Journalism, Ohio University

Things I didn’t know last week

For the first time Friday, I spent the night on the campus of Ohio University, my new home come September. My time there was not necessarily spectacular — I met a couple new people, scheduled some classes and got a bit more acquainted with the property in itself. Nothing all that crazy or exciting. However, it was enough of a taste of Athens that made me want to stay there clear through until my move in on the first of the month.

Through my two-day orientation (Bobcat Student Orientation or BSO), I picked up on a couple of things — four to be exact.

1. The other freshman don’t know anyone else either. Coming from out of state, I was a bit weary that pretty much all of the other incoming freshman attending BSO would have already found their niche or little friend group that I would have to butt into. However, this was not the case. Everywhere I turned there was a kid looking around a bit dazed and/or confused, as I was. It seemed as if nearly half of the students I met were either from out of state or were trying to distance themselves from previous high school friendships. Very few students seemed to have an established group of friends, which is a good thing for me, someone venturing into a world where I know literally no one.

2. The students are friendly and laid-back. This of course is a generalization. It’s like saying most NBA players are overpaid. Oh wait, they are! In all seriousness, every kid I met on campus was more than willing to shake my hand and engage in a conversation about how excited we are for September, where we are from, what our majors are, etc. This was extremely positive for me, being that, once again, I don’t really know anyone in Athens. It is much easier to make friends with people that are friendly. Moving on.

3. People care about me. Aside from all of the talk about scheduling, working, learning communities, study habits and weekend activities, the one thing that every administrator, student ambassador and faculty member pointer out is that they are there to help. In most cases, it is their job to help me succeed, not only as a student, but as an individual. This was comforting, especially when butted up against the typical ‘no one cares; you have to take care of yourself’ picture that many adults try to paint when it comes to college. Everyone was more than helpful in assisting me in all of my many needs throughout the weekend.

4. My dorm and surrounding area rock. At some point during the winter, during the lull of the sub-freezing degree days and dreary high school courses, I began to research what dorm I wanted to live in this year. After a little bit of digging, I figured out that I qualified for honors housing. Initially, I had no real stance on living in a scholarship hall, Johnson or Read, which are right next to each other. However, moving closer to the date this spring when we had to request arrangements I came to this realization: if I am around smarter, harder working people, I will strive to be a smarter, harder working person.

As it turns out, smart, hard working people have some perks. I got the chance to visit Johnson Hall, my next-door neighbor. Immediately upon walking in, I realized that I made the right decision. The lobby is immaculate compared to the much more average hall that I stayed in Friday night. The rooms are slightly more spacious and better lighted. The furniture is newer. There is a nice courtyard out back. The list goes on and on. Simply put, I think I will be quite happy with my arrangements.

On top of it all, I walked away with a newfound appreciation for the school I will call my home in a matter of weeks. The way I look at it is that I had 48 hours to appear bug-eyed, wear a lanyard around my neck, walk around in groups of 15+, be generally clueless with the technology, so on and so forth. Moving forward, I am no longer a prospective student or an incoming freshman — I am a student at Ohio University.

I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great four years.

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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