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A Town Called Athens: OU: A melting pot of passionate people

Well, this is it. Many students are graduating, others are transferring and the vast majority will not be remaining in Athens during the summer.

Many faculty and staff members will be departing Ohio University at the end of this year as well, besides the ones who haven’t already.

Athens now has to prepare for summer without roughly half of its population.

After finals, thousands of students will depart Athens for the summer, not to be seen again until early September, and they leave a mark on the city that lasts for the next three months.

No, I don’t mean all the free couches we townies get every June. I am referring to the economic hardships the departure of the students creates in Athens.

Many businesses don’t try to stay open during summer, knowing that they won’t get enough customers.  Others shorten their hours and cut their number of employees.

Athens needs its college students, and the students need Athens. I’ve demonstrated that as best I can this past quarter, and I hope I’ve helped a few people see student/townie issues differently.

But now for some personal reflections about Ohio University.

I am a born and raised Athenian, and yes, I will probably be attending OU. Most of my friends are sickened by the idea of going to the university in the town they grew up in. But I don’t share their feelings.

After taking six classes at OU, writing a column for The Post and participating in student organizations, my opinion of OU has changed for the better.

I used to think OU was an average, mediocre institution. How could I think any different when the local press often has so many negative things to say about the university?

Does the university have its problems? Of course it does. So do Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati and Miami University.

No matter where you are, there will be issues. We’ve got to work through them and see the good that happens at OU every day.

In my classes, I have listened to incredibly talented students who could have gone to college anywhere they want. I’ve listened to extremely knowledgeable professors who don’t have to be in Athens, but they chose to come to OU.

No matter the reasoning, we should appreciate the fact they chose OU. Instead of bashing the student body for the negative actions of few, praise it for the positive actions of many.

Give professors credit for putting a lot of effort into their classes. I have yet to have a professor who “does not care” about his or her students.  

There are some who come to OU for the wrong reasons: some looking only to party, others for a pay raise while looking to do less work.

But this is not the majority.  

Don’t forget about the truly excellent group of students and professors OU has — a group that is just as good as any other in the country.  

Most of my friends know me as a major pessimist, but instead of going down that road in my columns, I figured it was time someone pointed out the positive things about OU.

Those who have kept up with my columns will know what I’m talking about, but for those of you who have yet to read, at least you will get the conclusion.

OU is a great institution, and if you work hard here, you can do anything you want after college.

Will Drabold is a junior at Athens High School enrolled in Ohio University classes and a columnist for The Post. Are you headed to OU too? Email Will at


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