided into a nostalgic hangover.

It may be March, but the true Christmas spirit lives on Court Street in Athens and I couldn’t resist soaking in the memories. Just in case you needed a little reminder:

Six times Barack and Joe were totally you and your friends on Court Street

The era of a Barack Obama and Joe Biden administration may be over, but memes of the duo are far from ending. It’s almost a sure thing that you can find a photo of the duo to perfectly describe any situation. Here are six times the former “BROTUS” and his best friend are totally you and your bestie on Court Street.

  1. The Green Cab

OK, you got a little crazy and splurged on a Green Cab ride to Court Street: there’s no way this 20 degree weather is killing your night. Now you and your pals have to act like you didn’t just pregame to Bad and Boujee on a loop nine times.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

2. Only going to Red Brick for Brick Break

Leaving Red Brick literally the second that Brick Break ends. (Thank God you’re not a freshman anymore)

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

 

3. When that one door guy finally recognizes you

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the door guy sees you so often he doesn’t even need to card you? Either way, you didn’t have to fumble for your ID in the dark, so it’s a win.

Pic via Wikimedia Commons

 

4. Thanking your best friend from pulling you away from oncoming traffic.

We’ve all done it: thinking you’re stealthy enough to beat the oncoming car in your dash across Court Street, but your best friend knows your not. We all know that moment of gratitude we feel knowing that your friend would save your life like that.

Photo via Flickr/ Joeff Davis

 

5. Finally ordering food at 3 am

Whether your late night food preference is O’Betty’s, Wing’s Over, Souvlaki’s, Big Mamma’s or one of the other local eateries, we all know the pure joy of finally grasping our perfectly crafted order in our hands after a night on the bricks.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

6. Watching your Snapchat stories the next day.

It’s one of everyone’s favorite things to do the next day: watch everything you may or may not remember posting to your Snapchat. It’s also kind of comforting knowing that in less than 24 hours, no one will really remember what happened anyways.

Photo via Flickr

Gamma Phi Beta: my second home in Athens

When thinking about my favorite place in Athens, my first thought was the best bars and special food places. As I thought about this longer, I realized the reason I love being uptown is because of the people I see when I’m there. This quickly changed my favorite place in Athens to the Gamma Phi Beta house. The best way to describe why is because it is a second home. Although I do not live in the sorority house, it is a place I can be myself with all of my friends.

Gamma Phi Beta big-little reveal, Photo by Allison Divens

Being able to have access to a house with multiple rooms is awesome. When I’m at the house I have the option to spend time in many of my friends’ rooms, be in the living room to relax or go hang out in the movie room. As I’ve learned the movie room is an excellent place to take a nap, which is a plus if I’m having a long day or there’s people in my dorm room.

My dorm room can be small and crowded at times. I have never been a homebound person, even when I lived in a spacious house with three other people. The past two years of living in a small room with three other people only makes me want to be out and about even more than before. In a way, the house is going somewhere else and an escape.  

Another fun room in the house is the kitchen. At most times during the day I know I can go downstairs to the kitchen and find many of my friends hanging out or doing homework. For me, it’s really nice to have others working on projects and being productive and caring about their academics. This motivates me to be better, and it’s fun at the same time. Also, I get some free meals each week at the house. This is always a perk, especially when I’m tired of dining hall foods but too broke to buy real food!

Another reason the Gamma Phi house is my favorite place on campus is because I know I will always be laughing there. I enjoy my time alone, but I’m very much a people person. While at the house, I have the opportunity to be a part of a family and hear all about my friends’ lives. Someone always has a funny story to tell about their professors or something hilarious about one of our friends.

I enjoy being at the house because there’s also a craft room where we can go to hang out and do projects or arts and crafts. I will be honest and admit that I may be one of the least crafty people ever, but I enjoy learning how to be better and try new things. At the house, we do many bonding activities. These can include anything from game night to watching The Bachelor or even decorating cookies.

Gamma Phi Beta philanthropy event, Photo by Abby Hagelberger

Finally, the Gamma Phi Beta house is my favorite place in Athens because I have the ability to grow as a person and bond with so many greats women that I can call some of my best friends. There’s a wide range of individuals who guide me and give me the advice I need to be the best version of myself.

At the end of the day, there’s always excitement and happiness in the house. It doesn’t matter if we’re hosting bid day or hanging out in pajamas eating Chipotle because I know that either way I will enjoy my time I spend there.

Court Street: my favorite place in Athens

Between the crowds of students, the look and feel of red Athens blocks, and the unique shops and local restaurants that line it, there is nothing quite like Court Street in Athens, Ohio. My own father, a 1984 alumnus of the communications school, always told me, “it is like a whole other world down there.” I never truly understood what he meant until I visited Athens for the first time when I was touring the Ohio University campus with my family back in 2012, but after I saw Court Street for myself, I knew exactly what he had meant.

Court street has a feeling that is special, there is something unique and indescribable about its character. It is my favorite place in Athens because it is the heart and soul of the city. This is where the culture and conversation of the town has been originating since 1804. The history and charisma of this place can be felt by walking up and down the brick lined sidewalks of Court Street. So many generations of students and staff have had unforgettable college experiences on that street, growing up and growing together as a community. Court Street feels as though it is part of Ohio University because of its architecture and closeness to the campus.

Court Street only stretches for about a half mile, but that is all it needs to be one of the most picturesque and charming I have ever seen. Somehow it gives you the feeling of being in a lively city without ever losing that small-town charm that Athens has. Running into friends or professors, attending nationally recognized events like the Halloween parade with 25-foot-tall puppets and live music, or going to the Ohio Brew Week, there is always something new and exciting happening on Court Street.

