There’s nothing quite like spotting Athens as you round the bend on the highway.
With the white roofs peeking out between the greenery and campus surrounded by the Hocking River, Athens truly seems like it’s in a world of its own — and it’s a view I can never stop admiring every time I drive back to school.
For some Bobcats, however, this view might be equal parts nauseating and beautiful. The realization that you’re now far from home and about to embark on a new journey isn’t always easy. I know it wasn’t for me my freshman year. Your experience on campus may be minimal — especially because of the pandemic — and you may not know many of your fellow Bobcats yet. Maybe homesickness is already settling in.
The good news? It gets better, and faster than you’d think.
Soon, everytime you catch a glimpse of campus from your car, the butterflies in your stomach will be because of excitement, not nerves. Athens will start to feel like home. And for all of you returning Bobcats: welcome back.
It’s an odd realization that the phrase “welcome back” doesn’t apply to as many Bobcats this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some now-sophomores opted to stay home for Spring Semester 2021 and have never lived on campus before. Some students have never attended an in-person class, cheered in the stands during a home football game or spent far too much money at the local coffee shops.
It’s jarring to think about the things some Bobcats have yet to experience, and it’s weird for me to think about how I’ll be finishing my senior year amid circumstances I never would have imagined. I was cautiously optimistic going into the year, but it’s proving near impossible to predict what’s next during a global pandemic.
Despite everything, we’re all back, and that is something to celebrate. I’m looking forward to meeting staffers who worked remotely all of last year, participating in my final homecoming and being immersed in an in-person lecture again. Sure, not everything is back to 100% normal, but it’s a step in the right direction for many Bobcats. After reported struggles with online classes and meeting friends amid the past pandemic-ridden year, I have hope that this Fall Semester will go a bit more smoothly for the new freshman class.
I hope all Bobcats who are new to campus also have some faith. It’s so easy to be pessimistic about the school year given the current state of the world. However, the Ohio University and Athens communities will always be here for you — as will The Post on our newsracks every Thursday. Bobcats support Bobcats, and as cliche as it may sound, we truly are all navigating another odd year of this pandemic together. I promise you that soon, the tile floor in your dorm room won’t seem so off-putting, and you’ll get a better sense of which streets are which. Soon, that breathtaking view of Athens will feel like coming home.