If you’re reading this during your freshman orientation, I envy you.
Even though it feels like just yesterday that I loaded all of my belongings into my parents’ green Chevy minivan and made the almost four-hour journey to Athens for my first Fall Quarter, a lot has changed since I first moved into Johnson Hall.
Once an epic mound of grass and concrete (and an ideal sledding hill in the winter), Jeff Hill is now open to car traffic. The spring street fests, notorious for couch burnings and massive arrest numbers, have seemingly calmed down. And our athletic programs, which I’ll admit I was largely ignorant of three years ago, have carved a special place in my heart — having given me the memories of two consecutive bowl games and an outstanding bracket- busting upset of Georgetown in 2010.
Needless to say, Ohio University has provided me with three years of irreplaceable memories, and as I wrap up my summer internship and prepare to move back to Athens for my final Fall Quarter, let me share a few slivers of info that I hope will help guide you through your first year as a Bobcat.
From the Little Monsters (a Lady Gaga appreciation society), to the Sierra Student Coalition, to the dozens of fraternities and sororities we have on campus, OU offers a ton of options for getting involved. Take a trip to the Multicultural Center, the Women’s Center or the LGBT Center, or come to a Wednesday-night Student Senate meeting and let your voice be heard about the issues you think are impacting OU during the “Student Speakout” segment.
At the end of the day, the thing I’d most urge you to do is get involved — sooner rather than later.
The best thing I did was join The Post early in my college career, so if you’re really looking for a way to get involved, swing by our offices on the third floor of Baker University Center, and we’ll put you to work (more on that later).
TAKE SOME CHANCES
I’ll never forget the first time I ventured to The Ridges at midnight, or playing a late-night game of pickup basketball at The Convo. Some of the best nights I’ve had at OU have included walking back home at 4:00 a.m., ordering D.P. Dough and falling asleep to episodes of Hey Arnold!, thanks to Netflix.
The wild Athens nightlife isn’t for everyone, but I’d definitely encourage you to break out of your shell once or twice during your freshman year — even if that just means a late-night trip to The Ridges.
STAND YOUR GROUND
Just because OU has a party-school reputation doesn’t mean you’ve got to take part. Looking back at my time in Athens so far, some of my best memories have happened while playing cards in a dorm-room lobby, driving to Nelsonville for a cheap movie and ice skating at Bird Arena.
Believe it or not, not everyone on campus drinks and parties, so if that’s not your scene, don’t let your newfound freshman friends pressure you into changing who you are.
With more than 20,000 students on campus, there’s plenty more to do on Friday night than partying.
LOVE YOUR SCHOOL
Sometimes student media get a bad rap, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: We all love OU.
That’s why you’ll find me shirtless and painted green at the 50-yard line of most of the Bobcats’ home football games this fall, or posted up in the front row of seats beneath the basket for most men’s basketball games.
I know, I know, it’s tempting to wear your scarlet and gray around campus, but — like it or not — this ain’t Columbus. So you need to Go Green! Some of my favorite memories have been made cheering on your women’s volleyball team or our men’s wrestling squad. So, no matter where your other collegiate allegiances lie, make sure to come out and show your Bobcats some love.
And loving your school isn’t just about athletics. Some of the most dedicated students you’ll ever met can be found camped out in the Student Senate office in Baker. What I admire about the senate members whose offices are just a few hundred feet from my own is that they see things they’d like to improve about their campus, and they go for it. If you want to make a difference, join senate.
Don’t forget about the administrators and professors, either. Take pride in the education you’re getting here at OU, and make real connections with your professors, because you never know when their professional connections will come in handy for your own budding career.
Take time to get to know Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi and Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith — or just tweet at them.
And I’d definitely suggest taking time to stop by President Roderick McDavis’ office hours at least once. He’s always taken the time to chat with me, both when I approach him as a reporter and when I stop by his office as a student just looking to give feedback.
AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, READ THE POST
Every day, when you drag yourself out of bed and walk (most likely uphill) to your first class, take time to grab that 8-page paper you see in all of the classroom buildings. I promise it will provide you with all of the most up-to-date information about what’s going on in Athens and at OU.
Student media outlets come and go, but for 99 years, The Post has been the only independent student voice on campus — and this year will be no exception. If you think you’ve got something to add to our coverage, or just want a little writing experience, swing by our office, because we’ve always got plenty of work to go around.
Even if journalism isn’t your thing, we still want to know what you think of what we’re doing.
So send us letters, tweet at us, comment on our Facebook page and tell us what we could be doing better. We work to provide the best coverage of our community, but that's impossible without your input, so please, let us know what you think.
—Wesley Lowery is a senior studying journalism and the editor in chief of The Post. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org