Where I come from, kids usually learn to drive tractors before learning to ride bikes. You can’t walk down the street without someone asking if you need a ride, and using the phrase “sex education” usually causes a local to blush. Yes, I come from Small Town America, more specifically Orrville, Ohio, and to me Ohio University was an eye-opener. It did not take long for OU to give me the wake-up call that most of us need to enjoy the ride — I am definitely not in Kansas anymore. Athens is no New York City, but there’s plenty of material here for me to make a list of ten signs that told me I was in a whole new world.
My first sign was the appearance of several different archetypes of people; some that I never knew existed. Walking to class in that oh-my-gosh!-I-need-to-meet-everyone-I-see mentality of college life, my head was telling me to meet these characters that define a college campus—the hipsters, the political revolutionists, the school-spirited, the introverts and the party animals.
How is this any different from high school, you ask? Well, in most high schools looking like everyone else was a means of social survival. The beauty of college is that no one really cares if you’re different.
After getting past that freshman stage of feeling pressured to meet and make friends with everyone who claims to be human, I can now settle in and observe just how many characters there are on campus.
So first, you have the hipster, a rising trend of people we admire for being unconventional. These characters can usually be identified as people sporting t-shirts with outdated video game logos on them, wearing oversized headphones or a passion for all things that are not mainstream. Ask one about their favorite indie song and putting it in the new Twilight soundtrack and you might receive a facial expression similar to the reaction of cancelling Christmas.
Then there are the political revolutionists, those who are always thirsty for change. I had a guy in my political communications course boast that he had already saved up bail money in case he was arrested during Occupy OU, and to that I say “here, here!”
Small towns have plenty of school-spirits, introverts and party animals, but not in a way that is comparable to those at OU. Never in Orrville did I see a group of more tha ten guys that had painted their entire bodies black, lips and all, in the spirit of a football “blackout.” Who cares about clogged pores when you have Bobcats to support?
I also live in the 24-hour quiet dorm, so I’m surrounded by people who not only appreciate quiet, but never actually seem to make any noise at all. I have frequently said “Hey” to a few of my floor mates and promptly been introduced (or should I say not introduced myself) to a several people who turn red and duck back into their room. What, did I forget to brush my teeth this morning?
So we have that #1 Party School rating, but I do think some of it can be chalked up to the personalities of my peers, not just by illegal activities. Being here, I realize that the “party animal” more or less is classified by the average Bobcat who just always wants to be engaged insomething. OU loves being awake; we love our nightlife and our community and all of the fun it has to offer.
This may seem average, but it’s a whole different idea for someone who has to drive 35 minutes away for entertainment while at home. And when I say entertainment, I mean something along the lines of Olive Garden.
Jackie Runion is a sophomore studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Talk small town with her at email@example.com.