Adios Athens: An OU Senior Sendoff

A letter to my soon-to-be alma mater and the city that defined it,

Emeriti Park

Springtime weather washes over Emeriti Park. Photo by Nick Kossen.

As a graduating senior, I can’t help but look back on my time spent here with you. There were numerous visits planned, but after my very first trip, I knew there was no other place quite as unique and fitting as you. Between the vibrant colors blanketing campus and the rolling hills that called to me, I was instantly, shamelessly, caught up in a love affair with you. The feelings never dwindled, in fact, they only grew in strength. There was no doubt in my mind where I belonged—in this small rural town in the foothills of Appalachia, named for the renowned Greek learning center of ancient times.

Your famous cobble-brick roads gave an air of rustic familiarity that provided comfort year after year. You never changed, yet managed to evolve into something more. It wasn’t long before I started referring to you as my home, rather than a superficial “home away from home.” That was groundbreaking. For a kid that lived in the same house for eighteen years of his life, making the move to Athens is eye-opening and terrifyingly refreshing. It was here that I not only learned that change is a good thing, but also where I embraced it. You’re anything and everything they want you to be, but for me, you’re the idyllic college town that provided me with a new perspective on world views, relationships and where to find success in life.

Thank you for the humbling and life-changing experience. Thank you Ohio University and Athens.


Ohio University Must-Do Senior Bucket List

Suggested below are 16 simple, yet memorable things to see or do for the graduating class of 2016. They changed my perspective on Athens and Southeastern Ohio and hopefully they do the same for you.

  1. Snap a picture of an empty Court Street or the Armory on a rarely seen quiet night.
  2. Relax with a book or midday snooze at the Scripps Amphitheater on a sunny day.
  3. Run or bike the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway around campus. If you’re really an enthusiast, take the trail 22 miles to Nelsonville for the full experience.
  4. Have your picture taken with Ohio University’s Class Gateway (while it’s not under construction).
  5. Take your pick of mouthwatering chicken and mac n’ cheese from Miller’s Chicken.
  6. Successfully navigate your way through the seventeen bars that call Uptown Athens home.
  7. Enjoy an overnight excursion into Strouds Run. While you’re there, take the time to walk the shoreline of Dow Lake; you’ll be glad you did.
  8. Throw back a famous Hotnut from Tony’s.
  9. Take time out of your Saturday morning to peruse the countless rows of vendors at theAthens Farmers Market. They offer fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and an assortment of other locally grown and produced foods.
  10. Eat at one of the many #30MileMeal locations in Athens.
  11. Trek to the top of Radar Hill at The Ridges to watch the sunset.
  12. Experience Athens’ own Craft Beer Trail by visiting and enjoying (several) beers from Jackie O’sLittle Fish, and Devil’s Kettle. If beer doesn’t quite do it for you, West End Ciderhouse is a great alternative for finding quality locally-made hard ciders.
  13. Travel the back roads of Athens County on one of Ohio’s Windy 9 scenic driving routes.
  14. Catch a $4 movie at Movies 10 in the FunBarn. Because, where else outside of Athens can you find movie tickets for only 4 bucks!
  15. Embrace the beach bum lifestyle at Strouds during the spring and summer months.
  16. Graduate from the best and brightest university that Ohio has to offer!
Ohio University's cherry blossoms in bloom.

Ohio University’s cherry blossoms in bloom. Photo by Nick Kossen.