When I started my time at Ohio University, I was in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, learning to navigate a global pandemic while attending college virtually. I knew there was one thing I wanted to do when I would finally arrive on campus: take every opportunity to learn and write about the culture in and around Athens.
Coming into college, I didn’t think I’d experience as much field experience as I have. Before I was on campus, I was doing all my interviews over the phone. I rarely received the opportunity to attend the events I was writing about because of the distance. It felt like I was always missing a piece of the puzzle.
It wasn’t until I arrived on campus my second year of school that I truly felt the impact and importance of Athens’ bricks.
When I started writing on campus, it was attending visiting artists’ performances, going to an art show at the Dairy Barn, experiencing Take Back the Night and more that really introduced me to my new home.
I can attest that interviewing people in-person creates a stronger connection and it truly shows through one’s writing. Not only have people I once interviewed for a story contributed to my work at The Post, but they have become people I now grab coffee with or say “Hi,” to on the street.
Through meeting people and writing stories, I have been able to build a network here in Athens, making it feel more like a place I belong. That’s the treasure of this town: it has the ability to make anyone feel welcomed. I was just lucky enough to experience this warm welcome through storytelling.
Working at The Post has also helped me meet other students and get a taste of all the organizations OU has to offer. Being able to help organizations promote and highlight the events they have worked so hard on is so rewarding as a journalist; it’s the best part of the job.
It’s performances like Lost Flamingo Theatre Company’s annual “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” that make me excited to have the job I do. I’m able to talk with the performers and really understand the show on and off the stage. My goal as a writer has always been to pull readers straight into the story. If I can do that, my mission is accomplished, and The Post has given me a chance to explore Athens and see what’s behind every corner.
This being my last year at OU makes me nostalgic of all the events I’m going to miss out on. I feel like the years have gone by too fast. I blinked and I’m already looking at life after college. I hope to find another home that will make me excited to meet people and write about all the culture that place acquires.
Kayla Bennett is a senior studying journalism. Please note that the views and ideas of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Kayla? Tweet her @kkayyben.