Students and staff walking down Court Street

Local businesses like The Athena Cinema, Bagel Street Deli, Casa Nueva, or Tony’s Tavern make Court Street and Athens a one of a kind destination. These shops give the street a home-grown, connected community feeling that I have not experienced anywhere else.

Taking a stroll down Court Street never fails to remind me of just how lucky I am to be in a place like this and that it will not last forever. It is my favorite place in Athens because I know it will be where I come back to when I visit my fellow Bobcats in the future as an alumnus, just like my brother and my father before me. The street reminds me of the bonds that I have made here and the relationships that I will never forget with some of my best friends in the world.

Court Street and college green were the first two places in Athens that I saw, they left me in awe, giving me an affinity towards the town and the University. These places made me want to be part of the Bobcat legacy. They are still a large reason why I have such a strong affiliation to this place today. Court street has helped me to grow both socially and professionally as a human being. My favorite place in Athens has taught me life skills that I will take with me forever from this community.

Athens County Humane Society works to end cat overpopulation

Rural counties tend to have high populations of stray and feral cats, and Athens County is no exception. One organization that works to help homeless cats and kittens is the Athens County Humane Society, an all-volunteer group with no physical location.

The ACHS holds four spay/neuter clinics every month with the goal of cutting down on cat overpopulation by providing services to the community at a low cost.

Most of the cats that have been rescued by the ACHS are kept at Petsmart, but others, like Ted E. Bear, are taken in by the volunteers themselves.

What happens to our favorite Bobcat bands after graduation?

College is a chance to discover the real person that’s been cultivating under the parental units for the last 18 or so years. For some it’s exploring the vices their parents attempted to curtail, others it’s the chance to think differently how they were raised, but in general it’s a time for self-discovery.

A few braves souls chose to do this in front of crowds atop one of the many stages in Athens. The music scene in Athens is unique as the influx of new blood from the university allows for a large diversity of musical acts to form and flourish.

The constant flow of new musicians is sadly accompanied by the older generation leaving Athens as they graduate or decide to move on. While the desire to play may linger on, it can be extremely difficult to continue when members may be scattered across the country. As their time in Athens comes closer to the end Wes Gilbert of Smizmar and Evan Amerio of Apemode spoke of their personal experiences.

Building community through art with Honey for the Heart

For the last month local artists, both townie and student have collaborated making puppets for the annual Honey for the Heart parade. This year the various projects had to work around the central theme of birds, with each project taking on a different interpretation. Each puppet is unique not only in look, but how it operates, what it’s materials, and overall theme itself. Honey for the Heart is done on a volunteer basis where even the artistically challenged can help. This week anyone can stop by to help finish the puppets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week before the parade at 6 p.m. this Saturday at Central Venue on Carpenter Street.

Top 5 places to eat before a night out

Are you trying to decide on a place to eat before going out with your friends for your 21st birthday? Maybe you’re going to see a touring Broadway show at Memorial Auditorium but need to find a place to have a quality meal beforehand? With so many wonderful places to eat in Athens, it can be hard to narrow down your choices. No need to worry; I’ve done the research for you! These five eateries, all of which can be found on or just off of Court Street, are the best places to enjoy a meal before any kind of occasion.

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Casa Nueva – 6 West State Street (All photos by Brooke Robinson)

Casa Nueva is a classic Athens favorite, and with delicious Mexican-style food, vegan and gluten-free options, and live music, it’s no wonder why. Casa even uses ingredients like pawpaws when they’re in season for a truly unique dining experience. Friendly service, a casual ambience, and some of the best quesadillas in town make this restaurant a hit.

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O’Betty’s Red Hot – 15 West State Street

Perhaps you need to grab your food and run? Just across the street from Casa Nueva, O’Betty’s is a great little hole in the wall with famously delectable hot dogs. All the hot dogs on the menu are named after famous exotic and burlesque dancers, and vegetarian options are available. My personal recommendation is the Lily, which comes topped with homemade baked beans and cole slaw. Also, if you’re a cheese fan, their cheesy fries are the bomb. You can’t go wrong with O’Betty’s.

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Sol – 33 North Court Street

Athens is known for having a variety of exotic cuisines, and Sol is the epitome of that. This restaurant specializes in Cuban dishes along with traditional college student favorites such as loaded nachos (with cheese, black beans, lettuce, tomato, fire-roasted salsa, red onion, and sour cream – yum). Many of their dishes are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free. Try their Cuban fusion wrap, fish tacos, or maduros (slightly cartelized plantains) and enjoy the friendly staff.

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Salaam – 21 West Washington Street

The minute you step into Salaam, the atmosphere sets the stage for the meal you’re about to have. Beaded curtains, colorful tapestries, and the hospitable employees make you feel right at home and ready for some amazing Mediterranean food. Try a plate of their Mediterranean pasta (penne pasta with basil pesto, feta, and sun-dried tomato) or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the vegan vegetable curry with tofu (fresh vegetables with fried tofu and a tomato/coconut milk curry sauce served over basmati rice with coriander chutney and papadum).

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Fluff Bakery – 8 North Court Street

Or maybe you’re more of the Leslie Knope-type and prefer to just fill up on dessert or baked goods before going out. Although Fluff Bakery also carries entrée-type food (sandwiches, salads, and salmon, just to name a few), they’re best known for their bakery, as you may have guessed. Their cannoli, pumpkin and red velvet cupcakes, macaroons, cinnamon twists, etc., are to die for. If you’re not hungry before walking in, the smell of the kitchen will have your mouth watering in no time.