There’s a million and one things I can compare this feeling too. The end of the beginning, as I like to think of it. This past week has been spent trying to catch my breath, rushing to catch up with time. Spending every moment in my cozy apartment on Congress, dive bar on Court, and Crossfit gym down the road, hoping that if I stay just five minutes longer, leaving will get easier. You could call it a break up, the depressing feeling of not spending time with something you’ve come so accustomed too. Or, you could call it a crush, the rush of something you’ve hoped for, something that excites you so much, yet you still question if you’re ready for it. Graduation, the real world, it’s gonna happen one way or another.
I’m wondering if I did everything right. Did I not get drunk enough, did I get too drunk, did I study enough or did I get too many C’s? I do know that I learned more about myself, life, and love more than any books could have taught me. I learned the meaning of a true friend. I learned the difference between love and lust. I learned that I still have so much to learn, and so much to live. I learned the difference between a wine hangover, a beer hangover, and a liquor hangover. I learned how to power clean, barbells and apartments. I learned how to pick up heavy things, without letting them weigh down on my back. I learned how to breathe through miles along the Hocking River and the woods of Athens. I learned how to attempt to act 21 at the ripe age of 18, and learned how freakin’ cool it felt, while later realizing how freakin’ dumb I looked. I learned that places and people change. Like how Stephens bar used to be known as a weird place to trip acid, and now it’s one of the most poppin’ bars on campus. Court Side was that senior bar, with the rare, nervous, freshmen honorably gaining access. Now, it’s a trap for blacked out 18 year old girls in crop tops and mini skirts. We’re all guilty. The Junction became J bar, Crystal is still Crystal, and Pawpurrs is, and will always be, the place to be. I learned that keeping in touch is not always in the plan, and sometimes you meet people just so you can un-meet them. I learned that meeting 50 people at the bars freshmen year doesn’t come close to the friends I know I’ll keep dear in my heart for ever. To those 50-so people I boogied with at Crystal, thank you so much for those memories that I still randomly crack up at. I learned that I say things like “poppin” and “boogie” and it’ll never be cool but it’ll still be okay. Which leads me to the fact that I learned that being cool is really boring.
I’m not just an Ohio University student, I don’t just live in Athens, I am in love with Athens and everything it has taught me. I learned that there is so much more to Athens than Ohio University. There is a whole community, a tight knit family, local businesses and pure happiness. There are no high rises, five-star restaurants or fancy hotels, and I couldn’t have it any other way. The cobblestone streets, brick buildings and crisp air share the feeling of home. I have been lucky to not only form friendships with Ohio University students, but with people in the Athens community. There are a million reasons why I can thank crossfit, and specifically crossfitSEO, for coming into my life, but the people I’ve met through that community are what I will take with me. Being surrounded by students, and not to mention 20-some bars on a one mile radius with no friday classes, you tend to lose touch of reality. Crossfit kept me grounded, structured and strong. The community kept me accounted for. I’ve always heard that it is important to surround yourself with like-minded people, and though it took me awhile to learn and grow, I listened.
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m sitting here, on a Sunday, writing this sappy little blog post. Sundays in Athens kinda remind me of scenes from the walking dead. It’s dead. It’s hungover. There are more empty Natty Light cans laying around than there are people. Sundays in Athens are for tweeting, instagramming, Netflixing, crying, laughing, and a whole lot of eating. The essential Sunday in Athens consists of Court Side Pizza, Chipotle, your occasional day drinkers, and a whole lot of embraced shame. I remember how easy it was to bounce back from a night of drinking four years ago, which is why it was so easy to go on those five day freshmen benders. After five days of senior bar crawls, day drinks and two am burritos, I feel like I got punched in the face by the incredible hulk. These hangovers are one thing I’m not going to miss, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way, and that’s all I can ask for.
It wouldn’t exactly be me if I was sitting here telling you that in order for you to “do it right” and “live up” your senior year in college you have to black out every weekend and spend Monday-Friday at the bar. Though that does call for some good times, there are other things that are key on your last days in Athens. Go to Strouds, lay out on your roof, eat at Jackie O’s, or your favorite restaurant. Eat somewhere you can’t typically eat anywhere else. Clear your head and go for a jog around the Athens bike paths. Specifically around sunset, you won’t be sorry. Walk around campus and take it all in. The big brick buildings, south green, west, east, and college green. You’ve spent four years here, and as an upperclassmen living off campus, it’s easy to forget the beautiful campus that is Ohio University. Don’t forget to look around. As much as you want to cry, don’t forget to laugh. We sure as hell didn’t spend four years here crying, so spend the last few weeks laughing. Do what you want to do. If you want to go to the bar, go. If you want to eat that burrito, and then that pizza, and then those chips, sure, do it. If you wanna get a blackout at paw purrs, a black widow at pigskin, or a liquor pitcher at Luckys, do that, too.
Sure, Athens will always be here, but we won’t. We can visit, and take a walk down memory lane, but things will never be the same. We have done everything we can in these past four years to get us to this very moment. As sad as it is, there is no more important emotion to feel than the feeling of accomplishment.
Congratulations Class of 2014! And to the underclassmen, whatever you do, just don’t blink.
(P.S Nobody warned me about the Senior 20? Get ready for some health food posts because this betch needs to get back to the grind.)